Friday, 26 August 2016

Wolfsburg Scenic Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 7.7 km (4.8 miles), terrain: flat, 19-meter gain

Wolfsburg Running Routes:
Rabenberg Trail Run
Wolfsburg Scenic Route
For more running routes see the route list.

Wolfsburg, Germany, is the stereotypical company town. The whole place was built to service the Volkswagen factory across the Mittellandkanal, the biggest car factory in the world. The whole town was built because of the factory: before the factory was built just before World War II, there were only fields and woods, with a little castle and a few houses surrounding it.

Although there are few old buildings to be found, the town has developed a lot of recreational land in recent years, and there is a high quality of life, as evidenced by Wolfsburg's status as one of Germany's richest cities.
VW factory: the world's biggest
Most people look at the post-war architecture in Wolfsburg and think there is nothing worth seeing in town. But that's not true: if you want an interesting run, then follow this route! You'll get a good view of that huge factory, see the impressive Autostadt, the castle and the old town, then circle the Allersee lake, a modern recreational area full of runners, swimmers, sailors, volleyball players, etc. After that, the route will take you back along the Mittellandkanal back to the starting point.

We'll start the run at the north end of the main pedestrian shopping street, Porschestraße, near the train station. So get yourself there and face northwards. That interesting building across the street is the Phaeno hands-on museum, the largest of its kind in the country.
The Phaeno hands-on museum at the start of the run
Run to the right side of the Phaeno building and you'll see a sidewalk ramp heading up to a pedestrian bridge over the Mittellandkanal behind the museum. Head up the ramp and out over the bridge. The canal connects the Rhine with the Elbe River and Berlin and on to Poland.
View from the bridge to the Autostadt
The view is great here: with the huge VW factory stretching out to the left and the whole Autostadt straight ahead. The Autostadt (Auto City) is like a VW world's fair, with pavilions for the various VW brands, like Bentley, Audi, Porsche, Bugatti, Lamborghini. There's also a planetarium, an art museum and a big water-fountain show evenings on the lagoon between the Autostadt and the factory.
The lagoon, with factory and Autostadt
At the north side of the canal, take the stairs down to the ground and run east, with the canal to your right side and the Autostadt food-court to your left. Unfortunately, you can't run directly through the Autostadt without buying an entrance ticket.

Run through the parking lot, then turn left to follow the sidewalk north next to the busy Berliner Brücke road, with the huge Volkswagen Arena across the road (soccer stadium).
The car towers
At the 1-kilometer-mark, you'll see the twin glass towers to the left in the Autostadt where new car owners come to pick up their cars. This is one of the bombastic reception areas typical of German car makers: if you buy a new VW, you can pick it up yourself at the factory here, accompanied by a lot of pomp and circumstance, and avoid the delivery fees to your local dealer. Your car will be lowered by an automated elevator from one of the big towers full of waiting VWs down to you at the bottom, like an angel coming to escort you to heaven.

Keep running north past the parking lot and you'll come to a big intersection, where Berliner Brücke  runs into another big street, Oebisfelder Straße. Follow the crosswalks north into that park on the other side and you'll be in the palace gardens for Wolfsburg castle.
The castle entrance
The town is actually named after the castle, since there was nothing else around here to name it after.

Follow the trail into the park until you come to the castle buildings on the right, then turn right to run between the buildings to the north entrance of the fairly small Renaissance-style castle. You can even run through the entrance to see the courtyard within, but then you'll have to come out the same way again.
The formal gardens
Now run the few steps to the little street called Schlossstraße to view the formal garden across the street and the little branch of the Aller river, then turn right to head northeast on the street.
The old town
The scenic old houses lining each side of this street form the tiny old-town for Wolfsburg. At the end of the street, horse stables replace the houses. You might even see some horses being led from stable to stable. That's Wolfsburg too!

Now, at the 2-km-mark, turn around and head back towards the castle, but this time turn off to the left into the park, the Schloßpark.
In the Schlosspark
Head southwards through the park on whichever trail you like best, and eventually you'll be running southeastwards, and come back out at Oebisfelder Straße again, at the 3-km-mark.

Cross the street and run south along Allerpark, past a parking lot, then past a roundabout, heading towards the big, orange Badeland building (an indoor swimming complex).
Running towards Badeland
When you get to Badeland, turn left and follow the way into Allerpark and to the Allersee lake.

There are beach volleyball courts here, and a swimming beach. Turn left to follow the paved trail as it circles this man-made lake, at the 4-km mark.
Allersee volleyball
We're running the opposite direction from about anyone else, you'll soon notice. In true organized German fashion, almost everybody (except us) runs the same direction, counter-clockwise. But as this better fits the route home, we'll break with etiquette and run clock-wise.
Dragon boat team high-fiving after a training
Circling to the south shore of the lake, you'll go by docks for sailing dinghies and a rowing club.

When you reach the western end of the lake, at the 6-km-mark, keep left to exit the park along the In den Allerwiesen road. You're running towards the stadium, with the canal to your left.
Running by the Arena
You'll then go under the bridge of Berliner Brücke, and run by the Autostadt parking lot again.
Back at the Autostadt!
Now you just have to run straight to the pedestrian bridge, taking you south back over the canal again to the start on Porschestraße. Nice run for a town that most people say is pretty boring!

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