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A family on bikes in Berlin
Family bicycle tour at Wannsee © visitBerlin, Foto: Thomas Kierok

Tour 11 - Cycling Tour of Steglitz-Zehlendorf

“Pack your swimsuit and head on out to the Wannsee” This cycling tour takes you through the most beautiful parts of south-western Berlin with its charming palaces, extensive parklands, and beautiful lakes offering many swimming opportunities. Swing into the saddle at the Dahlem-Dorf U-Bahn station. Head to your left on Königin-Luise-Straße. In just a few feet on your right, you’ll see Domäne Dahlem on the other side of the street.

Tip: Domäne Dahlem

Domäne Dahlem is an old manor with village green. Cattle, sheep, and goats graze on the large pastures: a little bit of the Brandenburg countryside right in the heart of the city. Special activities for the kids are sure to make them happy and you can buy healthy snacks for the tour at the organic farm shop. Once finished there, ride back towards the U-Bahn station and take a right onto Löhleinstraße. Don’t be surprised at all the students you see riding in this area: you’re just around the corner from the Freie Universität Berlin, one of the city’s main universities.

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Tip: Wannsee Beach

For more than a century, this beach has been THE place to swim in Berlin. It has a large sandy beach with fine sand, beach chair rentals, and a waterslide. Continue on the Kronprinzessinnenweg and take the next left onto Am Beelitzhof. At the end of the block, curve left and then take a right onto Borussenstraße. Although vehicular traffic can’t drive through, you can ride your bike along the edge of the meadow. At the end of the meadow, turn right onto Nymphenufer and then an immediate let back onto Kronprinzessinenweg. Take a right onto Königsstraße, the main highway to Potsdam. In just a few metres, you’ll cross over a short bridge and see the Großer Wannsee to your right and the Kleiner Wannsee to your left. Enjoy the view of the lakes with all the sailboats.

Tip: Liebermann Villa

Once you’ve crossed the bridge, take a right onto Am Großen Wannsee that will take you along the lake shore to the Liebermann Villa. The villa was the summer home of Berlin artist Max Liebermann, whose enchanted garden inspired his most beautiful paintings. You can visit the villa with its exhibition and the gardens. The villa’s terrace offers views of the lake over the garden and you can enjoy delicacies from Café Max in the luxury of Liebermann’s “palace by the lake”.

Not much further along Am Großen Wannsee is the house where the infamous Wannsee Conference was held, one of the darkest chapters in German history. On 20 January 1942, senior government officials and SS leaders met at the villa to negotiate the terms for the deportation and murder of the Jews of Europe in the occupied territories of Poland and Eastern Europe in what came to be known as the “Final Solution”. The villa now houses a permanent exhibition on “The Wannsee Conference and the Genocide of European Jews”. Ride back to Königstraße and take a right. Ride for five kilometres until you come upon Schloss Glienicke, the small, romantic palace on the banks of the River Havel.

Tip: Glienicke Palace

Glienicke Palace seems like a palace from the Italian countryside. Here you can explore of the beautiful classicist architecture surrounded by the magnificent gardens designed by Peter Joseph Lenné. Just past the palace, you’ll now be on Glienicke Bridge, which crosses the River Havel into Potsdam and the state of Brandenburg. This also marked the western edge of West Berlin during the Cold War and this is where the sides would exchange spies and other agents they had caught, as can be seen in Steven Spielberg’s exciting film “Bridge of Spies”. Nowadays, no trace of this history remains.

The Glienicke Bridge is one of the most beautiful places of Berlin, especially because it offers views of five palaces lining the shores of the river: Glienicke, the miniature baroque Schloss Sacrow, the folly of the Ruinenschlösschen, Schloss Babelsberg, and the Glienicke Hunting Lodge. The palaces and palace gardens of Berlin and Potsdam have been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The bridge also offers views of three lakes: the Jungfernsee, Glienicker Laake, and the Tiefer See. This panorama is the culmination and the conclusion of this cycling tour.