For today’s scenic running I am taking you to my absolute favorite running route in Berlin – I’ve been running this route when I first started running in Berlin and have been using it as my favorite half marathon training route the past couple weeks. What I love about it? First, you’re running by the beautiful Landwehrkanal and the Spree, and running by the water is always something special. Second, it’s so flexible, you can run 5k, 10k, 15k and even 20k without ever having to leave the parks or Spree or having to take the same way back (just switch the sides of the canal). Come with me…
You can start your run on whatever side or bridge of the Landwehrkanal you prefer –you can start your run at U-Bhf Prinzenstraße or even one block further and still never have to leave the canal – the boardwalk follows the water starting at Zossener Brücke. For this one I chose the corner of Paul-Linke Ufer and Kottbusser Damm. The path alongside the water is easy and wide enough to navigate the many strollers, bikers and other runners, especially on weekends and in sunny weather it can become rather crowded, so I advise you to choose the early hours if you prefer a quieter atmosphere. One more note, the Turkish market happens every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday at Maybachufer, but they only start to set up around 9am. Any later than 11am, the street is almost completely blocked by vendors and buyers.
A serious obstacle awaits you on the first kilometer – the Pavillon am Ufer with its tempting menu of waffles (and its many guests relaxing in the sun). However, no need to stop and load carbs (yet), beautiful things await you!
Run all the way along the North banks of the canal, passing Görlitzer Park and Görlitzer Straße until you see a bright blue bridge to your right, leading you on the small island between Landwehrkanal and Flutufer, cross the brigde, pass the playground, take a right and then immediate left to make your way towards the Spree. Don’t miss the former GDR watchtower inside of Schlesischer Busch, though! And be careful crossing the busy street Puschkinallee.
You’ll reach the banks of Spree once you passed the Arena Treptow – run straight towards Hoppetosse, and then take a moment to take in that view! The center of Berlin is to your left, with a nice view of Badeschiff, Oberbaumbrücke, Fernsehturm and such.
Taking this path, you’ll be running past Jonathan Borofsky’s giant Molecule Man from 1999. Don’t go up to the street and Elsenbrück once you reach it, there’s a path below the bridge leading you directly to the river port of Treptower Park. It might look sketchy at first, but is used by loads of runners as well as strollers.
The river port of Treptow gets really busy on weekends with vendors selling smoked fish and dozens of big tourist boats inviting you for a tour – however, we’re not stopping for this today and will keep on running straight, always staying by the Spree.
This route is always beautiful, but obviously the greener the scenery, the better. You can already see some blossoms and buds right now! Stay on the path and run all the way towards the small island called “Insel der Jugend”, past the big “Zenner” beer garden, that not only rented out its premises to an international burger chain, but attracts dozens of enthusiastic dancers each summer weekend with its traditional outside “Schwofs” (a dance event with live music).
Once you’ve passed the beer garden, it’s time for a decision. Either you stay by the Spree and run straight through the small passage below the bridge, or take a right before you reach the passage and prepare to return. If you chose to do the former, you can run past the abandoned amusement park Spreepark, take a right at the former restaurant “Eierhaus” and pass through Plänterwald back to where we are now, extending this route to a nice 15k. You can even run all the way South to Baumschulenweg, which sums up to about 18k all together.
However, no worries if you choose to do the latter this time, summer is coming and you’ll have loads of time to conquer this distance.
As will this gorgeous scenery – as beautiful and inviting (especially during hot summer days) this lake called Karpfenteich looks, I wouldn’t suggest swimming here. Not only because I doubt the water has great quality, but even more so because it’s the home of several pikes. I’ve read some online accounts of people bathing here, but I am not too sure about that…
Take a left before reaching the Treptower Ehrendenkmal and run along the lake, then head North again. (The map below shows you a route along the street, but it’s no problem to stay inside the park on smaller trails, just follow your nose!)
Now comes the only tricky part of this route – run below the S-Bahn-bridge then immediately take a sharp left using the traffic light, then continue in-between the tracks and the mall, following a street that will soon be demolished (as will the yellow house you see in the back) when the new highway is being build here. Take a right and then left again, running on the not so pretty Elsenstraße – attention now! Just after passing a copyshop and a hairdresser, and just before reaching the bridge that arches over the street, there’s a path with stairs on your left, leading up to a former roadbed that will bring you all the way back to Landwehrkanal (or Görlitzer Park, as you like). My photographer called it Berlin’s High Line.
It’s slightly more … rustic than the New York one, but a seriously beautiful path to run along. It’s the former roadbed leading to Görlitzer Bahnhof, back when this was one of the four main train stations of Berlin. My mapping tool, though otherwise able to track the smallest paths, wasn’t able to find this one, so please ignore the map below at this point and read my words: find the small path and stairs just before the bridge on Elsenstraße – it’s easy from there.
You will find nothing less than Utopia where the high line meets Görlitzer Park and the Landwehrkanal once again. It’s marked by a sign made of plastic goods and probably mounted by the inhabitants of the Wagenburg Lohmühle. If you can spot me on the pic above, you know the way. If not, take a right before you reach the Utopia sign and run down to take a left and return to the path along the canal.Running back to the start is easy, just follow the canal. By the way, the naked trees on the right in the above picture are Japanese cherry trees that will look gorgeous in a couple of weeks. They were planted here during the Sakura-Campaign, a donation campaign organized by a Japanese TV-station after the wall came down. (True story.)
Hope you enjoyed this run! As said, you won’t be alone on this track (except maybe in the middle of Plänterwald), and it wouldn’t be very advisable to run this one on sunny Sundays when the banks of Landwehrkanal can feel as crowded as the Mauerpark flea market. However, it is one of the most beautiful long routes in the center, giving you loads of opportunities for impressive instagram shots. While you will have to pass some streets and traffic lights (attention isespecially needed on Puschkinallee), most of them are rather quiet and easy to handle.
The half marathon is coming up this Sunday (!), so this will be my final running route suggestion in cooperation with adidas for now. Maybe we’ll do it again for the marathon in September (haha)! Well, first I’ll have to survive Sunday… (If one of you could hold up a sign saying “Don’t Think, Run!” for me at kilometer 17 I’d be forever grateful.)
Start & End: Kottbusser Brücke (Schönleinstraße station)
Length: 12k / 7 miles
Grounds: park trails, short paths of concrete / asphalt
Best time: Early hours of the day