Vast pine forests, glittering lakes, rippling streams and rolling meadows — in summer, nature shows its most beautiful side in and around Berlin. But besides the landscape, do you also want a taste of culture on your tours? Here's a tip for you: why not plan a visit to the old manor houses or elegant mansions on your hikes in Berlin and Brandenburg? Here, you can visit quaint cafes, admire paintings in galleries and learn a thing or two about Berlin's colorful past.
Some of the most important remnants of Prussia's one-time rule are the numerous still-standing manor houses in Berlin and Brandenburg. In former times, the landed gentry lived here, who had the barren Brandenburg soil cultivated on behalf of the Prussian rulers. When the aristocracy crumbled at the beginning of the 19th century, many manor houses came into the possession of aspiring bourgeois industrialists. They often converted the old farms into representative villas, added schnapps distilleries to the farm buildings and had large parks laid out. After the Second World War, however, the old villas were forgotten. In the eyes of the GDR leadership, the enormous villas and castles were a symbol of oppression by the nobility. It was not until after the fall of communism that some of the old farms were awakened from their slumber. After loving repairs, you will find cafés, galleries, museums or hotels in the courtyards today.
We have put together eight hikes for you on which you can discover the most exciting museums and cozy cafés in Berlin and Brandenburg manor houses. The walks are quite short — meaning that you'll have ample time to visit the exhibitions in the old manor houses.
The best thing about all of our hikes is that they can be easily reached on the S-Bahn or the regional train. That way, your excursion can begin the moment you jump off the train, you'll be able to avoid any traffic jams and you won't need to search for a parking space. From your comfortable seat on the train, you can also enjoy the view of the sun-kissed landscape passing by in front of the window.
In a large garden in Marzahn-Hellersdorf is an elegant, designed after Italian model villa from the late 19th century - the castle Biesdorf. In 1862, Hans-Hermann Freiherr von Rüxleben inherited the former estate Biesdorf from his father. He bought more farm supplies and last had a central park. In the middle of the park the castle Biesdorf was built in 1869. Later changed the owner several times and after destruction in the Second World War, the villa was restored to the time of the GDR only provisionally. Until the turn of the castle was used as a village club, as a library and as a cultural center. From 2002 to 2017, the building was finally extensively renovated and rebuilt in its original state. Today you can visit contemporary art exhibitions in the gallery "Center for Art and Public Space" and then enjoy a piece of cake in the castle café. A visit to the castle can be perfectly combined with a leisurely hike through the Wuhletal.Every 20 minutes the S-Bahn line S3 takes you to the station Köpenick, the starting point of your hike. From here you follow the street "Am Bahndamm" to the Wuhle. Along the shore, head north. Although the Wuhle runs right through Köpenick, you hardly get anything from the big city bustle. The banks are beautifully landscaped and there are many gardens adjacent to the promenade. Take a leisurely stroll through the Wuhletal, walk along the Wuhlebecken and finally reach the Biesdorfer Stadtpark, also known as butterfly meadows.Here you leave the Wuhle and cross the city park. After a short walk through a quiet residential district, you enter the Schlosspark Biesdorf. Make sure you make another round here before you look at the exhibition in the castle. After a cup of coffee, head to Biesdorf S-Bahn station, which is right next to the park. In 20-minute intervals, you then drive back home with the S5 line.
In the quiet Mahlsdorf on the eastern edge of Berlin hides a very special museum gem. In the mansion of the old manor Mahlsdorf you can visit the Gründerzeit Museum here. The museum looks back on a unique history. Founder was Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, who was born in 1928 as Lothar Berfelde. Already as a teenager Lothar was interested in girls clothes and old furniture and furnishings. She helped a junk dealer clear out flats and was collecting her first pieces of furniture during this time. After the end of the Second World War, Lothar became Lottchen and she dressed from then on exclusively in women's clothing. During this time she set up with her private property a first Gründerzeit museum in Friedrichsfelde Castle. Since the castle was soon to be used for other purposes, it was left to her for free the dilapidated farmhouse Mahlsdorf - on the condition that they would renovate the building and the Wilhelminian Museum would set up. Today you can admire 14 lovingly and faithfully furnished rooms in the Gründerzeit Museum. The museum is open on Wednesdays and Sundays. A visit can be combined with a short hike around the Kaulsdorf lakes.At the Wuhletal S-Bahn station, which is served by the S5 line every 20 minutes, your hike begins. First you walk along the banks of the Wuhle until our route leads you through a quiet residential area to the Kaulsdorf lakes. Here you hike along the shores of Lake Butzer and Habermannsee.Then the path leads you over an open meadow landscape up to the Berlin balcony. This natural elevation is located exactly on the border of the plateau of the Barnim to the Berlin Urstromtal. Since there are no buildings, you can see the difference in height of almost 20 meters clearly. From here it is only a few minutes to the Gründerzeit Museum and the surrounding Gutspark. After a guided tour of the museum, you will take the S5 back to the city from the S-Bahn station Mahlsdorf.
