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Hiking in and around Berlin: 5 of our favourite walking trails

Easter 2020: eggs hidden around the apartment, grandparents definitely not visiting, clubs closed… What do we do now? Go hiking in and around Berlin, of course! As long as we respect distancing measures and take sensible precautions, we’re still allowed to be out in the fresh air. Here are our recommendations for an Easter weekend stroll — handpicked by a team of editors who know Berlin and its surroundings best.

Note: Our list is up to date, but was created before many businesses had to temporarily close due to the corona crisis. Please bear this in mind, and remember that the locations themselves are still beautiful. We recommend, in particular, the routes that are close by and easy to reach.

Four lakes around Strausberg: Muddy paths

An old rope ferry, enchanted waters and a biodynamic farm in the four-lake region around Strausberg

Hiking in and around Berlin: rowing boats on Lake Bötzsee. (Photo: imago/NBL picture archive)

Beautiful things can sometimes be unexpectedly close — like the lake district around Strausberg on the eastern outskirts of Berlin. Four lakes offer their different shores for hiking and swimming on this circular route and make this tour a perfect summer excursion. Even the beginning of the hike is something special: with the historic cable ferry, which has been in operation since 1894 and runs all year round in good weather, we cross over to the other bank of Straussee and walk, flanked by pine trees, to the smaller Fängersee. Through woodland on partly muddy paths we circle its banks and reach the next water body, Bötzsee, which invites us to take a longer break with its beautiful bays.

A jump into the clear water is a must, but those who prefer to lie in the sun at this point are understandingly forgiven — this has already happened to us. The last section to Herrensee, which is covered with water lilies and reeds, is definitely worth a walk. Back in Strausberg, the last steps trace the water’s edge again.

In the evening sun you have the possibility for a last swim or a walk through the historic city centre. A detour to the biodynamic farm, Beerenblau, in neighbouring Wilkendorf is also highly recommended. There the Walter family cultivates blueberries, which can be picked and eaten from July to mid-August.

Text: Sina Schwarz & Theresa Wißmann

Around Strausberg, route 21km (can be shortened). Arrive with S-Bahn and tram to Strausberg Lustgarten. Suitable for sturdy beginners and swimming enthusiasts. The authors jointly run the blog ‘Milch & Moos. About hiking and good food’ www.milchundmoos.de

Jakobsweg to Bad Wilsnack: On the pilgrims’ path

Forests, fields, lakes and small towns: Jakobsweg to Bad Wilsnack

The river Karthane near Bad Wisnack (Prignitz) in the biosphere reserve Flusslandschaft Elbe-Brandenburg. (Photo: imago/Hohlfeld)

The path invites you to walk in silence. You clear your head and fall into a kind of meditative walking. We don’t walk the pilgrimage path for religious reasons, but as school friends who have a lot to tell each other — and who can also enjoy the path in silence. We’ve reserved our sleeping quarters by phone. Since we are expected at the ‘pilgrims’ hostels’, there is always breakfast and often dinner. The trail actually starts at Marienkirche in the centre of Berlin.

We skipped this part and took the S-Bahn to Hennigsdorf. The first stage leads via Bötzow to Flatow on an old stagecoach route, and the next day it continues via the stork village Linum to Protzen. The landlady of the holiday rental also looks after the lovingly furnished local history museum in the old school building. A highlight of the third stage to Barsikow is the pilgrim accommodation in the tower of the village church. The fourth stage leads through Wusterhausen and past the Kiemkowsee to Kyritz, a small but lively town where you can eat well. Then the journey continues to Söllenthin and the next day to Bad Wilsnack past the Plattenburg castle. A visit to the old moated castle is worthwhile.

In Bad Wilsnack we stay overnight in the beautifully furnished holiday flat Stiefmütterchen. Of course you have to visit the Wunderblutkirche — from the church tower you have a very good view. Finally, we relax for a whole day in the beautiful thermal bath.

Text: Bettina Stirl

Around Bad Wilsnack, route consists of six stages of 16 to 25km each. Arrive by S-Bahn to Hennigsdorf, back via RE2 from Bad Wilsnack. Plan a day in Bad Wilsnack for church and thermal bath visit. Suitable for shared experiences and meditative hiking. The author is a special education teacher at a primary school.

Rieselfelder relaxation: From Buch to Lake Gorin

Woodland school, wild horses, heathland, lakes: from Buch S-Bahn station to Lake Gorin and back

Hiking in and around Berlin – to Lake Gorin, for example. (Photo: ands78/flickr/CCBY 2.0)

A sunny morning. It’s my birthday — I always plan something special to do. So I lace up my hiking boots and drive to Buch S-Bahn station. At Wiltbergstraße I briefly envy the new residents of the former hospital area ‘Ludwig Hoffmann-Quartier’. The Berlin city building councillor and architect Ludwig Hoffmann (1852-1932) had a decisive influence on the image of Buch with its hospitals. The Buch forest school is located in the woods. Children are just setting off on an excursion with the forest teachers. I continue straight ahead, passing the former Dr. Heim hospital, tuberculosis sanatorium. Today the area is called ‘Allées des Chateaux’.

