Spandau, an area in North Berlin, sits near the Havel and Spree rivers. The area used to be a large producer of munitions for Germany before the Second World War; afterwards, the allied powers constructed Spandau Prison to house war criminals. During the late 1980s, they tore down the prison and a shopping centre now stands in its place. You can still view Spandau Citadel, a 16th century fortress, and the Gothic St Nikolai church.
If you fly into Tegel Airport, you will be in Reinickendorf, a grassy district in North Berlin, which includes scenic Lake Tegel set amongst woodlands. For some extreme shopping, visit the Borsighallen shopping centre, one of Berlin’s largest malls, or Tegel Palace and its surrounding parklands. While in an active frame of mind, search for Berlin’s oldest living tree named Dicke Marie, or “Fat Maria.”
The serene neighbourhood of Weißensee is close to the urban amenities you associate with Berlin, but it also seems worlds away. Named after the idyllic lake inside its borders, the mainly residential area features more lakes, parks and sites such as the Radrennbahn Weissensee, a cycling track, which are perfect for outdoor activities. Another outdoor landmark is the Weißensee Cemetary, one of the largest Jewish burial grounds in Europe.
The suburban village of Pankow, named after the Panke River, used to be an important part of East Berlin because of Schönhausen Palace, the East German president’s home in neighboring Niederschöneweide. Containing wooded and parkland areas popular with city dwellers and tourists alike, you can find stunning architectural examples, including Pankow Church and the Gothic church of St George, nestled within the green landscape.
During the late 19th century, Wedding became working-class and its circumstances have not changed much. However, the neighbourhood, noted for being the end of an underground tunnel beneath the Berlin Wall, has become home to a thriving art community with abundant artist galleries. The area is not all concrete; green spots include Plötzensee Lake, with a sandy beach partly set aside for, ahem, clothing-optional sunbathers.