The astonishing rivers and lakes of Berlin and Brandenburg: 10 reasons why you should!

"The Tall Young Gentleman" being very pleased with himself!
“The Tall Young Gentleman” being very pleased with himself!

I can’t shout it loud it enough, but Berlin is such a lovely city to live in. It’s so green that you would hardly know that you’re in the capital city of Europe’s strongest economy, and one of the largest countries in the European Union. In fact, I would liken it to be a collection of suburbs with the advantage of city living, and boy, do we live!

As you might know, Berlin is a river city. As you might not, I’ve always lived in places where water is nearby. River-living is great and soothes the soul. As far as Berlin is concerned the river called the River Spree, is the heart of the city.

On the river bank of Club der Visionäre, a really lovely river bar on the border of Kreuzberg and Treptow. Highly recommended! Landwehr Canal, Berlin-Kreuzberg © visitBerlin, Foto: Philip Koschel.
On the river bank of Club der Visionäre, a really lovely river bar on the border of Kreuzberg and Treptow. Highly recommended!
Landwehr Canal, Berlin-Kreuzberg © visitBerlin, Foto: Philip Koschel.

How lucky we are then, that 44% of Berlin is covered with parks, forests, fields, rivers, lakes and canals, and that Berlin has about 30 beaches and about 960 bridges, which is far more than the ever romantic city of Venice!


Berlin is the capital city of Berlin and the number one (1) travel destination in Germany and by virtue of this, in 2013 saw 11.32 million visitors with 57% coming from other parts of Germany, 31% coming from Europe, and 12% coming from overseas. A significant percentage of the international tourist population came from Great Britain and the USA, with a large number also came from Italy, Holland and Denmark, and a reasonable increase from the Gulf States of the MIddle East, China, and Russia. As a result, there are a huge number of tours and guided walks that cater for our tourists.

The Teufelsberg or "Devil's Mountain" is a really cool hill in Berlin over-looking the Teufelssee or "Devil's Lake." Teufelsberg,  © visitBerlin, Foto: Sarah Lindemann
The Teufelsberg or “Devil’s Mountain” is a really cool hill in Berlin over-looking the Teufelssee or “Devil’s Lake.”
© visitBerlin, Foto: Sarah Lindemann

Most of the tours are pretty reasonably priced and an absolute bargain in terms of creativity, like the alternative walking tour that I went on a few months ago. Of course, if you’re broke or want to meet the locals, then the best way of doing that is not to go on the tourist trail but to use public transport.


Yes, public transport.

Germany has one of the most efficient and certainly, the safest mode of transport (outside of Switzerland) in Europe, and Berlin is no exception. In my opinion, Berlin has one of the cleanest, safest, most efficient, cheapest, and easily accessible, forms of public transportation in Western Europe! There is absolutely no where in Berlin that doesn’t have some sort of public transport within walking distance. I repeat, no where!

A romantic form of transport: A horse and trap at Brandenburger Tor or Gate, and bicycles!
A romantic form of transport: A horse and carriage at Brandenburger Tor or Gate, and bicycles!

We have:

  • The underground train known as the Ubahn.
  • The mainline train or urban train known as Sbahn.
  • We have the RE trains known as the Regional Trains.
  • We have the trams.
  • We have the buses.
  • We have bicycles which can be used as public transport, and picked up in one destination and returned, to another.
  • We have city tuk-tuks as part of the green economy, in the tourist district.
  • We have taxis or cabs.
  • And we have boats and ferries.

I’d like to talk about the ferries. Not as a city or regional cruise of which they are many, and enormously fantastic, but as a means of public transport and getting from A to B.

Rent a boat at Treptower Park, Berlin. Go on, you know you want to!
Rent a boat at Treptower Park, Berlin. Go on, you know you want to!

Here are the 10 reasons why you should definitely check out the river and lakes of Berlin and Brandenburg!