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In Potsdam, countless castles and gardens can be found all around the picturesque lake landscape. In addition to the magnificent royal castles but especially the Villa Schöningen is worth a visit. The old mansion once belonged to the court marshal of the Prussian prince Carl and stands directly beside the Glienicker bridge. After the Second World War, the building, which at the time was directly in the border area, was neglected. Only in 2009, the building was reopened after careful restoration work as Museum Villa Schöningen. In addition to the permanent exhibition, which deals with the special borderline situation at the Glienicker Bridge, you can visit changing art exhibitions here and take a break in the castle café. Our tour takes you from Potsdam Babelsberg station through the famous Schlosspark to Villa Schöningen.Every 10 minutes, the Babelsberg S-Bahn station is served by the S7 line from Berlin. From here you stroll along the lovingly restored houses from Babelsberg to the castle park. After a leisurely stroll through the park, you cross the Teltow Canal and walk through Klein-Glienicke to the famous Glienicke Bridge.Directly on the other shore you can discover the elegant, white-plastered Villa Schöningen. Take some time here to enjoy the exhibitions first, followed by a cup of coffee. Then it goes through the castle park Babelsberg back to the train station Babelsberg.
On the estate Wusterhausen spent the later Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm I many years of his youth. Even later, the king liked to retire to the small castle in the south of Berlin, when he needed a break from the government's daily routine. Only because of his numerous visits, the small town received the name addition and so was Wusterhausen Königs Wusterhausen. On the days of the castle, the king took the time for his great passion: painting. Today, in the small castle, you can admire 40 of the paintings that were created at that time and roam through the rooms of the building. There is also a cozy café in the castle's former outbuildings. A visit to the castle is the perfect end to a short walk along the Notte Canal.Königs Wusterhausen is the last stop of the Line S46 and is approached every 20 minutes by the S-Bahn. From here you follow Bahnhofstraße through the old town to the shore of the Notte Canal. On the green shores you stroll along the canal. Soon a main road crosses the canal and here you use the bridge to change to the other shore.The riverside path leads you directly to the castle park and the castle. After visiting the exhibition and the castle café, you can also make a detour to the Kreuzkirche. The large church was built directly on the orders of Elector Friedrich III., The father of King Friedrich Wilhelm I. Even the Elector wanted to visit during his stays in King Wusterhausen appropriate for him church. Under King Frederick William I, the church was decorated even further. Then it goes through the castle park to the train station and the S-Bahn back to Berlin.
Gerhart Hauptmann, a Nobel laureate in literature and the most important German naturalist, also worked for several years in Berlin. Since he did not get the bad city air, he moved with his wife Villa Lassen in tranquil Erkner. The manorial mansion now houses the Gerhart Hauptmann Museum. The exhibition was compiled from the estate of Gerhart Hauptmann: manuscripts, letters, diaries, life documents and the comprehensive library of Gerhart Hauptmann are exhibited in the Wilhelminian-style rooms. So you have a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the life of the writer. The visit to the museum we connect on our tour with a short walk through New Venice.Every 20 minutes the Line S3 takes you to the Wilhelmshagen S-Bahn station. From here you hike across the Püttberge to New Venice. The weekend house settlement was built in the 1920s. At that time the wet meadows of Rittergut Rahnsdorf were drained and converted into building land. In order to keep the areas permanently dry, one put numerous channels between the plots, over which the water was led away. Due to the canals and the numerous small bridges, the settlement was after a short time only known as New Venice. On the narrow bridges you cross the unique settlement with its many canals. After leaving behind the inconspicuous Rialto Bridge, you continue on forest trails and on the shores of Lake Dämeritz to Erkner.Here you cross the river Flaken and continue on the lakeshore to Villa Lassen. Following the visit to the Gerhart-Hauptmann exhibition, you will follow Friedrichstraße to S-Bahn station Erkner and from there take the S3 line back to Berlin.
