Magnificent mansions and mini castles: Berlin's historic villa district
Exit the station at Lichterfelde West and you're just a few steps away from a remarkable enclave of beautiful historic homes.
The area was developed in the late 19th century as a so-called 'villa colony', an exclusive estate of extravagant properties destined for some of Berlin's wealthiest citizens.
And although designed as a unified residential quarter, true to the tastes of the time the architectural styles are anything but uniform.
A mock-Tudor miniature castle stands opposite a Renaissance-inspired palazzo. Nearby, a half-timbered ' hunting lodge' is crowned with a jumble of turrets, its neighbour lavishly adorned with Jugendstil stucco.
Many of the homes are, quite simply, extraordinary, and unsurprisingly, the surroundings are rather lovely too.
Lush front gardens line the leafy cobbled streets (Spring is one of the best times to visit, when the entire neighbourhood seems drenched in blossom) and a sleepy, village-like atmosphere prevails.
Just a short distance by train from central Berlin, Lichterfelde West is a destination that architecture lovers won't want to miss, but also makes for an easy, alternative excursion away from the city's more conventional sights.
It's a slice of historic Berlin that few tourists ever get to see, and trust us, we're pretty sure you'll be glad you made the trip.
The villa colony is compact, and you'll be able to see most of it with an easy twenty-minute stroll. On leaving Lichterfelde West train station, cross Curtius Straße into Baseler Straße, and follow it until you reach Karlsplatz - a central hub from which you can explore the surrounding streets. Kadettenweg, Weddigenweg, Paulinen Straße and Kommandanten Straße all contain particularly impressive homes.
There's a pleasant cafe on a corner of Karlsplatz, but since the surrounding area is almost entirely residential, few other refuelling options exist. Nevertheless, the pretty precinct just outside the station contains shops and one or two eateries.