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Cycle the Berlin Wall
7 days
Germany - Trip code CBW

Cycle the Berlin Wall

2019 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and on this trip we cycle around West Berlin - tracing a route where the 155km long Wall used to stand in the Cold War period from 1961-1989. Along the way we will visit iconic sites including Hitler's Bunker, the Bridge of Spies, Checkpoint Charlie, Reichstag, East Side Gallery and the Brandenburg Gate. Additionally we visit Potsdam's palaces and gardens in the former Prussian royal seat including Cecilienhof Palace where Stalin, Truman and Churchill signed the Treaty of Potsdam in August 1945. Your Explore Leader will be able to offer first hand accounts of growing up in East Germany and the events of 1989.

Trip highlights

  • Cycle the Wall - Ride around the West Berlin's Iron Curtain divide
  • Potsdam - UNESCO Splendid palaces and gardens of former Prussian royal seat
  • Story of the divided city - First-hand account of life in Soviet East Germany
  • Story of the fall of the Wall - First-hand account of the events in 1989
  • Glienicke Bridge - Visit the 'Bridge of Spies'
  • Berlin sites - Hitler's Bunker, the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag and Checkpoint Charlie
Accommodation grade:
Standard
Our standard, mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service, often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en suite facilities.
Cycling grade:
Moderate
Medium length rides suitable for cyclists who are used to undulating routes with occasional energetic climbs. Mainly on trails and quiet roads and you should have a reasonable level of fitness.
Group Size:
10 - 16
Maximum group size ranges from between 6 to 20 people, depending on the type of trip, the transport and accommodation used and activities included. We rarely have groups that are smaller than five or six people and the average is 12 people plus an Explore leader.

Itinerary

Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

Day 1 - Trip starts in Berlin

Arriving in Berlin, we settle into our hotel and after an initial briefing, there will be the opportunity to head out and enjoy your first taste of the city's restaurants and nightlife. Despite being badly damaged in World War II and broken apart during the Cold War, Germany's capital and largest city has been greatly reconstructed, particularly since the fall of the Wall in 1989.

If you're booking your own flights then please ensure that you let us know whether you're arriving into Berlin Schonefeld or Tegel Airport so we can arrange your transfer accordingly.

Accommodation: Hotel Titanic(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: None
Day 2 - Delve behind the Iron Curtain of the divided city on bike

We start the trip with an exploration of East Berlin and discover what it was like behind the Iron Curtain. Berlin is a bicycle friendly city with many dedicated cycle paths and the bike is a great, flexible way to explore. East Germany (officially the German Democratic Republic or GDR) existed as part of the Soviet Eastern Bloc from 1949 to 1990. East Berlin was the capital of the GDR and was radically transformed after the city was divided. Widespread destruction and housing shortages meant ubiquitous pre-fabricated apartment blocks for the masses were quickly thrown up. Communist town planning meant East and West developed in very different styles. We explore the remnants of socialist central planning and find out how much of East Berlin and East Germany still lingers in the lives and minds of people 30 years after the fall of the Wall. On our way through Prenzlauer Berg we see Ernst Thälmann enshrined in one of the few remaining monuments to the heroes of the communist era. This communist leader was arrested by the Gestapo in 1933, held in solitary confinement for 11 years and then shot dead on Hitler's personal orders in 1944. We'll see the Sportforum Hohenschönhausen where young men and women were drilled and doped into elite super athletes to demonstrate the superiority of the communist system. We will also look over the forbidding walls of a Stasi prison and learn more about this massive apparatus with over 80,000 secret police and their collaborators, whose sole duty was to spy on their own people. Although we don't cover much distance on the bikes today, there are plenty of stops along the way and we should finish in the late afternoon. Along the way we plan to taste the typical currywurst from one of the traditional stalls, and find out its role in the Cold War!

Our total cycling distance today is approximately 25 kilometres.

Accommodation: Hotel Titanic(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 3 - Ride from central Berlin to Teltow via Checkpoint Charlie

This morning we start the Berlin Wall Trail, cycling south through the centre to Teltow. The bicycle is the perfect way to travel along our route this week. The Wall was constructed by the GDR, starting from 13 August 1961, ostensibly to protect the fledgling soviet state from the capitalist influences of the Allied powers in West Berlin but in reality to stop the increasing volume of defections and emigration from the East. It stretched well beyond the centre, running over 120km to surround West Berlin - a British, American and French controlled enclave within the GDR. Originally fencing with barbed wire, the barrier grew by 1975 into two parallel concrete walls divided by the 'death strip' and overlooked by guard towers. Potsdamer Platz, once Berlin's busiest intersection, was completed destroyed by Allied bombers and then divided by the Wall. Nowadays it is the new centre of the reunited city. Our ride continues and we see Hitler's Bunker, the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag and Checkpoint Charlie. We cycle through the Western district Kreuzberg, famous for alternative subcultures and the punk rock movement in the 1970s and 80s, popular with artists such as David Bowie and Iggy Pop. Cross the Spree River and ride along the 'East Side Gallery', the longest surviving stretch of Wall and best known for the graffiti painting Bruderkuss in which Erich Honecker and Leonid Brezhnev are engaged in the socialist fraternal kiss. We follow the Wall Trail through Treptow and Neukölln and it was along this section that Chris Gueffroy was shot dead in early 1989, the last person to be killed while trying to escape over the Wall. Our route continues through the southern districts to our hotel in Teltow.

