Yeah, Fat Bikes my sister shouted. If you’re going to Berlin you have to do it with Fat Bikes. A quick Google search revealed that my sister had not, in fact, meant Fat Bikes but Fat Tire Bike Tours a fantastic bike and segway tour company who lead trips around the world.
Exploring a city by bike has always been one of my favourite ways to see a new place. Whether that’s precariously pedalling around the streets of Hoi An, Vietnam or coasting along the pathways in Kyoto, Japan. I think the freedom that can be felt by hopping on a bike can be rivalled by little else. Also, I can’t drive soo…
Admittedly, although I love navigating – read getting lost – I’ve only ever done one guided cycle tour. This time I had no idea what to expect but fuelled by my sister’s incessant pestering and my friend’s reluctance to accompany me I was intrigued if nothing else.
Two trips later I can safely say if you’re considering paying a trip to Berlin you have to jump at the opportunity to see all the delights the city has to offer with Fat Tire Bike Tours.
About Fat Tire Bike Tours
Fat Tire Tours is an independently owned and operated tour company in operation since 1999, who conduct a number of adventures around the world. These range from e-bike tours in Barcelona to Segway tours(!) in Munich. Though they’re consistently ranked as one of the top attractions on Tripadvisor for each city they host tours in I wanted to find out for myself what made them so special. And what kept my sister harping on about them almost a year after her first trip.
Berlin Highlights Bike Tour
Determined to maximise the time I had in Berlin I reviewed my options and decided to go for the Berlin Highlights Bike Tour. Accompanying me for the day was my friend Mia who’d been out partying the night before and had made it abundantly clear that she was less than happy to be dragged out of her bed for a tour at 10 am. On the other hand, I’d been up since 7 am and couldn’t wait to get started.
After arriving at the meeting point we were introduced to Claudia our guide for the day. She gave us a quick safety briefing and not the kind of aeroplane procedures eyes drifting talk, but quick refresher tips to ensure we were comfortable and what to do if we lost the group (spoiler: just stay where you are). While I felt ready to run the streets, Mia did have some first-time nerves. It’s been a while since I’ve been on a bike she said nervously adjusting her helmet. 10 minutes later I smiled to myself as she overtook me eager to get to our next destination.
Berlin Highlights Bike Tour Itinerary
The Berlin Highlights Bike Tour takes everything from the top tour (City Bike Tour) and condenses it into a neat all-done-before-lunch-time size package WITHOUT missing any crucial parts.
In the three hours you can expect to visit:
- Brandenburg Gate
- Site of Hitler’s bunker
- Topography of Terror
- Museum Island
- Reichstag & Government Quarter
- Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
- Potsdamer Platz
- Checkpoint Charlie
- Berlin Wall
- Death Strip
- Spree River
- Luftwaffe Ministry
- Red Town Hall
I know that a lot of people don’t have the luxury of taking a long holiday so it’s important to see as much as possible in a short space of time. The highlights tour felt like the perfect amount of history and culture without all the stress of trying to find the next location. Although you have a certain amount of time at each location we never felt rushed. Having had the overview of the city on the highlights tour meant when I later returned to one of the museums in my free time I knew where I was going (time-saving hacks galore).
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I do the trip as a solo traveller?
As someone who’s used to travelling solo and being fiercely independent, I surprisingly really enjoyed the group atmosphere. Though this time I travelled with a friend I would happily do another tour on a solo trip.
Do I have to be a gym bunny to do it?
My gym schedule as of late leaves a lot to be desired so trust me when I say this tour really can be done by anybody regardless of fitness level. Berlin only has ONE naturally occurring hill in the whole city and when I say hill I mean more like a minor speed bump. Also if 10 y o Billy can do it I’m pretty sure you can.
For someone who’s a bit wobbly on a bike are you still able to take in the sites?
Hand-eye coordination has never been my strong point but when it comes to riding a bike mysteriously everything just… flows. If the thought of riding a bike terrifies you then maybe practise at home first.
However, you don’t need to be a pro cyclist to take in the sites. At each attraction, you stop to take it all in, learn about the history and grab those insta shots. As a bonus, you generally cycle in single file so there’s no need to worry about not being fast enough.
What should I take with me?
- A bottle of water – if you can’t fit this in a bag you can strap it to your bike rack.
- Sunglasses – even if it’s not particularly sunny if you have sensitive eyes like me it’s better to safe than squinting.
- A camera, if you’re looking for something in between a phone camera and a huge DSLR I recommend the Canon G7X Mark II. I’ve been using this camera for over a year and in addition to being super compact, it shoots great video too.
Is Fat Tire Bike Tours For Me?
If you’re looking to do something different on your next trip I’d definitely recommend considering a Fat Tire bike tour – whether that’s in Berlin or one of the other cities they run tours in! Sure it’s great feeling the wind on your freshly shampooed scalp, taking in the sites and nailing your dreams of being a #instamodel. But what really made the trip for me was the guides.
Hearing Claudia talk about the city with such passion made me see what she saw. I felt immersed in German history like for those three hours I’d been transported to another world. Just me, her, the bike… oh and the rest of the group. A world where undoubtedly there was a lot of sorrow and heartbreak. But also a world where there was hope for the future and a light at the end of a murky tunnel.
The only downside of the trip was when it came to an end. Now I find myself wistfully longing for the day I can get lost in a story like that again.
What about you? Have you ever done a bike tour on holiday? Is it something you’d consider?
Let me know in the comments!
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