Berlin by bike: the five best cultural bike rides in Berlin
By Lizzie Davey
19th August 2015
Berlin is a dream destination for cycling holidays, whether you’re a pro with the pedals or just fancy exploring the city in a different way. Thanks to its relatively flat landscape, its safe roads, and its well-kept cycle lanes, discovering some of Berlin’s major attractions by bike is both fun and relaxing.
There are plenty of guided cycling tours throughout the city, ranging from niche explorations like football-themed tours to foodie routes that take you to the best restaurants. There are also educational encounters that highlight the prominent landmarks from Berlin’s fascinating past. Or you can pedal out on your own, and discover the cultural attractions at your own pace and in your own time. When you take to two wheels, there’s never a shortage of things to do in Berlin.
Here are five of Berlin’s best cycling routes that showcase the finest districts and the most exciting places in the city.
Cycle in Friedrichshain
Friedrichshain sits in the centre of Berlin and is home to some of the city’s most fascinating history. There’s lots to see in this area and you can cover more ground if you’re exploring it by bike, thanks to the wide boulevards and prominent cycle tracks that dot the district.
Begin this route on Boxhagener Straße and head down onto Simon-Dach-Straße, which is known for its huge supply of open-air cafes (more than 1,900). Cycle back towards Alt Stralau and continue on until it becomes Stralauer Allee, where you can see the Mediaspree Project – an ambitious urban development project that covers both sides of the Spree.
Cycle on towards Oberbaumbrücke, a bridge that acted as a border crossing for pedestrians during the divide of Germany. Then finish in Volkspark Friedrichshain, a beautiful municipal park perfect for unwinding in after your ride.
Here you can check out the Märchenbrunnen (Fairy Tale Fountain) and the Freiluftkino Friedrichshain (Friedrichshain open-air cinema).
Cycle in Kreuzberg
Kreuzberg is the place to go if you want to explore Berlin’s contemporary culture. The district is filled with vibrant street art and there are plenty of independent cafes to duck into for a home-roasted coffee. It also plays host to some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, like Checkpoint Charlie and the remains of the Berlin Wall.
Cycle from Hermannplatz down to the Volkspark Hasenheide and the Marheinekeplatz, where there’s a daily organic market. Then head onto Bergmannstraße, Kreuzberg’s main boulevard, which is filled with great boutiques and cafes. Keep your eyes peeled along Oranienstraße for colourful wall murals and quirky graffiti.
Cycle along the Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall is, without a doubt, one of the city’s most popular (and eye-catching) attractions, hinting back to a tragic past. There is a designated cycle track that travels the length of the wall, called the Mauerweg (Berlin Wall Trail), which covers 160km.
If you stick to the East Side Gallery section, you can marvel at the amazing artworks that adorn the remains of the wall. This riverside location is a peaceful part of the city, where you can make a pitstop at one of the waterfront cafes and enjoy the view.
Cycle around Treptower Park
A few of these cycle routes take in Berlin’s cultural parks, but Treptower is one of the best with its selection of monuments and sights. The Sowjet Monument is an impressive attraction to tick off the to-do list, while the Insel der Jugend – an island on the Spree – looks like something from a fairytale.
If you venture further towards the outskirts of the park and city, you’ll come across Spreepark, an abandoned amusement park that features memories and neglected rides from times-gone-by.
Cycle in Mitte
Mitte sits in the very heart of Berlin and is a hive of cultural activity. There’s a lot to see and do in this area and riding on two wheels is one of the best ways to see it all quickly.
Start your route on Rosenthaler Platz, where you can pop into the Hackesche Höfe and down the art-filled side streets. You can then cycle on to the Jewish Cemetery and the Neue Synagogue, before finishing up in Weinbergspark, an expansive city park where you can refuel in one of the many cafes.
Exploring Berlin by bike is a great way to discover the city’s fascinating past and soak up the contemporary culture. The city is incredibly safe and bike friendly, providing you with ample cycle lanes to whizz from one district to the next for a quick and exciting way to sightsee.
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