The end of Berlin’s winter has a tendency to stretch out like chewing gum. And this one does not taste like strawberries or some tropical fruit mix (well, not that any chewing gum actually does), it’s more like the old gum, that has been stuck under your favourite shoe for far too long. Grey and gross. Point is: it’s time to get rid of it and the pale, crinkly faces on the subways are all telling you the same. So whether it is still winter or winter again or just a very grey day: the people need leaves! This is why today I’m telling you about six of my favourite planty places to visit when you are in Berlin and in need of something green and a healthy dose of escapism…
1. Botanical Garden Berlin
The botanical garden is a real Berlin classic with a history of over 300 years. A very special place to escape to from the hustle of the metropolis, that feels sophisticated and super approachable at the same time. Literally anyone can go here (and does) to check out over 22,000 different species of plants. “The world in a garden” is more than a catchy line here. The beautiful greenhouses and gardens are ordered by regions and climate and there are different events going on all year long. Entering the Mediterranean greenhouse and smelling the tangy scent of its leafy residents has helped me with quite a few episodes of the (winter) blues already. A wonderful place to calm down and get back in sync with yourself and the world around you.
2. Frida Cafe Berlin
Frida is a brand new favourite of mine. It is located in Kreuzberg’s beautiful Gräfekiez and being inside the dark turquoise walls surely feels like a vacation somewhere far away – tropical plants included. Jacqueline, the owner, told me that she actually never intended to open up a cafe. Fortunately she changed her mind when she was pregnant and figured Berlin might need some more of the real good cake she was craving. So she opened up Cafe Frida right after her son was born. Easy as that. Don’t miss this beautiful little gem for some good coffee, weekend brunch and homemade cake baked by a real superwoman.
3. Basalt Bar Berlin
The idea for Basalt Bar’s interior design was born on a stroll through the botanical garden. At night. If you have been inside the beautiful, hand-built bar this inspiration will make total sense to you. The walls are dark, dark green and the lush plants that line the room cast long, mysterious shadows. You can get some real special drinks here, but also a simple and affordable beer. The bar is located in up-and-coming Wedding, where the two passionate owners Matthias and Kieran are deep-rooted themselves. Definitely worth checking out and hard to miss – even the outside of the bar is green, an original tessellation from the 60’s, that is revived visually on the counter of the bar.
4. Biosphäre Potsdam
The Biosphäre Potsdam is a 40-minute train-ride away from Berlin and a compressed tropical jungle under a giant glass roof. It’s a good place to escape from some real bad weather conditions into a warm, humid, green world with big waterfalls and colourful birds and flowers. The educational aspect is important as well here – the visitors are invited to learn all about all the different species inhabiting this climate. This offer is great for kids, who also dig the hourly “tropical thunderstorm” a lot. If you preorder two days in advance via the website you can also have a big tropical brunch in one of the two restaurants, which might be a good birthday gathering idea if you’re a secret summer child, born in the wrong time of the year…
5. Panama Restaurant Berlin
Panama restaurant, located in scenic Schöneberg is the newest family member of Contemporary Food Lab, a group of people who care about really good food and hospitality in all the little details. Therefore it only makes sense that you immediately feel at home in their extremely well-designed restaurant. Within a few minutes you’ll find yourself sipping on a glass of wine, sinking deep into the green velvet and yellow linen and forgetting the outside world. The whole concept behind Panama is build upon the clash of wanderlust and a longing for some place called home. This applies to the interior as well as the cuisine. Head chef Sophia takes you on a trip around the world and then all the way back home. And she does it well. Get ready for a culinary journey full of surprises – and make sure to make a reservation online if you want to visit.
(Photo © Philipp Langenheim & Corina Schadendorf for Panama Restaurant)
6. Home, green home!
Don’t feel fooled! Home (whatever that is) should be your personal oasis, no matter what. So if you live in Berlin and feel grey: Go get a plant. Or two. Check out your local greenery or grow stuff by yourself. It is easier than you think, very rewarding and can change a lot. If you visit Berlin: Find friends with plants!
All images, except stated differently copyright Tabea Mathern