Bucketlist2Life

Debris hills - or Berlin's best free view points

Author Carina Klein
Carina
· 7 min read · 9 comments

Share this post with others

TL;DR

Although Berlin is very flat by nature, there are many man-made rubble hills in the city which offer free views of their surroundings – be it north, south, east or west Berlin

What is a debris hill or Schuttberg?

Berlin is notoriously flat. This is the fault of the last ice age (the Weichselian glaciation): 20000 years ago Berlin was covered by 100 meters (328 ft) of ice. When the ice melted it created a glacial valley (Berliner Urstromtal) with modern-day Berlin in its center. The highest natural "mountain" is the Großer Müggelberg with 114.7 meters (376 ft). It was also formed by ice ages (Saale and Weichsel) and is mostly composed of sand and till. • End of geology nerd talk •

And then there are the debris hills or Schuttberge. You can find them all over Germany but the majority is located in Berlin. The amount of debris in Berlin is about 15% of the total debris in the whole of Germany. Debris hills are man-made hills amassed out of debris from construction sites. Many of them are rubble mountains (Trümmerberge), which were formed from the debris of World War II bombings. The highest debris hills in Berlin are the Arkenberge with 120.7 (396 ft) - and with that the highest mountains in Berlin.

Berlins best debris hills

Teufelsberg 120 meters (394ft) – The one with a great view over west Berlin

Many of you were very interested in the background of the Teufelsberg, so here it is: after World War II, rubble was amassed over the unfinished Nazi military-technical college (Wehrtechnische Fakultät). The Allies tried to demolish the building using explosives but it was too sturdy. As West Berlin formed an island during the separation of Germany, all the debris from West Berlin had to be dumped within its borders making this the perfect dumpsite. For over 20 years, 75 million m³ (98 million cu yd) of rubble was moved from West Berlin to the shells of these old Germania buildings. So came about the second-highest mountain in Berlin.

From here, you have a great view over the Grunewald forest and western Berlin with the Funkturm (the West Berlin TV Tower). As the area belonged to West Berlin during the Cold War, there is an old U.S. listening station on the hill, which you can visit. Fun fact: In 1955, a 24 m long (79 ft) ski jump opened on the hill.

Picture of Cold War listening station on Teufelsberg, Berlin
Teufelsberg Berlin

Kienberg 102 meters (335 ft) – the one view a great view over east Berlin

The base of the Kienberg is a glacial hill. From 1966 to 1981 debris and rubble were deposited on this hill. The Kienberg forms a large green area with the Wuhletal (which is a great hiking area) and the Gärten der Welt (Gardens of the World). In 2017, the Gardens of the World and the Kienberg were part of the Internationale Gartenausstellung (international horticultural exhibition).

In the course of this exhibition, a summer toboggan run and a cable car were constructed on the Kienberg. The ride with this 1.5 km (0.9 miles) long aerial tramway takes 5 minutes and takes you directly from the subway station to the top of the mountain. A truly unique experience in Berlin! From the top of the mountain, you have a great view over the characteristic Plattenbauten (tower blocks) of Marzahn-Hellersdorf. In the distance, you can see all the way to the TV Tower.

Picture of cable car, Kienberg, Berlin
Kienberg, Berlin

Humboldthöhe 85 meters (279 ft) – the one with a flak tower

At the beginning of World War II, two flak towers (Nazi anti-aircraft towers) were constructed in Humboldthain Park. After the war, the bunkers, like all other bunkers in Berlin, had to be demolished by several explosions. The northern wall of the bigger tower was left intact to not damage the train tracks running beneath it.

After many thorough inspections, the roof of this flak tower is now used as a viewing platform, its wall is used as a climbing wall by the German Alpine Club. In my opinion, the real highlight of this rubble hill is what lies beneath it: members of the Berliner Unterwelten e. V. (not sponsored, only a genuine fan) emptied parts of the tower and offer tours now. I can honestly say that this was one of our favorite things we've ever done in Berlin!

View from Humboldthöhe, Berlin
Humboldthöhe, Berlin

Dörferblick 86 meters (282 ft) – the one with a great view over south Berlin

The Dörferblick was amassed as a World War II rubble hill in 1958. It was located in the very southeast of West Berlin, directly next to the Berlin Wall. On the top of the hill you had a view over the wall to the East German villages Schönefeld, Waßmannsdorf, and Großziethen - hence the name Dörferblick or village view.

In our opinion, the much better viewpoint in this area is the Skypoint. You can reach it by a short 5 km (3 miles) hike along the Berliner Mauerweg (Berlin Wall path) which is super interesting in itself. On this Müllberg (garbage dump hill - yes they are a thing in Germany but this is the material for another blogpost) your view towards south Berlin is not obstructed by trees as it can be on the Dörferblick and you can see all the way to the TV Tower in central Berlin.

Picture of view from Skypoint Berlin
Skypoint, Berlin

Marienhöhe 73 meters (240 ft) – the sentimental one

The Marienhöhe is another rubble hill, which was formed over a natural glacial hill. At the end of the 19th century, sand and gravel were quarried at the foot of this hill. Because of the light sand, many western movies were shot here in between the two world wars. After World War II, 190000 m³ (248510 cu yd) of rubble were amassed over the gravel pit and the glacial hill, forming the recent Marienhöhe.

The view might not be the most spectacular but this is the debris hill most close to home for us - and I mean this literally.

Picture of sunset view from Marienhöhe, Berlin
Marienhöhe, Berlin

Kreuzberg 66 meters (216 ft) - the honorary mention

No, this is not a debris hill, this is a natural hill, which was formed by the ice age. Why is this mountain on this list then? The Kreuzberg is the highest mountain in central Berlin and the views are just amazing. You're super close to the Potsdamer Platz, you can see the TV Tower and the old Schultheiss brewery. On top of this hill is a national monument.

