Tour 24 - Cycling Tour through the City Centre
The cycling tour starts at Hotel Berliner Hof, Tauentzienstraße 8. Ride to your left from the front door of the hotel to the next corner. Take a left onto Nürnberger Straße. At the end of the block, you will see the entrance to the Zoologischer Garten Berlin (the Berlin Zoo) over to the left.
The Berlin Zoo is home to 17,000 animals representing 1,600 species, the most species in a single zoo anywhere in the world. Besides the traditional zoo with wild animals of all kinds, there is also the aquarium with fish, amphibians, reptiles and insects.
Cross the intersection and veer to the right to continue onto Budapester Straße. On the left-hand side, you will see the Hotel InterContinental, home to German rock star Udo Lindenberg during his years in Berlin. As you cross the Landwehrkanal, the street will change its name to Stülerstraße. As the road curves to the right, take a left onto Hofjägerallee which will you take into the Tiergarten.
The Großer Tiergarten is the second largest park in Berlin after the Tempelhofer Freiheit. The Tiergarten dates back to 1527. After the Second World War, the trees in the park were almost completely cut down to obtain firewood and the park was turned into a large garden to feed West Berlin. Today, the Tiergarten is a popular recreational area.
Continue on Hofjägerallee until you come to the Siegessäule (Victory Column) which stands in the middle of Großer Stern, a busy roundabout. The column is topped with an angel named "Victoria", but popularly called "Goldelse" by the Berliners. The column was erected in 1873 to commemorate the wars that led to German unification. Ride around the roundabout to the right until you can take a right onto Spreeweg.
As you ride along Spreeweg, you will see on the left the offices of the German President and then Schloss Bellevue, his official residence. Take a right onto John-Foster-Dulles-Allee just before the bridge over the Spree.
Haus der Kulturen der Welt
Ride along John-Foster-Dulles-Allee along the Spree and the northern edge of the Tiergarten until you come to the Haus der Kulturen der Welt. This extraordinary building was designed as a conference centre that opened in 1957 and earned the nickname of "Pregnant Oyster". Since 1989, the building has become a centre for the contemporary arts.
Continue on John-Foster-Dulles-Allee until it curves to the left and joins up with Scheidemannstraße. To the left, about a block away, you can see the Bundeskanzleramt, where the German chancellor and her staff carry out their daily work. Stay on Scheidemannstraße and ride past Platz der Republik on your left.
Platz der Republik
The Platz der Republik is a large green space which has played an important role in German history. A protest rally with 300,000 participants against the Berlin Blockade was held here in 1948. During the years of German division, this square was at the edge of West Berlin near the Wall and served as a recreational space for the city's residents. Now it is right at the heart of the government quarter. Continue riding towards the Reichstag, straight ahead.
The Reichstag building dates from 1894. Fierce battles took place here in the closing days of the Second World War, ending with the Red Army flying the Soviet flag on the building. Today, the Reichstag building has been restored with a new glass dome and is seat of the German Bundestag. Take a right onto Ebertstraße.
The Brandenburg Gate
In a few metres, you will see the north end of the Brandenburg Gate, the most famous landmark in Berlin. Built in 1791 as a city gate, it became a symbol of German division in the middle of the twentieth century and then a symbol of German unification after the Wall fell in 1989. Continue to ride south on Ebertstraße.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
At the next corner on the left stands the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (Holocaust Memorial) with its 2,711 concrete stelae. It's worth taking a break at this point and going into the monument. Once you've finished, head east on Behrenstraße (on the north side of the memorial).
In two blocks, take a left onto Wilhelmstraße. In a block, you'll be at Unter den Linden, one of the most famous steets in Berlin, where you will take a right.
Unter den Linden
Unter den Linden has been the most important ceremonial street in Berlin since the 17th century. To your left and right, you will see many historic buildings, such as Humboldt University, the Neue Wache, the Deutsche Staatsoper and many more. Ride for about 2 km across the Museum Island in the middle of the Spree and on to Alexanderplatz.
Alexanderplatz, often called "Alex" for short, is the most famous square in Berlin. It is dominated by the imposing TV tower built by the East German regime in the 1960s. The nearby Weltzeituhr (World Time Clock) has been a popular rendezvous point on the Alex since it was installed in 1969. Head across the square to the south, towards the TV tower.
Insider Tip: Coffee in the Sphere Restaurant
The café at the top of the TV tower offers a fantastic view of the city. The restaurant rotates on its own axis.
On the south-west corner of Alexanderplatz is the Berlin City Hall, built in 1869. The East Berlin magistrate held court here during the days of the GDR. Since 1991, it has once again become the main offices of the Berlin Senate and the Governing Mayor of Berlin. Head west on Rathausstraße and cross Spandauer Straße.
Once you cross the little bridge over the Spree, you are once again on the Museum Island in the middle of the river. To your right is Schloßplatz, the site of the former city palace of Prussia's kings and Germany's kaisers. The East German government building, the Palast der Republik, stood here until 2008. Continue straight past the square and over the next bridge over the Spree.
After the Spree bridge, the street is named Werderscher Markt and then Französische Straße in a couple of blocks. Ride straight for another block and take a left onto Markgrafenstraße. The Gendarmenmarkt will be about half a block down the street. Ride until you're at the centre of this symmetrical square.
Straight ahead you will see the Konzerthaus, designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel as a royal theatre. It has been home to the Konzerthausorchester Berlin since 1994. On the right side of the square, you will see the Huguenot church called the Französischer Dom. And to the left is the German Protestant church called the Deutscher Dom. Ride behind the Deutscher Dom and take a right onto Mohrenstraße.
Ride on Mohrenstraße for several blocks; the street will change names and become Voßstraße. In about a kilometre, you will cross Ebertstraße. At the next corner, take a left onto Auguste-Hauschner-Straßeand and ride straight ahead to Potsdamer Platz.
To the right, you will see the large Sony Center. Take Bellevuestraße on the right hand side of the Sony Center and ride to the north-west. At the end of the street, you will see the Tiergarten straight ahead. Take a left onto Tiergartenstraße. As you ride along Tiergartenstraße, you will pass several embassy buildings to your left.
In about 1.4 kilometres, the road will cross Hofjägerallee and curve to the left to become Stülerstraße. Once you cross the Landwehrkanal, the road will be named Budapester Straße. At the next major intersection, continue straight across onto Nürnberger Straße. At the next corner, take a right onto Tauentzienstraße. At No. 8, you've reached your destination.