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Ideal for a rest at Havelhöhenweg trail is the Jaczo Monument with its beautiful view

27. March 2021 - Anika Semmer

Havelhöhenweg Trail: The Nature Experience Hike With 30 Stations


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Dreamlike nature in the middle of Berlin. The Havelhöhenweg Trail offers beautiful views over the Havel, quiet bathing spots and many other highlights. Because this little hike has more to offer than an ordinary forest walk. 

Hiking in Berlin – on a high-altitude trail? That’s possible! The Havelhögenweg Trail offers a moderate up and down via stairs and forest paths on the hill above the Havel. Of course, you can’t compare this high-altitude trail with high-altitude trails in the Alps or in the high mountains; it has its own charms to offer, which, in the opinion of some, make it the most beautiful hiking trail in Berlin. This extended walk makes the hustle and bustle of the big city disappear as if by magic and opens up fantastic views over the beautiful cultural landscape between Berlin and Potsdam.

The trail has 30 stops, from bridges, historical monuments, a tower, several islands, meadows and clearings to the Wannsee lido, which marks the end of the hiking route. The Havelhöhenweg Trail starts in Heerstrasse and leads along the Havel to the famous lido at Wannsee. In total, the trail is about 10 km long, so it is definitely a short hike for which you should plan about 3-4 hours (with children or several breaks rather 4-5 hours).

The Havelhöhenweg Trail is easy to walk all year round and is ideal for an excursion with children. Most of the time you walk through shady woodland – the Havelhöhenweg is also ideal for a hike in summer. There is also a gravel path directly along the riverbank for those with pushchairs or for those who find the Havelhöhenweg too much of an uphill and downhill walk.

In spring and summer there are idyllic bathing spots along the Havelhöhenweg for swimming and splashing around. There are also benches and tree trunks to rest along the way.

Berlin, I love you! On Abenteuer Freundschaft there are many more worthwhile excursion destinations in Berlin to discover, from tips for visiting the Britzer Garten to experiencing the Waldhochseilgarten Jungfernheide.

Tour Facts for the Havelhöhenweg Trail

  • Best season: all year round
  • Difficulty: easy hike with moderate gradients
  • Distance: approx. 10 km
  • Duration: approx. 3-3.5 hours
  • Descent and ascent: total of 230 metres in altitude difference
  • Refreshment stops: Grunewald tower, Schildhorn inn
  • How to get there: By public transport (bus 218) stop Pichelswerder and Wannsee or S-Bahn Pichelsberg in the north and Wannsee / Nikolassee in the south. By car, drive across the Havelchausee and park at the Große Steinlanke car park. About halfway along the route there is a car park at the level of Lieper Bucht.
  • Brief description: Scenic and varied nature experience hike.

Havelhöhenweg Trail from the Wannsee lido to the Schildhorn

The Havelhöhenweg trail is marked with its own sign

The green-yellow-blue marking on the right identifies the Havelhöhenweg Trail

The hiking trail is marked with a blue-yellow-green marker, but it is not always easy to find.

Those arriving by car can easily get to the starting point by bus or should plan about 6 hours for the outward and return journey. The Havelhöhenweg Trail is not a circular walk. Alternatively, it is of course possible to shorten the route and only walk the one particularly attractive part of the Havelhöhenweg.

My tip: Park the car at the car park in Lieper Bucht and decide to walk about half of the Havelhöhenweg and back along the gravel path along the shore. For families, the hike in the direction of Heerstraße is recommended, as it leads along the Grunewald Tower and the Schildhorn Inn, which are attractive places to stop along the way.

From the Wannsee Lido to Lieper Bucht

Lieper Bucht is popular with swans

Tame swans in Lieper Bucht

We start our tour at a historic site: the Wannsee lido, built in 1907 and in need of renovation, is the largest inland lido in Europe with up to 30,000 visitors! In summer, many bathers flock here, very few of them locals, because it tends to be overcrowded here and the bathers, oiled with suntan lotion, line up like sardines on the beach.

From now on, past old oak trees, there are always beautiful views in the direction of Kladow and the Peacock Island with its white ruined castle (which cannot be seen from here ;-)). Frederick William II took over the island and settled the peacocks that gave it its name, and even today peacocks live there in a landscape garden designed by Lenné that is well worth seeing.

On the opposite shore are various villas, one of the most magnificent being Villa Lemm from 1907 with Italian-style terraces and pavilions.

From Lindwerder Island on the Havelhöhenweg Trail to the Grunewald Tower

Detour from the Havelhöhenweg trail to the red-brick Grunewald Tower

You can take refreshments in the beer garden near the Grunewald Tower

The island of Lindwerder lies in front of Lieper Bucht, where there is also a free car park for a shortened walk in the direction of Strandbad Wannsee or Heerstraße. Confident swans live in the bay with their young. Not far away at the lookout point with a view of Lindwerder Island, there is also a beautiful old oak tree here.

The Havelhöhenweg Heights Trail goes up and down, sometimes over steps or roots and sticks and stones. Again and again there are beautiful views over the Havel and into the Grunewald.

The red Grunewald Tower (1879-99), formerly known as the King Wilhelm Memorial Tower, was built in the brick Gothic style and is definitely one of the highlights of the hike. It can be reached via a 15-minute detour from the Havelhöhenweg Trail. The tower was a gift from the district of Teltow on the occasion of the king’s 100th birthday.
Today you can stop there in the beer garden for a small or larger snack and climb 35 m up to a viewing platform. When we were there, the viewing platform was unfortunately closed – but the view in all directions from above is said to be very worthwhile!

Old Trees, Enchanted Meadows and the Legendary Jaczo Monument on the Schildhorn

Havelhöhenweg trail at Schildhorn station

Stairs from the Havelhöhenweg trail to the Jaczo Monument

More than 200-year-old gnarled pines with umbrella-shaped crowns and an old oak make the Grunewald here look like something out of a fairytale. Originally, pines and oaks grew in the Grunewald – some of them still stand as contemporary witnesses and enrich the Havelhöhenweg Trail.

At about the height of Gatow on the opposite side of the Havel, a detour from the Havelhöhenweg Trail leads to a beautiful meadow with wildflowers where you can rest or spread out your picnic blanket and let your mind wander.

A staircase leads to the Jazco monument (1845) on the Schildhorn headland, which is surrounded by dense greenery in spring. At the monument there are benches to rest on and you have a wonderful view over the Havel. The monument is dedicated to the legend of the Wendish prince Jaczo, which tells how the Schildhorn got its name.

From the Pichelsdorf Window to the Heerstrasse

The Havelhöhenweg Trail leads through the shady forest for almost the entire tour

The Havelhöhenweg trail goes up and down – sometimes over beautiful roots

We are now already in Spandau. On the opposite bank there are several sailing and rowing clubs, which look back on a long tradition here.

Along the Havelchausee we continue past the Freybrücke and the Stößenseebrücke to Heerstraße.

And What Is the Real Highlight of the Havelhöhenweg Trail?

The Havelhöhenweg Trail leads along bays above the Havel

Idyllic Havel bay with shallow entrance for swimming

The Havel itself! What is generally true of hiking – the way is the goal – applies perfectly to this tour. The hike is varied, with very different vegetation and beautiful old, almost sublime trees.

The views over the natural Havel with its many bays and bathing spots are not yet crowded before the spring bathing season and are the reward for the ups and downs on the Havelhöhenweg Trail, which is not optimally signposted in places. This hike is an absolute must for nature-loving Berliners!

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