You can also discover Berlin beautifully by bike. The outer districts and especially tours through the forests and along the water are ideal for a bike tour. But this route is also great for hiking!
The tour route
Here we present our tour itinerary of the “Tegeler See Cycle Tour”.
Lake Tegel Cycle Tour
We start our tour in Berlin Siemensstadt at Saatwinkler Damm. Here, the Mäckeritz Bridge leads over the Hohenzollern Canal. We do not follow the course of the signposted cycle path, but first cycle through a colony of foliage that ends directly at a high fence. Behind it is the site of the former Tegel Airport, which will be converted into the Urban Tech Center in the next few years. The airport is still sleeping, planning is underway and initial investigations are taking place. The path along the fence currently still offers a view of the former runway.
It is still a strange feeling for us to stand here and not see any landing planes overhead. It was always exciting to watch the planes directly in the flight path. Today you can discover birds that have not been there for many years.
The path leads us through Jungfernheide (not to be confused with Volkspark Jungfernheide), a wooded area criss-crossed by numerous hiking trails and running on the other side of the Bernauer Strasse that runs through it to the banks of the Havel. This is exactly where we are drawn. We drive directly along the banks of the Havel.
After passing some sailing clubs and leaving the waterworks behind us, we get onto a path that takes us directly to Greenwich Promenade. It is very busy here, especially at weekends. Walkers and cyclists move along the Tegel and steamers leave from here.
The ride ends at the Sechserbrücke bridge. Here you could carry your bike up the steps and cross the tributary to Lake Tegel. We decide against it and continue until we reach the Humboldt Library.
The postmodern building is located on the northern edge of Tegel’s town centre. The library was named after the brothers Alexander and Wilhelm Humboldt, whose monument also stands in front of the building.
The building was planned as part of the 1987 building exhibition and opened in 1989. As with so many building sites in Berlin, the costs of the construction exceeded the estimated costs many times over. One reason was certainly the unfavourable subsoil (existing layers of sludge), which made a foundation on piles necessary. To save some costs, the construction was simply shortened by 10 metres.
The result is a spacious hall with three naves, reminiscent of a sacred building with industrial architectural ingredients. The west side of the library is characterised by a large window through which one can look out over the Tegel harbour basin. The walls of books extend over two floors and are reminiscent of a baroque monastery library.
Dicke Marie (Fat Marie)
Our cycle tour takes us back to the forest area around Lake Tegel. A sign along the way indicates a small turn-off to a natural monument.
The next stop is the “Dicke Marie”, where Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is said to have rested in 1778.
The “Dicke Marie” is an oak tree in Tegeler Forst. It is said to be over 800 years old, making it the oldest tree in Berlin. The tree owes its name to the rather obese cook at Tegel Palace. The Humboldt brothers spent their youth here.
In front of us rises a somewhat 18.5-metre-high oak with a circumference of just under 6 metres. Isn’t that a great tree?
The highest tree in Berlin
It was rather by chance that I discovered the reference to the highest tree in Berlin in Tegeler Forst while cycling through the forest again.
This is halfway between the Dicke Marie and the animal enclosure.
Whether it is still one of the tallest trees in the city today, who knows – in any case, the larch was in 2012. If you stand directly at the tree trunk and look up, you only notice how tall the tree really is.
Animal enclosure in Tegel Forest
If you follow the route on our map, you will reach the animal enclosures in Tegeler Forst.
In the spacious grounds you can observe red deer, fallow deer and wild boar at close range. A signposted nature trail (jay symbol) also runs here. On numerous educational boards you can read facts about the forest and its inhabitants.
We stood here for a while and watched the animals. It is always nice to see wild boars behind the fence and not in the middle of the path. There are supposed to be about 200 wild boars living freely in Tegeler Forst, so that can happen.
By ferry to Spandau
When you arrive at Jörsstraße, you can’t go any further. Here you are standing directly on the Havel, there is no bridge – but there is the car ferry “Hol-Über”!!!
The car ferry has been there since 1961 and it travels from one shore to the other in about 2.5 minutes every day. And it does so every 10 minutes or so! For many car drivers, it shortens the way from Spandau to Tegelort by many kilometres and minutes. But pedestrians, cyclists and even horses also travel on the ferry.
We didn’t have to wait long until the ferry docked in Tegelort and we could cross over. I always find it beautiful and enjoy the short trip on the water. Especially in good weather, when the sun glistens in the water, it’s a bit like being on holiday.
Person from 13 years: 0,60€
Adults with bicycle: 1,-€
There are discounts and special prices for vehicles, horses,…
Monday-Friday: 6-20 h
Saturday, Sunday, public holiday: 8-20 h
Saturday, Sunday, public holiday: 8-19h
Ride through Spandau
Part of the route from the ferry landing in Hakenfelde continues along signposted cycle paths through residential areas. There is a lot of construction going on along the banks of the Havel, so unfortunately you can’t always cycle directly along the water. But after crossing the Havel again, this time over a bridge in Wasserstadt, you reach Haselhorst.
After leaving the new development area behind, you cycle over the Saatwinkler Steg across the Berlin-Spandauer-Schifffahrtskanal. If you follow the cycle path, you will finally arrive back at the starting point of the tour.