Biking in Berlin

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The Reichstag at dusk.

Coasting Through Berlin

Take a two-wheeled spin through the German capital.

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The Humboldt Suite at Rocco Forte Hotel.
Afternoon tea at the Hotel Adlon Kempinski.

By Amy Laughinghouse

The German capital has rolled out more than 375 miles of bike-friendly paths, attracting 500,000 cyclists every day. Freewheeling tourists can plot their own route and rent a bike for about $13 per day, or sign up for guided tours that lead them past landmarks such as Checkpoint Charlie, the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, and remnants of the Berlin Wall.

Eat
Whether you come for the beef or the buzz, you’ll find both in ample measure at the Grill Royal (Friedrichstrasse 105b; 49-30/2887-9288), the see-and-be-seen steak house by the River Spree. At Volt (Paul-Lincke-Ufer 21; 49-30/6107-4033), chef Matthias Gleiss delivers a jolt to German cuisine, serving seasonal dishes in a former power substation that retains its metal catwalks and exposed brick.

Drink
Tausend
(Schiffbauerdamm 11; 49-30/4171-5396), sequestered behind an unmarked door under a bridge, you’ll feel the rumble of passing trains and the kick of high-octane cocktails such as the Hot Mexican Mule. Lebensstern (Kurfürstenstrasse 58; 49-30/2639-1922), above Café Einstein, offers cozily furnished rooms and glass cabinets stocked with a staggering variety of rum and gin. Amid the cushions and carved pillars at the Tajikistan Tearoom (Am Festungsgraben 1; 49-30/204-1112), sweets and a shot of vodka accompany a steaming cuppa. 

Shop
Kaufhaus des Westens
, dubbed “KaDeWe” (Tauentzienstrasse 21-24; 49-30/21210), is Berlin’s best-known department store, stocked with big-name brands. For Berlin-based boutiques such as Hut Up (Oranienburger Strasse 32, Heckmann Höfe; 49-30/2838-6105), featuring reversible fashions with felt seams, head for cobblestoned Heckmann and Hackesche Höfe (“courtyards”). Oderberger Strasse also has a wealth of local designs, such as the elegant gowns at Parapluie (Oderberger Strasse 5; 49-30/5673-3059).

Originally appeared in Virtuoso Life magazine, May 2013.

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Stay

Hotel Adlon Kempinski
This legendary hotel overlooks the Brandenburg Gate and is home to the two-Michelin-star Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer. Get More Details
Rocco Forte
Sleek lines and rich fabrics transform this nineteenth-century building into a cocoon of discreet splendor. Get More Details
The Berlin Cathedral is the biggest church in the city.