From sunset catamarans to sightseeing tours, these Berlin river cruises are guaranteed to float your boat.
Berlin is crammed full of sights, many of which sit on either side of the meandering Spree River. This 400 km river splices through some 44 km of the city and glides past showstopping sights like the Museum Island, Berlin Cathedral and the Reichstag. There are dozens of tours to choose from, ranging from cheap and cheerful sightseeing cruises to elaborate dinner affairs. But which to choose? We’ve rounded up five of the best Berlin river cruises based on value for money, route, comfort and customer reviews.
1-hour City Tour by Boat
This whistlestop one-hour tour is one of the best boat tours for those short on time. Travellers can choose to depart from Nikolaiviertel or Friedrichstraße and then tick off some of the city’s most famous sights, including the Reichstag, Haus de Kulturen der Welt, Schloss Bellevue and the Berlin Dom. There’s more to this tour than good views too; visitors can opt for a multilingual audio guide, which provides a running commentary on the passing landscapes and historical sights. Seats are guaranteed too, though you’ll want to arrive early for a prized window or upper-deck spot. From £17.35 per person.
2.5-hour East Side Boat Cruise with Commentary
For an alternative perspective on the city, try this 2.5-hour tour aboard the Belvedere. The tour meanders along the River Spree to explore East Berlin, little more than 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The roundtrip cruise starts by the Old Stock Exchange, then winds down the river past Mühlendamm Lock, under the Oberbaum Bridge and the Nikolaiviertel. Live commentary is available in both English and German and there’s a food and drinks bar onboard if you’re feeling peckish. From £20.93 per person.
Sunset Catamaran Cruise with Audio Guide
Most Berlin boat tours navigate the waters from a typical river cruise ship, but on this 2.5-hour tour, you’ll get to see the sights from aboard an intimate, solar-powered catamaran. Tours depart in the early evening and offer superb sunset views of the city’s most beloved sights. Departing from Oberbaumbrucke in Friedrichshain Kreuzberg, the catamaran meanders past the East Side Gallery, the historic harbour of Fischerinsel, Museum Island and the House of World Cultures. Insights and additional context are provided through audio guides, instead of a sound system, for a more peaceful experience. From £25.73 per person.
Self-drive Boat Tour
This tour gives visitors the chance to captain their own boat on the River Spree. The self-driven boat tour lasts for one to four hours and can host as many as eight people, so it’s worth rallying up a group of pals for maximum cost-efficiency. Passengers can choose their own route using little more than a map and a sense of adventure. There’s no bar on board but you can bring a full picnic on board, including alcoholic drinks. Boats are equipped with cosy blankets for colder evenings too. From £51.45 per person.
Berlin Dinner Cruise on the Spree with Prosecco
This 2.5-hour cruise offers an elevated maritime experience that combines blockbuster sights with a three or four-course dinner and a glass of bubbles. After climbing aboard the aptly-named Flying Dutchman at the Caprivi Bridge, the boat glides along the River Spree past showstopping sights in Berlin-Mitte and Charlottenburg. Passengers can choose from three menus (meat, pescatarian and vegetarian) and tuck in as they glide past the Alexanderplatz, Berlin Cathedral and Bellevue Palace. There’s a handy transparent retractable roof for rainy days so you can enjoy the cruise any time of year too.
From £55.81 per person.