One of my favorite parks in Berlin is the beautiful Viktoriapark in the district of Kreuzberg. Famous for its man-made waterfall, or Wasserfall, the park also boasts a stunning Neoclassical monument at the top of the hill that was designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, the same architect who designed the iconic Brandenburg Gate.
The park was built in 1821, when the cast-iron monument was dedicated by the Prussian King Frederick William III to the Liberation Wars that occurred during the Napoleonic Wars. At the time, the area consisted of the monument atop the hill and a simple park below. It wasn’t until 1893 that the artificial waterfall was built as a replica of the Wodospad Podgórnej Waterfall in Poland, and water was pumped up the mountain to provide the picturesque waterfall that we see today. The park was intended to be a weekend destination for Berliners.
The park has gorgeous, woodsy, winding paths around the waterfall and is the perfect place to sit and relax in the summer. I love to sit on a stone, take off my shoes, and dip my feet in the cool water while listening to it rush past. I usually bring a book but find myself enjoying the peaceful sounds of the water so much that I get little reading done (I must also mention that I often have my dachshund, Molly, with me, and she can rarely sit still long enough for me to read anyway). It is so serene here that I almost forget that I am in the city, until I look north and see Großbeerenstraße stretching out ahead.
Tip: If you want to see the waterfall in action, be sure to visit in the summer, as it is shut off for the winter.
Molly looking out at the top of the waterfall at Großbeerenstraße.
At the top of the monument, one has a spectacular 360-degree view of the city, where the Fernsehturm (TV Tower) and the Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz are clearly visible. Molly loves running around the monument and up and down the many stairs surrounding it.
Photo credit: Volker Petersen
There are lovely, large open areas too. One will often see many dogs running around with their owners, and on a hot summer day, the grassy areas are filled with sunbathers and picnickers. On Sunday summer evenings, an informal meet-up of jazz musicians in the west side of the park provide visitors with lively music with which to end their weekend. This area is a great spot to meet friends, have a drink, and watch the summer sunset. In the winter, the hilly area serves as a popular place for local kids (and kids at heart) to go sledding after it snows.
There are two restaurants/beer gardens in the park: Golgatha and Tomasa Villa. I have been to Golgatha several times and can highly recommend it as the perfect place to relax with a delicious pint and some traditional German food (the bratwurst is fantastic). I still have not visited Tomasa, but by all accounts, it is also well worth a visit, and I hope to check it out in the near future.
What I love most about Viktoriapark is that it is beautiful in every season. Here are a few more pictures from the park, mostly taken in autumn:
Which park is your favorite park in Berlin? Please let me know in the comments!