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7 Days Berlin Wall Bike Trail Cycling Holiday in Germany

Potsdam, Brandenburg, Germany

Historical Cycling Holiday Germany

Look forward to a unique adventure on the traces of German history, such as the Berlin Wall. In the present day, only pieces are left of the Berlin Wall but what remains are the border tracks, serving as bike trails with historical meaning. One may be surprised that the bike trail leads through a very interesting and beautiful landscape. Yet, the most interesting part of it leads right through the middle of Berlin on 18 kilometers. That is how you discover sights like the Brandenburger Gate and the beautiful avenue, “Unter den Linden” in a town district dominated by government buildings. A special highlight is a night spent in the town center of Berlin. The bike trail is mostly paved and easy to cycle on, the stages have been designed to be rather short to leave you enough time for the variety of sights Berlin has to offer.

Key information

  • Trip type: Self-guided
  • Lodging: Point to point
  • Terrain: Hilly, paved, and mostly flat
  • Difficulty level: Easy (cyclist does not need to have a certain level of fitness, mostly flat terrain though occasionally they will ride in unpaved or hills, 10-30 miles per day)
  • Total Distance: 124 miles / 77 kilometers
  • Vacation type: Leisure cycling
  • Type of bike: Touring bike
  • E-bike: Available to rent / 170 EUR

Highlights

  • Family-friendly tour
  • Follow the Berlin Wall trail
  • Exploring exquisite nature reserves
  • Refreshing ride along channels and rivers
  • Witness sites of Germany's history
  • Yummy breakfast served daily
  • 6 nights accommodation
  • Luggage transport

Skill level

  • Beginner

Styles


5 days with instruction
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Accommodation

During this cycling holiday, you will stay at various comfortable middle-class hotels in double or single rooms. Rooms are with shower, bath, and water closet. Partner hotels always provide parking possibilities for the entire duration of your bike trip. That is, however, subject to a fee. There are always plenty of parking spots available.

No pre-reservation is necessary. You will receive detailed information on parking at your hotel, together with the detailed travel documents two weeks prior to the departure. Furthermore, the partner hotels are all within a five to 10-minute walking distance from the next railway station.

Relax in Potsdam on nights one and six.

Get comfortable in Spandau on night two.

Unwind in Hohen Neuendorf on night three.

Doze off in Berlin on night four.

Have a well-earned rest in Berlin Grünau on night five.

Program

Day 1: Arrival in Potsdam

Arrive on time, it will be worth it! You will get to know one of Germany’s most impressive towns. You can visit the Palace of Sanssouci with its wide park, marvel at Frederick the Great’s summer residence, and do not miss out on the historical parts of Potsdam like the Russian colony, Alexandrowka, the Dutch Quarter, and the former Bohemian Webber’s District. The famous film park, Babelsberg, the leisure cruisers of Potsdam, and the many parks only wait for you to come to visit.

Day 2: Potsdam – Spandau (22 miles / 35 kilometers)

The first highlight will come up after only a short while as the Glienicke Bridge guides your way out of town. After having existed for more than 300 years, the bridge came to attract worldwide attention within only a few days. It became the legendary scene of the Cold War as the United States and the Soviet Union exchanged spies there.

In the present day, the bridge unites Potsdam and the federal capital of Berlin again. You will cycle past Cecilienhof Castle where the Potsdam Conference was held in the summer of 1945 to decide over Germany’s partition into occupation zones, to the Wannsee in Sacrow. Just by the Groß-Glienicke Lake, you will encounter an original piece of the Berlin Wall.

You will enter Spandau with Fort Hahneberg, built in 1888 to protect the armament storage of Spandau at the time. After 1952, Spandau was situated in the border area to become a kind of sleeping beauty in 1961. Apart from the occasional visits of the border guards, things stayed calm around there and nature took the chance to conquer the fortification back. Spandau and its small old town with the citadel are definitely worth a visit.

