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10 beauty spots that show a different side of grimy Berlin

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10 beauty spots that show a different side of grimy Berlin
Insel der Jugend, Treptow. Photo: DPA
10:48 CEST+02:00
Concrete, graffiti and grime. Berlin isn't known as the most picturesque city. But that doesn't mean it's entirely bereft of beauty. So check out our guide to the prettier side of the German capital.

Viktoriapark

Home to the highest hill in the city centre, this is the park that puts the “Berg” in Kreuzberg. Climb to the top to find a cast iron monument to the German victory in the Napoleonic wars and be rewarded with a wonderful panorama of the city. Then follow an ornamental waterfall which tumbles back down to street level.

Pfaueninsel

Pfaueninsel, or peacock island, is a small island haven and nature reserve in the river Havel, south west of Berlin, not far from the lake at Wannsee. Reachable by ferry, it is home to a large population of peacocks, as well as a number of other exotic birds.

Rose Garden, Humboldthain

Less well known, but just as pretty, is a hidden rose garden in Humboldthain park in the northern district of Wedding. Roses bloom here from spring until well into the autumn, filling the air with sweet scents. The entrance is a little hard to find in the forest, so chances are you'll have it to yourself.

Neptunbrunnen

Berlin's Alexanderplatz isn't exactly world famous for its beauty, but hidden in plain sight among the concrete high rises is the impressive 19th century Neptune Fountain. Standing ten metres high in the shadow of the iconic TV tower, the fountain depicts the Roman god Neptune surrounded by four women representing four rivers of former Prussia - the Elbe, Rhine, Vistula and Oder.

Neuen See, Tiergarten

Any visitor to Berlin will have heard of Tiergarten, the colossal park and former hunting ground on the doorstep of the Reichstag parliament building. Fewer will know of Cafe am Neuen See, a pretty beer garden near a small lake hidden deep in the park where you can hire rowing boats during the summer.

Insel der Jugend, Treptow

Long a favourite spot for Berliners seeking shady havens by the river on hot days, the Island of Youth is connected to Treptower Park by a bridge on the edge of Plänterwald Forest. The island is home to a mock medieval castle which is a venue for art, cultural events and live music concerts. You can also rent a boat on which to enjoy the view from the water.

Körnerpark, Neukölln

Fountains, statues, orangeries and flower gardens. Not words that typically come to mind when most people think of Berlin's hipsterfied Neukölln district. But here they all are, in a 2.4 hectare park, hidden slap bang in the middle of Körnerkiez. Head here in summer for free concerts and performances.

Schloßpark Charlottenburg, Charlottenburg

Better known are the barroque gardens of Charlottenburg Palace, once the 18th century summer residence of elector Friedrich III and his wife Sophie Charlotte. Surrounded by woodland and bordered by the Spree river, the formal garden includes a mausoleum, pavilion and a theatre.

Spandau Citadel, Spandau

This impressive Renaissance citadel was built to protect early Spandauers from invading enemies. Impeccably preserved and surrounded on all sides by a moat, the Italian-designed, 16th century fortress is open for visitors to wander the battlements all year round. In summer, it hosts a number of open air concerts.

Gendarmenmarkt, Mitte

A beauty spot hidden in the centre of Berlin, this square is home to a collection of stunning buildings. Alongside the Konzerthaus music venue, facing each other across the square stand the German and French churches built in the early 18th century to house Berlin's new Hugenot and Lutheran communities. In winter the square is the site of one of the city's most elegant Christmas markets.

Zionskirchplatz, Prenzlauer Berg

We might be biased as it isn't far from our office, but we think this 19th century square in Prenzlauer Berg is particularly pretty. In the centre stands the church in which priest Dietrich Bonhoeffer gave oppositional sermons during the Nazi era. Nowadays, it is home to a number of restaurants, cafes and a regular organic farmers market.

All Photos: DPA

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