Waldeinsamkeit: Five of the best forest walks around Berlin

Though Berlin is a bustling metropolitan city, you may be surprised to find a number of beautiful forests within touching distance of the capital.

Waldeinsamkeit: Five of the best forest walks around Berlin
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Many of you may be feeling a sense of Wanderlust as the weather warms up, and wandern (hiking or rambling) can be a good way to indulge this feeling. 

Spring and summer is the perfect opportunity to venture slightly further out and explore the local natural landscape. 


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Grunewald is perhaps the first place you will think of if you’re craving some Waldeinsamkeit (the feeling of solitude in the woods). It is the largest forest close to the city, and can be reached directly by S-Bahn from Alexanderplatz. 

READ ALSO: German word of the day: Die Waldeinsamkeit

From Berlin-Grunewald, on the S7 train line, it is only a five minute walk into the forest. The woods are huge and nestle a number of impressive lakes. One of the best walks is through the scenic Paul-Ernst-Park, which has a footpath encircling the Schlachtensee.

Spandauer Forest

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If you travel just beyond Berlin’s Spandau district, in the west of the city, you will find yourself in Spandauer Forest. This sprawling forest is home to two protected nature reserves and a number of animals you might not expect to encounter so close to the city, such as kingfishers, hawks and beavers. 

The forest is also famous for its range of unusual flora and fauna and as you wander through the woods you may come across an unexpected clearing or meadow in the middle of dense forest. These are great secluded locations for a picnic or rest during your walk. 


Just below Treptower Park, you can find the Plänterwald. This is a large forest that follows a stretch of the river and is almost completely cut off from the city, despite being so close to the centre. 

The forest is also home to an abandoned amusement park, the Spreepark, which closed in 2001 and is one of the city’s most famous abandoned attractions. You can still see the ferris wheel looming slightly eerily above the treeline. 

READ ALSO: Enter if you dare: Berlin’s best abandoned haunts

Tegel Forest

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Northwest of the city, in the Tegel district, you will find an expansive area of forest covering over 2000 hectares of land.

Deep in the forest, you can find what is thought to be Berlin’s oldest tree. Dicke Marie, meaning fat Marie, is the name given to the towering oak tree, which stands at about 26 metres and is thought to be up to 900 years old. 

It is a good idea to start your walk through the forest at the Tegeler Fließ, a stream to the north of the woods where you may be lucky enough to spot some water buffalo grazing. 


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Just a short walk from S-Bahn Birkenwerder you can find yourself surrounded by centuries-old woodland, as well as lakes and sprawling meadows. There is a circular walk through the woodland starting at the Briesetal forest school; the ‘adventure garden’ at the beginning of the route is a wonderful place for children to explore the nature the forest has to offer. 

This is the perfect area to explore if you want to stay close to the city but also be immersed in nature. The ever changing landscape provides a beautiful escape from city life. 

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EXPLAINED: Berlin’s latest Covid rules

In response to rapidly rising Covid-19 infection rates, the Berlin Senate has introduced stricter rules, which came into force on Saturday, November 27th. Here's what you need to know.

A sign in front of a waxing studio in Berlin indicates the rule of the 2G system
A sign in front of a waxing studio indicates the rule of the 2G system with access only for fully vaccinated people and those who can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 as restrictions tighten in Berlin. STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

The Senate agreed on the tougher restrictions on Tuesday, November 23rd with the goal of reducing contacts and mobility, according to State Secretary of Health Martin Matz (SPD).

He explained after the meeting that these measures should slow the increase in Covid-19 infection rates, which was important as “the situation had, unfortunately, deteriorated over the past weeks”, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, warns top German virologist

Essentially, the new rules exclude from much of public life anyone who cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. You’ll find more details of how different sectors are affected below.

If you haven’t been vaccinated or recovered (2G – geimpft (vaccinated) or genesen (recovered)) from Covid-19, then you can only go into shops for essential supplies, i.e. food shopping in supermarkets or to drugstores and pharmacies.

Many – but not all – of the rules for shopping are the same as those passed in the neighbouring state of Brandenburg in order to avoid promoting ‘shopping tourism’ with different restrictions in different states.

2G applies here, too, as well as the requirement to wear a mask with most places now no longer accepting a negative test for entry. Only minors are exempt from this requirement.

Sport, culture, clubs
Indoor sports halls will off-limits to anyone who hasn’t  been vaccinated or can’t show proof of recovery from Covid-19. 2G is also in force for cultural events, such as plays and concerts, where there’s also a requirement to wear a mask. 

In places where mask-wearing isn’t possible, such as dance clubs, then a negative test and social distancing are required (capacity is capped at 50 percent of the maximum).

Restaurants, bars, pubs (indoors)
You have to wear a mask in all of these places when you come in, leave or move around. You can only take your mask off while you’re sat down. 2G rules also apply here.

Hotels and other types of accommodation 
Restrictions are tougher here, too, with 2G now in force. This means that unvaccinated people can no longer get a room, even if they have a negative test.

For close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, it’s up to the service providers themselves to decide whether they require customers to wear masks or a negative test.

Football matches and other large-scale events
Rules have changed here, too. From December 1st, capacity will be limited to 5,000 people plus 50 percent of the total potential stadium or arena capacity. And only those who’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed in. Masks are also compulsory.

For the Olympic Stadium, this means capacity will be capped at 42,000 spectators and 16,000 for the Alte Försterei stadium. 

3G rules – ie vaccinated, recovered or a negative test – still apply on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and buses in Berlin. It was not possible to tighten restrictions, Matz said, as the regulations were issued at national level.

According to the German Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, people have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask  on public transport.

Christmas markets
The Senate currently has no plans to cancel the capital’s Christmas markets, some of which have been open since Monday. 

According to Matz, 2G rules apply and wearing a mask is compulsory.

Schools and day-care
Pupils will still have to take Covid tests three times a week and, in classes where there are at least two children who test positive in the rapid antigen tests, then tests should be carried out daily for a week.  

Unlike in Brandenburg, there are currently no plans to move away from face-to-face teaching. The child-friendly ‘lollipop’ Covid tests will be made compulsory in day-care centres and parents will be required to confirm that the tests have been carried out. Day-care staff have to document the results.

What about vaccination centres?
Berlin wants to expand these and set up new ones, according to Matz. A new vaccination centre should open in the Ring centre at the end of the week and 50 soldiers from the German army have been helping at the vaccination centre at the Exhibition Centre each day since last week.

The capacity in the new vaccination centre in the Lindencenter in Lichtenberg is expected to be doubled. There are also additional vaccination appointments so that people can get their jabs more quickly. Currently, all appointments are fully booked well into the new year.