Long planned, finally tried out: Kayaking in Berlin! The “Tour East” by Kajak Berlin Tours took us along the Landwehrkanal through Kreuzberg and onto the Spree to Oberbaumbrücke and Molecule Man. Read here what the tour is like!
Every city that has a lot of water should be explored from it. And for those who prefer it sporty and individual, a canoe tour is preferable to the big tourist boats.
Germany’s capital has no shortage of waters on which you can row a rowing boat or kayak with your own muscle power.
On our first kayaking trip in Berlin, we opted for a guided tour that takes us right through the trendy districts of Kreuzberg, Neukölln and Friedrichshain and all the way up the Spree to Osthafen.
Note on transparency: The provider Kajak Berlin Tours kindly let us test this tour for free for three of us. However, this report is not paid and reflects our independent opinion.
Shortly before 6 p.m., the starting time of the East Tour of Kajak Berlin Tours, we gathered at the meeting point at the Carl-Herz-Ufer not far from the Baerwaldbrücke, where kayak guide Kerstin immediately welcomed and instructed us. Besides us 3 adventure testers from Abenteuer Freundschaft, 5 other participants took part.
Kerstin first demonstrated to us on land how to paddle and steer a kayak properly and gave us important safety instructions. Normally it is compulsory to wear a life jacket, but adults can do without at their own risk – this was also the case in our group.
Apart from guide Kerstin, who had a single kayak, the rest of us split up into 2-person kayaks. I shared the kayak with a very nice Dane who had a bit more kayaking experience and muscle power than me and took over the steering as the person behind.
As the name Tour East suggests, our destination was the East and first we drove to the oldest and probably most beautiful bridge over the Landwehrkanal, the wrought-iron Admiralsbrücke.
Apart from us, there were many Berliners in rubber dinghies on the Landwehr Canal, who were ringing in the Saturday evening here with chilling, drinking beer and listening to music. And from the shore, too, a different beat sounded every few metres, spreading a pleasantly relaxed party atmosphere.
Tour guide Kerstin always arranged meeting points with us, where all the kayaks gathered and she gave us interesting anecdotes from history and information about the Landwehr Canal and about the particular place where we were.
Today particularly beautiful and historically interesting is the small triangular harbour basin where the Landwehr Canal makes a 90-degree bend and where the border used to run. What is now an idyllic place in spring and summer was the scene of some dramatic events at the time of the division of Germany.
To get from the Landwehr Canal to the Spree, you have to pass a lock, as the water level of the Spree is about 20 cm higher. At the so-called Oberschleuse (upper lock), you first have to drive to the side, ring a button and then you can talk to the lockkeeper on the radio. Then you are let in and have to wait for about 5 minutes until the lock closes behind you and you are lifted up by the incoming water.
When we entered the Spree, the first thing we all noticed was the stronger swell, although fortunately there was no particularly strong wind. Nevertheless, it was a lot more strenuous to make progress here.
But the view, no matter in which direction, compensated us double and triple for the extra effort: in the west, the slowly sinking sun hung like a ball of fire over the magnificent Oberbaumbrücke and in the east, the 30-metre-high sculpture Molecule Man towered over the water.
As we were well on time, we were even able to paddle to the sculpture and under the legs of one of the three holey molecule men. That must have been how majestic it felt back then to enter the harbour under the Colossus of Rhodes.
After we had paddled a little bit towards the Oberbaumbrücke and enjoyed the sight of it under the sinking sun, we started our way back. Unfortunately, we had to wait for almost a quarter of an hour at the upper lock. According to guide Kerstin, it was the first time something like this had happened. The lock keeper must have forgotten about us.
But finally we were back on the Landwehr Canal and enjoyed the particularly romantic light of the blue hour on the way back.
We enjoyed the tour very much. It was just the right mix of sporting activity, a short city tour from the water and pure enjoyment of the atmosphere of a warm spring evening in Berlin.
However, we did notice our arms and shoulders quite a bit afterwards. We are all “normally fit” if you can say so, and the tour was just the right length at around 3 hours. I was also quite happy to have a quite trained kayaker as a 2nd man in the boat.
You don’t have to be particularly sporty for the East Tour by Kajak Tours Berlin, but the kayaking in Berlin does get your arms into it a bit. We recommend this tour to anyone who likes to actively explore a city and wants to get to know Berlin from a different perspective.
A sporty city tour on the water in the evening glow, which also showed us Berliners by choice the capital from a new perspective. The East Tour by Kayak Tours Berlin is also a real tip for Berliners and not just for tourists, and we recommend it to everyone!
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