From Urban Gardening to Vegan Gastronomy
Berlin, March 2016 Berliners love living green. The public parks are like extended living rooms, each threatened tree is protected and those who don't have their own allotment garden can join in any of the numerous neighbourhood garden projects. Beyond its residents' traditional closeness to nature, Berlin is also a city for environmental trends. For many Berliners, the (carefully selected) bicycle has replaced the car as a status symbol. In DIY workshops, Berliners are learning how to make their own furniture and clothing, instead of surrounding themselves exclusively with industrial mass production. And not a few follow LOHAS, a "lifestyle of health and sustainability", people who enjoy the pleasures of life whilst eating a healthy diet and making sustainable choices in their consumption. For example, clothes should be made in an ecologically responsible way, but should also be glamorous.
The desire to preserve and expand green oases, coupled with the willingness to follow sustainable and alternative paths, is turning the former industrial city of Berlin more and more into a green metropolis.
There is traditionally a lot of green in the city. Around 440,000 trees have been officially counted. More than a third of the nearly 900 km2 of the city is green space, half of which is forest. This reflects the city's history as a royal capital, where parks such as the Tiergarten and gardens at Charlottenburg Palace were created by the Prussian kings. In the 19th century, amidst the tenements and factories of a newly industrial city, allotments arose as oases of green; many still exist today. As Berlin expanded to its present borders in 1920, several towns and dozens of villages were incorporated into the city, together with the green spaces in-between. During the years of division, these recreation areas became necessary for survival: without them, the walled-in West Berliners probably could not have survived the division. Since the fall of the Wall, parts of the former no-man's strip have been turned into new bike paths, parks or gardens.
An overview of Berlin’s parks and gardens can be found at www.visitBerlin.de/en/see/sightseeing/green-berlin.
IGA Berlin 2017
186 days of urban green in Marzahn-Hellersdorf: From 13 April to 15 October 2017, the first international garden show IGA in Berlin will focus on urban natures and culture in diverse dimensions. On the premises around the Gardens of the World, the Kienberg and the valley of the river Wuhle, the IGA will make international garden art come alive and will give new impulses for modern urban development. A funicular, which will float above the exhibitions grounds, and a summer toboggan run at the 100 metre high Kienberg are also planned. The newly-built Kienbergpark around the IGA grounds will be accessible free of charge after the garden show. Apart from extensive offerings for garden lovers, diverse events and activities for young and old will inform about urban gardening. Information events and tours through the grounds are currently taking place.
Of Ecological Living and Working
An unusual project on the banks of the River Spree in Friedrichshain is being planned right now: the “Eckwerk”, an entire neighbourhood for living, working and fun. The complex of five high-rise buildings made of wood will contain 400 and 500 apartments especially for students as well as space for start-up companies. The vision: energy-optimised high-rise buildings connected by a “mountain path” that will take residents and visitors through the building all the way to the roof. A fish farm and a vegetable garden will be developed to supply the project canteen with fresh produce. It all sounds pretty utopian and typical of Berlin.
The Eckwerk will be located on the Holzmarkt site, home to the famous techno club “Bar 25” until 2010. Because the site was to be sold once the bar closed, the Bar 25 operators sought out a financially strong partner, took part in the tendering process, and, to the surprise of many observers, got the contract to develop the area. The Holzmarkt Genossenschaft is not only developing the property, but also realising urban utopias. They want to bring together business, culture and nature by opening the Eckwerk, a creative village, and a public park. The Mörchenpark, a sustainable community garden, the restaurant Fame and the Kater Blau club are already open to guests.
Beds and Gardeners
The Himmelbeet in Berlin’s Wedding district shows how well communities can pitch in to make a public park a success. Fruits and vegetables are grown on the site which has become a meeting place for residents and visitors alike. The harvest is sold locally and the proceeds are invested in cultural events.
