Not everyone wants to fly into the heat of Italy or Greece this summer, and, honestly, you don’t need to. Berlin has plenty to offer those seeking a quick break from the hustle and bustle. Here’s our list of the best short getaways that will provide some respite, without going far.
A privately operated passenger ferry connects the eastern bank of the Havel River amidst Grunewald Forest (home to 23 islets) to Lindwerder. What’s great about this islet is that you can meditate in the calm and the green, swim, sunbathe, or sail, and later meet friends or just your hungry self in the restaurant with beautiful views, set up on the island’s bank. A variety of yummy dishes, including fresh fish, with all the ingredients sourced locally, are served Wednesday to Sunday from noon until 10 pm.
When in Wannsee, re-envision the life of a famous German impressionist by visiting Max Liebermann’s family house built in 1909 by architect Paul Otto Baumgarten on the last remaining plot in the Alsen villa colony (and also check out other buildings in the colony). When standing along the side of the artist’s works and looking out of the window, get a feel of the views he painted. There is a cozy café with a beautiful garden by the lake, one of the most important motifs in Liebermann’s paintings.
Photo by: Blick auf den Staudengarten und die Frontseite der Liebermann-Villa, Max-Liebermann-Gesellschaft, C. Adam
Photo by: New Venice
Photo by: Blick auf den Steg der Liebermann-Villa, Max-Liebermann-Gesellschaft
As you row through a maze of small canals or walk across numerous bridges in what’s called Neu-Venedig near Wilhelmshagen, you will be awed by the stunning small villas and dachas along the shores. Berlin’s own Venice, reachable by S-Bahn, Neu-Venedig is five kilometers of waterways created in 1926, when the town of Köpenick purchased the nearby estates and, instead of draining the marshy grounds, built the canals for water usage.
Anytime through the end of August, head out to the garden of historic Wehrmühle, a town in the middle of a UNESCO nature reserve, which has been transformed into an open-air gallery. Every summer Art Biesenthal brings together international emerging and established artists and, this year, focuses on the natural world as a source of inspiration, giving special attention to the transdisciplinary approaches. Food and drinks are provided by restaurant Baldon, for which alone the festival is worth visiting, with its exclusive Friday dinners, a small but ever-changing menu on Saturdays and Sundays with food cooked over open fire and a nice selection of natural wines.
This fascinating 300-hectare park hosts a beautiful palace with a sculpture garden, a grotto, summer terraces, and green alleys, located on the Grienericksee. This under-the-radar spot, 93 km away from Berlin and easily accessible via public transportation, is a former Frederick the Great’s private retreat. Rheinsberg park and the palace are an elegant representation of art history from Rococo to Neoclassicism. After becoming a king, Frederick gave the palace to his brother Henry, who continued to develop the palace into an innovative center for festivities, theater, and music. To this day, the palace and the park host concerts and other cultural events.
Parents of a Michelin-star trained chef Wolfgang Pankratz acquired this turn of the last century estate in the 1990s. The family rebuilt it into a modern and self-sustaining countryside inn with eight comfortable and stylishly minimalistic guest rooms. If you decide to stay over, you will be awakened by a rooster and invited to a hearty country-style breakfast. During the day you can explore the farm with its sheep, pigs, and other animals, as well as the vicinity – a perfectly picturesque countryside – quiet, pastoral, yet rustic. End the evening with a dinner, which is what most visitors come here for, a feast for your senses pre fixe for 79 euro (reservations required) by chef Pankratz himself.