Wide views, gently rolling hills, scrubby bushes and a violet-colored carpet of blossoming heather. The heath is the perfect place for a summer walk—and if you're in Berlin, it's practically at your doorstep. In the nearby Brandenburg, the numerous heathlands are now protected as nature reserves; the leftover remnants of army training grounds. And the result is something quite spectacular—especially in late summer when the heath blossoms and bold purples and violets carpet the area.
To help you just get out and enjoy these areas, we have selected the eight most beautiful heathlands around Berlin. Each possesses its own unique charm: near Luckenwalde you will find Europe's last remaining inland wandering sand dune; in the Döberitzer Heide, you'll find wild horses and bison; in the small Mittelheide, you'll discover the hidden 'Erpetal'; and in the Schönewer Heide you'll encounter both red and fallow deer.
All eight heathlands can be easily reached by the S-Bahn or the regional train. This means you can leave the city and get out into these beautiful heathlands any time—without wasting a thought on traffic jams.
Timetable information and ticket prices can be found at sbahn.berlin
In the middle of Grunewald is the small Dachsheide. At the beginning of the 1950s, the American occupying power had decided to set up an ammunition depot here in the forest. According to legend, the forester at that time wanted to defend 'his' forest with the shotgun in front of the advancing Americans. He ended up in jail and the ammunition depot emerged in the forest as planned. Since 1996, the open terrain has been renatured and now thrives here a peaceful heathland. To protect the heath from reforestation, a small flock of sheep lives here and carefully nibbles all shoots away.Every 10 minutes, the S-Bahn line 7 will take you to Grunewald S-Bahn station. From there you walk a short distance through the streets and reach the Grunewaldsee a little later. On a wide path you stroll along the eastern shore of the lake and pass the small hunting lodge Grunewald. A little further south you will find the fashionable Forsthaus Paulsborn. Here you can take a break with coffee and cake or continue hiking to Dachsheide. You cross a street and a little later you are standing on the Dachsheide. Especially when the broom heath flowers in late summer, you quickly forget that you are still in the middle of Berlin. After a walk over the Dachsheide, you will hike along the Krumme Lanke and the Schlachtensee to the S-Bahn station Schlachtensee. From here, you can take the S-Bahn line 1 every 10 minutes back to the city center.
Together with the Dammheide formed the middle heath until the 20th century, a closed and almost untouched forest landscape. At that time, almost exclusively oak trees grew here, which were finally cut down for economic use. The area was not completely reforested and so a real heathland was created on the middle heath. In the 1950s, the GST, the 'Society for Sport and Technology' took over the middle heath. The youth organization GST was to prepare the young people of the GDR with sports and military exercises for the service in the NVA. A shooting range has been set up on the middle heath, but only a few remains can be found today. Due to the intensive use of the pagan character has been preserved to this day and amidst the surrounding pine forests you can stroll here on sandy hills.The S-Bahn line 3 takes you every 10 minutes to S-Bahn station Friedrichshagen. You leave the station and turn left at the exit. Here you stroll comfortably through the spa gardens and on to the shores of the Erpe. You follow the path along the shore until you hit the S-Bahn tracks. You turn right and cross a small garden estate. After only a few meters you enter a sparse pine forest. You continue to hike comfortably until you finally reach the middle heath. Here you can do a spin before continuing your walk. The path leads you through the forest and back to Erpe. Along the riverbank back to the spa park. A little later you reach the S-Bahn station Friedrichshagen. From here it goes back home with the S3.
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The Schönower Heide was once a vast forest area. Since the 18th century, farmers from the surrounding towns and villages have been using the forest as grazing land and to beat wood. Due to the increasing population, the forest was significantly strained. Since reforestation on the nutrient-poor sandy soil barely had any success, a hilly heath landscape developed here. At the beginning of the 20th century, a large military training area was set up here. First trained here Imperial Guard infantrymen, later the troops of the German Reichswehr and finally the Soviet occupation forces. The intensive use of tanks and heavy vehicles ensured that the heathland was preserved. Since the 1990s, the site was demilitarized and in 2000 placed under protection. Since 2004 you can visit the Schönower Heide and enjoy the peaceful landscape.Your tour starts at the S-Bahn station Bernau, which is approached every 20 minutes by the S2. On your way to Schönower Heide you first pass through Bernau. Along the medieval city wall you walk through a green area. At the Mühlentor you follow the Mühlenstraße to the north and turn a little later on the Schönower Chaussee. After crossing the A11 motorway, you will walk along a road across wide fields. After a short stretch of forest you finally stand on the Schönower Heide. Take enough time for your round on the heath, because there is much to discover here. With a little luck, you can see fallow deer, red deer, sheep or cattle grazing peacefully in the meadows or dozing in the shade. Then it's the same way back to the train station Bernau.
The Rieselfelder around Hobrechtsfelde are the southernmost foothills of the Schönow Heath. While in the north at the beginning of the 20th century, the imperial infantry marched on maneuvers, in Hobrechtsfelde the Berlin sewage was trickled. The new sewage system was planned and implemented by the construction council James Hobrecht. Almost 100 years ago, the wastewater was cleaned here. Since 1985, the Rieselfelder no longer used. At the beginning of the 1990s, the careful renaturation of the area began. To this end, conical horses and Scottish highland cattle, who naturally protect the open landscape from the reforestation, still live here today. Meanwhile, you can explore the Rieselfelder on numerous trails.With the S-Bahn line 2 you drive to the S-Bahn station Röntgengental, which is served every 20 minutes. First, you will pass through an old peat field that is now protected. The path leads you through a small housing estate and immediately afterwards you reach the open meadows of Hobrechtsfelder Rieselfelder. With a beautiful view you walk along the fields. At a wooded area, the path bends sharply to the right. With a little luck, you will meet the Scottish Highland cattle a short time later. The trails lead right through the fenced pastures where the shaggy animals live. The big cattle are not dangerous, but you should always keep respectful distance. In Hobrechtsfelde you can plan a detour to the beer garden James, before you walk across the fields back to the station Röntgengental.
