Berlin is a veritable treasure trove for intrepid urban explorers. This formerly divided city is absolutely teeming with derelict gems rotting away in forgotten locations. Among the abandoned edifices that dot the city you can find a towering spy station, a rotting children’s hospital, a rusted Ferris wheel inside a derelict amusement park and a crumbling Nazi base.
We’re going to level with you BUCKiTDREAMER – most of these sites are technically out of bounds, so we’re not going to tell you to visit them. How about you just fill up your BUCKiTDREAM planner with whatever takes your fancy and decide where to go from there!
Descend into the Tunnels of Beelitz-Heilstätten Originally built as a tuberculosis sanatorium, Beelitz-Heilstätten was later converted into a military hospital for wounded German soldiers in World War I. The infamous hospital even treated a young, injured Corporal Adolf Hitler. This monstrous site spans a staggering 60 buildings, each one linked through a series of eerie underground tunnels. The silence that grips Beelitz is tough to come to terms with, as every noise that punctures it makes you jump a foot in the air. As it’s become a must-visit for intrepid urban explorers, access to the hospital has been made incredibly easy through strategically made holes in the perimeter fence.
Find the Legendary Eagle in Krampnitz Kaserne The decaying military barracks of Krampnitz Kaserne was once-upon-a-time a Nazi stronghold during the Second World War. The base was taken over by the Soviets following the war, who later abandoned it in 1992, leaving it to rot and decay on the outskirts of Berlin. Krampnitz is without a doubt one of the best urban exploring spots in the world thanks to its size alone. Here you’ll find crumbling cinemas, basketball courts, bedrooms and offices, as well as abandoned film sets (Inglorious Basterds and Enemy at the Gates were both shot here). If you’re up for a challenge, see if you can find the infamous Krampnitz eagle mosaic. The artwork is shrouded in mystery, with no one willing to divulge its whereabouts on the expansive site.
Find All the Fun of the Fair in Spreepark Probably Berlin’s most famous abandoned site, Spreepark is a mystical world of capsized boats, rusting roller coasters and vandalized dinosaurs, all watched over by a crumbling Ferris wheel looming large. As Spreepark is the most notorious park on our list, it is also quite heavily guarded at night ,so you’re best making your visit during the day. The excitement of being caught only adds to the experience, as you can’t explore the site without feeling a heart stopping adrenaline rush. If you can’t quite handle the tension of evading capture, you can skip the fear and opt for a guided tour at the weekend instead.
Avoid Any Paranormal Visitors in Weissensee Children’s Hospital Is there anything creepier than an abandoned children’s hospital? This one, located in the Weissensee area of Berlin, is a complex site with numerous crumbling buildings just begging to be explored. As the hospital sits on the tram line, it’s incredibly easy to get to, and thanks to its unlocked main gates, it’s even easier to enter. The most jaw-dropping thing about this site – except for the terrifying medical instruments scattered on the floor – is the stunning street art that adorns its walls. Local graffiti artists have taken it upon themselves to turn these gutted buildings into works of art, hiding the horrors of what used to go on there.
Spy on Your Enemies in Teufelsberg The abandoned NSA spy station in Teufelsberg sits atop Berlin’s highest point on the edge of the Grunewald Forest. The station was used by the Americans as a way of eavesdropping on the goings-on in Soviet occupied East Germany until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990. Nowadays, the station is a crumbling shell that offers magnificent views of the city below. Returning explorers have created an opening in the sagging chain link fence, giving visitors access to the platforms. Safety is key when visiting the site, as there are numerous dangers, including a 10 story high open elevator shaft and a worrying lack of handrails.
Learn a Thing or Two at Berlin’s Institute of Anatomy Only abandoned in 2005, Berlin’s Institute of Anatomy saw a steady stream of students – and cadavers – pass through its doors when it was in operation – excuse the pun! The Institute’s creepiness is greatly enhanced by the fact that the building is still packed with the grim implements that were once used there. Dissection tables stand shimmering in lecture halls, and autopsy tools litter the floor of just about every room in this monstrous building. Head downstairs for an extra eerie experience exploring the stainless steel fridges where corpses were once stored.
Decode Secret Documents in the Abandoned Iraqi Embassy After the reunification of Germany in 1990, the new government forced the staff from the Iraqi embassy with alarming haste. The swiftness with which they were booted out is all too apparent when visiting this abandoned building. Papers, files, letters and photos are strewn absolutely everywhere, as if all its occupants left in a hurry. Furniture is gutted and overturned and millions of shards of glass litter the floor. Though most of what’s left behind is in Arabic, it can be a treasure trove for finding handwritten notes from a bygone era. Be warned – the embassy sits in a residential area and the locals are known to be suspicious of trespassers. Visit during daylight hours to avoid unwanted attention.
When checking out these crumbling edifices it’s important to adhere to the three don’ts of urban exploring: don’t vandalize, don’t break things and don’t steal. These sites unfortunately continue to be a breeding ground for this kind of unnecessary activity, so do your best to leave them as you find them. Now that you’ve worked up a serious appetite, why not check out our picks for the 5 Cheap German Restaurants in Berlin Where You’d Be Happy to Pay More.