Berlin Off The Beaten Path Tips by alancollins Top 5 Page for this destination
Berlin Off The Beaten Path: 455 reviews and 673 photos
The Spandau Citadel is one of the best preserved Renaissance fortresses in Germany and gives an impression of how people in the 16th century tried to defend themselves against their enemies, it is also the oldest remaining structure in Berlin. The oldest part of the fortification is the Juliusturm (Julius Tower) which dates back to 1160 and served as a keep. For many years it also served as a prison for prisoners of state. The tower also served as home to 120,000,000 gold marks, stored in 1,200 boxes and was paid to Germany by the French as reparations from the war of 1870/1. Barracks on the northern side of the site were used during the 1930’s for chemical weapons research. The citadel is surrounded by a moat and stands at the confluence of the Spree and Havel rivers. Today it is used for cultural events and serves as a winter home for 10,000 bats. The Citadel is open daily 9am-5pm and costs 4.50€ for adults & 2.50€ for children, reduced tickets are available. An audio guide cost 2€ and guided tours are available at certain times. It is located at Am Juliusturm and the closest station is U-Bahn: Zitadelle.
The Schönhausen Palace
The Schönhausen Palace was closed for some years and has now been renovated and was reopened to the public in late 2009. The palace stands in extensive grounds and the last time I visited was on a sunny spring afternoon, and it is a popular place with local families taking advantage of the beautiful surroundings and grounds. The palace dates from 1664 and was later remodelled in 1764 in a French Rococo style that you can see today. The palace was damaged during WW2 but was quickly repaired after the war. It then had a number of uses including an officer’s club, school, president’s residence and to accommodate offical guests. Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife were amongst the last to use it in 1989. The Palace is sign posted from Pankow U & S Bahn Station and is a 25 minute walk.
Messerschmitt Bf 109
The Luftwaffen Museum is one of the best aviation museums I have ever visited. The collection is located on the former RAF Station at Gatow-Berlin. As well as the outside exhibits the rest of the collection is located in 2 hangers and the control tower. The total exhibition covers so much area that unusually you are allow to cycle or roller skate to the different areas. There are 100 aircraft on display outside as well as rockets and their ancillary equipment. There are aircraft from different countries such the Tornado from the UK, F4 Phantoms and the F104 Starfighter from the USA and numerous Mig types from the former USSR. The museum also covers the history of military aviation in Germany and has a Messerschmitt Bf 109, an 88 mm gun and a 3 wheel rota enigma machine. If you like military history this museum is a must visit place. The final plus is its also free to enter including the guide.
To get to the base by public transport I went Spandau Railway Station. I then caught the # 135 bus in the direction of Alt-Kladow. It is about a 20 minutes ride and you go out into the countryside. The road is fairly straight for some distance and when it turn off to the left look out for Seekorso/Luftwaffenmuseum bus stop. It is about a 15 minute walk and it is well signposted.
Phone: 030 – 8 11 07 69
The Bucher Forst is only for the keen walker or the foolhardy like myself. It is a 435 hectare forest which has nature trails, 2 fish farms and various places to rest. Though the trail I took was unable to find anywhere to sit down. There are maps at some of the starting points so you can get your bearings. I went to the Buch S Bahn Station on the S2 and walked along Wittbergstrasse in a north west direction. It is a 15 minute walk to reach the forest.
Entrance to the fort
Fort Hahneberg was built between 1882-1888 and was the last military fort to be built in Germany. It came into being because of the advancement in artillery pieces, which meant the Citadel and the arms industry in the town could be hit by artillery fire. It was thought that any attack on Spandau would come from the south west and the fort was constructed on that route to keep the advancing army at bay. Other forts were planned but it was realised that with the advances in high explosive artillery shells that forts had become obsolete. The fort was used as a hospital during WW2 and after the war it came under soviet influence. The fort was left to fall into disrepair until the Soviets left. Unfortunately this fort is the poor relation of its more famous cousin in the town centre and receives very little in the way of aid to carry out and the repair work that is necessary. The fort is open for visits at weekends and holidays but you have to go on a guided tour which is only in German. The address is Hahnebergweg 50, 13591 Berlin. I caught the S-Bahn to Pichelsberg and then took the M49 bus.
