A Magical Tour of Berlin's Secret Plänterwald Forests

The forest is calling
The forest is calling | © Flo222/Pixabay
Megan King

Plänterwald is a forested playground within Berlin. It provides solace from the wild city and has so many magical elements to it – from the failed architecture of Spreepark to its nourishing invitation as a place to lie on the forest floor, and watch how the sunlight falls between the trees. The forest is calling; discover your inner nature fiend with a visit to this charming outdoor spot.



This is a children’s playground built mostly out of natural elements, and is a great place to get your hands dirty while also getting in touch with your inner child. The climbing frames, trains, tractors and boats are all crafted from pieces of trees, and make for an imaginative, happy space for children and adults alike.

Waldspielplatz Plänterwald, Berlin, Germany

An inner-city paradise | © Megan King


Amusement Park, Forest, Park

© Megan King


The sleepy abandoned amusement park is tucked away in all its eerie wonder within these forests. Enclosed behind green fences, it is the site of much mystery and intrigue. This was the GDR’s biggest amusement park – the Disneyland of Socialism‘ – which went bankrupt after being privatized; today its destiny is still unclear. For forest explorers, it remains an enchanting place. Remnants of life-size plastic dinosaur sculptures lie in pieces on the forest floor, and a giant red Ferris wheel becomes increasingly rusty as nature takes its natural course. You’ll probably get caught jumping the fence to get inside, but for those with an adventurous spirit, it might still be worth a try.

Spreepark, Kiehnwerderallee 1-3, Berlin, Germany +49 30 7009060

Inside Spreepark | © Megan King

Insel der Jugend

Bridge, Forest, Park

Insel der Jugend

Insel der Jugend, or the Island of Youth, is a declared experimental ground for all forms of art. Situated between Treptow Park and the forests of Plänterwald, people come here to enjoy picnics, watch live music, hire a tug boat for a few hours of off-land fun, and pass over Germany’s oldest steel bridge, the Abteibrücke.

Kulturhaus Insel Berlin, Alt-Treptow 6, 12435 Berlin +49 30 80961850

A swing in the middle of the forest | © Megan King

Choose your own adventure


Spring brings new life to the forest and summer offers shaded, comforting respite from the heat; autumn becomes a kaleidoscope of burnt yellow, red and orange. During winter the forest dies off, getting ready for another incredible cycle of life to begin. With its beauty in constant change, the forests are best explored with no goal in mind and no destination to get to. By bike or by foot, choose to get lost down its winding pathways, follow your instinct and simply be. The area is only about three square kilometres, so you’ll never get too lost.

Plänterwald nature preserve, Berlin, Germany +49 30 3339509

Pick up sticks, build a fort, find your inner child | © Megan King

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