An idyllic day out in Berlin? Just take your picnic basket to the Stralau peninsula, where there are secluded spots and sailing boats galore.
The riverside path round the Stralau peninsula is three kilometres long and takes you past self-built houseboats, reed beds, lush green pastures, shady chestnut trees and tiny marinas where the sailing boats sway. The waters of the river Spree and Lake Rummelsburg sparkle in the sun. On the north side, your eyes are drawn to the Knabenhäuser, the former orphanages in Rummelsburg. On the south side you can see the Insel der Jugend, the big wheel in the Spreepark and the spacious Treptower Park. This is where Berlin – and its Friedrichshain district – shows its idyllic side.
Stralau – from a fishing island to to a waterside complex
Half a barrel of beer and a simple meal – that was the fishermen’s reward after they brought their catch to the parish priest on 24 August, St. Bartholomew's day, when fishing began again after the close season. That’s how the tradition of the Stralau fishing festival began in 1574, which 300 years later had grown to a popular festival attracting 70,000 visitors until 1873, when it was banned because of the rowdy celebrations. Since then it’s been more peaceful on the Stralau peninsula.
However, there are still plenty of water sports enthusiasts on the island. In 1830, the first competitive sailing club was founded in Stralau, and was joined by many others by the 1860s. This made Stralau and the Rummelsburger Bucht the cradle of German yachting. Dinghies still sail past today when the wind is fair.
In the late 19th century, industrial plants were built on the peninsula, including factories for carpets, bottles and palm oil, as well as breweries and boatyards. But these closed down long ago, and old industrial memorials commemorate their history. Since the turn of the millennium, Stralau has been turned into a waterside complex with offices and luxury flats.
Sights to see on the Stralau peninsula
On the riverside path you will find the island’s oldest building – the village church, consecrated in 1464, where you can admire its surviving Late Gothic stained glass. But watch out! The church steeple has been damaged several times by storms and lightning, and tilts five degrees to the side.
The palm oil storehouse was built between 1883-85 in the Historicist style. As the name suggest, the factory was used for extracting oil from palm kernels, for example to make margarine. Today, ships anchor in front of the building and anglers try their luck. The bottling plant and glass works are also reminders of Stralau’s industrial heritage. Where beer, water and wine used to be bottled, Berlin now has a new residential quarter.
Getting to the Stralau peninsula
The Stralau peninsula is not far from Ostkreuz, Rummelsburg and Treptower Park stations. The riverside path is a popular place for walkers, dog owners and joggers to relax.
From the peninsula to the neighbourhood
On Alt-Stralau you’ll meet many people out walking and jogging. When you cross over from the peninsula to Markgrafendamm you’ll find the still undiscovered Rudolfkiez with its small bars and shops.
Tickets for guided tours
Take a canoe tour past the remains of the Spreepark Plänterwald, on to the Stralau peninsula and into Rummelsburger Bucht.
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