Additionally, this mountain is super easy to reach by subway, there are many bars and restaurants in this area and the adjacent park invites you to relax a bit from your strenuous sightseeing trip. This is definitely the one hill viewpoint I recommend you to visit when you only have a limited amount of time in Berlin but want to enjoy a free view nonetheless!

Picture of view from Kreuzberg, Berlin
Kreuzberg, Berlin
🤫

We're working on a secret project behind the scenes.
Sign up for our newsletter to get sneak-peeks.

☕️

Want to support us?
Buy us a coffe, a tea – or a whisky.

9 Comments

Leave a comment

Do you have any thoughts on this article? – We would love to hear from you!

Do you want to follow us on our jouney? Check this box to also signup for our Newsletter and never miss an update!

You have a link you want to share with others? This is a good place for it!

Do you want to receive a Push-Notification when someone replies to your comment? – Check this box!


Vinn

11.05.2021, 09:37

I learned a lot of this post! Germany's topography, history and the effects of ice age. Thanks for rounding up these places for good views. ;)

Vinn wants to share this link with you

Vinn En Route

Vinn En Route » You'll never know, till you get there...

You'll never know, till you get there...

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

12.05.2021, 09:49

Northern Germany's topography is quite interesting. It's in such a contrast to the Alps in the south!

Jan

05.05.2021, 14:50

Berlin - that German capital city of grit and glamour, of intense parties and high drive politics against flat lands and man-made hills of which history is covered and uncovered, told and retold over an ice cold beer whatever time of the day #flyingbaguette

Jan wants to share this link with you

Flying Baguette

HOME - Flying Baguette

Flying Baguette creates a magical food for thought to the minds that matter. Traveling is about EVERYTHING. This blog is 100% gluten free.

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

05.05.2021, 22:47

I might or might not have had a cold beer in my hand while visiting some of those debris hills...

Isabella

05.05.2021, 11:32

The best view points are from high hill tops! Great photo points. Great to see a guide on this feature. Thanks for sharing with us.

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

05.05.2021, 22:50

I think so too! All other viewpoints in Berlin do cost money - some more some less. But the best things in life sometimes come for free...

Wendy White

05.05.2021, 10:24

I had no idea about the debris hills in Berlin and what a great history lesson for me as well. The views from them are wonderful.

Wendy White wants to share this link with you

Perthtravelers Travel Guides

Welcome to Perthtravelers, a travel site dedicated to helping you plan your dream holiday. We promise you honest reviews of destinations we have been to.

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

05.05.2021, 22:46

Researching the background of the debris hills was a history lesson for me too!

SteveH

04.05.2021, 22:02

How is it possible you have combined two of my passions, geology and history in a single blog. I bow to you and your creativity!

SteveH wants to share this link with you

Out of the Office 4

Outdoor Adventure | Out of the Office 4 Good

Join Dave & Steve, travelers and avid hikers who live on both coasts. We love to travel and start our search for new destinations and outdoor adventures by entering epic or extreme in the search bar. Join us at outoftheoffice4good.com for fun and photographs as we travel and experience life at home and abroad.

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

05.05.2021, 08:01

Thank you so much :) As they are two of my passions too it was super fun to research and write this blogpost!

Chalk and cheese travels

04.05.2021, 18:39

Some great view points 👌 love having all the history behind it also make it a bit more special

Chalk and cheese travels wants to share this link with you

Chalk & Cheese Travels

Things To Do Roscommon - Chalk & Cheese Travels

Things To Do Roscommon Irleand, A list of the best places to see, stay eat and explore. An adventure awaits in Ireland's Midwest

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

05.05.2021, 07:38

Thank you! I loved researching the history for this blogpost :)

Stefan (BerkeleySqB)

04.05.2021, 18:37

Those debris hills are truly fascinating, Carina. I lived in Berlin for two years and this completely escaped my attention.

Stefan (BerkeleySqB) wants to share this link with you

Berkeley Square Barbarian

Berkeley Square Barbarian • Musings...

Young expat couple turned Brit blogging about everything that is fun: London, travel, food, culture.

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

05.05.2021, 07:34

When you see them you wouldn't expect so much history beneath them. You would easily mistake them for regular hills...

Smalltownplussize Tom

04.05.2021, 17:09

Keep the geology nerd talk coming Carina because we’re accustomed to it. Our son just graduated from university with a geology degree. A ski jump is a terrific use for a debris hill the flat landscape. That’s being creative! I think most people would drive by without knowing the reason behind these debris hills. We might have too when we visited parts of Germany.

Smalltownplussize Tom wants to share this link with you

Small Town Plus Size

Home - Small Town Plus Size

Come along with us on the road! Roads Less Traveled Taking smaller highways and backroads uncovering interesting things along the way. There is so much more to explore by avoiding interstates. We enjoy showing how easy it is to find fun, accessible, beautiful and interesting places. We want everyone to realize they can do this […]

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

04.05.2021, 17:20

Honestly? i didn't know too much about the history until I did my research for this blogpost. I never realized there were so many of them and why they accumulate in west Berlin although it makes perfect sense...

kmf

04.05.2021, 16:40

Thanks for sharing the background on these debris hills in Berlin. They definitely offer some great view points!

kmf wants to share this link with you

kmfiswriting

What every travel mom deserves for Mother’s Day or any day

A travel blogger - and mom - recommends the best Mother's Day gifts for moms (and non-moms) who love to travel. This practical gift guide includes weekend getaways, travel-themed gifts and more - perfect for her special day, holidays or just because.

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

04.05.2021, 17:14

Thank you for your feedback. They definitely do offer some great views and are a perfect addition to any Berlin itinerary for people with a bit more time.