Cycling the Berlin-Usedom route
I just came back from a week on the bike: this time I took the way to the Baltic Sea, pedalling for about 310km in 4 days. I did this trip at the end of August.
There are already plenty of guides about this route, which is easy and very well signed, so I am not going to get too much into details but I will just lay down the stages I did and add some final notes about gears and tools.
Berlin Mitte / Joachimsthal, 83km
Very easy and beautiful stage, all using bike path across farmlands and pine woods. Few kilometres of (light) gravel road, nothing to be worried about. Lot of places to rest.
I stayed at the Zimmervermietung Preuß, which is a very nice farm with lot of space at your disposal and free access to the kitchen.
Joachimsthal / Nechlin (North of Prenzlau), 83km
This part is a bit hilly, with a lot of up-n-downs. Nothing complicated, but with a heavy, loaded bike I had to push it several times up the road. The scenery is more “open” than the one before, and you will pass through an amazing lake full of birds (just above the Wolletzsee).
I stayed at the Alt Brennerei in Nechlin (no website…), which is an amazing place, an old distillery with small apartments; I was tempted to stay over another day!
Nechlin / Ueckermünde, 50km
At this point, unfortunately, the “magic” ended. It started to rain and even though it was never cold, the experience was a bit of a bummer. You will get again into some very nicely smelling pine woods and the road is pretty much flat.
I stayed at a very normal hotel in the city center, so that I could finally get something to eat in a proper restaurant!
Ueckermünde / Heringsdorf, 95km
This one has been, by far, the most challenging stage! In the morning it didn’t rain but during the whole day I had to fight with a very strong head wind which slowed me down and made my life miserable. The scenery, although very open, varies a lot and it would have been a real pleasure if only I had had the complacency of a gentler weather. Some gravel roads and about 5km of terrible concrete blocks.
There is no way to “skip” Anklam, which I thought it could have saved me some kilometres, and after a nice 20km of tail wind entering the Usedom island you’ll meet the “Baltic hills”; again, nothing crazy steep but I had to push the bike quite a lot and at the end of the day it also started raining again.
Even though, technically, this is not the “end of the route” (apparently one has to reach Peenemünde), I decided to end it here so I could get a full day off.
Ahlbeck and Heringsdorf are very cute and elegant towns, definitely worth a visit, not to mention the fact that they overlook an incredible 42km longs beach!
From Ahlbeck you can cross into Poland on foot and reach Swinoujscie (Swinemünde).
Back to Berlin
Just for reference, I came back on a Saturday morning from Heringsdorf and it was super easy. The train left at 7:32AM, I then changes in Züssow and I finally reached Berlin at 11:30AM. Easy peasy.
What I learned
- You may find places where you can sleep, but with nothing offered to eat. You may arrive at a small village without anything similar to a restaurant. Pack food.
- You can safely plan to stay in hotels or just a room — even though they tend to be on the expensive side; there are plenty of options. I brought with me the full camping gear for no reason at all
- Maybe because I did the route at the end of August but I didn’t meet as many fellow cyclists as I expected; not too many occasions for socialising
- I own a sturdy “trekking bike” and a road bike, and I decided to travel with the trekking one. I do not regret the choice because several parts of the route can be quite “bumpy” and at the end of the day having saved some stress on the arms and the hands, can make the difference