Our total cycling distance today is approximately 53 kilometres.

Accommodation: Landhotel Diana(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 4 - Cycle from Teltow to Potsdam. Free PM in Prussian royal seat Potsdam

After breakfast we start cycling, firstly along the Teltow Canal, following the disused Stammbahn - Prussia's first railroad built in 1838. Later we see what remains of Checkpoint Bravo, or Drewitz border control, which many West Berliners still associate with hour-long lines and the brusque way in which East German border staff searched the vehicles of West German travellers. Later we cycle through Babelsberg, where movie studios were established in 1917, quickly becoming the centre of German film-making in the 1920's and 1930's and later a darling of Joseph Goebbels propaganda machine (the oldest large-scale film studio in the world). Continue along Lake Griebnitz past the waterfront villas where Allied leaders Truman, Stalin and Churchill stayed during the Potsdam conference in the summer 1945 to decide how to administer post-war Germany and agree upon a new world order. At the western end of the lake we cross the legendary Glienicker Brücke aka Bridge of Spies - used during the Cold War to exchange captured spies. Shortly afterwards we reach Cecilienhof Palace where the conference took place and the Allied leader signed the 1945 Treaty of Potsdam. The rest of the afternoon is left free to explore one of Europe's most imposing royal capitals (residence of Prussian Kings until 1918) and UNESCO world heritage site with palaces and gardens, in particular we recommend Sanssouci Palace and Park.

Our total cycling distance today is approximately 30 kilometres.

Accommodation: Filmhotel Lili Marleen(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 5 - Cycle Potsdam to Hakenfelde via Berliner forest and Wannsee

Passing the Bridge of Spies again this morning we reach Wannsee, associated with the notorious conference of 1942 at which the Nazis planned the 'final solution' - the Genocide of all Jews within reach. Wannsee House, site of the conference, is now a Holocaust memorial. Crossing the lake by ferry we continue cycling from Kladow, passing Gatow airfield and former base for British occupational forces in Berlin. We then cycle past Staaken where the first Zeppelin took flight in 1916. Our route then takes us through the Berliner forest and finally to our hotel for tonight in Hakenfelde.

Our total cycling distance today is approximately 50 kilometres.

Accommodation: Havel Lodge(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 6 - Cycle from Hakenfelde to downtown Berlin

Our final cycle route of the Wall Trail continues near the GDR steel works of Hennigsdorf before taking us south, back into the centre of Berlin. The garden city suburb of Frohnau featured one of Germany's tallest buildings in the Cold War, a microwave radio tower to link with the West. The bike trail continues along the side of Tegeler river and later reaches the medieval village of Lübars which might serve as a welcoming break with its church and village inn. Entering the districts of Reinickendorf and Pankow we reach the former border control at Bornholmer Strasse - which was the first to be opened on the evening of 9 November 1989 and 20,000 East Berliners crossed it in the first hour. It was also the site of a tunnel through which many escaped to the west. We complete the loop and return to central Berlin after cycling through Mauerpark. You may choose to visit the Berlin Wall Memorial located on Brunnen Strasse. Extending along 1.4km, the memorial features the only section of the Wall to be preserved in its full depth, allowing visitors to see the various elements of the border strip as it looked at the end of the 1980s. The rest of the day is free to explore Berlin before our final group meal to celebrate completing our route and the reunification of Berlin.

Our total cycling distance today is approximately 47 kilometres.

Accommodation: Hotel Titanic(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 7 - Trip ends in Berlin

The trip ends this morning in Berlin after breakfast.

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Cycling information

General cycling information
On this trip we cycle 205 km over five days (an average of 41 km per day). We follow urban cycle ways with city traffic, traffic lights and crossings and with the occasional need to use busier roads for short sections (10%). Around 40% of the route is on quieter paths, through parks, forests, fields and alongside canals. The route is generally on the flat and on tarmac. The Explore leader cycles with the group each day while the luggage is transported from hotel to hotel. There is no vehicle support. We have graded the route as moderate.
Bike included
24 or 27 gear hybrid bikes.
Bike information
Your included bike is a 24 or 27 gear Hybrid and will be the correct frame size for your height. We provide spare parts and take care of the day to day maintenance. All you need to bring is your own helmet.
Cycling grade
Moderate

Why book this trip

Unlike many other operators, we include the hire of your bike in the overall cost of the holiday: you don't need to bring your own or pay extra to hire one locally. All you need bring is your own helmet.

What's included?