Berlin has developed a reputation for reusing land that was once used for industrial or transport purposes. The best known example is Tempelhofer Feld. When Tempelhof Airport closed in October 2008, the 355 hectare area was able to be converted into a huge, centrally located park. The 250 hectare green space is even larger than the Tiergarten in Mitte. Since May 2010, the park has been accessible to the public and has since become a giant sports and playground for Berliners and tourists alike. Kite surfers glide next to in-line skaters, kites fly high in the sky and visitors race on their bikes. Here too, a community garden has emerged, founded by the Allmende-Kontor garden network of 900 amateur gardeners, according to its website.
More urban gardens at a glance at anstiftung.de/urbane-gaerten/gaerten-im-ueberblick.
As part of the Guerilla Gardening Movement, more and more inhabitants are helping to create little green oases in the city. Whether on the central reservation of a main road, in neglected plant boxes or around the bases of trees, there is always space for a few flowers. Particularly resourceful gardeners even use shopping trolleys filled with earth as mobile beds.
Urban gardening is not just an outdoor trend. Gardening can take place indoors, too, as can be seen at InFarm in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district. This indoor farming specialist grows plants and herbs in its 310 sqm greenhouse for sale to restaurants such as Neni.
Rail Tracks to Flowery Meadows
Park am Gleisdreieck was also created from where trains used to rumble through the grounds of the Gleisdreieck U-Bahn station. The U-Bahn viaduct that runs through the park was built in 1903 to combine Tiergarten with the districts of Schöneberg and Kreuzberg to the south. In the post-war period, there were plans to build a highway here, but the residents eventually prevailed in their efforts going back to the 1970s to have the area turned into a park. Since opening in 2011, it forms a green counterpart to Potsdamer Platz. In 2013, the western part of the park was also completed. The newly landscaped lawns enclosed by rows of trees complement the mosses, grasses, flowers, locust, oak, birch and tree of heaven trees that had grown up on the site over the decades. A long-established allotment was integrated into the park. The result is a showpiece for successful contemporary landscaping against the urban backdrop of elevated rails and skyscrapers. Relaxing in the western part: The eco Café Eule serves homemade cakes and lemonades.
Former industrial sites have become home for ecological, social and cultural projects across Berlin, such as the ufaFabrik in Tempelhof. Dedicated Berliners founded a sustainably oriented cultural and social centre here already back in 1979. The energy comes from combined heating/power plants on the former factory site; some roofs were planted and rain water has been converted into domestic water which greatly reduces the consumption of drinking water. The Malzfabrik in Schöneberg is currently being sustainably redeveloped in a similar way. The site of the historic malt house includes a greenhouse and an urban fish farm, which compose Europe's largest urban hydroponic farm. The operator ECF wants to produce 25 tons of fish and 30 tons of vegetables annually in the 1,800 m2 facility. The Malzfabrik is an ecological flagship project bringing production close to the place of consumption, thus resulting in massive energy savings for transport of fresh food.
Building, Living, and Staying Overnight Sustainably
The Smart Building of Today
If you want to see how beautiful and practical sustainable building can be, Berlin is the right place. The former no-man's land along the Berlin Wall and many other abandoned spaces across the city have offered architects lots of room in recent years to realise their visions. The result has been buildings with low energy consumption and wise use of resources that offer a healthy environment for living and working. This started already with Berlin's most prominent building: the Reichstag. The glass dome designed by Norman Foster brings natural daylight into the meeting rooms below and energy is generated by a complex cold and heat storage system in the groundwater. The rest of the government district also meets the latest requirements for resource conservation and environmental protection. The Jakob-Kaiser-Haus not only has a green roof with photovoltaic cells, but also a special multi-layer glass façade that provides thermal insulation.