Day 3: Spandau – Hohen Neuendorf (25 miles / 40 kilometers)

The first kilometers of the morning will take you through the Spandauer Forst, a strip of mixed forest situated in the formerly restricted zone of the GDR. The forest impresses with its great biodiversity and was designated a nature reserve of Europe-wide importance. Along the well-vegetated channel of Nieder-Neuendorf, the bike trail will lead you past the thousand-year-old oak trees.

They are true giants, with seven oak trees, 25 meters high, and a perimeter of between 3.87 and 6.15 meter! Past the Lake of Laßzinsee, a small Eldorado for water and marsh birds, you will continue to the shore of the Havel, where the inner-German border used to pass. You can take a worthwhile break at the former watchtower, Nieder Neuendorf, originally built in 1987 and redone to be put under monumental protection later on.

In the present day, a small museum treats the separation of the two Germanys and the history of the border constructions. During GDR times, it served as the surveillance of the border strip and was the control point of 18 further watchtowers.

The four storeys used to host a few offices, a detention cell, recreation room for the guards, and a surveillance room, steadily occupied by at least two border guards. In no time, the last kilometers along the Stolper Heide will pass by to lead you to the day’s destination in Hohen Neuendorf.

Day 4: Hohen Neuendorf – Berlin City (23 miles / 37 kilometers)

The Berlin Wall bike trail will take you through the nature reserve of Tegeler Fließtal, where a neat and marshy landscape will surround you. A side trip to the well-preserved village center and the ancient church of Lübars is worth the additional time. The village is the only one that has been preserved in the area of the present day’s urban Berlin.

Agricultural activities are still in pursuit in the present day, especially in the field of horse breeding. You will cycle past the dead railway lines of the heath-trail or “Heidekrautbahn” and past the Mark Brandenburg Quarter or “Märkisches Viertel,” a high-rise apartment park built between 1963 and 1974 in direct proximity of the Berlin Wall.

Your way will then lead towards the center of Berlin as the density of meaningful sights increase. You will discover the Bösebrücke and Bornholmer Straße, famous as the place of the first opening of the border on November 11, 1989. Following it, you will then pass the memorial site of Bernauer Straße, where on August 13, 1961, refugees tried to escape through the windows of their houses onto the sidewalk that already belonged to West Berlin.

Next comes the “Invalidenfriedhof” which was once divided into by the Berlin Wall. The new central station of Berlin and the government district will also impress you. Further highlights of the day’s visit are Brandenburg Gate, the beautiful avenue of “Unter den Linden,” and the Potsdam Square which used to be a no-mans land. You will spend your night in the center of Berlin to profit from the great variety of night entertainment the German capital has to offer.

Day 5: Berlin City – Berlin Grünau (25 miles / 41 kilometers)

Past the former Stasi-headquarters, your bike will take you to Checkpoint Charlie, which, between 1961 and 1990, used to be one of the most well-known border checkpoints of Berlin. In Friedrichstraße, it used to interconnect the Soviet sector with the US-sector, thus, the town district, “Mitte,” of East Berlin, with the town district, “Kreuzberg,” of West Berlin.

The control point was only open to associates of the allied forces and embassies, foreign citizens, collaborates with the permanent representation of the Federal Republic of Germany, and the GDR-officials. It often became the scene of spectacular escapes. In the present day, Checkpoint Charlie is a memorial site and one of Berlin’s most famous sights.

The Spree River with the East Side Gallery will be the next stage of your route. There, by Mühlenstraße, you will get to visit the longest preserved piece of the Berlin Wall on the town’s grounds. In 1990, artists from all over the world painted the last remaining 1.3 kilometers of the Berlin Wall. Across the most beautiful bridge of Berlin is the Oberbaumbrücke which dates from the 18th Century.

Your bike will take you to the Landwehrkanal and across the trench Heidekampgraben to the Teltow Channel in the town districts of Neukölln and Schönefeld. If you would like to experience Berlin by night again, the close metro stations will allow you to get back to the town center in only 30 minutes.

