Grunewald: Berlin’s fairy-tale forest

Culture

Home to a long and colourful tradition of folklore, Germany has birthed many of the world’s most celebrated fairy tales. Exploring the country’s brooding forests, rolling pastures and majestic hills, it’s easy to identify the inspiration behind Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty and the iconic fables of the Brothers Grimm. To inspire your little ones to imagine their own enchanting stories, however, there’s little need to venture far from Berlin’s centre. 

Grunewald, or ‘Green forest’ occupies 3,000 hectares in Berlin’s southwest with verdant woodlands and wilderness. Once upon a time, it was reserved exclusively for the political elite, who punctuated its wilds with ornate summer houses. Today, the dappled shade beneath its conifer forests, fresh gleam of its waterscapes and myriad monuments and look-out points provide an idyllic rural escape for parents and children.

In the warmer months, Grunewald’s glassy lakes, secluded islets and pristine riverfront beaches are ideal for sunbathing, swimming and fishing. Cool off with a paddle at Kuhhorn Badestrand, a peaceful sandy cove on the Havel where the ice-cream boat makes regular stops, or take a longer dip in the broad expanse of the Schlachtensee. While there, seek out Die Fischerhütte which serves the catch of the day on a sunny terrace, with rowing boats nearby for a picturesque post-lunch excursion across the water.

Landlubbers have plenty to entertain here, too. Grunewald’s rolling hills are ideal for an invigorating hike or cycle. For incomparable views over the city skyline, scale 120-metre man-made hill Teufelsberg. Berlin’s highest point, it’s the ideal place to fly a kite or, in the colder months, teach children to sledge and ski. Alternatively, ascend the 19th-century Gothic lookout tower atop Karlsberg hill for panoramic views in a setting reminiscent of Rapunzel.

In addition to its magical landscapes, Grunewald is scattered with architectural relics well worth seeking out. The Jagdschloss Grunewald, Berlin’s oldest palace, can be found on the southwest bank of the Havel, while in the woods surrounding Waldsee lake, the 1920s Haus Am Waldsee sits like Snow White’s cottage. This leafy mansion is home to ever-changing art exhibitions parents will love, and its verdant gardens, peppered with sculptures, are a leafy paradise for children to explore.

To book your stay in Berlin and discover Grunewald, please email reservations.derome@roccofortehotels.com or call +49 30 460 609 1430.

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