Canoe into the water and on the Landwehrkanal course west. On this canoe tour through West Berlin, we explored the city with Kayak Berlin Tours, from Kreuzberg to Potsdamer Platz and Tiergarten.
They say you should see every city from the ground, from the air and from the water if possible. I can confirm this for Berlin and advise everyone, whether tourist or Berliner, to take at least one boat tour. And we clearly prefer to be at the helm ourselves. 🙂
This is our second guided canoe tour through West Berlin: we liked the East tour of the provider Kajak Berlin Tours so much that we wanted more. We set off on a beautiful and particularly sunny Sunday morning and paddled under expert guidance from Baerwaldbrücke in Kreuzberg westwards through Berlin-Mitte and Tiergarten to near Ernst-Reuter-Platz.
Note: We were kindly allowed to test this tour for free. However, our report is not predetermined or paid for in terms of content and reflects our own opinion.
On the West Tour, unlike the East Tour, you don’t go back to the starting point, but from A to B, so you can book it as an “outward tour” or a “return tour”. We decided on the former and therefore started at the same meeting point where the East Tour begins: right next to the Baerwald Bridge at Carl-Herz-Ufer 7, the truck from Kajak Berlin Tours was waiting.
The docking point at the destination for us was Einsteinufer 17, for a return tour it is simply the other way round. More info at the end of the article!
The start of our canoe tour through West Berlin is scheduled for 11:00 am this time, but you should arrive about 15 – 20 minutes earlier. Because before we start, a few preparations have to be made. The leader of our kayak tour this time is called Nuffe.
After she has welcomed us and all the other participants, it is time to unload the kayaks and transport them to the shore on special wheels. We also all put on life jackets – safety first!
On the shore, not far from the big Van Loon restaurant ship, we get a short briefing on how to paddle again. Practice makes perfect! 🙂
Nuffe also gives us a few safety tips and then we’re off!
We leave Urbanhafen, where we started, by passing under the Baerwald Bridge, the first of about 20 bridges we pass under on our canoe tour through West Berlin. By the way, the names of the bridges are always written on the bank wall, so they are good meeting points.
When we pass Hallesches Tor station, we stop for a moment. Here our tour guide tells us about the history of the Landwehr Canal, which was created in the 19th century to expand the water transport routes in Berlin.
Even from a distance we can see the imposing German Museum of Technology, which we are now heading for. For on its roof is an aircraft, an original “sultana bomber” of the kind used in 1948 for the airlift to supply West Berlin, which was isolated from the Soviet Union.
Our trip continues past the Gleisdreieck, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Park and Potsdamer Platz. Then we cross the outskirts of the government quarter and pass the Ministry of Defence, the Konrad Adenauer House and some embassies.
Here on the Reichpietschufer is also the architecturally highly interesting, wave-shaped Shell House as well as the Bauhaus Archive Museum and other interesting buildings.
Finally, we reach the Tiergarten and the Rosa Luxemburg Bridge. The famous politician, who is still revered by many left-thinking people, was murdered at this point in 1919 and thrown into the canal. A small memorial commemorates this today.
We continue through the Tiergarten and see walkers everywhere on the banks. Shortly after the bridge, however, we have to wait at the lower lock for quite a long time in the blazing sun. The reason: the lock attendants give priority to two rather large passenger ships before it is our turn.
Fortunately, we remembered to take something to drink with us and Nuffe kindly provides us with lemon wafers. Besides, it’s good to relax the muscles a bit. Finally it’s our turn and we are lowered a whole 1.50 m in the lock before we continue.
One last highlight shortly before the end of the tour is the beautiful view of Charlottenburg Bridge with the neo-baroque Charlottenburg Gate and two restaurant ships anchored here.
There were three of us on this canoe tour through West Berlin and all three of us really enjoyed it. We found it very pleasant that you can go at your own pace. In between, there are always meeting points that are announced and where the group waits. Especially if you are not so experienced in kayaking, these little breaks are very pleasant.
Our tour guide Nuffe, a studied historian, also used them for interesting explanations about the history of the Landwehr Canal and the buildings that you see on the banks on the West Tour. For us it was a well-balanced mix of recreational sport, beautiful views and historical background info.
Now the provider Kayak Berlin Tours raises the question…
We would definitely recommend every Berliner to do both tours, as they are quite different and both very worthwhile! If you are there as a tourist, however, you probably only have time for one and have to decide.
The advantages of the East Panorama Tour:
Advantages of the West Tour:
No matter what you decide, in our opinion you won’t go wrong with this provider!
To take part in the West Tour, you don’t have to be super sporty or have any great previous kayaking experience. In the two-person kayaks, the person behind steers, so the person with more experience should sit in the back. Children before puberty should definitely be in a canoe with an adult companion, if only because of physical strength.
However, you can easily manage the tour as a teenager or adult if you are not completely unathletic. Despite poor technique, I managed the West Tour without any problems and without aching muscles. A small tip: the Landwehr Canal flows in a westerly direction. On an “inward tour” from east to west, as we did, the (very gentle) current therefore comes to your aid a little 😉
This kayak tour through the heart of Berlin is both an alternative sightseeing tour and a relaxing leisure sport and is absolutely recommendable for tourists and Berliners alike! You will experience the capital from a different perspective from the water. You will be accompanied by an experienced kayak guide and learn about the history of Berlin at the same time.
By the way, we have tested many more activities in Berlin, like Escape Games, climbing gardens, laser tag providers and more. Just take a look or browse through our numerous location-independent tips for cool activities with friends, family or partner.
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