One of the perks of living in Berlin is being spoilt for choices when it comes to recreational zones. We’ve got plenty of parks, lots of nature and a spacious landscape, from Reinickendorf to Neukölln. Of course, the Tiergarten (or to be exact, the Großer Tiergarten) is one of the most iconic parks of Berlin; our own “Central Park”, if you want. It’s also undoubtedly one of the most beautiful parks of the city.
That being said, I don’t really like Tiergarten in the summer. There are nearer and nicer opportunities to sunbathe and play near where I live. Tiergarten tends to get crowded, even despite it’s size. And you always have to compete with runners, bikers, tourists, big families and ricocheting footballs for your little piece of heaven.
Tiergarten, in my opinion, is at it’s best when the seasons turn. The last days of autumn, which are blessed with some much needed sunshine, and the first days of fresh snow are my preferred Tiergarten conditions. I usually feel like I have the park all to myself.
Coffee and Apfelstrudel after Tiergarten at Schleusenkrug
Besides the beautiful atmosphere of my little urban oasis, there’s also the fact that you never have to walk far to treat yourself to some hot coffee or extraordinary eye-candy. You can either walk through the glorious architectural heaven that is Hansaviertel, or you can sit down for a piece of cake at Café am Neuen See.
If you want to keep going – on Sunday afternoons, every café in or near Tiergarten gets very crowded – you can continue further down in the direction of the Zoo. If you’re lucky, you may even get a glimpse of the animals behind their enclosures. Just keep walking until your reach Tiergarten, and sit down at the cozy Schleusenkrug, my new alternative go-to option when it comes to Apfelstrudel and coffee. They also serve hearty German meals, although I can’t attest to the quality of the food.
The cold and clear sunsets of Westberlin
On a clear day, you can take the walk even further and see the sunset from a high vantage point – such as the Monkey Bar in the 25hours Hotel, or even from the Siegessäule (which I still haven’t done, but it’s totally on my list).
Tiergarten, by the way, is only the second largest park in Berlin – after Tempelhof! – and the third largest inner-city park in Germany. In summer, you can also take a walk through the rose garden, and see many historical monuments that tell an intriguing story of Berlin’s wild past. I especially like this little tidbit found on the extremely interesting historical blog KREUZBERGED:
In 1947 the city’s oldest public park, the Tiergarten, was still used for farming: horticulture instead of “amusemang” (Berlinerisch-French word). In fact, the site was divided into 3,000 allotments where Berliners were able to grow their own produce, necessary to overcome severe food shortage which followed the war and the disastrously cold winter of 1946/1947 (Hungerwinter).
And that, my friends, makes the Berliner Tiergarten the first urban gardening project ever.