18 Sustainable Things To Do in Berlin

Tiergarten in Berlin

Berlin is one of the sustainable capitals worldwide. However, if you want to enjoy the German capital in an eco-friendly and socially-responsible way, getting some inspiration can be very time-consuming.

But you need not worry! In this article have put together a list of 18 sustainable things to do in Berlin.

1. Refugee and homeless guided walking tours

Tiergarten in Berlin

Questadtein offers very special walking tours. Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash.

Questadtein is a non-profit organization that organizes very special walking tours. In these tours you will not visit the usual attractions, but the places that are important from the point of view of a refugee or a former homeless.
Tours about migration are usually in English, while tours about homeless life are usually in German.
For further information you can visit Questadtein' website and the reviews on Tripadvisor.

2. Berlin from water by canoe or kayak

Kayak in Berlin

Kayak in Landwehrkanal, Berlin. Photo by Fionn Große on Unsplash.

The Spree river crosses Berlin with very calm waters. Why not canoeing or kayaking along this river and other channels to see Berlin from another angle?
Companies like Canoa Berlin and Ahoi Ostkreuz offer the possibility to rent a canoe, a kayak, or even a standing paddle board so you can discover Berlin from the water.

3. Museum of Natural History

Dinosaur in the Museum of Natural History

Dinosaur in the Museum of Natural History. Photo by Shadowgate on Flickr.

Awareness, knowledge and culture are also very important in a more sustainable society, so museums could not miss the list.
In the Museum of Natural History you can learn many things about nature, conservation and climate change.
The museum is located in the city center, just a 15-minutes walk from the central station and has an underground station with its name.
However, this is not the only museum worth visiting, as Berlin has plenty of unique museums. VisitBerlin.de has created a very complete list.

4. Dicke Marie, the oldest tree in Berlin

Lake Tegel

Lake Tegel - Tegeler See. Photo by Mr. Söbau on Unsplash.

Tegel Forest is a recreational area at the north-west of the city, about one hour cycling from the central station.
In this forest you can find a tree called Dicke Marie (translation: Fat Mary), which is the oldest tree in Berlin, being more than 900 years old.
You can use the chance to walk or cycle in the Tegel Forest or even swim at its adjacent Lake Tegel.
More information at VisitBerlin.de.

5. Ökowerk Conservation Center

Frog in Ökowerk

Frog in Ökowerk, Grunewald. Photo by Berlinatur on Flickr.

Ökowerk is an old waterworks that was reconverted into a conservation center more than 30 years ago.
It is located in the west of Berlin, at 11 km from the main station, in an area called Grunewald.
They have more than 1000 different sorts of animals and plants and offer activities such as guided tours and workshops.

6. Tempelhof


Tempelhof. Photo by Jonas Tebbe on Unsplash.

Berlin is a city with a lot of public places and parks. One of the most iconic parks is Tempelhof, an airport that was operative until 2008 and that after its closure was converted to a public park named Tempelhofer Feld.
It is the biggest public area of any city in the world. You can cycle, run, walk or skate its 6 km of landing lanes and paths.
There are also areas where you can have a picnic, a urban garden and if you are lucky you might even find some people kite-skating. Enjoying a sunset from here is also very neat.

7. Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden. Photo by Didaktikfuchs68 on Pixabay.

The Botanical Garden of Berlin (Botanischer Garten in German) was built between 1897 and 1910 to study the plants of the German colonies.
It is one of the biggest of its kind in Europe. It has more than 22,000 plants and in addition to the garden there is also a museum.

8. Gärten der Welt

Viewpoint Gärten der Welt

Viewpoint Gärten der Welt. Photo by Yannes Kiefer on Unsplash.

The Gärten der Welt (which translates to "The Gardens of the World") is a mix between a park and a botanical garden located at the east of Berlin (Google Maps).
It can be visited all the year, but the best time is spring, since it is full of flower blooming.
If you are not afraid of heights, you can take a cable car and see all the gardens from above and go up to the Kienberg Hill.
It takes about one hour to get there by tram from the Central Station and a bit more than one hour by bike.

9. Urban Garden Klunkerkranich


View from Klunkerkranich. Photo by ekvidi on Flickr.

Klunkerkranich is a roof garden located on the top of the Neukölln Arkaden shopping center.
Apart from its amazing views and its variety of flowers and herbs, there is also a bar and a restaurant.
Check out their Instagram Profile or their website to learn more.
Another very interesting Urban Gardening project is Himmelbeet, in Berlin Mitte.

10. ECF Farm Berlin

ECF Farm

Basil at ECF Farm. Photo by ACME on Flickr.

The ECF Farm is a very special farm located in Schöneberg.
With the slogan "Urban farming meets aquaponics", these facilities combine fish farming with vegetable cultivation, reducing the needs of water, fertilizer and transport.
They used to offer guided tours, but unfortunately these have been cancelled for an undefined period of time. Check out their website to know the latest status.
See its exact location and ratings in Google Maps.

11. Save the bees


Bees are endangered and need help. Photo by Kai Wenzel on Unsplash.

Bees are very important for all ecosystems, since they pollinate many flowers that would otherwise not produce any fruit. This happens not only in the fields outside the cities, but also inside the cities as well.
There are several project in Berlin that are aiming to help the bees.
A good way to support one of these projects is by buying a jar of local honey. This makes also for a nice souvenir!
Two of the most popular local beekeepers are:
  • Stadtbienenhonig offers tours to the bee hives and sells its honey in several stores.
    More information here.
  • Neuköllner Blüte is an organic honey produced in the neighbourhood of Neukölln. It can be found in some supermarkets of the area, like BioCompany and Original Unverpackt.
    More information here.

