Tour 33 - Cycling Tour through the centre of Berlin
This tour starts at Anhalter Straße 2-6 at ibis Berlin City Potsdamer Platz. From the front door of the hotel, ride to the right to the next corner, where you will take a left onto Wilhelmstraße. Ride a block and take a left onto Niederkirchnerstraße. At No. 8 is the Topography of Terror Documentation Centre.
Topography of Terror
This site was one of the most important centres of state terror during the Nazi era, housing Gestapo and SS headquarters and cells where they kept their prisoners. Today, it is a documentation centre about the crimes of the Nazi era. Take a tour and then ride back to Wilhelmstraße, where you'll take a left.
On the left is the Ministry of Finance building. Cross Leipziger Straße and ride for two short blocks until you come to An der Kolonnade, where you will take a left. At the end of this street, you will take a right onto Gertrud-Kolmar-Straße.
In just a couple of metres, on the right-hand side, you will come to a historical marker at the corner of In den Ministergärten. This board tells of the subterranean, self-sufficient bunker built by the Nazi leadership during the war and where Hitler later committed suicide. Ride to the end of Gertrud-Kolmar-Straße, where you will come to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
The Holocaust Memorial commemorates the six million Jewish persons who were killed in the Holocaust. Lock your bike and take the time to walk through the field of stelae before continuing on Gertrud-Kolmar-Straße to the next corner. Take a left onto Behrenstraße and then right onto Ebertstraße. After a few metres, you'll be at the Brandenburg Gate.
The Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate is the most famous landmark in Berlin. Take advantage of the opportunity to ride your bike around Pariser Platz. This eighteenth-century gate was marooned in the middle of no-man's land during the years of German division, but it now represents German reunification. Head straight west from the gate into the Großer Tiergarten and ride along Straße des 17. Juni.
Straße des 17. Juni
Straße des 17. Juni goes straight through the Großer Tiergarten and was named after the East German popular uprising in 1953 that was put down by Soviet troops. In a few hundred metres, you will see on the right-hand side the Soviet War Memorial.
Soviet War Memorial
This memorial commemorates the Red Army soldiers who fell during World War II, flanked by two Soviet tanks used in the battle for Berlin. Behind the row of pillars is a cemetery with the graves of as many as 2,500 Soviet soldiers killed in the battle. Stay on Straße des 17. Juni as you ride through the park known as the Großer Tiergarten.
The Großer Tiergarten is a large 210 hectare park that is very popular with Berliners as a recreational area. During and after the Second World War, the woods for which the park is famous were completely cleared to procure firewood. Later the park was replanted. Take a left into the park and ride until you come out on the southern edge of the park on Tiergartenstraße.
Take a right onto Tiergartenstraße and then take a left onto Herbert-von-Karajan-Straße. The street bears the name of the famous conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, located on this street. The Philharmonic and the other buildings in this area such as the Gemäldegalerie with its impressive collection of paintings are part of the Kulturforum (Cultural Forum). Follow the road as it curves to the left and runs into Potsdamer Straße. Take a right.
After about a block, you'll see the Neue Nationalgalerie on the right. This art museum houses a very interesting collection of twentieth-century art, and the building, designed by Mies van der Rohe, is itself a Modernist icon. Ride to the next corner and take a right onto Reichpietschufer, just before the bridge over the Landwehrkanal.
Ride for about 900 metres and take a right onto Köbisstraße. Take this to the next corner and take a right. The road will become Hofjägerallee. This street will take you back through the Tiergarten to the Großer Stern, in the centre of which is the Siegessäule (Victory Column).
The Siegessäule was erected to celebrate the three wars that led to German unification under Otto von Bismarck in 1871. At the top of the column is the golden Victoria, nicknamed "Goldelse" by Berliners. If you wish, you may want to climb the 285 steps to the viewing platform, where you'll be rewarded with a fantastic view over the park and city. Walk your bike along the pavement to the left until you come to the next corner, where you'll take a left onto the bike path called Fasanerieallee.
Follow Fasanerieallee through the Tiergarten for about 500 metres until you come to Liechtensteinallee. On the right is the Café am Neuen See.
Café am Neuen See
This café is a popular meeting place for Berliners and visitors. It is a nice place to take a break, especially in the summer in the shady beer garden, with cool drinks and delicious food. Once you've finished, retrace your steps back along Fasanerieallee to the Großer Stern roundabout. Follow the roundabout halfway around and take a right onto Spreeweg.
On the left you will pass the new Bundestpräsidialamt, the offices of the German President, and then Schloß Bellevue, the President's official residence. The palace and garden are almost always closed for security reasons. Take a right onto John-Foster-Dulles-Allee just before the bridge over the Spree. Ride for about 700 metres along the Spree until you come to the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cultures), nicknamed by locals "the pregnant oyster".
The Pregnant Oyster
A convention centre until 1989, the building is now an international centre for the contemporary arts. Ride to the next corner and take a left onto Große Querallee.
Straight ahead are the offices of the German Chancellor. Take a right onto the tree-lined path called Paul-Löbe-Allee until you come to the Reichstag building.
The Reichstag has seen much of Germany's turbulent history. Built in 1894, this building housed the German Reichstag (Parliament) until the Reichstag fire that sealed Adolf Hitler's control of the nation. The building was very badly damaged during the Second World War and was only fully restored after German reunification. It has been the seat of the German Bundestag since 1999. Ride behind the building and take a left onto Dorotheenstrasse. In a block, take a right onto Wilhelmstraße.
Ride along Wilhelmstraße for 1.5 kilometres, crossing Unter den Linden and Leipziger Straße until you come back to Anhalter Straße. Turn right. At No. 2-6, you've reached your destination.