After 3.5kms appears the Berlin border to Brandenburg in the middle of the heath landscape of the Rieselfelder. 6.3 kilometres are done when I enter the parking lot of Schönower Heide. Hello wild horses. I follow the green hiking sign to Gorinsee. Here, acorns are offered on platforms for jays and squirrels to eat, or indeed bury. And hopefully forget — tree planting made easy! After about 10 kilometres I arrive at Lake Gorin, finally ready for a break in the sun. Thermos, apple, cookies. In summer, the bathing area is a Berlin-near destination for cooling off, the Gasthof am Gorinsee also has the necessary beer garden and is only closed on Mondays.

Text: Sigune Sachweh

Buch—Schönower Heide—Gorinsee—Buch route, about 17kms. Arrive by S-Bahn to Buch S-Bahn station. Suitable for suburbanites, history buffs, animal lovers and tree lovers

In the distant future: Smoked fish and a little bit of Japan

Smoked fish and a Japanese café: We meet animals in the Uckermark. And a few people

A slice of Japan in the Brandenburg countryside: Café zum Löwen (not currently open) (Photo: Hirofume Abe)

Brandenburg can do mountains. And Brandenburg can also be cool. In and around Gerswalde it does both. And the coolness fits twice. The old palace garden, which is being used by a number of exiled Berliners around the filmmaker Lola Randl, is a pleasant place to relax — for example at Café zum Löwen (under the most charming Japanese management) and fish smokehouse Glut & Späne by Michael Wickert, formerly located at Markthalle Neun. Hiking tours should end at the palace garden. Or at least take a detour through them.

The tour could start in Wilmersdorf in Brandenburg. Only not (necessarily) on foot. The bus takes us to Neudorf, almost to the shore of Stiernsee, which is so beautifully situated between gentle hills that you’ll want to lie down. Over open fields it goes to Gerswalde. The defiant village church, the mill, the remains of the walls of the moated castle, from which the castle gardening shop also gets its name. After the smoked trout, or the next morning, you should definitely leave the village to the north-west, where you can see far across the countryside from grassy crests. Here, south of Prenzlau, the landscape is open and hilly. Ice Age. Here a pond, there a tree. But doesn’t one already anticipate Potzlower See in the northeast, and Oberuckersee, where this journey will end in the evening? First of all, we go through the northernmost tip of the biosphere reserve Schorfheide-Chorin. We will see storks, sheep, deer, a kite and hear the bittern singing.

Text: Clemens Niedenthal

Wilmersdorf—Gerswalde—Oberuckersee, route 25kms (can be split into two daily stages, from Wilmersdorf 35km). Arrive at Wilmersdorf (b Angermünde) station, Seehausen station on Oberuckersee. Suitable for people with vision, love of animals and good appetite.

The old shores of the Teltow Canal

Towpaths, old walls, lots of history: A hike along the Teltow Canal opens up new horizons

View over Teltowkanal to Jagdschloss Glienicke. (Photo: Imago/Ritter)

Nope, you don’t have to walk all the way along the Teltow Canal. The first few miles — from east to west — lead past industrial areas, allotment garden colonies — always along the rushing motorway A113. It gets really nice when Stadtpark Steglitz appears on the southern side. Through it flows the Bäke, a trickling stream that only swells to its old size during heavy rainfall. The old towpaths are arranged as parks, in which the Lilienthal monument shines in new splendour. Café Tomasa also has a new quarter here.

Around the Lichterfelde power plant, both banks of the canal give the impression that this is where serial killers dispose of their victims. Somewhat more beautiful — and historically more interesting — is the old ‘Krone’ company, known as ‘Spider’ to West Berliners, which for many decades disposed of its untreated wastewater in the canal. Only a few hundred metres further on, on the northern side, are the remains of the GDR’s water checkpoint.

Further west, the canal widens to Machnower See, on the northern side of which the old Hakeburg once stood. Here, too, only a few walls, two gates and the castle cellar remain. But there are nice places to relax. Scenically, the stretch to the mouth of the canal is the most beautiful — the stream forms a marshy floodplain. At the bridge of the old cemetery railway, the watchtower of the GDR checkpoint still stands on a camp site. Behind it, the route leads through a Brandenburg landscape with many spruces and sunny sandbanks to Griebnitzsee, where a garden restaurant in an old shipyard beckons.

Text: Lutz Goellner

Teltow Canal, route variable. Arrivals/Departure from Ullsteinstraße U-Bahn station or Südende S-Bahn station to Griebnitzsee S-Bahn station. Suitable for industrial archaeologists, border crossers, garden lovers.

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