Feeling unhealthy after an indulgent festive period? Worry not: the city has plenty of options for recuperation, relaxation and recreation that will have you feeling better in days. Slow Travel Berlin’s Paul Sullivan dives in.
Time to wean yourself off all that turkey, goose, potatoes and desserts by switching to some cleaner eating habits. Berlin has a decent range of vegetarian, vegan and general ‘wellness’ dining options, ranging from Michelin-level multi-course creative cuisine at industrial-chic Cookies Cream (Behrenstraße 55) to more down-to-earth (and cheaper) offerings at a slew of different spots across the city.
Down in Mitte, for example, Beets & Roots (Große Hamburger Straße 38) has bowls with Indian, Thailand, Korean, Japanese and Californian themes and ingredients, while The Store (Torstraße 1) has a menu of nourishing soups, salads and wholesome brunch options.
Less trendy but equally health-conscious are Maria Maria Maria (Falckensteinstraße 37 — tofu scrambles!), Two Planets (Hermannstraße 230 — avocado sourdough toast!) and Vux (Wipperstraße 14 — vegan brunch!), and of course Goodies, which has four outlets all offering fresh smoothies and NYC-style bagels.
Talking of fresh juices and smoothies, Berlin has been up on the trend for liquid nutrition boosts for a few years now. The best known outlet is Daluma down at Weinbergsweg 3, whose juices include the Supergreen and the Beet Box, Run Forest and are backed up with a range of bowls, salads and other healthy bites and products.
Up in Prenzlauer Berg, the small but pretty Liquid Garden (Stargarder Straße 72) has excellent, nutrition-filled juices and soups with a dizzying array of local and exotic ingredients, while closer to the centre, Los Angeles Cold Press (Friedrichstraße 71, Quartier 206) has organic, daily-fresh juices made with seasonal fruit and vegetables.
It took a while for Berlin to get the comprehensive, centrally located spa it needed, but Vabali (Seydlitzstraße 6) — open since 2014 — hits the spot for most locals. Extending over 20,000 square meters on two levels, it offers a couple of pools, cosy rooms with fireplaces, a plethora of saunas and several treatment rooms, all with a handsome, wood-heavy Balinese aesthetic.
For something more intimate and urban, Liquidrom (Möckernstraße 10) has a domed salt-water pool with underwater music, plus saunas and massage options. The rest of the city offerings are smaller, but still worth considering. Surya Villa (Rykestraße 3) has traditional Ayurveda treatments and massages, steam baths and a sauna, plus yoga and meditation classes. Olivin, tucked away inside the Pfefferberg complex, is tiny but its sauna is wonderful, as is the associated bamboo garden.
Farther afield, there are also larger Therme in Bad Saarow and Neuruppin, which have a mix of indoor and outdoor (heated) pools and a more countryside-escape atmosphere; and there’s also the option of a faux exotic adventure, complete with slides and sandy beaches, at Tropical Islands, 60km south of Berlin.
For something more active, there are plenty of indoor offerings, such as slipping into one of the city’s myriad pools. Some are nicer than others of course, with particular architectural standouts including Stadtbad Neukölln, Stadtbad Mitte, Stadtbad Charlottenburg, and the recently reopened Stadtbad Oderberger Straße; some of these offer saunas too.
Not a water baby? Stretch yourself healthy at a yoga studio: Sun Yoga has spots in Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, Prenzlauer Berg has Yoga Klub Berlin and Charlottenburg has Sita Tara. Indoor climbing is also a powerful activity to get yourself in shape; Berlin has quite a few options, including Magic Mountain in Wedding and Sudbloc in Kreuzberg.
Swimming, strolling & skating
A good way to get some fresh air and activity is ice-skating, which can be enjoyed at Neukölln (Eisstadion im Sportpark), Wedding (Erika Heß Eisstadion) and Charlottenburg (Horst-Dohm Ice Stadium).
If you prefer the feel of firmer ground, there are plenty of walking, hiking and running route options, from the enormous Tempelhofer Feld to Volkspark Friedrichshain and Treptower Park. It’s also possible to follow the Landwehr Canal between Treptow and Charlottenburg, or trek one of the many paths through the Grunewald forest.
Paul Sullivan is a guidebook author, travel journalist and the founder/editor of Slow Travel Berlin. His words and images have appeared in The Guardian, BBC, Sunday Times Travel, The Telegraph, Nat Geo UK and more. He has lived in Berlin for 10 years.