Included meals
  • Breakfast: 6
Transport
  • Bicycle
  • Taxi
Trip staff
  • Explore Tour Leader / Cycle guide
Accommodation
  • 6 nights standard hotel
Award Winning Explore Leaders
Read more
Price Guarantee Promise
Read more
Airport Transfers
Read more
FairFX currency card
Read more

Trip information

Country information

Germany

Climate

Germany has a variable climate with frequent changes of weather from day to day. Expect a contrast of warm summer days with the possibility of showers at any time.

Time difference to GMT

+1

Plugs

2 Pin Round

Religion

Christian

Language

German

Budgeting and packing

Optional activities

The following excursions and/or activities are usually available and may be arranged locally. Estimated costs are provided below for guidance only, are on a per person basis unless shown otherwise, and may depend on the number of participants. Prices quoted are correct as of the date these tour notes were originally issued but may change at any time due to currency fluctuations. Please note: These activities are booked and paid for direct with the supplier and do not form part of your Explore holiday contract.


Museum of German History - 8 Euros
Berlin Cathedral - 7 Euros

Clothing

When cycling: quick drying cycle tops, padded cycle shorts, lightweight wind and water proof jacket and warmer breathable layers where local conditions require.
General: Pack essentially for warm weather depending on the time of the year.

Footwear

If you are not bringing cycle shoes then try to bring stiff-soled shoes as these are better for cycling - transmitting your energy into the pedals more efficiently. This becomes more relevant and recommended the more demanding the grade and distances to cover. SPD cycle shoes are not well suited to trips that combine sightseeing with cycling.
Comfortable shoes, trainers, sandals or flip flops are useful when not on the bike.

Luggage

20kg

Luggage: On tour

We recommend you bring a daypack and one main piece of luggage (total allowance: 44lb/20kg) which will be transported between hotels while you cycle. Check the bike details section to see if a pannier or handlebar bag is provided on the bike.

Equipment

On all Explore cycle holidays we strongly recommend you bring along and wear your cycle helmet. In case of an accident resulting in personal injury, certain insurance policies are invalidated in cases where a helmet was not being worn.

Cycle glasses to protect against dust, pollen and the sun, padded cycle gloves and a water bottle or water delivery system (e.g. camelback or platypus) are also useful. You may choose to bring your own gel seat cover for added comfort. If a handle bar bag or pannier is not provided (check bike details) then you may like to bring a small rucksack to wear while cycling. Other items to consider bringing are a sunhat and sun cream, torch, earplugs and insect repellent. Please carry some or all of your cycling equipment e.g. helmet as part of your hand luggage.

Tipping

Explore leader
At your discretion you might also consider tipping your Explore Leader in appreciation of the efficiency and service you receive.
Country Information

Germany

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


Dinner price
£18
Beer price
£3
Water price
£1.3
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Euro
Recommended Currency For Exchange
GBP and USD are readily exchanged.
Where To Exchange
We recommend that you change any currency into Euros prior to arrival. Bureau de Change are generally only found in major cities and large airports.
ATM Availability
ATMs are readily available throughout Germany.
Credit Card Acceptance
Most major credit cards are accepted, but ask first.
Travellers Cheques
Can be exchanged at banks and exchange shops.

Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Transport Information

Bicycle, Taxi

Accommodation notes

Booking a Single Room

All of our group tours are planned and operated on a twin-share basis, meaning that the standard cost is based either on individual travellers sharing accommodation with another group member of the same sex, or people who book together sharing accommodation. Please refer to the tour notes where the single room option availability is detailed on a night by night basis for this tour, and the price for the available nights is detailed on the dates & prices tab by departure date. For Self-Guided trips the Single Room supplement offers the option of a single room each and is charged per person. The Single Room supplement also applies to the third person in a party of three that will be accommodated in a single room.


Standard - Our mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en-suite facilities.

Essential Information

FCO Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice click here.

For more information from Explore about travel advice, click here
 

Under 18 immigration guidance

Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

Price Guarantee

Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

Visa and Passport Information

Germany: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.


If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
 

Booking conditions

Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.

Transfers

Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

Booking a land only package with Explore

Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.


Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Polar, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  


For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here

Insurance

It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

Flight information

Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.


Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.

  

Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

Germany

Vaccinations

Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against tetanus, polio and hepatitis A. Tickborne encephalitis is recommended by some medical sources if travelling in certain areas of Europe, at specific times of the year. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

Dates, prices and booking

Date
Price from
Single room option
Monday 16 September 2019 - Sunday 22 September 2019
CBW_2019
From £1420
Save£55
was£1475
Single room option +£295
Show full details for this departure, including trip notes
All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
Joining Point
Town
Berlin
Time and place
19:00 at Hotel reception
Ending Point
Town
Berlin
Time
09:00
If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
Download Trip Notes
Date
Price from
Single room option
Monday 16 September 2019 - Sunday 22 September 2019
CBW_2019
From £1249
Single room option +£295
Show full details for this departure, including trip notes
All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
Joining Point
Town
Berlin
Time and place
19:00 at Hotel reception
Ending Point
Town
Berlin
Time
09:00
If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
Download Trip Notes

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