Day 6: Berlin Grünau – Potsdam (29 miles / 47 kilometers)

On day six, the Berlin Wall bike trail will go zigzag ways along the southern edge of the town. You will discover Gropiusstadt, a residential estate of apartment towers and constructed blocks, giving shelter to 50,000 persons. In Marienfelde, an assembly and transit point helped more than 1.3 million refugees from the GDR to access the Western German states until 1990.

In the present day, a memorial site and museum have been erected in that place. You will then encounter a real ghost town. On 110 hectares of military restricted area, the US-army was trained for armed urban warfare. In a cozy pace, you will then follow the beautiful Teltow Channel and the Königsweg-trail to the former checkpoint of Dreilinden.

The control building, roadhouse, gas station, and the terminal ramp for trucks are under monument protection in the present day. Finally, the shore of the Griebnitzsee will take you back to Potsdam.

Day 7: Departure from Potsdam

On day seven after breakfast, your eventful bike tour on the traces of the latest German history along the Berlin Wall bike trail will come to its end. You can proceed to your onward destination.

Condition of cycle paths

During your tour, "on new bike trails around Berlin," you will cycle on a variety of different bike paths and small side streets. The selected cycle routes have been created or paved within the last years and therefore, of the highest quality. There are also short passages of dirt road, sand, or cobblestone. The route is mostly flat.

On day four and five, in the "Schorfheide" and the "Märkischen Schweiz," there will be some hilly sections. The selected trails are well signposted and the route is signposted throughout with additional Velociped stickers (white V on a green background).

Available rental bikes

If you choose to rent a velocipede-rental bike for the tour, Velociped will take it to your first hotel and bring it to your destination. You can choose between women's and men's bicycles either with a seven-speed gear shift and coaster brake or a 21-speed gear shift and freewheel or electric bikes. All ladies' bikes have a low opening that makes mounting and dismounting much easier. The bikes are suitable for all ladies from 150 centimeters in height and for all gentlemen from 165 centimeters in height.

You must simply specify your wishes at the time of booking. Velociped touring bike with 27-speed derailleur gear is comfortable to ride and leaves nothing to be desired when it comes to flexibility. The gear levers on the handlebar have short shifting travel and are easy to use. Velociped rental touring bike with seven-speed hub gears. The bike is the best choice for people who prefer coaster brakes. The gears can be easily changed via a rotary handle, providing the right setting for every riding scenario.

Skill level

Beginner

  • can cycle for 2-3 hours
  • assistance required
  • comfortable with curves and leans
  • basic experience with unsurfaced roads
  • short distance ascents and descents

Location

This cycling holiday will take place in Potsdam, Spandau, Spandauer Forst, Nieder Neuendorf, Hohen Neuendorf, Treptower Park, Wall Park, Berlin, and Berlin Grünau in Germany.

Potsdam City

The past 300 years have seen the transformation of Potsdam from a garrison town to one of Europe’s most imposing royal capitals. The Prussian kings erected architectural masterpieces in and around Potsdam, among them are numerous baroque creations and 17 palaces surrounded by opulent landscape parks. Potsdam is easily accessible by train from all major cities in Germany.

Potsdam, Glienicke Bridge

The Glienick Bridge connects Berlin and Potsdam via the Havel. At the time of the Berlin Wall, the border was exactly in the middle of the bridge. There was no border crossing there. In the more than 300 years of its history, the Glienicker Bridge has only managed to attract the attention of the world in just a few days.

It is secluded and there was no fear of traffic, as in other "regular" border crossings. On three days of the years 1962, 1985, and 1986, the border crossing point on the bridge became spectacular exchanges of international agents from East and West.

Cecilienhof Palace

Cecilienhof is the castle, in which from, July 17 to August 2, 1945, the Potsdam Conference of the Victory Powers of the Second World War took place. It is the last palace building of the Hohenzollern Dynasty.

