Home to Schlachtensee, the famed Wannsee and the Grünewald forest, Zehlendorf is one of the most beautiful and affluent areas of Berlin. Living in Zehlendorf provides a calm and slower pace of life in juxtaposition to Berlin’s frenzied energy, yet the area is still close enough to be able to enjoy the events and culture offered. The area holds many lakes and wooded areas for a chance to catch a breath of fresh air from the city. Joggers head for the forest, and sunbathers lounge around the water. It also borders beautiful German farmland adding a bit of rural charm.
Easy-going as it may be, Zehlendorf keeps things interesting as well; Berlin’s love of art can be strongly felt in the area. Sticking to clean and classic tastes, Zehlendorf is home to the Max Lieberman villa where visitors can roam the artist’s gardens and view the works of the leader of German expressionism. Haus am Waldsee is also a must-see with its outdoor sculptures and rotating exhibitions from international artists. True to the calm Zehlendorf nature, Haus am Waldsee also provides yoga classes in the garden.
Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island) is one of the city’s best kept secrets, especially for those who love a more relaxing urban adventure. The small island has beautiful walking paths and fields for picnics, and the small castle, once home to Queen Luise, is a beautiful site to see and an UNESCO World Heritage Site as well. The name is not a joke either, like with all good opulent residences, Peacock Island comes with many of the brilliant birds roaming the area, strutting their stuff and looking beautiful.
Zehlendorf has a bit of yin and yang to it when it comes to history. Both the Dahlem Church and the House of the Wannsee Conference reside in Zehlendorf, but while the pastor of the Dahlem Church denounced the Nazis, the Wannsee House was the site of Jewish downfall of World War II. The sites are both beautiful and historic and are well worth a visit.
City centre: 45 minutes with the S-Bahn to Alexanderplatz.
Nearest airports: Tegel and Schönefeld airports can both be reached easily in under an hour.