The Landwehrkanal – or simply der Kanal, as the locals refer to it – is one of the favorite local hangouts in Kreuzberg. The 10 Km long water canal was built between 1845 and 1850 and flows through Alt-Treptow, Kreuzberg and Tiergarten, parallel to the Spree river, connecting the main Berliner river at Friedrichshain with its lower part in Charlottenburg.
For practical reasons (and also because the scenery changes quite a bit) let’s divide the canal in two parts: the Kreuzberg and the Tiergarten one, considering Hallesches Tor as its splitting point.
For this biking route (and why not walking/running?), we will explore the Kreuzberg side. The total route is about 10 Km long (see map below). We suggest starting at Hallesches Tor, right along the canal. Start at its southern side, ride until you hit Osthafen at the Spree and ride back on the north side of the canal, on a loop of sorts. Check the map at the bottom of the page for visual reference.
Before you start pedaling, let’s get some food for energy. We suggest you get a nice breakie at Hallesches Haus. This “oh so cool” general store sells fine objets for your home, from the kitchen to the garden, including art books and grooming products. They also offer a lavish saturday brunch that will get you going for hours.
As you leave Hallesches Haus, on Blücherplatz, stop for a second to admire the beauty of a truly mid-century architecture piece: the Amerika-Gedenkbibliothek building, one of the largest public libraries in Berlin, specialized in Humanities and Social Sciences.
After crossing Zossener Strasse, bike alongside the canal until you reach Kottbusser Brücke. No need to share your way with cars! On this section, you will find the Brachvogel Sommergarten restaurant and its minigolf course, the beautiful Altes Zollhaus winegarden and its regional cuisine from Brandenburg, the homemade small dishes and cakes of the café/bike shop Ahorn and the fairy tale-like Van Loon restaurant boat, offering three hour bridge tours with brunch, lunch and dinner included. These are reference points you can come back to later on. Let’s keep going…this is a bike route, after all!
The lawn in front of the Klinikum am Urban hospital is one of the best areas to stop, sit down and watch the world go by. Observe the action on other side of the waterway and watch the swans go up and down the canal. Take a snap or two!
As you make your way further along the canal, you’ll reach Admiral Brücke. During warm nights, this bridge gets packed! The area is taken by a magnetic and special atmosphere. Friends chatting, people drinking beers bought on the Spätis nearby and sharing the huge traditional pizzas of Il Casolare.
From this point, as you ride towards Kottbusser Brücke, don’t forget to look up to the concave perspective of the Altbau buildings on Planufer. The architecture is simply wonderful! We always get jealous of the people that live in these buildings!
Crossing the Kottbusser Brücke, Anklerklause is an institution and a great place for people watching and sitting on a table outside. The bar/restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and drinks in the evenings.
On Tuesdays and Fridays, the street along the canal, Maybachufer, turns into one of the most beloved farmer’s markets in Berlin: the Turkish Market. It’s a perfect opportunity to replenish your kitchen with spices, fresh fruits and vegetables and treat yourself with some authentic Turkish street food.
Along Maybachufer, there are quite a few options for a coffee break: the vegan donuts of Brammibal’s are delicious, the Danish breads from The Bread Station are glorious, the coffee and snacks at café Populus are great. Here you will also find wellknown nightclubs like Loftus Hall and Bertrams. The latter hosts the gay techno party Herrensauna. Don’t miss the romantic view over the canal from the Hobrechtbrücke, connecting Ohlauer Strasse and Friedelstrasse.
At the end of the Maybachufer, on the junction of the Landwehrkanal with the Neukölln Ship Canal, turn left onto the Lohmühlenbrücke to continue biking on the Alt-Treptow side and admire the row of cherry trees where the Wall of Berlin once stood. A bit further, check the art complex at Lohmüle Berlin, for an “alternative” experience with punk music and vegan food.
The area where the Canal debouches onto the Spree River also has quite a few attractions: the lovely terrace of the Club der Visionäre, the nightclubs Chalet and Birgit & Bier (with its fun summer biergarten) and the huge complex of Arena Berlin, used for concerts, festivals, trade fairs and conventions. The Arena area includes Badeschiff, the swimming pool inside the Spree, the Arena Club, and the Bite Club Street Food Party, on a boat anchored on the river!
On the way back to Hallesches Tor, you will pass by Görlitzer Park (on your right). If you feel like it, explore one of Berlin’s most beloved and edgy parks. You are sure to live an authentic Berliner moment. Share the lawn with hipsters, children and Turkish families. Watch the sunset here if you can.
As you leave Görlitzer Park, along the canal, you will turn right on Paul-Lincke-Ufer, with quite a few exciting food spots, like the seasonal german cuisine of Volt, the neopolitan pizzas of Zola, craft coffee at Concierge Coffee, and the lovely flower shop Blume & Raum. Not to mention Cocolo Ramen, La Lucha (modern Mexican) and the Michelin Starred Hováth. Just around the corner, Das Hotel is a very crowded bar, whose basement turns into a nightclub on the weekends.
If you are an “artivore”, don’t miss the temporary exhibitions at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, on Kottbusser Strasse, a former manufacturing building known as the “Light Factory” (Lichtfabrik) turned contemporary art center that also hosts workshops and artists-residences.
The biking route from the Kottbusser Brücke until the end, at Hallesches Tor, is perfect for enjoying the peaceful paths. You are bound to forget you are in the middle of the city. The Prinzenbad summer swimming pool is the best choice for a swim in a hot afternoon, if you are not into sharing the canal’s waters with the kayakers and swans (we don’t recommend that…LOL).
Once you get to Hallesches Tor, explore behind Mehringplatz, where you’ll find some of the coolest street art murals in Kreuzberg, including the “Make art, not war”, by Shepard Fairy, a.k.a. Obey Giant. For more street art ideas, check out our Street Art Berlin Guide!
Keep coming back for more fun bike routes as well as walking and running paths!
*Article by Domingos Lepores. Edited by Tulio Edreira.
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