Berlin one-hour sightseeing cruise on the Spree River

by Jun 1, 2022Berlin Region, Travel Videos


A one-hour historic sightseeing cruise along the Spree River is a perfect introduction to some of the most important historic sites and buildings in Berlin.

A boat tour on the Spree River is a perfect way to get acquainted with Berlin or, in our case as regulars there, simply get a different perspective of many of the historic landmarks that make Berlin so amazing.

Taking advantage of an opportunity to view Berlin from the water is even more appropriate when you consider that the city has over 180 kilometers (112 miles) of waterways within the city limits, and it boasts more canals than any other city in the world (yes, really). According to Visit Berlin, the city has 1,700 bridges which is somewhat mind-blowing when you realize Venice has only 409. Of course, on a one-hour river cruise you’ll only be passing under a mere fraction of that number.

There are numerous companies to choose from when booking a Spree River cruise in the Berlin city center, with some that offer live narration and others, like the one we chose (Stern and Kreis), providing taped narration of the sights as you cruise by. In all cases, the narration provides valuable historical and cultural context to the sites you are viewing. Taped narrations are available in other languages.

The Stern and Kreis trip on the Spree bills its cruise as an “Historic City Cruise” highlighting many of Berlin’s major historic sites along the Spree River between Nikolai Quarter and the House of World Cultures.

No matter which one-hour cruise you select along this section of the Spree River, you will likely see and learn much more about the following (just to name a few):

  • Nikolaiviertel (“Nikolai Quarter,” Berlin’s oldest area, founded in about 1200)
  • Berliner Stadtschloss (Berlin Palace)
  • Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral)
  • Fernsehturm (TV tower)
  • Museumsinsel (Museum Island)
  • Reichstag (home to the German parliament)
  • Hauptbahnhof (Berlin’s Central Train Station)
  • Musée Futurium (Futurium museum)
  • Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cultures)
  • Schloss Bellevue (Bellevue Palace)

If the weather permits, be sure to arrive early enough that you can get a seat on the upper deck of your boat. I’d also recommend you pick up an audio guide device once you board so you can listen to the narration in your chosen language – in my case, it was English. Keep in mind when you are selecting your seat to try to position yourself as far away from speakers as you can; on our cruise, they were mounted along the sides of the boat on the top deck. The German narration is played quite loudly (at least on the boat on which we cruised the Spree), which made it rather difficult at times to hear the well-done English clearly through my handset.

HITT Tip: If you purchase a Berlin Welcome Card for your visit, most of the cruise companies in Berlin will offer a discount of around 25 percent off the regularly priced fare. 

Now, sit back and enjoy your one-hour cruise. You’ll learn a ton about this historic part of Berlin and gain a wonderful introduction to this vibrant and amazing city. Then consider a longer river tour – they can be found for three or four hours or even a full day, all along those waterways of Berlin.

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