There weren’t many opportunities to travel in 2020. So why not explore the area on your own doorstep? We thought this sounded like a good idea and set off to cycle from Dresden to Berlin. As taking the most direct route can be boring, we wound our way through the regions of Saxony and Brandenburg on our way to the capital.
In this Collection, I present our bike Tour from Dresden to Berlin. You can ride the 11 stages at once, select individual Tours or follow the route in the opposite direction and cycle from the capital to Dresden. Either way, you’ll have a great time.
From Dresden, the state capital of Saxony, we cycle through beautiful nature towards the town of Kamenz. Here, you can learn more about the Sorbian population, a West Slavic ethnic group with their own language, culture and traditions. You then ride to Bautzen and continue through the Upper Lusatian heath. Over the next few days, you cycle from lake to lake. Don’t forget to pack your swimwear to take a dip or just sit on the lakeshore and enjoy the calm nature.
The town of Cottbus is a surprisingly lively city en route which is worth spending some time exploring. Afterwards, you ride into the Spreewald. To get to know the original Spreewald, you should avoid the larger towns and rent a canoe if you can. The forest then gives way to Berlin’s city outskirts. This vast and versatile capital, with its unique neighbourhoods and great cycling infrastructure, is perfect to discover by bike.
We were surprised how good the cycle paths are in many regions, aside from a few exceptions. It was also great to see how the coal mining areas have transformed into paradisiacal natural landscapes. On this Tour you can see a variety of mining history, from active mines to beautiful reclaimed beaches. This adventure was a journey through breathtaking lake landscapes, lonely countryside, and warm hospitality. It was a journey through time.
You start your journey in the middle of the Saxon state capital with a view of the impressive baroque buildings. The first stage is also one of the hardest, but somehow you have to leave the Elbe Valley and then you have left a big chunk behind you. And it is so rich in great impressions that you will live on them for a long time to come.If you haven't had breakfast yet, you can do that in Neustadt. Here you have an almost endless selection of cafés. My favorite cafés include the planned economy, the émoi, the Blumenau and the Bagel's.As soon as you have left New Town, you are in the middle of the wilderness. The drive through the Dresdner Heide is - especially in the morning - a beautiful experience of nature. After a good climb you reach the Hellerau, the garden city from 1909. Passing architecturally impressive buildings you finally leave Dresden.After a few very leisurely kilometers you can marvel at the steam locomotives at the terminus of the Lößnitzgrundbahn in Radeburg and take a break at the market square. The bakery on the market square has an incredible number of piebalds to choose from!You drive on leisurely paths through the Zschona pond area into the Königsbrücker Heide. On the way there are some witnesses from the time as a military training area, including a rather unpleasant concrete slab path. From the Haselberg Tower you can see almost the whole of Upper Lusatia.After a drive through the next idyllic pond area, you will soon reach Biehla. We stayed with good friends there. There are various overnight accommodations for you a few kilometers further south in the Lessing town of Kamenz.
The second day is much more relaxed with a good 35 kilometers. You mostly ride on back roads, rarely on bike paths, but through very authentic Sorbian villages. Here there are Sorbian sayings on the house facades and in many front gardens there is a crucifix with a Sorbian prayer. At the end of the day you can taste fine Sorbian cuisine, but more on that later.From Biehla you drive past several ponds and through small, Sorbian villages. It goes up and down a little every now and then, but it's never really exhausting. In Räckelwitz / Worklecy you drive past the castle, which was an important and modern hospital in GDR times.Shortly before Bautzen / Budyšin you can see the spiers of the old town from a hill and the view gives you a small foretaste of what to expect. From the Friedensbrücke you finally have a fabulous panorama of Bautzen's old town and the Spree.After arrival, take enough time to stroll through the alleys of the old town and take a look at the mustard museum. In the evening, hearty cuisine awaits you in the Mönchshof and if you want to experience something really unique, reserve a table in the excellent Sorbian restaurant Wjeblik.