Even non-political buildings in Berlin are being built with an eye to climate protection. The well-conceived architecture of the GSW high-rise in Kreuzberg's Rudi Dutschke-Straße, designed by Sauerbruch Hutton, has received international acclaim. The energy-saving façade consists of many dazzling sunshade slats in delicate shades of red that create a subtle play of colours. Another example of environmentally conscious construction is the Philological Library at the Free University in Berlin-Dahlem, also designed by Norman Foster. The so-called "Berlin Brain" combines aesthetics with climate protection, with all the energy needed for electricity and heating coming from canola oil-powered engines.
In the shadow of the Gasometer industrial monument in Schöneberg, the Euref Campus has been built as a smart city district. Ecologically and economically sustainable ideas will make this office and research centre a European centre for innovation and future-oriented projects. The use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy, biogas and geothermal energy and a local micro smart grid ensure low energy costs and low CO2 emissions. The site also includes a testing centre for electric mobility. The 55,000 m2 site will eventually include 25 buildings to be built in the next few years and offer up to 5,000 jobs.
Efficient Homes and Environmentally Friendly Hotels
How Berliners might be living in the future is currently being tested at the Efficiency House Plus with Electromobility project by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development. The home offers 130 m2 of living space combined with the latest achievements in the field of energy efficiency. Thanks to the heat pump and photovoltaic system, the house produces more energy than its residents need. The energy generated by the house is stored and can be used to refuel electric cars in the home's own charging station. At different phases of the project, the house is being lived in by test families or is open to visitors.
Tree houses made for living: In the Krumme Lanke residential area, two urban tree houses have been built in recent years. These tiny houses are four metres (13 ft.) off the ground and offer 24 m² (260 sq. ft.) living and sleeping space with a kitchen, a bathroom with a rain shower, and a terrace. The concept is to establish a new relationship to nature. The tree houses are available to rent for short stays since 2015.
Berlin has the most modern hotels in Europe, so it's no wonder that there are hotels too that distinguish themselves through their sustainability. The Almodóvar Hotel that opened in 2012 in the trendy Friedrichshain district calls itself a "bio-hotel" and pays attention to the smallest details: it only serves organic food, its furniture is made of sustainably grown wood, only certified natural cosmetics are offered in the bathrooms. Other hotels that have been around longer such as the Steigenberger and Maritim proArte are also endeavouring to obtain organic certification. Scandic Hotels understands itself as a sustainable Scandinavian hotel chain and opened a 563-room building on Potsdamer Platz in 2010. The new, environmentally conscious building was honoured with several awards. In addition, Scandic offers "green meetings" and environmentally friendly service.
A bus tour about sustainable construction has been developed by Ticket B, city guides specialising in Berlin architecture. The 8-hour tour also includes visits to interiors of some the particularly innovative buildings. The tour can also be booked as a 4-hour half-day trip.
Green Meetings in Berlin
With increasing environmental awareness, not only is the demand for environmentally friendly hotels on the rise, but also for green venues. The Berlin Convention Office (BCO) of visitBerlin has recognized this trend and developed a unique website in collaboration with Convention Partner e.V. The Berlin – Green Meetings site shows the wide range of Berlin hotels and touristic service providers that are already actively putting environmentally sustainable measures into action and have committed to a responsible use of natural resources for the benefit of the environment. Users not only get a detailed overview of the different service providers, but also interesting facts about green Berlin.
No Fish, no Meat – but Delicious
Döner kebabs, currywurst und meatballs have long been favourite foods in Berlin. But dining tastes are changing and more and more restaurant chefs are shopping for organic and locally grown ingredients and putting vegetarian or vegan dishes on their menus. There are even "Vöner" (vegetarian kebabs) and organic currywurst on offer at certain street stands.
Since January 2016, Berlin’s has its first vegan butcher. L’herbivore on Petersburger Straße in Friedrichshain offers anything a vegan can dream of: Sausages, burger, and “meat” made of seitan, soy, and tofu. At the bistro, all meals and seasonal offers can be tasted right away.
