Botanical Garden and Museum (Botanischer Garten und Museum)
Tel: +49 (0) 30 8385 0100.
The Botanical Garden covers 108 acres / 43 hectares and is home to over 20,000 distinct species of plant from all over the world. There are huge hothouses and also 16 large greenhouses, which are full of fascinating plants and each greenhouse concentrates on a different climate region. The gardens are over 100 years old and are wonderfully arranged. The grounds are also home to the Botanical Museum, which offers scientific background information about plants. The stunning gardens are a 15-minute walk east of Dalhem-Dorf (U1) U-Bahn station.
Grunewald - Berlin, Germany
In the south-western corner of Berlin is an ample forest, bordered on the west by the River Havel. This expanse of woodland offers several paths that lead to many lakes and also to the Grunewaldturm Tower, which was built at the end of the 19th century as a memorial to Kaiser Wilhelm I.
This tower is 55 meters / 180 feet tall and offers a restaurant with view across the lake. Wide areas of this forest are important nature reserves and these animal refuges are full of a whole range of wildlife. There is also an old lodge that has a museum displaying antique furniture, Dutch and German paintings and one of the outbuildings is a small hunting museum.
Am Tierpark 125, Berlin
Tel: +49 (0) 513 8141.
This huge, well laid-out park houses the castle, Schloss Friedrichsfelde, which was completely restored among 1973 to 1981. After the Second World War, parts of the castle were really used to lodge animals from the adjacent Tierpark Zoo, which opened in 1954. There are now over 8,000 animals in this large zoo, showing almost 1,000 different species. Most live is open habitats, surrounded by moats and there are several rare and endangered species at this zoo, including wild horses and oryx-antelopes.
Peacock Island Pfaueninsel
Tel: +49 (0) 30 805 3042
The gardens of Peacock Island were created in the early 19th century by well-known landscape designer Peter Lenné, who created a typical English garden on this small island. The garden surrounds a palace called 'Schloss Pfaueninsel,' which was built in 1794 for Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm II and his many mistresses. Albeit it appears as a ruin, this was really intended and it was designed to appear this way when it was originally constructed. This palace, concurrently with the garden and its abundant flowers, provide Peacock Island a romantic atmosphere and it is a very popular summer retreat. It can be reached by ferry to Pfaueninsel.
Gardens open: daily
November to February: 10:00 to 16:00
March and October: 09:00 to 17:00
April and September: 08:00 to 18:00
May to August: 08:00 to 20:00
Palace: April to October - Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 to 17:00
Animal Garden (Tiergarten)
The Tiergarten is Berlin's central park and enjoys of an area of more than 630 acres / 252 hectares. Originally a hunting preserve for royalty, it is now full of playgrounds, marble sculptures and over 14 miles / 23 km of pathways, providing a great place to get away from the city. With an energetic feeling of the countryside, there are wonderful flower gardens, mature trees, shady areas, benches galore, canals and even a lake in the south-western part, near to the world's oldest zoo, where you are able to rent a rowing boat. There exists also a café and beer garden, and probably most surprising of all, a secluded area set aside for nudists, who repeatedly come here to sunbathe in peace and quiet. The World Culture Centre can be located in the centre of the park, which is nicknamed the 'pregnant oyster' because of its design. Nearby is located the tall Victory Column, which is 69 meters / 226 feet high and offers superb views across the city. This scenic park is a fantastic place to come for a walk, bike ride or picnic and is famous with both locals and tourists alike.
Transport: Bus 100, 187, 200 or 341, S-Bahn Tiergarten.
Opening hours: daily, 24 hours
Gardens admission: free
Zoological Gardens (Zoologischer Garten)
Hardenbergpl. 8 and Budapester Str. 34, Berlin
Tel: +49 (0) 30 254 010
Since they opened in 1844, the Berlin Zoological Gardens known as the world's largest zoo, with over 14,000 animals and more than 1,700 diverse species. Located in the south-western corner of the Tiergarten park, it is the oldest zoo in Germany and after being destroyed during World War II, the zoological gardens were carefully redesigned to create surroundings as close to the animals' natural environment as possible. The result is very successful breeding programmes, including high birthrates for rare and endangered species. The main entrance to the zoo is through a picturesque Asian-style Elefanentor (Elephant Gate). Next door is a large aquarium centre, with an impressive collection of fish and also some reptiles.
Gardens open: Daily
November to February: 09:00 to 17:00
Early March: 09:00 to 17:30
Late March to September: daily 09:00 to 18:30
October: 09:00 to 18:00
Gardens admission: charge, combined zoo and aquarium tickets are available.