I am planning a trip to Berlin together with my wife for a week. Initially we wanted to do Berlin-Hamburg on the bicycle, but the plane connections are awful and we decided to do a loopback from and to Berlin.

We have seen there are multiple options and we are looking for recommendations of the most scenic routes. We are in it for the experience, not for bragging about distance or speed, so the surroundings and the villages that we will pass through and where we will sleep over are more important than aerobic performance. We will be doing bed-and-breakfasts for accommodation. No camping.

Please do suggest as many routes or places to see along the way, as we usually start cycling and rethink our master-plan in the evenings when we rest. Also, actual links to maps or other resources are welcome. Thank you!

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    Not an answer, but a suggestion: to carry out your original plan, have you considered cycling Berlin to Hamburg, then taking the train back? The ICE takes under 2 hours and advance tickets can be under €20. There's also an IRE which is slower but always costs €19,90. Some of the trains on that line may be ICE-3s which don't take bicycles, but as far as I can see most of the departures are bike-friendly. – Pont Jun 1 '19 at 15:15
  • Oh, cool. I will definitely look into that. I did not expect trains to be so cheap and also bike friendly :) thanks! – Paul Irofti Jun 1 '19 at 16:00
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    I feel your question fits better on Travel.SE, travel.stackexchange.com if it had been more about the bikes themselves, Bicycle.SE bicycles.stackexchange.com But on neither it is a perfect fit. Maybe a look around on those sites and run the search on them. – Willeke Jun 2 '19 at 14:57
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    Many/most ICE trains don't take bikes! IC and IRE trains do, but you need a reservation for the bike as they only have a few places. Regional trains take bikes without reservation. www.bahn.de has a search options for "connections with bike" and also "only regional trains". – cbeleites unhappy with SX Jun 3 '19 at 19:52
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    @cbeleites It's true in general that most ICEs don't take bikes, but as far as I can tell from a DB timetable search most of the ones on the Hamburg-Berlin route do. Good point about the regional trains though: four hours and at least one change on this route, but would be only €52 walk-on fare for two people on a Quer-durchs-Land-Ticket (possibly plus some extra for the bikes, not sure if it's required on this route) without the need to plan and book ahead, and with the flexibility to make stops en route. – Pont Jun 3 '19 at 20:31

As @Pont says, there are lots of train connections to Berlin, so one-way bike tour + return by train or also hopping from one nice region to another by train is definitively an option you should consider.

In terms of maps:

  • https://www.opencyclemap.org/ will show you that the whole place is full of bike routes, from small local ones to long distance trails. Many regions with low bike path density have low population density so local roads should be fine for biking as well.

  • https://www.outdooractive.com/ has a quite large data base with tours (incl. photos) and also works well for tour planning.

  • I also like https://opentopomap.org

I don't really know the region between Berlin and Hamburg. - It is mostly flat, a mix of woods and fields and lakes, all in all a calm not super exciting, but probably very relaxing choice. The Mecklenburg lakes are famous, and so is the Baltic Sea coast.

I know some regions to the south of Berlin better.

  • To the south east you have the Spreewald, a wet/swamp forest area also famous for using canals instead of roads, canoe/boat tours and growing cucumbers (they even have a "cucumber bike tour"). I've once been biking there and the region has a nice mix of bike paths along the canals and little side roads.

  • Further south east, around Hoyerswerda are lakes of a totally different kind: these are recently and currently undergoing renaturation after lignite mining.
    If you are super lucky, you may spot a wolf here. There is a wolf information center (they even offer bike tours "Radtour").

  • At the Czech border near Dresden is the Sächsische Schweiz. Highly recommended, though you'll get more out of a visit there if you leave your bikes for a day or two and go hiking. This is one of the most beautiful hill areas in Germany (but can be quite crowded, particularly the more famous places).

  • To the West, along the Czech border is the Erzgebirge/Ore Mountains. As the name suggests, this region has a long mining history from tin and silver (towns like Freiburg and Annaberg-Buchholz started due to silver rushes) to more recently uranium.
    If it's too hot in the lowlands, the Ore Mountains will give you a fresh beak. If you like seeng industry/handcraft history, this region has some museums for you. The region is also famous for wood carving, e.g. Christmas pyramids and toys. They also feature some raised bogs, basalt formations, blueberries and mushrooms, bike paths ranging from following dismantled railroad with almost no incline to the 4-hills-tour (Vierhübeltour) which covers 3 basalt hilltops and the Fichtelberg in a 90 km round tour with 2300 m elevation gain (in case you feel athletic). In any case, each of those 4 hills offers a nice view over the surrounding hills.

  • To the south east of Berlin is Potsdam, also, Berlin is connected to Leipzig by a long-distance bike trail via Wittenberg
    A bit southeast of Wittenberg is the Dessau Wörlitz English park/garden landscape.

  • West of there are the Harz hills, still only ≈200 km from Berlin.

  • There are also bike tours along rivers, like the Saale river bike tour. I'd be inclined to recommend the part south of Weißenfels. Or maybe have a look at the Nebra sky disk already in Halle. Or have a look at Weimar

  • ... or along the ridge, say of the Thüringer Wald: Rennsteig


Although @cbeleites' answer is quite exhaustive, I would like to add bikemap.net. I use it to plan my bike trips, I can connect dots on the map in any way I want, I can print the map with detailed frames, or send it to devices and use them directly from there. They have a lot of public routes added by other users, and if I see well, the most of the routes are added to Germany. I don't know Germany at all, so I would definitely be inspired by the existing maps here.

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