"cookies cream" has been showing since 2007 that vegetarian cuisine in Berlin does not necessarily lead to a niche existence, but has arrived at the heart of Berlin's nightlife scene. Club organizer Cookie and cook Stephan Hentschel set up the vegetarian restaurant above "cookies", one of the most famous clubs in the city. Eat first, then dance is the name of the game here. Some of the ingredients come from their own urban vegetable and herb garden in the courtyard. In plastic boxes filled with organic soil, they plant fennel, blueberries and heirloom tomatoes. It can't get any more local.
In Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg district, Josita Hartanto has earned an entry in this year’s Michelin Guide with her vegan restaurant Lucky Leek. She shows her skill with such innovative flavour combinations as apricot-walnut kofte, pumpkin ravioli on a red onion emulsion, and lemongrass crème brûlée.
The superfood detox trend has now arrived in Berlin’s Mitte district with Daluma. Superfoods have a higher nutrient content than other foods. The minimalist shop café offers power smoothies with beetroot, cucumber, spinach, lime, coconut water, spirulina algae and other detoxifying ingredients as well as healthy breakfast options. Other dishes are based on lentils, pasta, quinoa or rice with various toppings, such as a sweet-and-sour combination of almond and lime. All food and drinks are also available as take away.
More vegan restaurants and cafés worth visiting:
• Laauma, Friedrichshain
• Let it Be, Neukölln
• Sun Day Burgers, e.g. at Mauerpark and Markthalle Neun
• Fast Rabbit, Prenzlauer Berg
• Ohlala, Friedrichshain
• Goodies, e.g. in Friedrichshain and Prenzlauer Berg
• No Milk Today, Kreuzberg
• Pêle Mêle, Neukölln
• Freckles, Kreuzberg
Bio and Food Trends
Meat lovers will also find many restaurants in Berlin that only use ecologically produced meat raised on virgin or organic pastures. For example, Engelbecken at Lietzensee, which presents Alpine cuisine, including a hearty meat loaf and veal sausages, as well as free-range lamb from Ruppin in Brandenburg. Lei e Lui in Moabit cooks Mediterranean-Middle Eastern food that is environmentally friendly: nearly 95 per cent of the ingredients, including the spices, used here come from organic farms.
But if you can't live without your currywurst, you can always get an organic version. "Witty's" at Wittenberg Platz, near KaDeWe, was celebrated in 2003 as the first organic snack stand in Germany and still sells currywurst, bratwurst and chips – all certified organic. Burger fans will find organic happiness at "yellow sunshine" on Wiener Straße in Kreuzberg. Special feature: from corn and spinach roasts to soy meat, smoked tofu or seitan, the burgers here are exclusively vegetarian. And where there are meatless burgers, vegetarian kebabs can't be far away: They can be found at Vöner on Boxhagener Straße in Friedrichshain.
Other nutritional trends such as clean eating, which focuses on natural, unprocessed foods, and superfoods are offered by The Bowl and Liquid Garden. As its name suggests, Culinary Misfits in Kreuzberg takes up the cause of unloved or unfamiliar foodstuffs that are no longer found in today’s supermarkets due to their shape or aesthetics. And Restlos Glücklich is the name of a planned restaurant that serves leftover, edible foods which would have otherwise gone into the trash.
Popular Organic Markets and a Revival of the Market Halls
To buy ingredients for green cooking, cooks don't need to head out to the Brandenburg countryside – the regional producers make their way to Berlin's organic markets. Fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses and freshly baked bread from certified organic farms can be purchased, for example, on Kollwitzplatz in Prenzlauer Berg. Every Thursday, the busy organic market offers approximately 50 booths. Warming sheepskins, arts and crafts, decorative bed and table linens made from natural fibres are also available here. But on other days, Berliners and visitors don't have to give up on fresh, organically grown agricultural products from the surrounding area. Organic markets are held on Lausitzer Platz on Fridays and on Chamissoplatz on Saturdays and the large weekly markets on Winterfeldplatz (Wednesday, Saturday) and Maybachufer (Tuesday, Friday) also have Demeter, organic and other organic goods on offer. Open throughout the week and also focused on regional and ecological products is the Marheineke Markthalle in Kreuzberg's Bergmannstraße neighbourhood.
