7. May 2016 Havelberg -> Berlin [+Conclusion]

From Havelberg I took the Havel bike-path (which on my stretch runs parallel to the Havelland bike-path) all the way to Rathenau.


Shortly before entering Rathenau I took a right turn to the campsite in Steckelsdorf, as my guidebook explained it was located at a nice lake and would be perfect for an afternoon swim. That was the case so I could enjoy a nice and cold swim, the obligatory ice cream and relax. By then I had figured, I’d be taking the train back from Rathenau to Berlin, so I was in no real hurry.

In Rathenau I missed the train by about 3 minutes, as I was wasting time on the ticket machine, trying to persuade it to sell me a bike-ticket. But as trains ran hourly that wasn’t a great problem. The train headed straight for Berlin central station, and from there on my legs propelled me the last 7km, for an all up day-count of 62km. Slowly does it, and by suppertime I was sprawled out on my balcony, enjoying a drink in the sun.


I really liked this trip:

  • The bike-path was beautifully signposted and well maintained.
  • Campsites were cheap, as was public transport to Hamburg and my train-rides in between
  • I’d really like to go back and close the gaps I created by taking the train. Especially the Havel bike-path, as it leads all the way into Berlin.

Only two negative aspects:

  • Don’t travel on a sunny fathers-day in Germany. Everybody was out and about and a dike only leaves that much room to overtake elderly walkers whilst facing oncoming traffic.
  • Headwind: Although going upstream was the recommend direction wind-wise, somehow the wind decided not to play along with it. Cycling into headwinds for a longer period of time is strenuous, time consuming and unforgettably frustrating as you are wasting a lot of energy and getting nowhere. But I don’t think it’s fair to complain, considering the beautiful sunshine I had on all three days.


I’d love to hear your thoughts on this tour!

6. May 2016: Dannenberg -> Wittenberg / Havelberg

After returning to the Elbe bike path I crossed the Elbe to the right side again via a bridge near Dömitz and had an uneventful ride all the way to Wittenberg.


IMG_20160506_124354Beautiful thatched roofs along the way


Interestingly enough I crossed two federal state “boarders” that day, starting the journey in Lower Saxony, crossing into Brandenburg and later in the afternoon arriving in Saxony-Anhalt. In Wittenberg I found another ice-cream shop (hurray for good weather, hurray for good biker-food) and then left in search of the the train station.

I had worked out that I wouldn’t manage to arrive in Berlin in my designated timeframe, if not for skipping a few places and taking the train instead. Wittenberg was a logical consequence, as all major trains going along the Elbe River stopped there.

IMG_20160506_164035The Elbe-River bike-path is clearly a tourist attraction and a source of income for the area. Thus they greet tourists with great pleasure, sometimes even quite pompous, as can be seen here.

After less than an hours in the train I disembarked near the city of Havelberg. A magnificently straight road, which must have been planned on a map and not by geographical necessities brought me the final 7km in to town. As the last stretch down into Havelberg was significantly downhill I had a huge laugh blasting down into town with my heavy laden bike. All in all, today’s tour was round about 75km in length.

Now Havelberg lies at the banks of the river Havel, as the name suggests. The Havel flows into the Elbe a few kilometres before town and Havelberg had a wonderful campsite on a big island surrounded by the Havel River. I built up the tent and settled in to a relaxed night at the campsite.

5. May 2016: Altengamme -> Dannenberg

Setting off early in the morning I soon reached Geesthacht, where I intended to cross to the left-side of the Elbe-River (as seen in the direction of looking downstream). A navigational error on my behalf let me pdeal an extra 3km on the larger island in the middle of the Elbe, which I mistook to be the other riverside. 😀

Until Bleckede the road ran next to the dike all the time, mostly in perfect condition. Occasionally the path would lead along the rim of the dike, giving a much better view of the slow-flowing river, but also exposing me to rather substantial headwind. And it was amazing how strenuous it is to ride up and down the dike, even though the difference in height is only a few metres, but do that 10, 20, 30x a day and it turns into a chore.

In Bleckede the first ferry of the day brought me to the right side of the Elbe River, which I then followed until taking a ferry back over to the left side in Hitzacker.

IMG_20160505_130428The Elbe River was the natural boarder between West Germany and East Germany in some parts. In the background the ferry that brought me over the Elbe.

IMG_20160505_170906Yeah, some other people hit on the idea of going for a bike ride too.

IMG_20160505_130952A human roadblock in front of me and quite a few animal roadblocks ahead. Sunny weekend and father’s day = Lots of traffic

A short stroll around the village showed it to be very cosy, well maintained and it had a fantastic ice-cream shop, something I had been waiting for all day, as it was beautifully sunny and quite hot for early may.

From Hitzacker I steered away from the Elbe-Trail towards the campsite near Dannenberg, where I had a deserved supper and an even more welcome shower. 95km on the first long tour of the year, quite a success I’d say!


4.5.2016 Berlin -> Hamburg

Having packed everything the previous day, I just had to get to the bus station. Since my last tour to Usedom I had turned into the full “Ortlieb” – Fan boy. This firm manufactures (amongst other items) bike bags from truck tarpaulin, which means they are incredibly durable and waterproof. On the last tour I had 2 bags on my rear luggage rack and that was basically it. In the meantime I had equipped my bike with a front rack, with two matching orange Ortlieb Front-Rollers, and an Easter Sale further brought me a handlebar bag and a big bag over the top of both Back-Roller bags, which clips in nicely and keeps everything secure.



It made for a quite massive looking bike, but the weight distribution is much better this way (not 25kg + heavy me on the back tire ;-)) and instead of having to fill two bags to the brim everytime it was nice to have a bit of spare space. Certainly made packing a quicker affair.

I took a long distance bus from Berlin to Hamburg. First time travelling one of those with a bike, but it worked flawlessly. The bus has a bike rack at the rear, and by shoving all my bike bags into one big blue IKEA sack I had no problem with the luggage regulations.

After 2,5 hrs I disembarked in Hamburg and took a train to the outskirts and had a nice relaxing 10km ride with a beautiful sunset before I arrived at a friend’s house in Altengamme. A hearty supper, nice talks and a walk along the Elbe dike finished off the day.

Hamburg – Berlin – Preface

The idea for this trip came in the winter of 2015/2016. I had really enjoyed my first bike trip from Berlin to Usedom the previous spring and was aching to get going again.
This time I wanted to try my tour the other way round: take public transport somewhere and then ride back home.

This time I opted for a flat ride, so going along a river seemed the ideal track for this endeavor. The Elbe River quickly seemed like a good choice. It has a fantastic infrastructure and basically you can keep on going forever. (Upstream the Elbe Trail runs from Cuxhaven all the way to its spring in the Czech Republic, all in all over 1180km)

The whole track of the Elbe River Trail is shown here: http://radreise-wiki.de/Elbe, the Havel-Rad-Trail I took on the last day can be viewed here: http://radreise-wiki.de/Havel

I only had 3 days and felt like taking it easy compared to the Usedom-trip, so it was clear from the get go, that I would have to skip parts in order to get all the way from Hamburg to Berlin in that time.