I had no idea an official cycle route between Berlin and Copenhagen existed until a most interesting friend of mine suggested we cycle together to Malmö. A Google search quickly turned up the route’s official page and bingo – a cunning plan was hatched.
True, we didn’t quite have the 15 days recommended by the website to enjoy all the scenery and side-trips along the 700km trail (which forms part of the 6,000km EuroVelo7 cycling route that snakes from the tip of Norway to the island of Malta in the Mediterranean); in fact we had just half that time.
On the other hand it was off-season (March), which meant many places – including entire towns, it sometimes seemed – were closed, and the weather was far from friendly throughout, which made lingering generally less attractive.
As anyone knows who has done it, living on a bike for an extended period of time brings its own rewards, from the pleasant swoosh of tyres on slick asphalt and extended rides through pine forests and alongside rivers to spontaneous picnics in random fields and surprise encounters with humans and horses.
The majority of the route is flat as a pancake, and the East German (Brandenburg, Mecklenburg Vorpommen) and Danish countryside offer plenty of lovely landscapes, as well as some interesting things to see: quaint villages and nature reserves right through to more sombre places like the Sachsenhausen and Ravensbrück concentration camp memorials (both on the Brandenburg part of the route).
The handsome Hanseatic city of Rostock is a definite highlight – not least because some of the pubs were finally open – and the ferry trip that brings you from there to southern Denmark is just 2.5 hours.
In Denmark, the dramatic island of Mons and the impressive Danish town of Køge await, and of course at the end of it all is Copenhagen, one of Europe’s loveliest cities, with extensive waterways, fine architecture and hysterically expensive alcohol prices – not to mention an urban cycling culture that tops even Berlin’s. Just a 40-minute train ride away, across the famous Oresund bridge (no bikes allowed), lies the compact-but-bijou Swedish city of Malmø (Sweden).
Given our time constraints (and the weather), we didn’t follow the official route all the way. We’d certainly recommend taking two weeks if you can – preferably in summer. But if that’s not possible, our alternative one-week itinerary is posted below the photos. Also note that it’s possible to hire bikes in one city and leave them in another – see the official route website for details.
Stage 1: Berlin > Zehdenick
Stage 2: Zehdenick > Neustrelitz
Stage 3: Neustrelitz > Krakow am See
Stage 4: Krakow am See > Rostock
Stage 5: Gedser > Stege
Stage 6: Stege > Køge
Stage 7: Køge > Kopenhagen