There's also been a lot of buzz lately surrounding Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg's Wrangelkiez. After a long period of decline, where a discount grocery occupied the majority of the building, the market hall was revived a few years ago by dedicated merchants who offer organic vegetables and gastronomic specialities based on organic products. It gets very crowded every Thursday evening (from 5–10 pm) when Street Food Thursday pulls in the Berliners and visitors in droves. The various stalls compete with each other with their culinary delicacies, but it's the visitors who are the winners. Excerpt from the menu: British pies, Thai tapioca dumplings, Mexican tacos, Allgäu cheese spaetzle or Nigerian fufu.
The beautiful Arminiusmarkthalle in Moabit dates back to 1891, and, despite renovations, still exudes its late 19th century industry charm. The market offers locals and other insiders such treats as Italian salamis, homemade tarts, fresh fish, and barbecue from the smoker. Afterwards, you can then meet up at the market bar Thussi & Armin for a glass of prosecco or Brewbaker craft beer.
Vegan festivals and markets are also on offer in Berlin: Every year, the largest European vegan summer festival is held on Alexanderplatz. And Green Market Berlin, Berlin’s first vegan lifestyle market, attracts visitors in spring and autumn to Arena Berlin.
More information on Berlin‘s markets and market halls at www.visitBerlin.de.
Shopping with a Clear Conscience
Giant Organic Markets, Vegan Department Stores, and Shopping without Packaging Waste
Prenzlauer Berg is the favourite neighbourhood for Berliners following a lifestyle of health and sustainability. Accordingly, there are many organic markets, eco-fashion boutiques and natural cosmetics studios to be found here. But the idea of sustainability has had a long tradition in the city dating back to the old West Berlin days: the first health food store opened in Kreuzberg in 1978.
Today, Prenzlauer Berg claims to have the largest organic supermarket in Europe. Contaminant-free clothing, natural cosmetics, but above all lots of ecologically healthy food can be purchased at LPG on Senefelderplatz. The range includes 18,000 products over 1,600 m2 on two floors. Here you will find 200 varieties of organic wine, 180 kinds of cheese and a spacious fruit and vegetable area, which gives the shopping a real market atmosphere. The little ones can have fun in the play area and there's also a special women's lounge for mum.
Even those who want to live without animal products, can shop comfortably in Prenzlauer Berg. Veganz opened in 2011 and claims to be first vegan supermarket in Europe. The concept of offering exclusively vegan products has arrived. There are now tenVeganz shops, two of them abroad. Besides food, customers will also find books, household products and natural cosmetics. On the same street (Schivelbeiner Straße 35), sustainability-oriented customers can also buy vegan shoes at "avesu".
Since 2014, the Original Unverpackt supermarket has offered all products without packaging and customers use reusable bags and storage jars to take home their purchases. The shop offers everyday products, including foods, cleaners and beauty products.
Looking Good and Saving the World
Ecologically conscious shopping does not mean having to abandon luxury and glamour. This can be seen in the "GREENshowroom" organised during each Berlin Fashion Week. Here Berlin and foreign labels with high ecological standards show that you can still dress stylishly whilst saving the world. Environment and fashion enthusiasts can view the high-quality collections in luxurious suites at the five-star Hotel Adlon Kempinski. The parallel Ethical Fashion Show Berlin focuses on organically produced modern street fashion and casual wear. For the participating brands, ecology and ethics are a matter of course. An idea that fits Berlin well.
Umasan Healthstyle on Linienstraße in Mitte is the world’s first label offering only organic vegan goods under fair trade conditions. The operators forgo all animal products and are instead experimenting with innovative fibres. Magdalena Schaffrin is a progressive thinker with a commitment to sustainable and socially acceptable fashion that won her the Berlin Environmental Award in the Business and Innovation category in 2009. Shooting star Daniel Kroh has been all the rage for some years as well. The Berlin designer creates fashion from old work clothes – “ReClothings”, as his recycling project is called.