12. Top sustainable restaurants

Lück's Restaurant

Lück's Restaurant. Photo by Travelinho on Wikimedia Commons.

Berlin has an endless amount of sustainable restaurants: organic, vegan, zero waste...
No matter what you are looking for, chances are that Berlin will have it.
Below you can find our three favorite restaurants.
  • FREA offers dishes with regional ingredients and composts all its leftovers. Its motto: "Full Taste. Zero Waste."
    See its exact location and ratings in Google Maps.
  • LÜCK's is a vegan restaurant located in Friedrichshein, a few meters away from Loveco Store. They use mostly seasonal organic ingredients.
    Don't miss their Gnocchis!
    See its exact location and ratings in Google Maps.
  • Café Botanico is a farm-to-table Café-Restaurant with its own permaculture garden.
    They grow more than 200 edible species in their garden. They also offer tours to visit it and learn about permaculture.
    See its exact location and ratings in Google Maps.
If you are interested in more alternatives, have a look at VisitBerlin.de's article.

13. Blind restaurant

Glass in the dark

Eating in the dark is a unique experience. Photo by g3gg0 on Pixabay.

Would you manage to eat a soup if you don't see anything? Would a dish taste different if you didn't see it? Would you even recognize what you are eating?
If you are curious about all this questions, you will enjoy eating in a blind restaurant.
The aim of this sort of restaurants is to raise awareness about how blind people experience the world. In order to do that, the restaurants are completely dark and the waiters, that are blind, will guide you so
The prices for such restaurants are relatively high compared to a regular restaurant, but the experience you take with you is unique!

14. Local drinks

Eschenbeäu Bier

Eschenbeäu Bier, made in Berlin. Photo by Victor Xok on Unsplash.

One of the most important factors for the footprint of a drink is its transport.
Therefore, trying local products is usually one of the most responsible options.
In Berlin, you can try some local beers:
  • Sterni (cheapest most popular bier)
  • Berliner Weiße
  • Eschenbeäu Bier
If you prefer a non-alcoholic drink, try KarmaTea, organic and fair-trade.

15. Ethical vegan clothes

Loveco Shop

Loveco Shop. Photo by Loveco / Fidelis Fuchs.

Loveco is the reference shop in Berlin for sustainable clothes.
All their products are organic, fair and vegan.
They are also extremely transparent, to the point that they show in their website a breakdown of their pricing.
Remember that the most sustinable thing is reusing the clothes you already have. However, if you need a new piece, this is probably the best place to go.

16. Sustainable products at Goodbuy

Goodbuy Store

Goodbuy Store. Photo by Travelinho on Wikimedia Commons.

Do you need some inspiration for new sustainable products? Goodbuy is the place to go.
This small shop in Friedrichsheim sells all kind of products from sustainable brands only. From toilet paper to magazines and backpacks, you can find here a wide variety of sustainable products.

17. Groceries at Sirplus

Sirplus Supermarket

Sirplus Supermarket in Berlin Steglitz. Photo by Sirplus.

Sirplus is a supermarket chain born in Berlin with the purpose of fighting food waste.
All the products the sell are "rescued" from going to waste because they were either too ugly for a normal supermarket (in case of vegetables) or because they exceeded the recommended consumption day but they are still in a good quality to be consumed.
Buying there is not only an excellent way to support a good cause, but also lets you save some money, since their products are cheaper than in normal supermarkets.
You can find all Sirplus supermarkets in Berlin in Google Maps.
If you are interested in no-packaging, you can also visit one of the Original Unverpackt grocery stores.

18. Veganz Supermarket

Veganz Supermarket

Veganz Supermarket. Photo by Tony Webster on Flickr.

Have you ever seen a vegan supermarket?
Veganz is Europe’s first vegan supermarket chain and comes from Berlin.

Extra sustainability tips

But that's not all. If you found the suggested activities interesting, we have prepared a few extra sustainability tips.

Getting to Berlin

Berlin Central Station

Berlin Central Station. Photo by Leon Seibert on Unsplash.

If you are traveling to Berlin, even before getting there, you can already make the important decision to travel more responsibly.

Berlin has a very big central station and several smaller stations that receive intercity and international trains. Appart from being connected by train to all Germany, there are also direct trains to other countries such as the Netherlands, France, Denmark or even Russia.

By taking the train instead of flying you will save about 80-90% of the CO2 emissions. Plus you will arrive directly to the inner city instead of at the outskirts where the airports are.

Buses, even though they are slower, are a very interesting alternative for low-budget travellers. Flixbus is the main operator, but not the only one.

If ground transportation is no option and you need to fly, consider at least offsetting your CO2 footprint.

Moving around

Berlin is a city with plenty of hidden gems. Walking around Berlin is a great way to discover some of those hidden gems, while doing some exercise at the same time.

However, Berlin is a huge city, so it might take too long to do everything by foot. Renting a bike is an excellent alternative.

Donkey Bikes

Donkey Bikes can be rented via App. Photo by Martti Tulenheimo on Flickr.

Donkey Bike is one of the most popular companies to rent bikes. You can just download the app, search where the closest bike is, go there, unlock it through the app and start the ride. The longer you rent the bike, the more attractive the prices are. It is possible to rent it even for several days.

Water YES, plastics NO

What if we told you there is a very useful website that can help you save money and plastic garbage at the same time. Isn't that cool?

It actually exists and it is called Refill.

The website shows in a map all the places in Berlin where you can refill your reusable bottle with tap water for free. Keeping yourself hydrated for free and avoiding plastic has never been easier!

That's it! Now you are ready to get to know Berlin in a responsible and sustainable way.

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