This tour starts at the Citystay Hostel Berlin-Mitte at Rosenstraße 16, where you'll turn right from the front door. At the end of the block, turn right and then a quick left onto An der Spandauer Brücke. Ride for about 300 metres across the S-Bahn tracks until you come to Hackescher Markt.
Hackescher Markt is a busy transport hub in the Spandauer Vorstadt neighbourhood, full of pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, trams and the S-Bahn line. But it is best known as a popular starting point for excursions into Berlin's nightlife. Particularly worth checking out are the Hackesche Höfe.
The entrance to the Hackesche Höfe is located opposite the Hackescher Markt at Rosenthaler Straße 40/41. This building complex was built in 1906 with the eight courtyards (Höfe) that give it its name and offers a mix of cultural institutions, businesses and homes. Back at Hackescher Markt, head southwest onto Große Präsidentenstraße and then, after a long block, take a left onto Burgstraße.
Ride back over the S-Bahn tracks and after a long block, take a right onto the bridge over the Spree. You are now on Museum Island, home to the Pergamon Museum, the Neues Museum, the Alte Nationalgalerie, the Bode Museum and the Altes Museum. After crossing the island on Bodestraße, you will cross the Spree again and take an immediate right onto Am Kupfergraben.
Am Kupfergraben runs along the branch of the Spree known as the Kupfergraben that runs along the western edge of the Museumsinsel. It was apparently named after a copper foundry once located here. Continue riding along the river, under the S-Bahn tracks and enjoy the views of the magnificent museums to your right. After the street curves to the left, you will come to Geschwister-Scholl-Straße. Take a right onto Ebertbrücke over the Spree and continue on Tucholskystraße.
Stay on Tucholskystraße for three blocks until you come to Oranienburger Straße, where you'll take a right. In about half a block, you will see the Neue Synagoge on your left.
This "new synagogue" was opened in 1866. This magnificent building, with its highly visible golden dome, was built by architects Eduard Knoblauch and Friedrich August Stiller. During Kristallnacht from 9–10 November 1938, the building escaped destruction by the courageous intervention of a police officer. It only received considerable damage during the bombing of Berlin during World War II. The building has now been restored and used as a synagogue since 1994. Turn around and ride westwards on Oranienburger Straße, crossing Tucholskystraße. Continue for three blocks until the road terminates at Friedrichstraße, where you will take a left. Insider-Tipp: Maskworld At Oranienburger Straße 46/47, you might want to stop in at Maskworld, full of costumes, unusual masks, special-effects products, wigs and much more to try on and buy.
Head south down Friedrichstraße. In just over a block, you'll see the Friedrichstadt Palast, home to grand musical revues, and the Quatsch Comedy Club. As you approach the bridge over the Spree, you might want to take a break at Friedrichs 106.
Das Friedrichs 106
Friedrichs 106 is a café blending Viennese coffeehouse and Berlin's brunch culture, which, among other things, means you can get a fine Wiener Schnitzel here. Cross the bridge over the Spree. On the right hand side of the street is the building known as the "Tränenpalast".
"Palace of tears" is the nickname given to the former departure hall for trains leaving East Berlin on their way back to the West. During the years of German division, the GDR border troops did their checks and processing in this building. East Germans had to say farewell to their family and friends visiting on the portico of this building. Ride under the S-Bahn tracks and in three blocks you will come to Unter den Linden.
Unter den Linden
Take a right onto this grand boulevard and enjoy riding on this street with a wide central reservation (median) and the eponymous linden trees. At Unter den Linden 42, you might want to stop at Café Einstein for a fine cup of coffee while catching glimpses of the many German politicians who can often be seen here. Stay on Unter den Linden, until you come to the Brandenburg Gate, straight ahead.
The Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate is one of the most famous sights of Berlin. It has become the most well-known symbol of Germany's turbulent history. During the years of German division after World War II, it was right in the middle of the no-man's zone between the two sides of the Berlin Wall. It is appropriate, then, that it now stands as a reminder of the opening of that border and German reunification in 1989-1990. Celebrate that freedom by riding through the Brandenburg Gate and take a right onto Ebertstraße.
In a short block, you will come upon the mighty Reichstag building with its famous new glass dome by architect Sir Norman Foster. Since 1999, the Reichstag has been the seat of the German Bundestag. The roof terrace and dome can be visited free of charge (advance booking is required, however). Ride back along Ebertstraße to the Brandenburg Gate and continue for another block until you come to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Get off your bike, lock it up, and take the time to walk through the field of 2,711 stelae designed by Peter Eisenman. The Holocaust Memorial commemorates the six million Jewish people who were killed in the Holocaust. Continue on Ebertstraße until you come to Potsdamer Platz.
Potsdamer Platz is another reflection of German history. The square was one of the busiest transport hubs in the world in the 1920s, but it was almost completely destroyed in the Second World War. During the years of German division, this square was also stuck in the middle of no-man's land between East and West. It was rebuilt after reunification. As you cross Potsdamer Platz, veer to the left onto Stresemannstraße.
In about a block, take a left onto Niederkirchnerstraße. Stay on this street for a long block. It will then become Zimmerstraße. After another block, you will come to the corner of Friedrichstraße and the former Checkpoint Charlie.
Checkpoint Charlie was one of the border crossings in Berlin during the division of Germany. It was only open for western military personnel and foreign diplomats. In 1961, this was the site of a famous confrontation between Soviet and American tanks. It is now home to the Mauermuseum.
This museum was opened in 1963 and documents the history of the Berlin Wall and successful and unsuccessful escape attempts. Documents, photos and means of escape, such as hot air balloons, getaway cars, mini-submarines and much more are on display. Take a left onto Friedrichstraße and then an immediate right onto Schützenstraße. Stay on Schützenstraße for four blocks until you come to Axel-Springer-Straße, where you will take a left.
Ride for two blocks until you come to a major intersection. Take a right onto Spittelmarkt. Stay on Spittelmarkt, cross the Spree onto the Museumsinsel, and continue as the street is named Gertraudenstraße and then Mühlendamm. Cross the Mühlendammbrücke over the second arm of the Spree into the Nikolaiviertel.
The Nikolaiviertel is the oldest residential area in Berlin. The Nikolaikirche was built around the year 1200. During the Second World War, the area was almost completely destroyed. In 1987, the Nikolaiviertel was completely restored by the East German government. Take a look at the result: a mix of restored buildings, new buildings with historicist façades and decorated modern buildings. Leave the Nikolaiviertel onto Spandauer Straße, where you will take a left.
In about two blocks, cross Karl-Liebknecht-Straße and then take a right onto Anna-Louisa-Karsch-Straße. In another block, take a right onto Rosenstraße. At No. 16, you've reached your destination.
With friendly support of the Citystay Hostel Berlin-Mitte