Berlin is a city that has something for everyone. From its rich history to its contemporary culture, there is always something to see and experience. One of the most unique ways to explore Berlin is by taking a boat tour. Berlin’s many rivers, canals, and lakes provide a picturesque backdrop for a leisurely boat ride, offering a fresh perspective of the city’s many landmarks and attractions. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best boat tours in Berlin.
The history of Berlin’s waterways
Before we delve into the best boat tours in Berlin, it’s worth taking a moment to appreciate the history of the city’s waterways. Berlin has been shaped by water since its founding in the 13th century. The River Spree flows through the city center, and it has been used for trade and transportation for centuries. The construction of canals in the 18th and 19th centuries further cemented the importance of waterways to the city’s infrastructure. Today, Berlin boasts over 180 kilometers of navigable waterways, making it one of Europe’s most water-rich cities.
The best boat tours in Berlin
1. Stern und Kreis
Stern und Kreis is one of the most well-known boat tour operators in Berlin. They offer a variety of tours, ranging from one-hour sightseeing trips to five-hour dinner cruises. One of their most popular tours is the 3.5-hour “Bridge Tour,” which takes you through the heart of the city and under 60 bridges. On this tour, you’ll see some of Berlin’s most famous landmarks, including the Reichstag building, the Berlin Cathedral, and the Museum Island. Stern und Kreis’s boats are modern and comfortable, with indoor and outdoor seating options.
2. Reederei Riedel
Reederei Riedel is another popular boat tour operator in Berlin. They offer a wide range of tours, including sightseeing trips, dinner cruises, and even party boats. One of their most unique tours is the “Historical City Tour,” which takes you on a journey through Berlin’s past. On this tour, you’ll see historic sites such as the Charlottenburg Palace and the Berlin Wall, as well as more modern landmarks like the Potsdamer Platz. Reederei Riedel’s boats are spacious and offer great views from every angle.
3. Berliner Wassertaxi
If you’re looking for a more personalized boat tour experience, the Berliner Wassertaxi might be just what you need. This water taxi service allows you to create your own itinerary, choosing where you want to go and what you want to see. Whether you want to explore the city’s canals or take a leisurely cruise on the River Spree, the Berliner Wassertaxi can accommodate your needs. The boats are small and intimate, with a maximum capacity of 12 passengers.
4. Gray line city sightseeing
Gray Line City Sightseeing is a well-known tour operator in cities all around the world, and Berlin is no exception. Their boat tours offer a great way to see the city’s landmarks from a different perspective. One of their most popular tours is the 2.5-hour “Bridge and Island Tour,” which takes you past some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including the Berlin Cathedral, the Museum Island, and the Reichstag building. Gray Line’s boats are spacious and comfortable, with both indoor and outdoor seating options.
5. Circle line
Circle line is a unique boat tour operator in Berlin that offers tours on the Landwehr Canal. This canal runs through some of the city’s trendiest neighborhoods, including Kreuzberg and Neukölln. On the Circle Line tour, you’ll get to see a different side of Berlin, with a focus on the city’s street art, graffiti, and alternative culture. The tour lasts around 2.5 hours and includes a complimentary drink. Circle Line’s boats are modern and comfortable, with plenty of outdoor seating.
Tips for taking a boat tour in Berlin
If you’re planning to take a boat tour in Berlin, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that you have a great experience:
Dress for the weather: Weather in Berlin can be unpredictable, so it’s important to dress appropriately for the conditions. In the summer, it can get quite hot, so be sure to bring sunscreen and a hat. In the winter, it can be chilly, so be sure to wear warm layers.
Bring a camera: Berlin’s waterways offer some of the best photo opportunities in the city, so be sure to bring a camera or smartphone with you. You’ll want to capture the stunning views of the city’s landmarks from the water.
Consider the time of day: The time of day can have a big impact on your boat tour experience. If you’re looking for a more peaceful and quiet tour, consider taking a morning or early afternoon tour. If you’re looking for a livelier experience, consider a sunset or evening tour.
Check the tour schedule: Most boat tour operators in Berlin offer multiple tours throughout the day, so be sure to check the schedule and book in advance to avoid disappointment. Some operators also offer seasonal tours, so be sure to check what’s available during your visit.
Relax and enjoy the ride: A boat tour is a great way to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some relaxation time. Be sure to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.