For the water lover, like myself, there’s no better way to see Berlin, than by boat. Several companies offer tours along the Spree River, or the many canals that wind their way through this magnificent city.
Summer is obviously the nicest time to be out on the water in Berlin. You can enjoy the warm sun, blue skies, and many hours of daylight, as you float along and enjoy the scenery. Though winter has its advantages. My cousin visited me in Berlin last December. As Rhode Island natives, we naturally adore anything that has to do with water. So despite the chilly air, we gave it a go.
Tours are offered less frequently during the winter months, but we managed to find one hour-long cruise, that was departing the next day at 1 pm. Perfect. At noon, we headed over to Hauptbahnhof (Berlin central station), saluted the station’s spectacular Swarovski crystal studded tree, and crossed over to the river where we spotted our boat, operated by Reederei Riedel, docked by the Moltebrucke (bridge), at Willy-Brandt-Strasse. Tickets cost seven euros and fifty cents each, plus an extra three euros for the English language audio guide, which was well worth it. We paid the fare, hopped aboard and proceeded directly to the upper deck, which due to the brisk December day, was full of empty seats. Soon, we were joined by a few more hardy souls, and the boat began to venture toward the low bridge ahead. Our pleasant and informative journey through Berlin had begun.
Of course the waterways of Berlin are too long to traverse entirely on a one-hour tour, but during our trip we saw many of the city’s top sights. The massive new parliament buildings around the Reichstag, seem made to be viewed from the river. Especially impressive are the enormous Paul-Loebe-Haus and Marie-Elisabeth-Lueders-Haus, made of glass and concrete, and linked by two bridges which we passed calmly beneath as we made our way to Museum Island. This small plot of land in the central neighborhood called Mitte, houses several important art museums including the beautiful Bodemuseum. From the water we took in its grand dome and curved, neo-baroque facade before turning our gaze to the fascinating apartment buildings, cozy-looking restaurants, and exquisite bridges that set a marvelous scene. To end the tour, the boat looped around and dropped us back where we started. Food and drink are available in the cabin below where warmed up there for a bit before heading off to continue a wonderful afternoon in Berlin.
Photo of Berlin Fernsehturm by Celeste Sunderland