My name is Asaf.
I am a professional tour guide and a part-time PhD candidate (2014-2020) at the Institute for Dark Tourism Research, exploring how tour guides interpret the dark chapters of Berlin's history.
At the age of 27 I had nearly 7 years of work experience in various tourism jobs, but no high school diploma. So I left my home in Beijing to attend a hotel management school in New Zealand. After completing one academic year, I got accepted to the University of Central Lancashire in England, where I completed a Batchelor of Science in Ecotourism. To write my thesis I spend nearly a year in Addis Ababa, researching ecotourism models in Ethiopia.
In April 2007 I moved to Berlin. It was a combination of being attracted to the Berlin of my grandfather's childhood, with the way the city is now that made me want to make this place my home.
Since then I completed a Master of Science degree in Integrated Natural Resource Management at Humboldt University of Berlin. And since 2010 I have been working full time as a guide.
Almost from my first year in Berlin I fell in love with exploring the nature and history of the German federal states of Berlin and Brandenburg. Walking never seems like it's enough, so more often than not I run or cycle.
Cycling Berlin Brandenburg offers a unique product of guided cycling tours of history, nature and culture, both in Berlin itself and in the wonderful vastness of Brandenburg.
Together we will have a cycling adventure, usually of about 30 to 70 kilometers, around the lakes, forests and quaint towns of Brandenburg.
Alternatively, using Berlin's S-Bahn trains, we can reach beautiful hidden corners just outside the city and cycle shorter distances suitable for families or for those who took a bigger break from the last time they cycled.
I test all the routes myself, and am happy to recommend my favourites!
The tours are meant for people who like riding, but you don't need to be a highly trained professional as most of the routes in Berlin and Brandenburg are quite flat!
Most of the tours are about slow exploration and fun, and when the weather is right, then we take our time to have a relaxing swim in one of Brandenburg's 3,000 lakes.
You can choose one of my main tours or you can contact me first and we start tailoring a tour to your personal/family/group preferences.
The tours are designed for groups of 5-15 cyclists as we use regional trains to reach the remote most beautiful corners of Brandenburg. However, if you are a bigger group, I work in collaboration with 2-3 highly experienced Berlin-Brandenburg guides, who are very familiar with cycling in Brandenburg. Given enough time in advance we can also accommodate a larger group.
The price for a cycling day in Brandenburg is 370 Euro per group. There is an additional cost of 10-20 Euro per person for the bike rental and the travel costs. For example, the Historical Centre tour in Berlin does not require traveling, so the additional cost per person is 10 Euro.
Simply write me an email at:
Terms like sustainability, ecotourism and responsible tourism are vague, or used for so-called green washing of businesses. I want to explain what these terms mean to me.
As tourists, we spend our money, and we book a hotel or a guided tour we rightfully expect a quality product, to escape a bit from our daily routines and ultimately to have a nice experience! As a cycling tour guide, I am your host here in Brandenburg and Berlin, a cyclist myself, and an experienced tourist. This is why I always try to make my cycling tours fun, interesting and responsible.
With no emissions and significantly smaller ecological footprints, cycling is already an environmentally friendly way to experience a destination. In my tours I aim to use public transport to get to the beginning of the route and return at the end.
As guests in nature reserves, cycling through neighbourhoods, villages and small towns, I always keep our surrounding clean. If we create new waste, we will try to take it with us, rather than leave it near a lake or in the forest.
In neighbourhoods in the city I try not to shout when I guide, and to generally be polite and smiley to the neighbours. In the country side I will probably say hello to people in villages, and of course to fellow cyclists. I like this polite behaviour, and sometimes you get a nice conversation and even learn something new!
Finally, part of what I consider responsible is to be curious about the place I visit. I also do it because it’s fun and almost always very interesting! On my tours in Brandenburg I like combining activities like cycling, swimming if there’s a nice lake and good weather, eating good local food, and learning a bit about the local customs and cultural heritage of the place.
