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The river Spree with the German Chancellery in Berlin
The river Spree with the German Chancellery © Getty Images, Foto: ewig3D

Tour 51 – Cycling Along the River Spree

The tour starts at the front door of Flottwell Berlin Hotel & Residenz am Park at Flottwellstraße 18. Head left from down Flottwellstraße until the road dead ends onto Schöneberger Ufer. Take a right. In a block, you'll come to a bridge across the Landwehr Canal. Turn left and cross the bridge and then make an immediate left onto Reichpietschufer. A few feet after passing the park, take a right onto Gabriele-Tergit-Promenade. Ride along the Pink Pipeline straight to Potsdamer Platz.

Potsdamer Platz

What was once a wasteland in central Berlin split in half by the Berlin Wall, Potsdamer Platz has now become a lively city centre with restaurants, shopping malls, cinemas and theatres. Definitely worth a look is the futuristic Sony Center, with its tent-like roof that is illuminate at night in a variety of colours and the adjacent Museum for Film and Television. There are also numerous restaurants, cinemas and theatre in the district, as well as excellent shopping opportunities at Potsdamer Platz Arkaden or the luxury Mall of Berlin on nearby Leipziger Platz. Take a left onto Ebertstraße. In three blocks, you will come upon the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe on the right. This field of stelae covers 19,000 m2 and serves as a central place of remembrance and reminder. A block further down Ebertstraße and you'll come upon what is probably the most famous site in Berlin: the Brandenburg Gate.

Brandenburg Gate

The Brandenburg Gate was built as a city gate on what was once the city's western edge. During the years of German division, the Berlin Wall ran in front of the gate; Once the Wall fell, the gate has become the symbol of German reunification. Continue riding past the gate and in a block you'll come upon Friedrich-Ebert-Platz and the unmissable Reichstag building to your left.

Reichstag

Originally built in 1894, the Reichstag was severely damaged during the Second World War and was only fully restored after German reunification. The structure has now been topped with a new glass dome and is once again one of the most famous landmarks in Berlin. Since 1999, the Reichstag has been the seat of the German Bundestag. One you make your way across Friedrich-Ebert-Platz, you will arrive directly along the banks of the Spree, which you now follow to your left by turning onto Reichstagufer. Ride along the river, passing the Spreebogenpark and the Capital Beach bar across from Berlin's central station. To your left, you'll see the futuristic offices of the German chancellor.

Bundeskanzleramt

This postmodern building has been home to the German chancellor's offices since 2001. The Bundeskanzleramt is one of the two official offices of the incumbent chancellor. As you ride a little further, you'll soon come upon the House of World Cultures.

Haus der Kulturen der Welt

Due to its unusual shape, this building once earned the nickname of the "pregnant oyster". The Haus der Kulturen der Welt was built in 1957 to serve as a convention hall for West Berlin. Now, the building is home to a cultural institution that displays works of international contemporary art. Just a little further as you curve along the river, you'll come to Schloss Bellevue.

Bellevue Palace

Since 1994, this imposing and gleaming white building has been the official residence of the German President, an office with largely ceremonial duties. Ferdinand of Prussia, the younger brother of King Frederick II, had the palace built in 1786. It features three wings of two storeys each in the early classical style popular at the time. Continue following the river; the road will change names from Bellevue-Ufer to Holsteiner Ufer and then Schleswiger Ufer.

About 1.6 km after Bellevue-Palace, you'll come across the Wullenwebersteg over the river. Turn right and cross over the bridge, turning immediately left to follow the river on its north bank along the Wikinger-Ufer for 900 m until you come upon Levetzowstraße. Take a left and then another quick left onto the Gotzkowskybrücke and cross back over to the south bank of the Spree.

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Gotzkowskybrücke

Immediately after the bridge, turn right back onto the riverside path on the south bank of the River Spree. Ride around the bend in the river for 1.2 km until you reach Dovestraße, where you will turn right and the cross over the Dovebrücke, which crosses the Landwehr Canal near its mouth into the Spree.

Dovebrücke

Once you cross the bridge, once again turn right onto the riverside path for 1.4 km. The road will first be named Iburger Ufer and then Charlottenburger Ufer; ride until you come to Luisenplatz, from which you can see the famous Charlottenburg Palace straight ahead.

Charlottenburg Palace

Schloß Charlottenburg was built in 1699 and was the largest residence of the royal Hohenzollern family in Berlin. This is about the halfway point on the tour, so this would be a great chance to take a break by with a free tour of the gardens or by getting a ticket to visit inside the palace. Simply cycle through the park, enjoy the gardens, and relax on one of the lawns.

Insider Tip: Orangerie

Enjoy a refreshing drink in the beer garden of the café-restaurant to the left of the palace. After the break, ride south of the palace on Schloßstraße for about 900 m, crossing Bismarckstraße and then a left at the fork in the road onto Windscheidstraße. Take an immediate left onto Schillerstraße and ride for six blocks until you come to Krumme Straße, where you will take a right. Make a left at the next corner onto Goethestraße. In about 7 blocks, you'll come upon Steinplatz.

Steinplatz

Follow the traffic on the right side of the square and take a right onto Hardenbergstraße and then an immediate left onto Fasanenstraße. Ride past the library of the Technical University and take a right onto Müller-Breslau-Straße.

Landwehrkanal

After passing under the S-Bahn tracks, you will be on Garten-Ufer. Go past the Schleusenkrug café (see below) and take a left onto the Untere Freiarchenbrücke past the small marina to cross the Landwehr Canal.

Insider Tip: Schleusenkrug

Before crossing the bridge, you might want to take a break at the Schleusenkrug. While enjoying a refreshing beverage in the beer garden, you can watch the ships navigate the nearby Tiergarten Locks. Once ready to continue, cross the Freiarchenbrücke. Once across the bridge, take a right along the Landwehr Canal on Tiergartenufer until you come to Lichtensteinallee, where you will take a left. Once you get to the end of the street open to motor vehicle traffic, take a right on the Großer Weg path through the beautiful Tiergarten park.

Tiergarten

The Tiergarten is considered Berlin's green lung because its 120 hectares makes it one of the largest parks in the city. In addition to many small streams and paths, the park is crossed by Straße des 17. Juni, which runs to the Großer Stern where the Victory Column stands.

Insider Tip: Café am Neuen See

Before entering the park at the end of Lichtensteinallee, you might want to stop at Café am Neuen See, probably one of the most romantic beer gardens in Berlin. Enjoy refreshing beverages and ligth snacks right on the water under tall trees and on the bridge over the lake. The café also has boats for hire.

Großer Weg

Following Großer Weg through Tiergarten, you will reach Tiergartenstraße at the corner of Herbert-von-Karajan-Straße, into which you will turn right. You're now in the Kulturforum, one of the most important centres for art and culture in Berlin. As you ride along, you'll see numerous museums and concert halls lining the street.

Kulturforum

As you curve to the left, Herbert-von-Karajan-Straße becomes Sharounstraße; take a right then onto Potsdamer Straße. Cross the Reichpietschufer and the Schöneberger Ufer and turn left into Lützowstraße. At the end of the street, ride onto Flottwellstraße, where no. 18 marks the end of the tour. road to reach at number 18 again your starting point. With the friendly support of the Flottwell Berlin Hotel & Residenz am Park.