The Saarmunder Heide in the south of Potsdam is today the only heathland in Brandenburg, which was not created by military use. The flat, sandy bottom has been used as a small airfield since the 1920s. In order to use the runways, the surrounding heathland was kept constantly short and so the original vegetation could be preserved. The airfield is now used only by sports aviators and you can explore the adjacent heath on a beautiful circular route.With the S-Bahn lines S9 and S45 you can drive to the airport Schönefeld and change there into the regional train RB22, which brings you directly to the station Saarmund. Alternatively, take the S7 line to Potsdam central station and change to the RB22. From Saarmund train station, which stands in the middle of the vast Brandenburg countryside, you hike in the direction of Saarmund. You cross the Nuthe and then stroll through the small town. On the outskirts it goes into a pine forest. A little later, the forest opens and you can take a first look at the Saarmunder Heide. The path leads you down the slope of the Eichberg down into the flat heathland. As you continue to wander, you can take a look at the taking off and landing planes. The path leads in a round through the Saarmunder Heath and up to the Saarmunder mountain. A little later you reach the center again and walk back to Saarmund station. With the RB22 it goes back home.
South of Berlin you will find a unique landscape phenomenon near Luckenwalde - the Luckenwalder Wanderdüne. The large sand dune is one of the last inland dunes in Europe and is therefore under conservation today. Actually, the wandering dune had been almost completely overgrown since 1900, but after the Second World War, the Soviet Army established a massive military training area here. Due to intensive use almost all plants died and the dune was uncovered again. Since the 1990s, the landscape has been renatured and large areas have been transformed into a pristine heathland. The moving dune itself nowadays moves about one meter per year and is an absolutely worthwhile excursion destination.Once a hour, the Regional Express RE3 will take you from Berlin Central Station to Luckenwalde. You leave the station and walk along the tracks to the south. After just a few meters you leave the city and wander through a sparse pine forest. Soon the forest opens and you are standing on a large heathland. Your gaze wanders into the distance and you can already clearly see the dune in front of you. The trail leads along the edge of the heathland, which can not be accessed due to nature conservation and above all because of possible ammunition remains. You wander through the open heather and soon you reach the dune. On sandy paths it goes up and here you can enjoy a great view over the wide landscape. After you have sat in the sand for a break, it goes the same way back to the station Luckenwalde.
The Döberitzer Heide was already used by the Prussian King Friedrich I. as military training ground. Since 1700, the heath was considered a military restricted area and was therefore not used for agriculture. Over time, more and more soldiers took part in the maneuvers. After the Second World War, the Soviet Army took over the place and built numerous barracks buildings. Since the 1990s, the Bundeswehr took over part of the site, while the rest was renatured. Meanwhile, the huge heathland is under protection. A special highlight is the wilderness core zone. Only protected by a fence live in the middle of the heath wild horses, bison and red deer. With a bit of luck you can watch the wild animals from the trails.Once a hour, the Regional Express RE4 will take you from Berlin Central Station or from Berlin Südkreuz to Dallgow-Döberitz Station. From the train station, follow the main road through the small town. The path leads under the B5 road and a little later it goes into a forest. At a crossroads you follow the forest path to the right and then step out onto the wide Döberitzer Heide. The view sweeps into the distance and on a sandy path you walk in the direction of the wilderness core zone. The path leads you past the fence - keep your eyes open for bison and Przewalski horses. After a while, turn left and follow the path up to a monument called the Obelisk. The is slightly raised and so you have a great view over the Döberitzer heath. Then you follow the way back into the forest. From here you hike back to the Dallgow-Döberitz train station.
Strictly speaking, the meadows on the Köppchensee are not heathland, but a hike over the hilly meadows is still a nice experience. If you then still over the dry sand surfaces on the wall path wandering, here also genuine heath feeling comes up. The moorland meadows on the Tegeler Fließ and the Köppchensee represent a special cultural landscape. For centuries, peat was staked in the moor along the creek. The Köppchensee only came into being through the intensive extraction of peat. Since the water of the Tegeler flow collected in the newly formed lake, the surrounding meadows could be used agriculturally. Even today, you can find expansive orchards on your raids on the Tegeler river.The S-Bahn line 8 takes you every 20 minutes to the S-Bahn station Mühlenbeck-Mönchmühle, the starting point of your hike. From the train station you first follow a road and finally a narrow footpath along the tracks until you reach the wooded nature reserve Kalktuffgelände. Here you saunter through the proliferating forest, which is made up of small trees and tall shrubs. You cross Schildower Straße and then continue along a wide field. You cross the tracks of the Heidekrautbahn on a bridge and finally you reach the Niedermoorwiesen on Köppchensee. After getting an overview of the lake and the meadows from the lookout tower, follow the trail through the nature reserve. You walk across the Moorwiesen, cross the Tegeler Fließ and walk along wooden bridges along the water. You once again enjoy the view over the Hermsdorfer lake before you return to civilization. From S-Bahn station Waidmannslust it goes back home with the S-Bahn line 1 every 10 minutes.