Emperor Wilhelm II had Cecilienhof built from 1914 to 1917 for his eldest son, Crown Prince Wilhelm and his wife Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, in the north of the New Garden. The castle, built of brick and wood, fits well into the natural environment. The castle now houses a hotel. In the museum. one can find out about the Potsdam Agreement and the changing history of the house.

Spandau Citadel

Spandau Citadel is considered the best preserved Renaissance fortification in Northern Europe. There has been a fort on the site since the 11th Century. Completed in 1230, the Julius Tower is one of the oldest surviving structures in Berlin. The Citadel's current exterior was created at the end of the 16th Century by Italian architects. In the present day, it is open to the public.

The Old Town of Spandau

The urban outline of Spandau was already developed in the 13th Century and can still be traced back to the old town. The structure of buildings has constantly changed over the centuries as a result of fires, wars, and demolitions. Rebuilding after the Second World War greatly affected the original structure of the cultural heritage.

Despite the development, building types of the different building periods have been preserved. In their totality, they form the typical small-town mix that documents the history of several centuries and the location of Spandau between the provinces and the city.

Nieder Neuendorf Watchtower

The Nieder Neuendorfer Tower has been preserved as one of the last frontier watchtowers. It documents the Berlin Walls which was once there. To the east of the village center are the Havel and Nieder Neuendorf Lake. In the middle of which, the border between the GDR and West Berlin ran in the middle of 1949 to 1990.

From the 13th of August 1961, the GDR government set up border security facilities on the western bank. It included the watch tower built in 1987. It served to oversee the frontier and was also the gateway for 18 additional border guard towers. Since the completion of its refurbishment in 1999, the Nieder Neuendorf "Grenzwachturm" has been a documentation center for the division of Germany and the border installations accessible to the public.

Soviet War Memorial, Treptow Park

The Soviet Memorial in Treptow Park was built in 1949. It was commissioned by the Soviet troops to honor the Red Army soldiers killed during World War II. The central place of the facility is an artificially designed mound. It is dominated by the sculpture, "The Liberator."

The figure depicts a soldier wearing a sword in his right hand and a child on his left arm. A swastika is just breaking under his boots. In 1994, the military ceremony for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Germany was held at the memorial by Chancellor Helmut Kohl and President Boris Yeltsin.

Wall Park

The Wall Park includes a section of the wall between the former districts of Prenzlauer Berg and Wedding. In the present day, the border between the districts of Prenzlauer Berg and Gesundbrunnen runs there. Since there are comparatively few green areas in the densely populated Prenzlauer Berg, the Mauerpark has developed into a popular place for recreation which offers a home for jugglers, artists, musicians, and families. It has also made a name for itself in Berlin.

Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall is one of the most touching constructions of the 20th Century and when it fell on November 9, 1989, the event made the whole world move. After the historical day, the fortifications that secured the border between east and west for so long were torn down. Some former border fortifications such as watchtowers or control points have been reconstructed and put under monument protection. Many of them host interesting museums and documentation centers.

Berlin Wall Memorial

The Berlin Wall Memorial runs along both sides of Bernauer Strasse. The border on Bernauer Strasse ran between the two city districts, Wedding and Mitte, and drew a line right here between West Berlin and East Berlin. The boundary line created an unusual situation.

The buildings on the south side of the street still belonged to East Berlin but the sidewalk right in front of the buildings was already a part of West Berlin. The photographs taken at Bernauer Strasse in 1961 were seen all over the world. They show people trying to escape to West Berlin by jumping from the windows and rooftops of houses on the border.

In the present day, on the side of the street that belonged to West Berlin, you will find the newly erected Visitor Center and the Documentation Center with a viewing platform. At the Visitor Center located at Bernauer Street 119, two films are shown and the information is available about the entire memorial site and what it has to offer. The Documentation Center in Bernauer Street 111 shows an exhibition about the division of the city.

