Pfaueninsel and Pfaueninsel Palace

Pfaueninsel and Pfaueninsel Palace

A gem on the River Havel

Schloss mit Pfau und blühender Magnolie – © SPSG, Foto: Michael Lüder
Schloss Pfaueninsel – © / Koch
Schloss mit Blick über die Havel / view at river Havel – © SPSG, Foto: Hans Bach

"An image from my childhood springs to mind like a fairytale: a palace, peacocks sitting up on a high branch or fanning out their tails, fountains, shady lawns, winding paths running in all directions, but leading nowhere in particular ..." – this is how Theodor Fontane once enthused about Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island), tucked away on the Havel river in the south-west of Berlin.

One and a half kilometres long and half a kilometre wide, the island can only be reached by ferry and was turned into a nature conservation area in 1924. As you stroll around, you'll see a number of free-roaming peacocks. Together with other palaces in Potsdam and Berlin the island and the palace are part of the UNESCO World Heritage.

History of the Pfaueninsel

Clearly visible from afar, the white palace on Pfaueninsel was built by Friedrich Wilhelm II in 1794-97. It was designed as the crowning centrepiece at the end of a sweeping vista in the New Garden – as well as a place for the king to relax after his boat trips and spend the night with his beloved Wilhelmine Encke. The palace is characterised by its two circular towers, which are linked by a wrought-iron bridge to create the illusion of a medieval castle.

Park of the Pfaueninsel

There are a number of other buildings set in the stunning landscaped gardens of Peacock Island – e.g. the Luise temple, the ruins of Meierei abbey and the neo-gothic Kavaliershaus. The latter was used in the 1960s as the setting for several Edgar Wallace films, including The Door with Seven Locks, The Return of the Hexer and The Monster of Blackwood Castle.

Besides the peacocks walking around and showing off their gorgeous feathers, you can also watch woodpeckers and cormorants or listen to frog concerts. In summer, the island is also home to four water buffaloes that help gardeners to mow the wetland. Archaeological finds reveal that Peacock Island has been inhabited for around 2,500 years. Centuries later, a rabbit farm and a glass maker’s hut were found here.

From the city centre, Pfaueninsel is best reached by S-Bahn, then taking a bus and ferry from Wannsee Station (the crossing costs €2). Because of the protected flora and fauna, dogs and bicycles are not allowed on the island.

Operating hours of the ferry:
November till February: Mon - Sun: 10am - 4pm
March and October: Mon - Sun: 9am - 6pm
April and September: Mon - Sun: 9am - 7pm
Mai and August: Mo - So: 8am - 9pm

UNESCO World Heritage: Palaces and parks in Berlin and Potsdam

Information about UNESCO World Heritage in Berlin


A real gem by Kristin


14109 Berlin ZEHLENDORF
Tel.: 0331 – 96 94 202

besucherzentrumatspsg [dot] de

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To: Nikolskoerweg
14109 Berlin

Castle entrance:
3.00 euros
2.50 euros Reduced

(plus € 2.00, € 1.00 reduced rate for the ferry to the island)

Apr - Octclosed
MarSat + Sun11 a.m. - 4.30 p.m.
Nov - FebSat + Sun11 a.m. - 3.30 p.m.
Castle 'Pfaueninsel':
Apr - OctTue - Sun10am - 5pm
Nov - Marclosed
Park building:
Nov - MarSat + Sun11 a.m. - 3.30 p.m.

* Guided tours only. Last admission 30 minutes before closing time each

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