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Don’t waste summer: Four wholesome after-work escapes

There are still a few months of warm weather left, but you shouldn’t spend all of them with a beer outside a späti. Our travel expert rounds up her favourite post-work getaways.

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Get that holiday feeling by skipping beers in the park for beers away from the crowds. Our travel expert tells you about her favourite after-work escapes. Photo: Eva Seiwert

What percentage of your adult interactions consist primarily of logistics? “Hey, what are you doing next Wednesday?” “Yo! I can’t, late meeting. How about Friday?” “Oh I wish, but a friend from out of town is staying. Monday?” and so on. By the time you find a date that works, you’re out of energy, and the best summer-evening plan you can muster is a späti beer in the park.

Time and time again, I swear I’ll adventure more and absorb everything that Berlin has to offer, and time and time again I find myself, Gösser in hand, lazing on a patch of grass.

Now that nights are beginning to draw in, I’ve decided to scrap beers in the park, and go on more mid-week holiday-style adventures, because I’m done saying Oh, I’ll explore more next year.” Who’s with me?

I’ve chosen some of my favourite summer-evening adventures that will re-energise and relax you, meaning you don’t have to exert any energy planning. So next time you finally find time to catch up with a friend, or have a date night, treat yourself to one of these micro-holidays. They’re all easily accessible from Berlin, and – of course – feature dinner plans. Now there’s no excuse to not inject a bit of excitement into your weekly routine… 

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This tiny island north of Berlin is a great place to visit after a spending the day in a sweaty office chair. Photo: Emily McDonnell 

For idyllic island life, head to INSL Kyritz

To really capture that holiday essence, head out to this tiny island, north of Berlin. To access it, you walk along a clear lake to a footbridge where there’s a gong. When rung, a boat comes to pick you up and takes you across to the island, where you find an idyllic garden and a cosy terrace that expands over the water.

For food: The waterside beer garden does not disappoint. It serves up a small menu of dishes, all using regional produce.

Getting there: From Berlin, it’s best to drive (I always use carsharing) and takes around an hour.

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Paddleboarding is the sport of this year’s summer, and there’s still time to give it a try. Photo: Amy Quayle

Stand-up paddleboarding at StandUpClub Berlin am Funkhaus

It’s the sport of the summer, and I have very much been enjoying the sensation of gliding over the water and bobbing about on the waves generated by passing boats. For me, it’s almost meditative, especially out by Funkhaus, where thick woods line the banks of the river.

For food: You’re spoilt for choice! Opt for one of Zola’s mouth-watering pizzas, or Milchbar’s seasonal special, and devour by the water or within Funkhaus’ spectacular interiors.

Getting there: Tram 21 stops a short walk away (Köpenicker Chaussee/Blockdammweg), but even better would be to cycle through Treptower Park.

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Pfaueninsel is a UNESCO world heritage site. Heritage Photo: michael.berlin / Creative Commons

Pfaueninsel for an exotic escape

Ok, so if you have a peacock phobia (aka pavophobia) this is not the place for you… only accessible by ferry, Pfaueninsel is located in Potsdam and is a UNESCO world heritage site boasting splendid gardens that sprawl from tip to tail of the island, and – as you may have gathered, is home to some free-range peacocks. There’s a lot to discover here, including the Lustschloss, Meierei Abbey ruins and Kavalierhaus, so spend an evening sauntering around in the setting sun.

For food: Once back on the mainland, stroll along the water to Kongsnaes, a Norweigan-inspired cabin located directly on the waterfront for some fresh fish and a stunning view.

Getting there: Get the train out to Wannsee, take a short stroll, and then jump on the ferry.

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The gardens of the historic Wehrmühle have been transformed into an open-air gallery. Photo: Art Biesenthal Archive

Feel fancy at Art Biesenthal

Put on your floatiest summer linens and head out to the garden of the historic Wehrmühle, which have been transformed into an open-air gallery. Twenty internationally renown and emerging artist – curated by Tjioe Meyer – have used the grounds as a playground, weaving their art with nature. Note the exhibition only runs until the start of September. 

For food: On offer is the “picnic basket of your life”. Big claim, but with food from some of Berlin’s best chefs – think Nobelhart & Schmutzig, Otto, Cookies Cream, to name a few – they might just be right…

Getting there: Catch the train up to Bernau, and then jump on the 896 bus to Biesenthal, Markt.

Emily McDonnell is our German travel expert. For more inspiration and travel tips, check out her travel club The Staycation Collection.