Sustainability of historical interpretation. What is that exactly? Most of the stories and events we talk about in Berlin (and to some extent in Brandenburg, too) are largely sensitive topics. In fact, with two world wars and the Cold War, many chapters of Berlin’s history are clearly defined as difficult heritage. In practice this means that in my interpretation I attempt to give a balanced analysis, and to explain historical and political processes and perspectives.
The best way to tour Berlin's surroundings is on bike, and with Asaf. We biked for 5 days with Asaf, and he was wonderful. He knows the history, the culture; and love the area, and most important, he knew how to adjust himself to the specific needs and tempo of our group. Highly recommended!
Eitan - firstname.lastname@example.org
The first day in Berlin we did in Spreewald with Asaf. What a right decision! Berlin looks now even more amazing and romantic after you got to know what it has in its surroundings! We started in the morning with Asaf picking us up from our hotel at 10am and checking that our gear and rented bicycles are ready for the 32 km ride he prepared for us. The itinerary and the complexity were well adjusted to our needs. Asaf’s attention to details is incredible, I’d even say scrupulous. It turned to be true for other aspects as well. The amount of knowledge about Spreewald we received was beyond our expectations. You won’t believe, he carried all the way books to show us birds and trees we saw to give us information on each of them. While having beer in a restaurant inside the National park, Asaf briefed us as well on the history of Prussia with so much details and humor that now I won’t be confused with who is who between all ‘these’ Friedrichs, Wilhelms and Friedrich Wilhelms! Swimming at the end of the trip in a lake was priceless. What a great day!
San Francisco, California
I had an amazing day with Asaf cycling in Spreewald! It was a one-day trip including the best things this area can offer: spending some time at a beautiful lake, visiting nice villages, eating fish and drinking beer, cycling through the forest and next to the Spree. It was not too exhausting, but at the end of day I happily felt all the kilo-meters in my muscles. Everything was professionally planed and Asaf was well prepared and solved all the tricks of the Deutsche Bahn with a unique sense of humour, which I cannot explain, you should meet him and enjoy the time with him during the tour!
Asaf is a wonderfully engaging, fun and warm character. Every part of the two trips I've now done with Asaf have felt relaxed, organised and planned with attention to detail. Asaf's knowledge of the areas history is also incredible. I can highly recommend a tour with Asaf cycling Berlin and Brandenburg and am looking forward immensely to my next trip.
Carlisle, United Kingdom
I took two tours with Asaf in and around Berlin. The first was a family-tour with children and the second was a tour for advanced cyclists. Asaf was able to adjust the difficulty levels wonderfully to the requirements of the children. He is a marathon- runner and experienced cyclist, so he has no problem to guide experienced cyclists as well. With the children the trip was family-oriented, but with the advanced cyclist the ride was more challenging. With the bicycle you can reach charming points in Brandenburg, which otherwise you will never see. I highly recommend it!
We left Berlin early with the regional train to Gloewen. We started riding according to a plan Asaf prepared. We wanted to experience nature and to see where the Havel river meets the great Elbe. On the way we cycled through beautiful Brandenburg villages.
Asaf told us about the surrounding environment and its interesting geo-politics, and the history of the Second World War and of East Germany.
We ended a beautiful day with a cold beer in a local restaurant in Bad Wilsnack. Asaf is professional and was always attentive to our needs (we are in our early seventies!) and we would happily recommend him to anyone who wants a great cycling day outside of Berlin.
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Here you will find my tourism academic blogs alongside many other fascinating articles.
When I'm not guiding I am a part-time PhD candidate, conducting dark tourism research at the Institute for Dark Tourism Research of the University of Central Lancashire.
This is probably my favourite of the many 'what to do in Berlin' pages. It has all the information you need about Berlin's many (many!) museums, galleries and events.
This site will tell you more about this beautiful German federal state, and why we should explore it together