When it comes to green spaces and parks, we all have to admit Berlin is one of the best big cities in Europe, if not the world. We are blessed with endless amounts of both tiny and large parks scattered around the city, and some forests here and there. As we might know the most popular ones already, there are many places in and around Berlin that are worth seeing and ready to get discovered.
We came across Waldbaben on Instagram, an account that recommends one of the best hiking and cycling routes in Berlin and Brandenburg, and we obviously could not ignore it. The name translates to forest bathing, which has nothing to do with swimming, it’s more a metaphorical description of immersing in the forest. With its motto “Love, Light, Leben”, Waldbaden promises to introduce us to some of the nicest and most secluded hiking and cycling routes that might have fallen off the map. We picked some of our favorite routes for you, but of course, you find many more on Waldbaben.
photos: Roger Sabaté.
Back in March, right before the lockdown, I had the opportunity to try out a new retreat concept that brought me to the countryside of Brandenburg to the charming Neuhausen castle.
I haven’t done any retreats so far, so I was curious about this invitation and happy to confirm. One of the key aspects was the digital detox element which meant that for the entire stay all guests had to give up on all of their electronic devices including smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, computers. Considering how attached I usually am to all of these and how I often feel almost enslaved by the connectivity they offer, I felt it was about time for me to try out something like this. It was a test on how strong my addiction to being connected and constantly checking my phone I actually am.
Be Retreats is a project by daughter-mother duo Laura and Kathrin from Berlin who found there to be a great need for stressed-out Berliners to get out of the city and get away from the habit of being glued to their phones. Apparently, we grab the phone on average 200 times and spent 7 hours consuming various types of media per day. That sounds like a lot, but it also sounds pretty realistic.
Now that Corona has thrown all our annual plans completely over the edge, after an understandable phase of disorientation and a pinch of healthy self-pity, it is time for a new orientation.
Since long trips, festivals and clubbing are canceled for the summer, we have to get creative with what is left for us to do. After endless weeks locked down in our own four walls, most of us are drawn outside into nature, far away from our well-known quarantine station. We want to get away, get out, and experience something new. So we have been thinking about how you can make this year’s weekends a little more exciting.
For some Berliners, Brandenburg feels like Mordor from Lord of the Rings. A dark place you are not supposed to go. But our recent discovery will make this assumption disappear even for the most sceptikal ones: An Alpaka farm with the most fluffy creatures of the world
Just one hour from Berlin by car is the little village of Börnicke near Nauen. There you will find the privately run Alpaca farm run by Nora and Joachim. Both are big fans of Alpacas who normally live in South America. They decided to build a little stable for these incredible animals next to an idyllic forest.
When we arrived we did not really know what to expect. But as soon as we stood in the middle of the field the funny animals avidly came towards us eating crispy bread from our hands and cuddling with us. We instantly got high of joy. I would have never believed it myself, but playing with these animals gives you the absolute feeling of happiness. When they look at you with their cute big brown eyes you cannot avoid feeling a deep warm sensation around your heart.
For weeks now I have been enquiring from friends and acquaintances about their experiences with the lakes in and around Berlin in preparation for our new guide. There is a few very popular lakes that are highly frequented on the hot days, but there are so many more that you might not have ever heard of that are even better because they are less busy and have a better water quality. In fact Berlin has far more than 30 lakes nearby that are suitable for swimming and the city even has a website where you can check the current water quality and features. Recently Visit Berlin also featured a practical map of all the open swimming pools and beaches and how to reach them by public transport. We went a step further and researched a little more about the lakes to give you a guide of the nicest opportunities to dive into the water to refresh from the summer heat. Our list is a mix of places that we know ourselves or that we have first hand recommendations of by friends or that were highly rated in other sources. Enjoy our guide and make sure to tell us all about your lake experience in the comments below!