Christine Mayer, who previously had a showroom in Berlin-Mitte, has been holding sales events and temporary exhibitions in the German capital since April 2015. Her label represents the fusion of fashion, social commitment and the transformation of recycled materials. She’s had an absolute hit with her algae shirts, which are not only great casual looks but also nurture the skin.
Another interesting aspect is the blog Fair-a-porter by Alex Bohn, which proves that fair trade and fashionable luxury are not mutually exclusive contradictions.
Natural cosmetics that can keep up with the major brands: Und Gretel produces high-quality make-up with natural ingredients, dazzling colours, and durability while only using ingredients that nature itself has to offer. Without synthetic preservatives and without harsh chemicals.
Fair Trade, Upcycling, DIY
The themes of sustainable living and gift giving are the focus at "Schöner wär’s wenn’s schöner wär". The concept store's range includes furniture, home accessories, toys, baby clothes, stationery and bags. Another pioneer is "Green Living" in the Kulturbrauerei, offering everything from beds to sofas to lamps for sustainable and stylish decorating. The furniture is made from contaminant-free materials as much as possible and from regional wood.
Reducing waste while creating something beautiful is the principle of upcycling. Numerous Berlin furniture and fashion designers have embraced the principle of making new things from old. uniic makes custom tables and home accessories from wood from trees cut down in Berlin. Designer Anne Dettmer transforms old wooden floors into beautiful key holders and rafinesse & tristesse uses tin cans as starting materials for stools and kitchen units.
The Upcycling Fashion Store displays merchandise by international designers who reuse previously worn clothing and materials to create new products. An example is schmidttakahashi, a label with studios on the Paul-Linke-Ufer in Kreuzberg. Kaska Hass’ collections from her studio on Legiendamm, on the other hand, are a mix of eco-fashion and haute couture and, like her popular wedding outfits, are created for life’s greatest moments.
"upcycling deluxe" on Kastanienallee in Prenzlauer Berg sells cool sun hats and caps made from old coffee sacks. Dollyrocker on Gärtnerstraße also takes a creative and ecological approach to creating pretty, colourful kids stuff from discarded clothes. A men's shirt is turned into a girl’s dress or a towel becomes edging for a T-shirt. Berlin has also caught the DIY bug: making it yourself instead of buying industrial products. One of the pioneers of the movement in Berlin was Frau Tulpe. The store on Veteranenstraße in Mitte sells everything for people who love to sew; it also offers courses for those who'd like to get started.
If you'd like to discover the full breadth of the sustainable consumption options available in Berlin, you should head out to the Heldenmarkt. The first consumer fair for sustainable enjoyment, consumption and energy-efficient technology brings together about 100 exhibitors each autumn.
Phenomena such as urban gardening and fair fashion can be discovered in city tours focusing on eco-trends, such as those offered by GoArt or ID22. These agencies that specialise in the creative side of the capital will provide a tour on green design on request. You can choose to travel on foot, by bike or by public transport to those places that focus on the creative, environmental and fair lifestyle in Berlin.
The “Future Berlin” tour offered by Berlin on Bike takes a look at the development of the city into a sustainable metropolis. Upon request, the company will offer an even more detailed tour.
Making a trip to Berlin and doing something good: That’s the idea of Vostel – Volunteering in Berlin. Whether sorting food donations or pitching in at a home for senior animals, Vostel supports a variety of initiatives. Give Something Back to Berlin strengthens the social cohesion of Berliners old and new: The platform brings together initiatives and search ads, for example for a multilingual football coach in Kreuzberg, thus creating space for participation and interaction.
Über den Tellerrand kochen brings refugees and Berliners together around a table and a stove. In an informal atmosphere, they cook together and get to know each other’s cultures. querstadtein also fights against prejudice by having people who were once homeless give guided tours of the city; refugee tours are planned for the future.