  1. With an area of 892 square kilometres, Berlin is nine (9) times bigger than Paris, and has 180 kilometres of navigable waterways within the city limits!
  2. You can take the ferryboat as part of the public transport system all around the city. The symbol of the public ferry is distinguished by the letter “F.”
  3. The shortest ferry service in Berlin is between the suburb of Rahnsdorf and Müggelheim which crosses the very large and lovely Müggelspree or Müggel River and is 10 metres wide, and consists of a small rowing boat that takes people across, to the other side of the river, during the summer.
  4. The ferry service isn’t fancy but you can buy refreshments, take your bike, and take a picnic with you. Don’t forget the beers, and if you do. You can buy them on the ferry!
  5. The largest lake in Berlin is the Müggelsee in the Treptow-Köpenick suburbs of East Berlin, also known as the Großer Müggelsee or Bigger Müggel Lake and has a total surface of 7.4 square kilometres. The smallest lake which covers just 0.3 square metres, is Pechsee or Pech Lake and is in a marshy nature reserve in the leafy suburb of Grunewald in West Berlin. 
  6. You don’t have to buy an extra ticket to use the ferry but can use either, a reduced fare, “a normal” single, a return, a day ticket, or even a short trip ticket (but short-trip tickets are only accepted on the F11, F12, F21, F23, and F24 lines), and if you don’t have one, you can buy it on the ferry!
  7. You can use your Berliner Verkehrs Aktiengesellschaft (Berlin Transport Corporation) or BVG ticket on six (6) ferry lines which are operated daily on 6.9 kilometres of water routes in the city. The lines are F10, F11, and F12 throughout the year and F21, F23, and F24 through the summer peak and mid-peak seasons.
  8. Bicycles can be taken on all ferries.
  9. It’s a lovely way to see the suburbs and beaches of Berlin.
  10. Er. More beer, wine, and ice-cream!
June Fathers' Day on the lakes and rivers of Berlin. They came well prepared!
June Fathers’ Day on the lakes and rivers of Berlin. They came well prepared!


  • Single tickets: Single Tickets entitle you to travel with any number of changes towards your destination via a direct travel route. They are valid for a maximum of two hours. Within the two-hour validity of the single ticket you may change trains/buses, etc. or interrupt your journey as often as you wish, but you cannot return or do a round trip. You can use the buses, trams, underground and mainline or urban rail network transport within the Berlin fare zones of A, B and C, including regional rails and the ferries. Single tickets cost €2.60. Children under 6 years old are free. Single tickets for children aged 6 to 14 cost €1.60.
  • Short-Trip tickets: If you do not want to travel any further than three mainline or urban rail or underground stations, or no more than six bus or tram stops, then it pays to buy a Short Trip ticket. With the short trip fare, you can also use the ferries, the only exception is the F10 (Wannsee-Kladow) route as it’s a bit of a journey albeit, a lovely one. In fact, it’s my favourite ferry route! The Short-Trip ticket is not valid on regional rail transport and you can only change between underground and mainline / urban rail trains. You cannot interrupt or break your journey, and return trips are not permitted. Short-Trip tickets cost €1.50. Children under 6 years old are free. Short-Trip tickets for children aged 6 to 14 cost €1.20.
  • Day Pass or Day Return tickets: With a Day Pass, you can travel as often as you want on the day printed on the ticket, or from validation of the ticket. The ticket is valid up to   3.00 a.m. on the following day! SECRET TIP: You can also take another person with you on your ticket for free from 20:00, all day weekends, and on public holidays! Day Pass tickets cost €6.70. Children under 6 years old are free. Day Pass tickets for children aged 6 to 14 cost €4.70.
  • Bicycle Tickets: You will need an extra bicycle ticket to travel with a bicycle. A single bicycle ticket is €1.70, a short trip ticket with your bicycle is €1.10, and a day pass is €4.70. Don’t try to “forget” this, as the BVG inspectors take it seriously and will fine you.

P.S. Please validate and click your ticket in the red validating ticket machine that you will find on every platform. Before you take the train!

The days of the dumb tourist are over and ticket inspectors are now wiser. Berlin public transport have no automatic barriers, or any barriers at all. You wouldn’t want to spoil the good times would you?

I thought not!

The waterways, canals, rivers and lakes in Berlin; are wonderful. See for yourself!

At my favourite waterway in Kladow, Berlin.
At my favourite waterway in Kladow, Berlin.

This article is not sponsored and all opinions are my very own!

Next week, I will be writing about the fantastic blog award that I received from Waegook Tom. Thank you Tom!

Watch this space!