Phone: 030 3664605
I tried a walk from Schloss Glienicke to Wannsee with its views across the Havel of such places as Pfaueninsel and Heilandskirche. It is a pleasant walk taking about 2 to 3 hours, but there are some comfort stations, places to sit and eat. The walk is an easier laid out route this way, and ends next to the House of the Wannsee Conference where private houses and sailing clubs border the Havel and you have revert to the normal roads. You can catch Bus 316 from Wannsee Railway Station to Schloss Glienicke. At the end of the walk you can catch Bus 114 which stops across the road from the House of the Wannsee Conference back to the Wannsee Railway Station.
In Berlin there are 3 large Soviet War Memorials that were erected soon after the end of WW2. The most well known is probably the one in the Tiergarten Park, which is close to the Reichstag. As the battle for Berlin was costly in terms of lives there are other smaller memorials scattered about the former East Germany. One of these memorials is in the Buch Schloss Park. Soldiers that had died during the battle for Berlin were buried here after the battle. The memorial was constructed in 1947/8 and the soldiers were reburied in larger cemeteries in Berlin. The memorial stands on the edge of the Schloss Park which originally had a castle and orangery, which was used by the mayors of Berlin as a summer house. This did not fit in with Soviet ideals and they were demolished in the 50s and 60s. Take the S2 to Bernau. Outside the railway station turn right along Wiltbergstrasse. The memorial is about 5 minutes walk away on the opposite side of the road.
The Südgelände Nature Park is a real out of the way place, which is missed by the travel guides. It started life as a railway marshalling yard in Tempelhof but fell into decline during the early fifties. Nature gradually took over and the wild life was left to its own devices for 50 years. In 1999 the whole area became a protected site and work started to make it more accessible. The park is approximately 18 hectares in area with the longest walk being 2.7 kms. You can see trees growing through the tracks and there is a raised pathway on part of the route. You can still see a turntable, steam locomotive, 50 metre tall water tower and railway buildings. The Nature Park is open daily for 0900 till dusk, it costs 1€ to enter via a pay machine and is next to Priesterweg S Bahn Station. There is also a café which is open on the weekends from April till October. The park is located at Prellerweg 47-49, 12157 Berlin.
SS Housing Estate
I came out to this area after watching a BBC TV program by Matt Frei about Berlin. I wanted to see the SS Housing that had been talked about in the program. As to be expected there are no signposts but the houses can be found off Quermatenweg. They were built between 1938 and 1940 for SS officers and their families. It was there idea of a residential paradise with the beautiful Krumme Lanke close by. They have been preserved as they were originally built, so no PVC windows & doors, but they do have shutters and window boxes and they can be described as Hansel and Gretel houses. The houses are now popular with artists and academics in this des res area. The houses would now be considered basic compared to the other huge houses and apartments in the area. The whole area is worth a visit just to see how the other half live in this very upmarket area. If you are using public transport try and return via Mexikoplatz where you can partake of a coffee and some cake in this beautiful square with its fountains and gardens.
I saw a blog regarding this out of the way location. It is a plane spotters dream. It is located at one end of Tegel Airport and you can watch the aircraft taking off and landing. The airplanes thunder overhead as they come into land and if you stand on an embankment you can watch the airplanes on the ground manoeuvring and taking off from the second runway. It may not be on the tourist route but I was surprised that other equally crazy people were there also watching, some with packs of beer, so they were in no hurry to leave. I went during daylight hours but I have heard it also looks just as good of a night time when it is all lit up.
Take the U6 to Kurt Schumacher Platz. From there its just a few minutes walk to the Meteorstraße.
Other Contact: Meteorstraße, Reinickendorf, 134
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