Getting About Cleanly
Giving the Car a Break
About half of all Berlin households manage without owning a car and instead use the exemplary public transport system to get themselves around the entire city day or night. The Berlin public transport company is now doing something to make its lines even more sustainable: Some buses are already equipped with hydrogen-power internal combustion engines and the first electro busses run through the city. The trams run on specially built lawn tracks that reduce air and noise pollution. Visitors are also out and about using the city's environmentally friendly U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and buses: anyone spending a few days in Berlin can take advantage of the practical and affordable ticket from visitBerlin, the Berlin WelcomeCard: this allows free and flexible use of public transport and also offers discounts from about 200 tourist highlights of the city.
Also very popular with residents is car sharing, where an app lets you find an auto nearby which you can rent within minutes. The environmental benefit: the car is only being used if it is really needed. Providers include Drive Now, car2go, and Multicity.
Berlin Drives Electric
The capital region is also an important site for electromobility development. Since April 2012, Berlin-Brandenburg has been participating in "Showcase Electromobility", a project funded by the federal government in four cities across Germany. In the pilot project, electric vehicles will be tested for everyday life and the infrastructure improved. DriveNow offers 40 electric cars in Berlin. And since 2015, an ecological Formula E race with electric cars takes place in Berlin.
Getting Around on Two Wheels
Even more environmentally friendly is Berlin's favourite: the bicycle. More than twelve per cent of all journeys in Berlin are made on two wheels, thanks to a more than 1,000 km long network of bicycle paths in the city. A chic bike is for many Berliners a far more important status symbol than a car, which they forego. Whether fixie, retro road bike, Holland or cargo bike: more and more shops have special offers for individual requests. An overview of the latest lifestyle, fashion and technology trends about bikes are offered each spring at the Berlin Bike Show and Velo Berlin.
Anyone in Berlin who wants to assemble their own bike should head over to concept stores Berlin Bamboo Bikes and Standert. Bamboo bicycles are assembled in workshops, and Standert designs, builds and sells real made-in-Berlin bicycles in its showroom with attached café.
Visitors to Berlin are also increasingly embracing this eco-friendly means of getting around. Many companies have added bicycle discovery tours to their programmes. Berlin on Bike and Fahrradstation offer guided tours on subjects such as architecture and urban history that can be booked via the Berlin Tourist Info offices. Fat Tire Bikes and Berlin Insider have similar offerings specifically targeted to English-speaking visitors. Those wishing to explore the city on the own can also rent bikes for one or more days from most of these providers. visitBerlin also has more than 50 tours with integrated maps available.
If you want to be environmentally conscious without having to do the pedalling yourself, you can opt for the pedicab Velotaxi: the modern City Cruisers are equipped with a cabin made from 100 per cent recyclable polyethylene, in which two passengers can be driven comfortably across Berlin solely by the driver's muscular strength. Berlin Rikscha Tours relies on traditional Asian rickshaws and even offers wedding rides in a white decorated vehicle at.
Environmentally Friendly on the Water
Since 2015, the Berlin shipping company Reederei Riedel offers tours on the SunCat, Berlin’s first solar passenger ship. The Solarpolis tour, too, takes you on a solar-powered boat through the government district and through the Landwehrkanal. Passengers learn a lot about the everyday use of solar energy in Berlin. You can also rent and sail your own solar boat at Solar Water World, even without a licence. The headquarters in Köpenick is the perfect starting point for exploring the waterways in the southeast of the city such as the Dahme or the Müggelsee in a quiet and emission-free manner. Cruisers for up to twelve people and even a solar house boat are available.
Even closer to the water, you can take a tour with Der Kanutourist and backstagetourism. Both operators offer guided tours through Berlin. From the kayak, sights such as Charlottenburg Palace and the Molecule Man can be seen from a whole new perspective.
More information at visitBerlin.com.