I was asked where is the best part of Berlin to visit on a three hour bike ride. I came up with this short tour around the historic central part of Berlin. The route starts at the Brandenburg Gate and follows a ‘crooked rectangle’ along Federal routes 2 and 1 marked in yellow on the Google map below.
We start at the Brandenburg Gate, once inaccessible behind the Wall, now the top tourist attraction in Berlin.
Nearby is the Reichstag, home of the German parliament, the Bundestag.
We continue through the Brandenburg Gate onto Unter den Linden with its magnificent buildings on both sides.
Soon we cross onto the island formed by two arms of the River Spree. This is the historic heart of Berlin.
To the left is the Museumsinsel – the ‘museum island’ with several major museums.
The Cathedral with its large dome stands nearby, and just across the wide avenue is the site of the GDR’s demolished 1970s style ‘Palace of the Republic’. Now, the Kaiser’s Palace is being rebuilt.
We continue further and we see the Television Tower built in 1973 and nearly 1200 feet high.
In the middle of the gardens is the statue of Marx and Engels and the Neptune Fountain
Alexanderplatz station is up ahead. Here you can take your bike on suburban train to all corners of Berlin, but there’s no time for that today!
The Alexanderplatz is a wide square that retains the architectural style and atmosphere of the GDR. In the corner is the World Time Clock, built during the GDR period.
We continue round onto the wide Grunerstraße. Now we are on Federal route number 1 and heading through the Fischerinsel district and onto Leipziger Straße. Soon we are at the intersection with Friedrichstraße, and turning left here, we come to the site of Checkpoint Charlie, the famous pedestrian crossing point between West and East Berlin. The Haus am Checkpoint Charlie museum is a must-see.
From here we can follow the line of the Berlin Wall. There are metal strips in the ground marking its path. We pass Martin-Gropius-Bau – venue for the 2014 David Bowie exhibition and onto Potsdamer Platz (Square), once a wasteland caught between East and West, now a busy traffic intersection again, overlooked by office towers and a shopping centre.
A short distance from here is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews. It’s a rectangular plot of land with large stone squares.
We can see the Brandenburg Gate from here and in just a couple of minutes we are back there again after a very quick tour on two wheels.
To see all the sights of Berlin you’d need more like three days or maybe three weeks – or years but these three hours will have to suffice for now!