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Tiergarten - Summer
Tiergarten - Summer © visitBerlin, Foto: Maxi-Lena Schuleit

Tour 15 - Cycling Tour through the City Centre

This tour starts at Hotel Brandies Berlin, 27 Kaiserdamm. Cross the Kaiserdamm and then follow the bike path there to the left, heading east. The Kaiserdamm was commissioned by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1906 for use as a boulevard and parade route.

Kaiserdamm

Today, the Kaiserdamm is an extremely busy thoroughfare. Some strikingly designed building entrances give a hint of its former splendour. Some are elaborately decorated with figures and allegories designed to give the residents blessing and happiness. Make sure that you take a look at the corner houses along the route, which are more than a hundred years old. The Kaiser requested that these houses have towers. They were designed to decorate the bridle path on the centre strip, which originally ran from Schloss Charlottenburg (Charlottenburg Palace) to Grunewald.

Lietzensee

This tour continues to follow the Kaiserdamm and crosses the urban Autobahn. After about a block, you'll see a park with a lake on the right. The Lietzenseepark with its lake is over 16 hectares in size. A green oasis in the heart of the city.

Sophie Charlotte Platz

On the left, before Sophie-Charlotte-Platz, is the former Criminal Court, built in the historicist style. Make sure to take a look at the entrance. The grand street lights on the Kaiserdamm are a remnant from the Nazi era. They were designed by Albert Speer, Hitler's architect.

Insider Tip: Detour to Schloss Charlottenburg

At Sophie-Charlotte-Platz, turn left onto Schloßstraße to ride directly to Schloss Charlottenburg (Charlottenburg Palace). Schloßstraße is an impressive avenue in its own right. Right down the middle of it you can see the tower of Charlottenburg Palace. The street leads past the Bröhan Museum and the Museum Berggruen. Cross the Spandauer Damm and you'll be in the palace forecourt. From here, you visit the palace and the baroque palace gardens here. If you need a break from cycling, you can catch a steamboat from the palace grounds. The steamboat will take you further into the historical city centre of Berlin. You can of course also ride back to the Kaiserdamm and continue the tour.

Deutsche Oper Berlin

Once you ride past Sophie-Charlotte-Platz, the Kaiserdamm becomes Bismarckstraße. Follow Bismarckstraße and after a while you'll pass the Deutsche Oper Berlin on the left side of the road. This is the largest of Berlin's three opera houses and was built in 1961. Stay on Bismarckstraße until you reach Ernst-Reuter-Platz. The roundabout was formerly called Knie (the knee), but has been named after the famous mayor of Berlin since 1953. Surrounding the roundabout are numerous buildings of the Technical University of Berlin.

Straße des 17. Juni

The tour continues on the opposite side of Ernst-Reuter-Platz, on Straße des 17. Juni. This street was named after the date of popular uprising in the GDR on 17 June 1953, a day which was a national holiday in West Germany until 1990. Ride straight ahead and you will pass the Charlottenburger Tor. This neo-baroque edifice was built in 1908 for decorative purposes only.

Insider Tip: Side Trip to KPM

If you like first-class porcelain, you’ll love a side trip to the KPM Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin (Royal Porcelain Factory). To get here, take a left onto Bachstraße just before the S-Bahn bridge. Then turn left again onto Wegelystraße and ride to house no. 1. Especially recommended: taking tea on original KPM china in the elegant café right by the display and sales rooms, as well as the guided tours, which are open to the public and take place every Saturday at 3 pm. There are also industrial selling and the biggest flagshipstore of KPM.

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Großer Tiergarten

Stay on Straße des 17. Juni as you ride through the park known as the Großer Tiergarten. What is now the third largest urban park in Germany has existed since 1527. Since the park was parcelled out in allotments after WWII and the trees cut down for firewood, the Großer Tiergarten has now been restored to its full glory. It is a popular tourist destination and a recreational area for locals and tourists alike.

Insider Tip: Side Trip to the Zoologischer Garten

Turn directly to the right behind the S-Bahn bridge at the Tiergarten S-Bahn station, cross the sluice, and you'll discover a narrow foot and bike path that runs past the animal enclosures at the Zoologischer Garten (Zoological Garden). You can even see quite a few animals from the trail itself.

Siegessäule

Continue along Straße des 17. Juni and you will come to another roundabout called the Großer Stern.I In the middle of this roundabout rises the Siegessäule (Victory Column), on top of which stands Victoria, the golden goddess of victory, also known as “Goldelse”.

Insider Tip: Tiergarten Discoveries Left and Right

You don't have to ride on Straße des 17. Juni if you don't want to. You can always head off into the bushes to the left or right and ride through the Tiergarten itself. If you go to the left, you can take a look at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cultures), the former Congress Hall. The futuristic roof of this building has earned it the nickname the “pregnant oyster”. If you go to the right, you can see the Neuer See, the monuments to Queen Louise, King Friedrich Wilhelm III, and the composer Richard Wagner. Go around the Große Stern roundabout and continue on Straße des 17. Juni on the opposite side. You will come to the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal (Soviet War Memorial), a monument in memory of the Soviet soldiers who fell in World War II. Behind the monument is a military cemetery. A few pedal strokes further and you'll be at the Brandenburg Gate.

Brandenburg Gate

Ride straight through the Brandenburg Gate and enjoy the uplifting feeling of coasting through one of the most important monuments and symbols of Germany. In the immediate vicinity is the Reichstag, home to the German Bundestag, and the government district. To the right of the Brandenburg Gate is the world famous Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas (Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe).

Unter den Linden

Beyond the Brandenburg Gate, continue straight onto the Unter den Linden boulevard. This street has been here since the seventeenth century and takes you past many notable buildings. You'll ride past the Hotel Adlon, the Altes Palais (Old Palace), the Staatsbibliothek (the State Library), the Humboldt Universität (Humboldt University), the Neue Wache (the New Guardhouse), the Deutsche Staatsoper (the German State Opera, currently under renovation), the Opernpalais (Opera Palace), the Kronprinzessinnenpalais (the Palace of the Crown Princesses), and the rebuilt Stadtkommandantur (City Commandant's Headquarters).

Schlossbrücke

Continue riding down Unter den Linden and you'll see the Deutsches Historisches Museum (German Historical Museum) in the Zeughaus (Armory), the Lustgarten (Pleasure Garden) with the Altes Museum (Old Museum) and, in the background, the other museums of Museumsinsel (Museum Island): the Neues Museum (the New Museum), the Pergamon Museum, the Bode-Museum and the Alte Nationalgalerie (the Old National Gallery), as well as the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral). Cross the Schlossbrücke (Castle Bridge). After crossing the Schlossbrücke, you will come across a huge open space. In the GDR era, this was the site of the Palast der Republik (Palace of the Republic), which was torn down after reunification. The Berlin Stadtschloss (Berlin City Palace), which was blown up in 1950 by the East German government, will be rebuilt on this, its original site.

Alexanderplatz

From Schlossplatz, you're now just a few minutes away from Alexanderplatz. You'll pass the Marx-Engels-Forum, the Neptunbrunnen (Neptune Fountain) and the Rotes Rathaus (the Red City Hall), the offices of the mayor of Berlin.

Fernsehturm

The highest place on the tour will certainly be the Fernsehturm (TV Tower). Park your bikes and take the lift up to the restaurant and viewing platform. You'll have a fantastic view over the city and you can trace the route that you've just taken from high above the city. Kindly supported by Hotel Brandies.