Checkpoint Charlie

It is the scene of several thrillers and espionage novels ranging from James Bond's "Octo-pussy" to "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold" by John le Carré. Starting from September 22, 1961, at the most famous East German-West German border crossing, allied soldiers registered members of the American, British, and French armed forces before their trip to East Berlin.

Because of its role as a transition point for the members of the Allied forces, the Friedrichstraße border checkpoint in October 1961 was the scene of the so-called tank stand-off. At present, an installation by the artist Frank Thiel commemorates the incident as well as a plaque at the former border. Nearby, you can also find the "Berlin Wall Museum - Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie," which, again had a replica of the first Allied guardhouse set up on the median strip of the Friedrichstraße.

East Side Gallery

An East German Trabant car which appears to be breaking through the concrete. Honecker and Breschnew locked in a kiss of brotherly, socialistic love. With the East Side Gallery, a segment of the Berlin Wall has been turned into the longest open-air gallery in the world.

The Kunstmeile, or “art mile” in English, is located along the banks of the river Spree in Friedrichshain. It is 1,316 meters long and therefore, the longest segment of the Berlin Wall that is still standing. Right after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the East Side Gallery was painted by 118 artists from 21 different countries. Using various artistic means, the artists commented on the political events that took place in 1989 and 1990 in over 100 works of art found on the eastern side of the wall.

Oberbaum Bridge

Berlin's double-decker bridge, Oberbaum Bridge or Oberbaumbrücke, was built in 1895. It links the two Berlin districts of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain, separated by the River Spree. Traffic runs on the lower part and U-Bahn trains (U1) on the second level.

It was built on the site of a previous timber bridge built in 1724 when the construction of an elevated railway required a reinforced structure. A Cold War landmark of division between east and west from 1961 to 1989, armed guards patrolled the banks of the river as a border area. The bridge was one of the crossover checkpoints from West to East.

Palace of Tears

Leave-taking and longing, hope and despair, joy and fear, the building constructed in 1962 at Berlin’s Friedrichstraße Station, is tied to a broad spectrum of personal emotions and experiences. Until 1990, the departure hall built under East Germany’s SED regime was a border crossing from the GDR to West Berlin.

Berliners soon dubbed the modern steel-and-glass construction, “the scene of so many painful farewells,” or the “Palace of Tears.” The Palace of Tears reopened in September by the Foundation Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland with the permanent exhibition, "Border Experience.” It depicts everyday life in divided Germany. Original material, films, and interviews with contemporary witnesses document the effects of the border in Germany's everyday life.

Brandenburg Gate

The Brandenburg Gate is one of Berlin's most important monuments. It is a landmark and symbol all in one, with over 200 years of history. A former symbol of the divided city, it drew visitors who used to climb an observation platform in order to get a glimpse of the world behind the Iron Curtain, on the other side of the barren "death-strip" which separated East from West Berlin, geographically and politically.

It was there that on June 12, 1987, Ronald Regan issued his stern command to his Cold War adversary, admonishing him with the words, "Mr. Gorbachov, tear down this wall!" When Germany was reunified following the fall of the Berlin in November 1989, Brandenburg Gate quickly reinvented itself into the New Berlin's symbol of unity. It was officially opened to traffic on December 22, 1989, and 100,000 people came to celebrate the occasion.

Food

During this cycling holiday, a delicious breakfast will be provided daily. If you are, for example, vegetarian, simply let Velociped know your special wish on the registration form. With the individual tours, you are in control of your own catering, right down to breakfast, meaning that you can stop at selected restaurants to enjoy vegetarian food, for example.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

  • Explore Berlin by night
  • Side trip to the village center of Tegeler Fließtal and Lübars
  • Tour around Potsdam upon your arrival
  • Visit Spandau Town and its citadel

What's included

  • 6 nights accommodation
  • Daily breakfast
  • Luggage transport
  • Map of bike trails with a marked route
  • Detailed route description
  • Tips for tour preparation
  • Touristic information
  • 7 days hotline service

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 14% of the total price.
  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled up to 60 days before the arrival date.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
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