In the north of Berlin you will find the wide landscape of Hobrechtsfelder Rieselfelder. Here, in the late 19th century, according to the instructions of Berlin's building councilor James Hobrecht, fields were set up to trickle down Berlin's sewage. In this mechanical water purification, the clean water was returned directly to the groundwater. Due to the constant influx of water, the surrounding fields were extremely nutrient-rich and fertile. The Gutshof Hobrechtsfelde was responsible for the order of these fields. In the 1990s, the Rieselfeld landscape was renatured sustainable. From the manor still the houses of the farm workers and the listed granary have been preserved. The old houses are inhabited again today, but in the granary you will find a very informative exhibition about the Rieselfelder and renaturation. Particularly revealing is a visit to the exhibition after a circular walk through the surrounding countryside.The starting point of your tour is the S-Bahn station Röntgengental, which is served by the S2 line every 20 minutes. From here you start directly into the countryside. First, you walk through the nature reserve Torfstich Röntgengental and reach a little later the vast wet meadow landscape of Hobrechtsfelder Rieselfelder.For many years a unique flora and fauna has thrived here. You walk under big trees, along thick bushes and over open meadows. The tour also takes you over pastureland where conic horses and robust cattle breeds are used as landscape keepers today. The animals can move freely here - keep a little distance, so you are on the safe side.After a detour to the observation tower at the cleaning ponds, our route takes you to the exhibition in the granary. From here you walk across the Rieselfelder back to the S-Bahn station Röntgengental.
In Neukölln district Britz is one of the best preserved manors in Berlin and Brandenburg. On the old manor Britz still stand the castle, the big cow and stables, the distillery and the farm buildings. The individual buildings have been carefully renovated in recent years and are used today for various purposes. There are various art exhibitions in the Schloss Britz, workshops are held in the Ku (h) nstall, the Neuköllnmuseum is located in the stables, and there is an elegant restaurant in the so-called Schweizer Haus. From Schöneweide S-Bahn station you can walk through the Königsheide and along the Späth-Arboretum to the farm.The starting point of your tour can be reached with the S-Bahn lines S8, S9, S46 or S47. From the Schöneweide S-Bahn station, head straight into the forest of the Königsheide. You cross the peaceful city forest and then walk along the Spätschen nurseries. After crossing the A113 motorway, the tour will take you past some residential buildings until you reach the northernmost foothills of the Gutspark at the Fennpfuhl.From here you hike through the countryside to the manor, which includes the farm buildings and the castle as well as the old village church. Take some time to explore the park and buildings extensively. Then it goes on the same way back to the S-Bahn station Schöneweide.
Gutshöfe and manors are of course not only in Berlin and on the city limits, but in the whole of Brandenburg. The manors, then residences of the simple landed nobility, were the pillars of Prussian agriculture. Many estates fell into the time of the GDR, since they were regarded as a symbol of the hated aristocracy. Only in recent years, the farms are rediscovered and awakened from their slumber. A particularly beautiful farm is located in Klein-Glien near Bad Belzig. Here, a group of young people lovingly restored the courtyard and expanded to the Hotel Coconat with attached café. On a hike through the hills of the High Flaming you can pay a visit to the manor.Once a hour, the regional express RE7 takes you from the main train station, the Ostbahnhof train station and Zoologischer Garten to Bad Belzig, the starting point of your hike. From here you first walk along the Eisenhardt Castle and below the huge castle wall through the castle park. Then the path leads you through the bog landscape of the Belziger stream. Afterwards you walk on the edge of fields and sometimes through forests of tall pine and beech.In the tiny village of Klein-Glien, Café Coconat awaits you in the old farm. Here you can enjoy delicious cakes, small meals and steaming coffee and take an extended break. From Klein Glien we continue to the Hagelberg, the second highest mountain in Brandenburg. Since the summit is almost bare, you will actually be spoiled here with a wide view. Over forest and dirt roads, you finally hike back to Bad Belzig.