Relaxing on the river bank in Berlin with good old German beer!
Relaxing on the river bank in Berlin with good old German beer!

Have you been on a yacht, boat, or cruise? Would you visit our many lakes and rivers? Do you like German beer?!

See you in Berlin.

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87 Comments on “The astonishing rivers and lakes of Berlin and Brandenburg: 10 reasons why you should!

      • I deeply appreciate you’re responding back to my comments, I thought my comments was not added on your post. I enjoy reading over your blogs and presentation, keep up with your hard work to shine!!

      • Thank you very much for your kind thoughts and comments @Mihrank. I answer each and every comment unless they break my rules of tolerance and decency!

  1. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of German beer 🙂 A very useful post and every one makes me want to be there even more! Your son is so cute 🙂

  2. Very lovely! Say hi to your men for me. I can no longer call him a boy 🙂 . It was great fun discovering Berlin. So glad you guys were able to +1 for my hubby when he forgot his ticket. My only complaint is that those ticket machines do not take the old Euro! Make sure you have coins in hand. It is a beautiful city.

    • Will do kemkem! “The Tall Young Gentleman” will agree with you. It’s amazing how quickly these young children grow!
      It was lovely having you in Berlin too and meeting both you and your husband. I’ve met up with other 4 bloggers who were in town and was introduced to two more. It’s so nice to put a face to the words LOL! 🙂
      Yeah, the tickets. Most people don’t know that you can take an extra passenger. Very handy for the weekend and holiday periods. You can even take up to 3 kids at a time, if they’re young. So ticket-wise, you share them around! On the inter-city Deutsche Bahn trains, kids under 15 are totally free as long as they are travelling with a family member. My father-in-law now takes my son’s school ID card around his village in Northern Germany, as “The Tall Young Gentleman” looks older than 12!

  3. You are awesome about giving all the details a person may need on an outing in Berlin! We often take long tail boats here in Thailand to different island. I have also taken a slow boat down the Mekong river from Thailand to Luang Prabang, Laos. That was fun. Oh and a river cruise in Budapest which was the most beautiful so far. 🙂

    • Thanks so much for your nice comments @andthreetogo.:) I hope this post will be useful to someone looking to go on the waterway and interacting with locals. When next you come to Europe; Berlin is the place. I’ll even show you around. 🙂 Boats are such lovely, romantic and yet, useful, ways to go around town. A long or slow boat must be awesome.:) I so remember the Mekong River in Vietnam. It almost tipped over ‘cos all the Western man sat on the same side of the boat…!
      You’re right. River cruises in Budapest, Prague, Amsterdam, London, Manchester, Venice, Paris, are just ace! I did a one-week cruise on the River Nile in Egypt too, and it was fabulous!

      • Hah hah! I was just telling @threetogo on her site how l almost tipped the boat over as well!!! I don’t think you could ever get me on June of those things again! :-). I agree with the Budapest cruise. Best ever!

      • LOL! LOL! @threetogo is a great girl. I hope to meet her sometime in the future. 🙂 An yes, the Budapest cruise is one of the very, very good ones!

  4. SOLD! I love water transport and I recommend the Moscow river tram to everyone who comes to visit the city. Plus if you can drink beer while abroad – that’s pretty much heaven!

    • Gotcha! You’re so right. Isn’t river transport fantastic? I am so going to try and move heaven and earth, in order to get to Moscow in 2015. I’ve got to see this river tram of yours. River tram you say?
      I prefer vodka and champagne but you can never go wrong with beer LOL!

    • Thank you so much Phil. That’s so sweet of you. 🙂 🙂 I really enjoyed writing it and it was so easy ‘cos I love riverside/lake living. We’re so lucky over here. New Yorkers too from what I hear LOL!

  5. Although I’ve been to Berlin so many times, I’ve never been at the river neither at the lake there. Now I really regret as I could chill out and relax there! Great info, thanks!

    • You’re very welcome Agness. I thank YOU! 🙂
      Even though Berlin is one of Europe’s Nr.1 destinations, visitors tend to forget that as much as we are an urban city, we’re also one of the greenest with fantastic waterways. In fact, in possibly every part of the city there’s either a lake, river, canal, spring, or brook, nearby. Even “local” Berliners forget and talk about going to the “sea.” In my opinion, we’re already there LOL!

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