Gärten der Welt, Berlin-Marzahn

Located in North-East Berlin and nestled amongst Plattenbau is the “Gardens of the World,” the beautiful international-themed gardens within a massive public park. Even though the main park is public, you do need a pass/ticket to enter the gardens, which can be purchased at one of the visitor centers. The tickets are not expensive and are good for the whole day. Annual passes can also be purchased. This is one of my favorite places in Berlin, and somewhere I recommend to visitors. The park is a massive expanse of gardens, each with its own “international” theme and country-specific flora. The Korean, Chinese, and Japanese gardens are three of my favorites. Artists from around the world have added art installations to various gardens. My favorite artist-curated garden is the American-themed “Los Angeles Garden” created by Martin Kalwasser. The garden is just a few parked cars next to a fenced-in piece of grass with a sign that reads “People Park, Please No Dogs.” It is hilarious and very accurate. You feel like you should not be there because of the uninviting atmosphere, but then again, it reminds you of how the world views the United States.

Grab a map at the visitor’s center and mark where the Japanese and Korean gardens are so they are not missed when walking through. I recommend walking through the gardens near the entrance first while slowly making your way to the gondola. The cable cars will take you to the top of the hill near the opposite side of the park. Walk down the trails back towards the park, where you will enter the Chinese Garden. You might have to rescan your tickets to get back into the garden part of the park. Gardens of the World is a park within a park. From the Chinese Garden, you can explore the rest of the Northern part of the park and eventually make your way to the exit (Elsenacher Straße), where you can catch the bus to U-Bahn Marzahn. Please note that you have to add the cable car ride to your entry tickets. I highly recommend doing this. Make sure you plan to spend a significant amount of time at the park and pack water and snacks. There is a café, but the last time we were there, it was closed, and we were starving.

When to visit:

Always check the weather in Berlin. It can be a beautiful sunny day, and it will start pouring rain seemingly out of the blue. Because of this, I always bring one of those compact umbrellas or a rain poncho when visiting outside attractions in Berlin. I recommend visiting in late spring or early summer, as it can be quite hot when walking from garden to garden. Also, check for any events happening that day. Sometimes you can catch a concert!

Historical context:

As I mentioned, the park is surrounded by residential estates consisting of “Plattenbau,” prefabricated residential buildings typically seen in the former GDR (German Democratic Republic). These buildings were constructed as “Neubaugebiet” (New Development Areas) in the 70s and 80s in East Berlin (GDR), the largest being Berlin-Marzahn. These buildings are interesting to see and are even featured in films.

One thing that I need to mention is that Marzahn is a borough with strong ties to the former GDR and is now, unfortunately, synonymous with Neo-Nazis. The area has a reputation for a reason. Hate crimes are not uncommon in this area or on the public transport lines going and coming from this borough. I like to mention this when recommending the park so that travelers can be cautious when making the journey. I want to also note that Marzahn was also once the site of the labor camps where the Romani were imprisoned during the 1936 Summer Olympics. This kept the Romani out of the visitor’s view as part of the Nazi extermination policies before they were sent to Auswitz-Birkenau.

Getting there:

When planning a trip to the park, I recommend driving as your first option if you can because it does take a while to get there. Public transport in Berlin is safe and extremely easy to use. The website for the park will tell you that public transport is the easiest way to get to the park.

By Car:

Enter Blumberger Damm 44, 12686 Berlin into your navigation app and follow the directions. From the A 10 (Berliner Ring), take exit Berlin-Marzahn (3), take L 33 to Landsberger Allee / Blumberger Damm, and then follow the signs.

Public Transport:

Take the S7 line to Mehrower Allee; then take bus X69 in the direction of Köpenick to stop “Blumberger Damm / Gärten der Welt”

Take the S7 line to S-Bahn station Marzahn; then take bus 195 in the direction of S-Bahn station Mahlsdorf to stop “Eisenacher Straße / Gärten der Welt”

The Fun Way:

If you start at Alexanderplatz, you can go down to the U-Bahn and take the U5 line in the direction of Hönow and exit at Kienberg – Gärten der Welt. From there, you can walk to the ropeway station “Kienbergpark / Gärten der Welt” and take the cable car over Kienberg to station “Gärten der Welt – Blumberger Damm.”