The northwest of Berlin consists of the boroughs of Spandau and Reinickendorf. The area was urbanized in the 19th century through the industrialization of Berlin. Before that most districts were small towns. In the early 20th century it was the working-class area with heavy industry where Siemens was founded (today even a small part of Reinickendorf is called Siemensstadt, due to the location of the company). Today it's become more residential but big industrial complexes are still seen in some areas.
Spandau is the westernmost borough (Bezirk) of the German capital city of Berlin. The district lies conveniently in a green area with the nearby Spree and Havel rivers. Once a town in its own right, Spandau is one of the oldest areas in the Berlin region and retains much of its unique character, having been spared the worst of the Allied bombing in the Second World War that so devastated the rest of the city. The center of the district is formed by a dense network of medieval streets and a market square, retaining a large number of timber-framed buildings. Spandau was the site of the military prison in which Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess was imprisoned after the 1946 Nuremberg trials until his death in 1987. The prison was then demolished. Despite being part of Berlin, neither Berliners nor Spandauers usually consider that fact to apply in popular thought. If for example, you ask a taxi driver to take you to the "city center", they will most likely take you to the center of Spandau, not necessarily Mitte or the old heart of West-Berlin. It's as much in the boondocks as some Berliners ever venture and even those who consider Potsdam in BVG zone C to be at the edge of civilization might consider Spandau basically another planet.
Reinickendorf is a borough in the northwest of Berlin. It consists of the localities Tegel, Reinickendorf, Märkisches Viertel (1970s-era apartment blocks area) and some small, village-like areas. Reinickendorf loves to use fox symbolism as "Reinicke" is a poetic term for fox (the standard term is "Fuchs") which is used in fables. The coat of arms thus showing a fox and Berlin's most successful handball team, Füchse Berlin is from here though they now play their home games in Max Schmeling Halle in the former east.
In general, it is a very green district with much water and the neighborhoods have a typical small town cityscape. In addition to Tegel airport there are some minor sights interesting for tourists (especially architecture in Tegel). Within the borough of Reinickendorf, Märkisches Viertel (sometimes derisively called "merkwüdiges Viertel" - peculiar quarter) is one of the most notable West Berlin new constructions, dating to the 1960s when housing was scarce. When the housing units were constructed, a subway connection was promised, but it took until the 1980s to extend U8 towards the area (by then in questionable parallelity to the S-Bahn) - and Berlin ran out of money just about one or two stops before actually reaching the neighborhood, causing understandable frustration among residents. The extension of U8 to the center of märkisches Viertel is one of the most talked about U-Bahn extensions whenever proposals to extend the network are debated and the Bezirk Reinickendorf is among those clamoring the loudest.
While both areas might feel almost "rural" in parts to Berliners, Spandau alone would be the largest city in Brandenburg were it not part of Berlin, so the "ruralness" of this district is a very relative term.
Spandau is the terminal station for a couple of public transport lines (especially the backbone line). Some long distance and all regional trains stop at Spandau.
By public transport
The BVG (the public transport company) runs a public ferry between Kladow and Wannsee which is primarily designed for commuters.
The main U-Bahn routes for Reinickendorf arefor the more easterly parts and for the more westerly parts.
- 4 Berlin-Spandau is a stop for many long-distance trains and all regional trains. It has interchanges to various S-Bahn, U-Bahn and buses.
Both Spandau and Reinickendorf cover a pretty large area and as they are rather outlying, the U-Bahn is only of limited use. The S-Bahn meanwhile has stops too far apart to be useful for local transport in most cases. Unfortunately, there is not yet any tram in the area, the West Berlin tram having been shut down in the 1960s. For the most part, you'll thus have to rely on buses for your public transit needs. As elsewhere in Berlin a leading "M" in the line-number means "Metrobus" and they are more frequent, and also run at night but they can be crowded during peak times. Buses with a leading "X" in the line number meanwhile are express buses that skip some stops and will hopefully arrive a bit faster than the "regular" bus. An infamous phenomenon on busier Berlin bus routes is "bunching" when despite nominal five minute headway no bus comes for ten or even fifteen minutes as the first bus gets delayed by boarding and alighting passengers and the following buses catch up. This will lead to the strange experience of three buses arriving all at once the last notably emptier than the first one. The red-red-green government elected 2016 would love to replace the busiest bus lines with tram lines which don't show this problem but funds and planning capacity are limited and it can take years from the first idea to build a line to trams running.
Siemens has a long and storied connection to Berlin and the neighborhood of Spandau that officially bears the name "Siemensstadt" ("Siemens-City") was built in the early 20th century as both a production site and a representative showcase of one of Germany's leading technology companies. Siemens even had its own railway built in the 1920s - served by regular S-Bahn trains - in no small part aided by members of the Siemens family sitting on the board of Deutsche Reichsbahn. However, after the war with destruction in Berlin reaching unprecedented levels and partition a distinct possibility, Siemens began to search for new production sites and headquarters, initially in Hof (later abandoned due to it being too close to the would-be Soviet zone and Czechoslovakia) and Munich later in Erlangen instead of Hof. The S-Bahn was boycotted in the West starting from the construction of the Berlin Wall and after a strike in 1980, the "Siemens railway" was shut down as it had now seemingly outlived its usefulness. However, the city decided to take over the infrastructure and put it under historic site protection "just in case" and in 2018 Siemens did indeed ink a contract with Berlin returning to its old stomping grounds in Siemensstadt with the Siemensbahn to be finally rebuilt, giving Berlin a lot of direly needed high tech jobs and the company a representative headquarter and "Innovation Campus" in line with the 21st century just like the original Siemensstadt set a high bar for the 20th century way back when.
