Length 6 km (3.7 miles), terrain flat
Berlin Running Routes:
Historic Berlin Mitte
Kurfürstendamm, heart of West Berlin
Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin's coolest neighborhood
Potsdam Royal Residences
Ode to Berlin: my long-running love affair with this great city
For other running routes, see Route List. And if you're interested in an essay on what makes Berlin so special, take a look at this Ode to Berlin, written in the transition days after the Wall came down.
NOTE: I ran this route on one of the hottest days of the year. My face was burning from sweat. The things I do to get good new running routes!
Prenzlauer Berg is definitely Berlin's hippest neighborhood. Rents are going up and it's gentrifying, but it's still the home of a lot of weirdly creative folks, with their weirdly creative cafés, bars and shops. If you haven't been there yet, here's your chance to get to know this interesting piece of real estate northeast of the city center.
|Raumer Straße in Prenzlauer Berg|
The heart of the neighborhood is the busy corner of Schönhauser Allee and Eberswalder Straße, with the Eberswalder Straße U-Bahn (the U2 line) station. The main nightlife is centered around this corner. The U-Bahn runs above-ground here, giving Schönhauser Allee a unique character.
The Prenzlauer Berg Route
This route loops through the main sights of Prenzlauer Berg, including some of the main squares, along Mauer Park (remains of the Berlin Wall) and the very cool Kulturbrauerei (the converted Schultheiss brewery, now full of cinemas, clubs, artists' studios and music venues).
|Schönhauser Allee at the U-Bahn station|
So, at the next corner, Gneiststraße, turn right. Everything already gets quieter and nicer, with trees lining the street. The stores get more interesting after the next block, when the name changes to Raumer Straße and you come to Helmholtzplatz. The streets are full of laid-back people hanging out at cafés, the square is one giant playground full of parents and kids, with mothers bicycling with home-made double-kid-carriers down the street.
At the end of the square, turn right on Dunckerstraße, which ends in a block at Danziger Straße. You have to cross this street at the one cross-walk, because a tram-line runs up the middle of the street.
|Playground at Kollwitzplatz|
Now run southwest on Kollwitzstraße, running past an adventure playground on the way.
|Street performer along Kollwitz Straße|
At the end of the first block, you'll come to the next square, Teutoburger Platz, where you cross it diagonally to the right, to continue northwest on Zionskirche Straße.
You will run right towards the big yellow-brick church (Zionskirche) down the street. Its pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was executed in a concentration camp in 1945. The local residents are trying to gather money to restore the church, which is in need of fixing up.
This area belonged to West Berlin 25 years ago. The Berlin Wall went right through the neighborhood, so let's take a look.
Turn right on Bernauer Straße and run past the old train yards until you come to some long steps on the left side, with a park stretching off behind them to the north. This is Mauerpark (Berlin Wall Park). All that lawn that you see was once the death strip between two walls just inside East Berlin. I remember running on the other side of the wall, in the west, in the 1980s, never expecting to see the city reunited in my lifetime.
So, after you pass the basketball court, turn right and take the path up to the wall on the hill. People still spray it constantly with graffiti, with some of it flaking off in big slabs.
|The Berlin Wall in Mauerpark|
NOTE: When you cross Kastanienallee, if you turned left there, you'd come to the PraterGarten, Berlin's oldest beer-garden (almost 200 years old), and a great place to go on a warm evening, which I did after this run.
When you hit Schönhauser Allee again, you'll see an old factory across the street. This is the former Schultheiss brewery. It is now full of cultural enterprises, and is called the Kulturbrauerei.
|In the courtyard of the Kulturbrauerei|
Run straight north until you exit the grounds at the corner of Knaackstraße and Danziger Straße. Now you just have to turn left on Danziger Straße and run the one block back to the start at Eberswalder Straße U-Bahn station.