Ride Berlin to Dresden in a Day

In Berlin, Cycle routes by Claire

Dresden is a beautiful place. A little while ago I was looking for a city that felt like walking through history, surrounded by the immediacy and ‘realness’ of it. With half of its buildings still blackened and half beautifully rebuilt, Dresden is that. I left with a compulsion to return, stat. It’s also 200km away, which felt like the perfect adventure for a day after a quiet winter.

On one side of the river is the ‘old town’, on the other the ‘new town.’ Oddly, the old town is not as old as the ’new town’. On the old town side you have all the famous buildings (like the Frauenkirche above, or other stunning but less headline-grabbing-by-name below).

Then, on the new town side (the older part of the city), it’s been described as a little bit like Neukölln or Kreuzberg in Berlin: chilled cafe-filled streets and little unique shops. On the whole, it is a peculiar place to walk about as an English person.

The Ride

The route from Berlin spends most of the route following one long road, before getting into smaller ones. But it’s a nice one. A long road that, for me, feels semi-American (to a Brit, who works with a romanticised and very likely small-scale vision). With long flat concrete, surrounded by tall trees, it’s a little taste of what I imagine riding long American roads would be like. A smaller version of the things that west coast road trips are made of. Brandenburg, where it all gets very green just outside of Berlin, is good like that. It’s certainly not a country road in England.

The route looked something like this:

If you’d like to ride it like me:

Step 1: aim for a 7am start but leave at 9am.

Optimistically pack a book but spent all time post-ride accidentally falling asleep.

Then ride slowly whilst being a bit grumpy at your legs for the first few miles, whilst trying not to wonder about the distance you’ve signed up for on a fixed gear. Have coffee. Feel better.

Stop for snacks because your semi-ill-snack-prepared ride buddy wants to go and buy all the food. Skip around the carpark to keep warm whilst feeling like you are in most East Berlin carpark possible.

Get a lot quicker from excitement when the sun suddenly comes out. Shout gleefully at the sky. Continue much of the ride like this.

Find perhaps the most beautiful building of the entire trip.

Eat a lot of sugar. Stop for a long hour-long lunch at Finsterwalde, undoing any speedy riding and time gained throughout the day.

Finish the ride in the dark, with some grunting at your legs and making comedic noises.

Hang on to the positive mental attitude of being ‘very nearly there’ so much that you have to keep remembering that you aren’t actually, and you need to eat because you’re sulking like a small child riding a bike. Return immediately to gleeful child mode. Repeat x5.

Shriek a lot on arrival. Decide you’ll go for dinner after a small nap. Wake at 3am fully dressed and desperately hungry. Go for a takeaway and feed your insane sugar craving. Fall asleep happy.

Spend the next day looking at lots of old mind-blowing buildings of Dresden and visiting the ridiculous nature that is Bastei.

ClaireRide Berlin to Dresden in a Day