- 1 Spandau Citadel (Zitadelle Spandau), Am Juliusturm 64 ( Zitadelle, Bus X33 (stop Zitadelle)), ☏ . Open Tu-F 09:00-17:00, Sa Su 10:00-17:00. A fortress built between 1560-1590 to Italian design on the site of a 12th-century castle. The Juliusturm housed part of the huge indemnity (in physical gold coins) France had to pay after the war of 1870/71 until what was left of it was returned to France after Germany's loss in World War I. The term "Juliusturm" remained in usage in German for a large "rainy day fund" into the 1960s. entry €4.50 (concessions available).
- 2 St Nikolai Kirche. A splendid 15th-century Gothic church with many fine accoutrements.
- 3 Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr – Flugplatz Berlin-Gatow (Military History Museum; RAF Gatow), Flugplatz Gatow 33 (from S+U Rathaus Spandau, take Bus 135). At a former Luftwaffe and Royal Air Force (RAF) airfield, RAF Gatow. The museum's focus is on military history, particularly the history of the Luftwaffe of the Bundeswehr, with a collection of more than 200,000 items, including 155 aeroplanes, 5,000 uniforms and 30,000 books. There are also displays (including aeroplanes) on the history of the airfield when it was used by the RAF. Aircraft include reproductions of Otto Lilienthal's gliders, of World War I planes such as the Fokker E.III, and World War II planes such as the Bf 109 and Me-262, as well as at least one aircraft of every type ever to serve in the air forces of East and West Germany. Most of those postwar aircraft are stored outside on the tarmac and runways, however, and many are in bad condition. There are long term restoration projects, including a Focke-Wulf Fw 190. RAF Gatow is notable as the "missing third airport" of West Berlin. Each sector used to have its own airport; the French sector had Tegel, the American sector had Tempelhof and the British had Gatow. However, RAF Gatow never saw much traffic of any kind, was more kept as a political statement than for transportation value, and thus was shut down after reunification. Tempelhof, after having been shut down for civilian traffic from 1975 to 1981, finally closed for all flights in 2008, while Tegel shut down in November 2020.
- 4 Schloss Tegel, Adelheidallee 17-21. Guided tours Mondays from May to Sept. A remarkable medium-sized classical castle by the famous K.F. Schinkel built 1820 to 1824, also called "Humboldtschlösschen", because Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt (and their family) lived here once. Still privately owned.
- 5 Dicke Marie. Not far away from Schloss Tegel (at the "große Malche") you can take a look at the oldest tree in Berlin, an oak which has been growing there since about 1192 (so it's actually older than Berlin itself). The name ("fat Mary") allegedly stems from the brother Humboldt who named the tree after their overweight cook.
- IBA-Bauten at Tegeler Hafen (U-Bahn station Alt-Tegel). During the International Building Exhibition 1984 to 1988 a bunch of remarkable buildings were set around the old Tegeler Hafen. Architecturally diverse, the most important is the Phosphateliminierungsanlage (Gustav Peichl). Also some buildings by Charles Moore are interesting.
- Borsigwerke and Borsigturm ( Borsigwerke). Ex-industrial buildings from the late 19th and early 20th century, nice clinker-architecture and the first (mini) highraiser of Berlin, the Borsigturm, 65 m high, built 1922-24. The area houses now offices, a shopping mall and some places for entertainment. The company Borsig has a very turbulent and storied history and while it has long since ceased being a "German" company or connected to the family of the same name, the investors that bought the name and assets after a bankruptcy keep producing in Berlin-Tegel.
- 6 Alt Lübars. One of the most authentic and oldest villages (1247) in the outskirts of Berlin, it looks the same way it did some hundred years ago. Take S-Bahn 1 to Waidmannslust and then bus 222 to Alt-Lübars.
- Swimming, watersports and boat trips on one of the biggest Berlin lakes, the Tegeler See.
- 1 Greenwich Promenade (10 minutes walk from U-Bahn Alt-Tegel). Relaxing lake-side strolls on 'Greenwich Promenaid', a path named after Reinickendorf's twin town of Greenwich, London.
Swimming and bathing
- 2 Sommerbad Staaken-West (Sommerbad West-Staaken), Brunsbüttler Damm 443, 13591 Berlin, ☏ . Early May to mid-Aug 10:00-20:00. An outdoor 25-m pool. Regular €5.50, reduced €3.50, M-F after 17:30 €3.50.
