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exterior view Schloss Schönhausen in Berlin
exterior view Schloss Schönhausen © SPSG, Foto: Leo Seidel

Tour 09 - Cycling Tour of Pankow

The tour starts at 65 Kastanienallee at the Hotel Kastanienhof. From the front of the hotel, go to the right and then turn left onto Schwedter Straße. Ride until you reach Fürstenberger Straße. Turn left and keep going until you can take a right onto Wolliner Straße.

Arkonaplatz

On the left side of the street is Arkonaplatz, which is home to a small, fine flea market every Sunday. Just past Arkonaplatz, take a left onto the street with the same name and then take a right at the next corner onto Swinemünder Straße. Swinemünder Straße was divided when the Berlin Wall was built in 1961. Ride down Swinemünder Straße until you come to Bernauer Straße. Stop just before the intersection and take a look to the left and to the right: you're now standing where the Berlin Wall used to run. There is a memorial to those killed trying to cross the Wall.

Wedding

Carefully cross the busy Bernauer Straße and continue on Swinemünder Straße. You've now crossed what was the border between East and West Berlin. You're now in the Wedding district. Continue along Swinemünder Straße through a bit of green space until you get to Vinetaplatz. Even if you can't recognise it today, Vinetaplatz has had the name since 1874, although it has now been completely re-built. Cross the square and follow Swinemünder Straße to the Swinemünder Brücke over the Gesundbrunnen rail yards.

Swinemünder Brücke

The Swinemünder Brücke has spanned the rail yards at Berlin's Gesundbrunnen station since 1905, when it was given the nickname "Million Bridge" because it cost a million gold marks. The Gesundbrunnen station is now a stop for S-Bahn, U-Bahn and long-distance trains.

Insider Tip: Explore the Berlin Underground

Berliner Unterwelten e.V. has made its home right at the Gesundbrunnen station. The experts on underground structures offer numerous guided tours of Berlin's underground, such as tours of the underground bunkers under the Volkspark Humboldthain. Registration is required.

Bellermannstraße

Cross the Swinermünder Brücke over the entire rail yards and you’ll get to Behmstraße on the other side. Follow this street to the left for a short way, then turn right onto Bellermannstraße. Continue riding for several blocks until you reach Prinzenallee. Take a right onto Prinzenallee and ride to the next intersection (Osloer Straße). Turn left here and follow Osloer Straße to the next corner. Cross over Stockholmer Straße and the little stream called the Panke, then turn right onto the bike path on the other side of the bridge.

Pankeweg

Now you're on the Pankeweg. This marked hiking and cycling trail follows the Panke, a creek that rises in Brandenburg and flows into the river Spree directly at Brecht's Berliner Ensemble theatre. Simply follow the Pankeweg bike trail.

Soldiner Straße

The path will take you to Soldiner Straße. Take a right to cross the Panke and then immediately turn left to stay on the Pankeweg. Stay on the trail past the Französischer Friedhof (French cemetery), until you come to the corner of Gottschalkstraße and Wilhelm-Kuhr-Straße. Here, take a left over the Panke and continue to follow the trail to the right as you keep heading north. When you get to Nordbahnstraße, turn right. Take the next left and ride under the Nordbahn (Northern Rail Line).

Nordbahn

The Berlin Nordbahn was a main route that linked the cities of Berlin and Stralsund. Today, this track is only used by several S-Bahn lines. Trains still run to Stralsund, but they now use other inner-city lines.

Tourmap

Am Bürgerpark

Ride another few metres and follow the curve to the left until you get to Am Bürgerpark. Turn left here, cross the river Panke again,- and then cycle through the Bürgerpark Pankow. Enjoy peace, sun and glorious plants in the 12 hectare Bürgerpark Pankow, the largest and perhaps most beautiful park in Pankow. You’ll find the beautiful entrance gate on Wilhelm-Kuhr-Straße. Follow the Pankeweg until you come to the intersection of Kreuzstraße and Schönholzer Straße. Turn left into Schönholzer Straße and then turn right onto Grabbeallee at the next intersection.

Poets' Quarter

Stay on Grabbeallee until you come to Tchaikowskistraße, where you'll take a right. You're now in the heart of what's known as Pankow's Dichterviertel (poets' quarter): the streets here are named after Mayakovsky, Tchaikovsky, Boris Pasternak, and many others. In the GDR era, many members of the government lived in the area around the Majakowski-Ring. The houses were surrounded by a wall. The neighbourhood was thus christened Städtchen ("little town"). Later, the politicians moved to Wandlitz in Brandenburg.

Schloss Schönhausen and Schlosspark

Stay on Tchaikowskistraß, which will take you directly to Schloss Schönhausen (Schönhausen Park) and its park. The castle was the official guest house of the GDR for many years. After the Wall fell, this was the site of the talks that enabled German unification. Today, an exhibition tells the history of the palace. The bike tour continues along Ossietzky Straße to Breite Straße, in the centre of which is the Pankow Dorfkirche (village church). The predecessor building of this field stone church is said to have dated back to when Pankow was founded.

Schönhauser Allee

Cross over Breite Straße ontoBerliner Straße and keep going past the Pankow S- and U-Bahn station. Stay on Berliner Straße, which becomes Schönhauser Allee after crossing Bornholmer Straße. Follow Schönhauser Allee until you get back to Kastanienallee, where you'll take a right. You're now at the end of the tour.

Insider Tip: Try Berlin's most famous currywurst

On the centre island under the elevated train bridge is one of Berlin's most famous currywurst stalls: Konnopke's. Currywurst and fries are served here in seconds.

Kindly supported by Hotel Kastanienhof.