Along the banks of the Spree, which winds its way through Berlin from east to west, you will see the many picturesque faces of the city reveal themselves. Discover with us the 11 most beautiful places along the Spree on a short Berlin tour – from idyllic, overgrown islands, restaurants on the waterfront and historical sites to the best riverside promenades for a relaxing stroll!
Tip 1: Historcal Harbour Berlin
The fishermen's island in the heart of Berlin, which has been continuously inhabited since the 12th century, offers a special highlight: At the Historical Harbour Berlin, at the southern tip of the Spreeinsel ("Spree Island"), you can discover several generations of historic inland vessels, which are elaborately restored and preserved by an association. This also includes the tugboat Andreas, built in 1944. It is one of the oldest steam tugboats still in operation in Europe and in the past even served as a heating plant – today the ship with its striking, collapsible chimney is used as a pleasure boat on the Spree in Berlin.
Where: Fischerinsel 3, Mitte
Tip 2: Monbijou Park at Bode Museum and Museum Island
Just a stone’s throw from Hackescher Markt, a green park of about four hectares awaits you, which is popular with residents and visitors alike. It offers sunny green areas for relaxing, sports facilities and a playground. But the highlight is the beautiful waterside promenade, where you can watch boats pass by. From the promenade you also have a good view of the Bode Museum on the Museum Island directly opposite, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In a romantic historical ambience, other impressive museums and galleries await you, such as the Pergamon Museum and the Alte Nationalgalerie. It is only a short walk there over the northern Monbijou Bridge.
Where: Oranienburger Strasse, Mitte
Tip 3: Buchkantine - Bookshop and café on the Spree
A little further west on the banks of the Spree in Berlin, not far from the Tiergarten, you can enjoy an unusual breakfast directly by the Spree. The small, cosy bistro is also a bookshop. Food and coffee are served there from 10 am daily. And make sure to treat yourself to the right book for a sunny day on the banks of the Spree or in one of Berlin's many parks.
Where: Dortmunder Strasse 1, Moabit
Tip 4: CapRivi beer garden
Three bends of the Spree further west, the CapRivi beer garden welcomes you with its sunny urbane cosiness on the northern bank of the Spree. As a beer garden and restaurant on the waterfront, the CapRivi is the perfect place to take a refreshment break on your excursion in Berlin – with snacks, drinks and convivial beer tables. You can also relax in a beach chair on the promenade and enjoy the midday sun or the sunset, with a view of the Spree and the opposite pier.
Where: Am Spreebord, Charlottenburg
Tip 5: Charlottenburg Palace Gardens
Only a few hundred metres downstream, the Spree river meanders past Charlottenburg Palace and around the enchanting palace garden. The garden, designed in the 18th century, is one of the most beautiful parks on the banks of the Spree in Berlin and invites you to take long walks between green trees, moats and the carp pond. You can also visit the fairytale Charlottenburg Palace itself, the Belvedere tea house and the Mausoleum of Prussian Queen Luise.
Where: Spandauer Damm 10–22, Charlottenburg
Tip 6: Landwehrkanal and Shell Haus (Shell House)
The Landwehr Canal branches off the Spree between Treptow and Kreuzberg and then flows right through Kreuzberg and the Tiergarten until it meets the Spree again in Charlottenburg. Along its way, the canal creates idyllic banks everywhere and passes numerous sights such as parks and museums. A highlight you can discover along the Landwehr Canal is the impressive Shell-Haus, built in the early 1930s in the New Objectivity style. The building, which has already been a listed building since 1958, with its striking, softly curved façade now houses parts of the Federal Ministry of Defence.
Where: Reichpietschufer 60-62, Mitte
Tip 7: Neu-Venedig (New Venice)
In the very east of Berlin, the Spree flows through two lakes: the Dämeritzsee and the Müggelsee. Between these lakes, on the Müggelspree in the Köpenick district of Rahnsdorf, you can discover a very unusual highlight: Neu-Venedig, an idyllic settlement with weekend retreats, built in the 1920s and criss-crossed by countless canals. The best way to discover Berlin’s little Venice from the Müggelsee is by rowing boat – or of course by taking a leisurely walk, crowned by a meal in the summer garden of the day-tripper restaurant Neu-Venedig.
Where: Fürstenwalder Allee, Köpenick
Tip 8: Liebesinsel and Stralau Peninsula
Where the districts of Treptow, Friedrichshain and Lichtenberg meet along the Spree, the Stralau peninsula juts out into the river. Until the 19th century, it was known above all for the Stralauer Fischzug festival on St. Bartholomew's Day. In summery August weather, tens of thousands of Berliners flocked to the headland, which was then still outside the city, to drink and celebrate together. Today, around the preserved village church, there is an idyllic, modern residential area set among nature, which invites you to take long walks along the bank. At the tip of the peninsula you will find two insider tips on the Spree in Berlin: the Liebesinsel and the Kratzbruch. The two tiny, densely overgrown islands are under strict nature protection and are home to numerous birds as well as otters and beavers.
Where: Alt-Stralau, Lichtenberg
Tip 9: Badeschiff and Molecule Man
The place where the districts of Treptow, Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg meet is marked by the Molecule Man. Three metal figures rising 30 metres high from the Spree, visible from afar, symbolise each of the three districts. From there walk a little further downstream on the Treptowers side and you'll arrive at the Badeschiff (bathing ship). The extensive pool floating on the Spree with its sunny beach area, bar and music on the shore reminds you of warm summer days in Ibiza or the Caribbean – but with a Berlin panorama. Here you can also hire SUP boards and paddle to Molecule Man.
Where: Eichenstrasse 4, Treptow
Tip 10: Rummelsburger Bucht (Rummelsburg Bay)
On the north side of the Stralau peninsula lies the Rummelsburger See (Lake Rummelsburg), which is also known as the Rummelsburger Bucht because of its bay-like location on the Spree. The kilometre-long shore path invites you to take long walks, and when the weather is fine, numerous small boats can also be seen splashing about on the water. This urban lake idyll was immortalised back in the 1970s in the DEFA (East German Film Company) film "The Legend of Paul and Paula", after which the north-western shore is named today.
Where: Paul-und-Paula-Ufer, Friedrichshain
Tip 11: Old town of Köpenick
In Rathaus Köpenick (Köpenick town hall), at the confluence of the Dahme and Spree rivers, an unemployed cobbler disguised as a captain is said to have arrested the mayor and robbed the town treasury in 1906. Today a bronze statue in front of the entrance serves as a reminder of the "Captain of Köpenick". Around the town hall, which was inaugurated only one year before the "Köpenickiade", you can experience a great deal of authentic historical atmosphere in the old town of Köpenick – with over 200-year-old houses in the Fischerkietz (fishermen's neighbourhood) and the baroque Köpenick Palace on the Schlossinsel (palace island). Numerous cafés, often located directly on the waterfront, give you many reasons to stay a while.
Where: Alt-Köpenick 21, Köpenick