- 3 Stadtbad Spandau Nord, Radelandstraße 1, 13589 Berlin, ☏ . M 09:00-14:00; Tu-F 06:30-22:00. An indoor pool built 1911 in the neo-baroque style. €5.50, reduced €3.50.
- 4 Kombibad Spandau Süd (Sommerbad Spandau Süd), Gatower Straße 19, 13595 Berlin, ☏ . Tu-F 06:30-22:00; Sa Su 10:00-17:00. 50-m pool Up to €5.50, reduced €3.50.
- 5 Badestelle Bürgerablage (Bürgerablage Oberhavel), Niederneuendorfer Allee 84, 13587 Berlin.
- 6 Badestelle Breitehorn (Unterhavel), Kolonie Breitehorn, Breitehornweg 36/38, 14089 Berlin.
- 7 Badestelle Groß Glienicker See, nördlich (Pferdekoppel, Groß Glienicker See Nord), Uferpromenade 9, 14089 Berlin.
- 8 Badestelle Groß Glienicker See, südlich (Moorloch, Groß Glienicker See Süd), Im Dohl, 14089 Berlin.
- 9 Strandbad Lübars (Freibad Lübars), Am Freibad 9, 13469 Berlin-Lübars, ☏ , email@example.com. 08:00-19:00. A well-equipped beach €5, reduced €3. .
- 10 Badestelle Flughafensee, Betzdorfer Pfad, 13507 Berlin-Reinickendorf.
- 11 Freibad Heiligensee (Seebad Heiligensee), Sandhauser Straße 132-140, 13503 Berlin-Reinickendorf.
- 12 Badestelle Oberhavel Sandhauser Straße, Sandhauser Straße 57, 13505 Berlin-Reinickendorf.
- 13 Badestelle Tegeler See, gegenüber Reiswerder, Bernauer Straße, 13507 Berlin-Reinickendorf.
- 14 Badestelle Tegeler See, gegenüber Scharfenberg, Scharfenberg gegenüber Insel, 13505 Berlin.
- 15 Badestelle Tegeler See, gegenüber Reiherwerder, Schwarzer Weg, 13505 Berlin-Reinickendorf.
- 16 Badestelle Tegeler See, Saatwinkel, Im Saatwinkel 65, 13599 Berlin.
- 17 Paracelsus Bad (Paracelsusbad), Roedernallee 200-204, 13407 Berlin-Reinickendorf ( Paracelsus Bad), ☏ . Su M closed, Tu 11:00-18:00, W 06:30-22:30, Th 06:30-8:00 and 12:00-22:30, F 06:30-22:30, Sa 10:30-17:00. 25 m pool €5.50, reduced €3.50.
- 1 Borsighallen, Am Borsigturm 2. A nice shopping mall located in Tegel. It's converted locomotive assembly halls turned into a typical medium sized Berlin mall with every shop you'll need. Additionally there is a cinema and other entertainment stuff.
- 2 Markthalle Tegel, Gorkistraße 13-17, 13507 Berlin (two minutes from U-Bahn Alt-Tegel), ☏ . M-F 08:00-19:00, Sa 08:00-16:00, Su closed. Indoor food market. Fantastic fresh foods at local prices, including bakers, deli counters, and greengrocers.
- 3 Märkisches Zentrum. The main mall in Märkisches Viertel
- 4 Berliner Feinkost Fraktion (Geschwister Böhm Manufaktur), Eichborndamm 80, Berlin Reinickendorf 13403 (Three minutes southward on foot from Eichborndamm), firstname.lastname@example.org. Sales and testing Tu & F 12:00-18:00.
- 5 Staaken Center (Obstallee 28 13593 Berlin).
- 1 Brauhaus Spandau, Neuendorfer Straße 1, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. M 16:00-24:00; Tu-Th Su 11:00-24:00; F Sa 11:00-01:00. mains from €8.
- 2 Restaurant Aarju, Medebacher Weg 24, Tegel. Indian-Singaporean food busy on weekends, reservation recommended
- 3 Fishermans Restaurant, Eisenhammerweg 20, 13507 Berlin (by the Tegeler See), ☏ , fax: . A fish place with a terrace with views of the lake
- 1 Casa Schmuck, Wilhelmstr. 114, 13593 Berlin. Maybe the sweetest little bed and breakfast place in Berlin. Outside the center in Spandau, close to lakes and rivers, to the Olympic Stadium and the convention center. The lady running it is really nice!
- 2 Hostel Berlin Altstadt Spandau, Wasserstr. 4 (U Altstadt Spandau), ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. 5 minutes away from U Altstadt Spandau. from €15.
- 3 Hettler & Lange Hotel und City-Camping, Gartenfelder Straße 1 (take U7 to Haselhorst, then bus 133, get off at Gartenfeld stop; then continue for another 300 m in the same direction, and turn right just before the bridge), ☏ . A nice campsite and small hotel next to the river. The amenities are quite basic, but clean and sufficient. Not suitable for people who need absolute silence for a good sleep - but the noise from the nearby Tegel airport is not very hard to get used to. €13-25.
- 4 BCC Campingplatz Breitehorn, Breitehornweg in Kladow, ☏ .