Winter has finally arrived in Berlin. After one of the mildest autumns and beginnings of Winter Berlin has ever seen this week snow finally fell and temperatures plummeted down to -11 C !!
For a hardened Berliner though this is nothing, as temperatures have been known to get down to as low as -30 C. Couple this with the fact that in the Summer temperatures can scorch up to 40 C this makes for an impressive 70 C swing in temperature in a year.
With all this snow around it brings our the inner child in us and all we want to do is put on our hats and gloves, build a snowman and slide down some hills. To celebrate the turn of the year it is even common in German to wish someone ‘Guten rutsch’ literally a good slide, a smooth slip into the new year.
The problem here however is Berlin is one of the flattest cities on earth, in fact the marathon world record has been broken several times in the last few years on Berlin’s pancake course.
Did you know Berlin’s highest hills are man made?
The highest hill in the city is even man made! At the end of world war 2 with Berlin in ruins the allies collected the rubble from the city and dumped it on top of Albert Speers military school out in Berlins Grünewald forest.
But fear not, there are still some inclines to be found in this huge and sprawling city. One place to start is in the districts ending with the word ‘Berg’ which translates into hill or mountain in English. Amongst others there are Prenzlauer Berg, Kreuzberg and Schöneberg (beautiful mountain!).
Check out these other recommended locations if you fancy some Winter tobogganing fun:
The Insular (Islander) is located in Berlins Steglitz district in the South West. Another hill that has been created from the rubble of world war 2, the insular boasts Berlins longest sledding hill at 200m long. There is also a smaller slope for kids. Up at the top of the hill there is observatory to explore and at the bottom a planetarium.
Viktoriapark is located in Kreuzberg and gives the district its name. Up on top of Berlins largest natural hill stands a cross memorial to the Germans who lost their lives in the Napoleonic wars. During world war 2 the Nazis hid a cast of the Quadriga ( 4 horsed goddess that sits atop of the Brandenburg gate) in the hill to protect it from allied bombings. Its a good job they did as although the gate itself survived the statue was badly war damaged by 1945 and had to be recast later.
Viktoria park offers great views over central Berlin and there are several slopes to choose from here. There is usually a hot tea stand in the park on busy days.
Teufelsberg is the ultimate destination for tobogganing in Berlin however has to be the aforementioned Teufelsberg (Devil’s mountain) built from 12 million cubic metres of rubble and home to the American National Security Agency spy command centre during the Cold War.
This hill offers unrivaled views over Berlin and has the widest selection of slopes and runs to choose from. On a bright winters day you will see plenty of sledders, snowboarders and even the occasional cross country skier.
This hill even has a history of winter sports. Between 1963 and 1972 a ski lift was installed here and snow making facilities put in but they later had to be ripped out as the metal structures were interfering with the American spy base at the summit.