Old Berlin buildings were constructed to account for the city’s extraordinarily deep blocks. As we walk through Prenzlauer Berg, Mitte or Kreuzberg, we peek through the main building carriage doors into these beautiful courtyards and Hinterhäuse hiding behind.

When these buildings were erected, the front houses were built as spacious apartments for officers, civil servants and ‘higher’ society. These Vorderhäuser open up to beautiful courtyards and then another set of buildings which were workers’ dwellings, garages and shops in the wings and rear houses. And in certain cases, there is yet another courtyard and a third or even fourth set of rear buildings, all completely hidden from the street.

We love walking the cobblestone streets of Berlin, spying through doors to see how deep some of these Höfe go into the block. We’ve spied the most beautiful ivy climbing the sides of Hinterhäuser, visited secluded courtyards filled with wildflowers and stumbled upon quaint restaurants nestled between the third and fourth set of rear buildings. All are little treasures we’ve loved discovering.