Cycling the Berlin Wall Trail

Visit old sections of the Berlin Wall on the Berlin Wall Trail
Visit old sections of the Berlin Wall on the Berlin Wall Trail

As urban adventures go, there’s perhaps no better way to experience the diversity, beauty and history of Berlin than to follow the Berlin Wall Trail.

  An old watchtower and the orange stele on the Berlin Wall TrailAn old watchtower and the information signs on the Berlin Wall Trail From 1961 to 1989, the Berlin Wall cut off West Berlin from East Berlin and East Germany. It separated families, friends and lovers and was the most iconic symbol of division of its time. The stories of people trying to escape to West Berlin, which you can read up on at information poles dotted all along the Berlin Wall Trail, are heartbreaking. After taking in a few you begin to understand why many Germans wanted the wall completely demolished when it came down in 1989. Others thought it should be preserved as a reminder of history. Construction of the Berliner Mauerweg (Berlin Wall Trail) was completed in 2006. The trail follows the course of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) border fortifications for a total of around 160km. An original section of the Berlin Wall, on the Berliner MauerwegAn original section of the Berlin Wall, on the Berliner Mauerweg It’s kind of eerie knowing you are following former patrol roads where guards once roamed keeping an eye out to 'neutralize' those trying to escape. Combine this with the story's on the orange steles found regularly along the trail that outline the hopeless efforts of those who died trying to escape, complete with a map of where they perished (often very close to where you are standing), and the gruesome period comes vividly to life. Along the route you will also pass original sections of the wall, like the East West Gallery which features iconic murals painted by invited artists from around the world. At Bernauer Strasse there is a memorial with an original section of the wall, famous pictures on the side of buildings, markers where escape tunnels were built, audio and video about significant events as well as images of those who lost their lives. Bernauer StrasseBernauer Strasse features the famous picture of Conrad Schumann, an East German guard escaping to the West While the wall is the central theme to the ride, there is so much more to absorb. Starting in Oranienburg, if you can stomach it, you can visit the nearby Sachsenhausen concentration camp before heading south through peaceful forests to join the Berlin Wall Trail. The countryside soon gives way to the suburbs of Berlin, where the houses seems like they have come straight from an episode of Grand Designs. Soon, you’ll hit Berlin Mitte in the heart of the city and overnight at your hotel, a short walk from the Reichstag building (site of the German parliament) and Brandenburg Gate.. Riding through Berlin is fun, and safe. Berlin has dedicated cycle paths, and the traffic lights are even setup to allow for smooth movement of cyclists. Drivers are used to cyclists, even the turning traffic always take into account oncoming cyclists before committing to their turn. Berlin Wall Trail signs are 3.6m high, same height as the Berlin Wall was.The Berlin Wall Trail signs are 3.6m high, same height as the Berlin Wall was. In fact, for self guided cyclists, the whole trail is simple to follow thanks to the regular signs (which are found at a neck cranking 3.6m high, the same height as the wall) the easy to follow route notes, or for those who prefer technology, the handy GPX maps. Heading further south you’ll pass through fields of crops and through old villages on your way to beautiful Potsdam, a place you could easily spend an extra day exploring the grounds of Potsdam University and the beauty of Sanssouci Palace, which some say rivals the grandeur of Versailles. Heading out of Potsdam you cross the Glienicke Bridge, where spies were traded, before following the Havel River Cycle route back towards Oranienburg. The route deviates away from the Berlin Wall Trail to follow the Havel River cycle route. Overall, the cycling is flat and easy. If you are still nervous about your fitness, or keeping up with your travelling partner, upgrade to an electric bike. This really is a great option for those seeking an urban adventure and wanting to test a self guided cycling trip out for the first time. Brad Atwal View Berlin Wall Trail Cycle trip details

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