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Today's stage is extremely watery, so you should have your bathing suit ready to hand. From the old town of Bautzen you drive through the Gesundbrunnen district, an extensive prefabricated housing estate. After a short bumpy slope, a wonderful descent leads you to the Bautzen dam. The wide sandy beach ensures that you almost get a Caribbean feeling.The next few kilometers you will drive past countless ponds. The Upper Lusatian heath and pond landscape is the largest economically used pond area in Europe and also a biosphere reserve. In Uhyst the next bathing lake is waiting for you, the Bärwalder See. The cooling towers of the Boxberg power plant form a bizarre background for bathing fun.On the market square in Lohsa there is the White Horse, a remarkable restaurant for this small town! Then you circle the Dreiweiberner See, a particularly successful example of the renaturation of a former brown coal mine. I've already participated in two triathlons here. :-)On great bike paths you then drive through Weißkollm and past the Scheibesee to Hoyerswerda. The new town forms an extraordinary contrast to the old town and sometimes the oversized streets feel eerily empty. After all, more than twice as many people lived here before the fall of the Wall.
Today's stage is again a little shorter and one of the most interesting of the whole tour. You start with a small tour through the old town of Hoyerswerda. If you haven't had breakfast yet, I would like to recommend Café Rosali on Kirchstrasse to you. In the warm and kitschy dining room you get the best breakfast with a view of the narrow alley.While you are leaving Hoyerswerda, contemporary witnesses of the GDR pass you and suddenly you are in a wonderfully fragrant pine forest. A very special cultural highlight awaits you in Schwarzkollm / Čorny Chołmc: the Krabatmühle. In the small village around the mill you will feel transported into the legend of the sorcerer's apprentice Krabat and you can find out more about this and many other Sorbian traditions. There is also coffee and cake and the singing fountain warms Sorbian folk tunes to itself.Halfway through the stage you will reach the Geierswalder See and then the Senftenberger See. Both are great for swimming and the tourist infrastructure, whether it's a café, ice cream parlor or bike paths, leaves nothing to be desired. You drive past many small beaches - textile and nudist - and you will soon be in Senftenberg.
On our day in Senftenberg we could choose between many options. We finally decided to visit a friend in Großräschen who showed us the very special Großräschener See. Alternatively, you can spend the day relaxing on Lake Senftenberg or drive over the Lausitzring to the F60 conveyor bridge, the huge lignite conveyor bridge - now an interesting museum.The best way to start your day is with an excellent espresso from the Senftenberger coffee roastery at the market. Then you drive on great bike paths to Dörrwalde, where you can visit the windmill there. On the way you get a first glimpse of the Großräschener See.In Großräschen you drive through the old town to the lake and the new city harbor. In the past, lignite was mined here for days, but the mine has now been flooded and ready to become a local recreation area. It looks a bit bizarre how excavators on the opposite bank remove the last remains of the coal mine while you drink a wine on the IBA terrace that comes from the vineyards on the banks of the Großräschener See.Then you drive back to Senftenberg and can linger on the beach promenade and in the castle park. There are many options for dinner, from a tasty snack at the harbor to a delicious pizza in the Due Fratelli to fine dining in the drugstore.
Today you have a slightly longer journey ahead of you and this time it is full to the brim with different impressions. You leave Senftenberg via the north shore of the Senftenberger See and will soon come to your first highlight, the “Rusty Nail”. From this impressive observation tower you overlook two former, flooded coal mines and the canal that connects the two.After a nice drive through the forest and over fields you will reach the Welzow opencast mine. He's still active. It is impressive how the landscape was completely dug up for coal mining.After overcoming a small incline, you will soon arrive at the Gräbendorfer See. There is a very nice, small beach there. Then you meander to Cottbus. The driveway leads you through pretty green spaces and past prefabricated housing estates. Take your time in Cottbus to explore the pretty old town. For a nightcap after the tour, I recommend the “cage” right by the city wall. In the relaxed and warm atmosphere of the bar, you will be served exceptional cocktails.
Before this, again, quite long stage, you should strengthen yourself, preferably with breakfast in Café Lucie right on the Altmarkt. There are exceptionally good breakfast menus here! After you've had your fill, you cycle along the Spree out of Cottbus. The bike path is wonderfully idyllic!After a while you leave the Spreeradweg and make a detour to the Baltic Sea, or the area that will one day become the Baltic Sea. Here you can see the impressive metamorphosis from the coal mine to the local recreation area. Then it goes through a very beautiful pond landscape.You meander through the Spreewald along countless rivers and canals. Burg is a bit too touristy for my taste, so I recommend that you drive around Burg to the north if you want to be more in nature. There are a lot of really good bike paths. I can only recommend the thermal baths in Burg, it's modern and really relaxing!Currently (autumn 2020) the beautiful bike path from Leipe to Lübbenau is closed, which is why we had to take a detour. From Lübbenau it finally goes dead straight to Lübben, the destination of today's stage.
Today's stage is particularly beautiful and leads you through quiet pond landscapes and a lot along small rivers. Even the exit from Lübben is wonderful and you will soon reach countless fish ponds. There is a nice little café at the entrance to the village of Schlepzig and from here you can also go on boat tours on the arms of the Spree.After a ride on a somewhat larger road, you will be spoiled with excellently developed bike paths from Neuendorf. Some freshly paved bicycle roads lead through the pine forest! For a wonderful lunch I can recommend the “Zum Seeblick” inn north of Alt-Schadow. When you look from the veranda, you can enjoy tasty, regional delicacies on original Trianon plates. Not much has changed here since the fall of the Wall.If you want to jump into the Neuendorfer See for a moment, you can ask the porter at the campsite if he will let you in. Then it goes on beautiful roads and bike paths to the Schwielochsee. There are many holiday apartments there that you can stay in.
No matter where you stay at the Schwielochsee, you can go on great tours on and around the lake from anywhere. We treated ourselves to a leisurely stage and cycled to Beeskow. The last hand cable ferry in Brandenburg is particularly impressive. The ferryman and bike will take you to the other bank for only 2 euros. There is a small kiosk on the east bank. There you can strengthen yourself with a beautiful view of the water.Beeskow has a few nice corners and you can easily explore the place by bike. There is a good restaurant right next to St. Mary's Church, from whose terrace you can see the simple brick facade of the large church. On the way back, there is a great, small swimming area hidden at Tiefen See.
Today the landscape is changing significantly. The pine forests are becoming less and you are driving more across wide fields. On the way you pass small, quiet villages. The first break is at the Scharmützelsee, a natural paradise.The Storkower See begins right behind it. It doesn't matter whether you drive around to the right or left, you end up in Storkow. The town's attraction is the castle, which also has a nice café. If you drive out of Storkow, you can drive over the old bascule bridge.Now you are heading for the Oder-Spree Canal and you will soon reach the Spree, which meanders through the landscape in countless arms. The stage ends at the gates of Berlin or already in Berlin, depending on the accommodation. The southeast of the capital, with its many lakes and canals, is a very special and for many unknown corner.
The last stage of the journey is an intoxicating contrast to the lonely expanses of Brandenburg. From the city limits you get closer and closer to the city center and the districts and neighborhoods change almost by the minute. The 30 kilometers lead you through unknown corners of Treptow-Köpenick.In Schmöckwitz you can take the ferry to Krampenburg and then drive over the Müggelsee to Köpenick. But we decided on an even more unknown route and drove along the Dahme.You roughly follow the tram line 68, which goes through the forest on the Langen See. On a hot morning in the lake, you can cool off at the Bammelecke, with or without bathing suits. From Spindlersfeld you have a nice view of Köpenick. If you've never been there before, you can take a little detour through the old town.You drive over the Wilhelm-Spindler-Brücke to Oberschöneweide. The Kranbar is one of the best cafés far and wide, you shouldn't miss it. And if it is already lunchtime, take a seat in the “Manifattura del Gusto”, one of the best pizzerias in Berlin. Here the Sicilian chef personally selects the best ingredients for his dishes.You can actually spend a whole day in the Wuhlheide, but you still have a few kilometers to go. Past the Spreepark, a dilapidated amusement park, you come to the island of youth. There is an extremely cozy beach bar there. Finally you drive through Treptower Park. Here at the latest, life is bustling and you know you've arrived in Berlin. Not far from there, you can get on the train at Ostkreuz station and start your way home. Or you just stay in Berlin for a few more days.