Le Chic En Rose

Diaries of an independent traveller

Apart from taking a walking tour (see here and here for more details ), another great way to see Berlin is by taking a river cruise. We hadn’t done so on our first trip to the city so were keen to make amends this time.

There are a large number of pleasure boats cruising along the Spree and the main mooring point was on the river bank opposite the Berliner Dom literally a stone’s throw from our hotel. They all seemed to be offering a similar tour – about an hour up and down the river so we hopped on board the first boat in the “taxi” queue and took our seats.



We had an entertaining guide who talked us through the sights in both German and English whilst we sat back with a couple of drinks admiring the view. We couldn’t have picked a better day – it was a glorious sunny spring afternoon with a gentle breeze. It’s a fascinating way to get a feel for the city and the contrasts and heritage of the place.

We started off back tracking towards what’s left of the old medieval heart of the town sailing past the Nikolaiviertel  (Nikolai Quarter) at a leisurely pace. I’ll be doing another post on this area in due course but for now by way of a preview some photos.


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We glided back to the bridge, passed the Berliner Dom to our left and caught sight of some of the museums, which make up the famous Museum Insel (Museum Island).



We sailed past the Government Buildings including the impressive Reichstag (see here for an earlier post about our visit there during our first Berlin trip). We also had a good view of Angela Merkel’s private balcony complete with greenery in case you are wondering why I zoomed in on a rather nondescript concrete office block!



Turning a bend in the river we had a stark reminder of Berlin’s divided past with the White Crosses Memorial (Weisse Kreuze) coming into view. This poignant tribute is located on the river bank near the Reichstag building as a memorial to those killed trying to flee into the west from the GDR. The white wooden crosses are marked with the names of 13 people killed, mainly between 1961 – 1965, and a further one is a tribute to the unknown victims.

The Spree marked the boundary between the eastern borough of Friedrichshain and the western Berlin one of Kreuzberg. Between 1949 and 1989 these two places, so close geographically, were a world apart from each other in a divided Berlin. Our guide told us with great sensitivity some harrowing stories of children falling into the river and no one being allowed to rescue them for fear of being shot at by the East German patrol guards. It was a sobering reminder of the contrasts and complexities of Berlin.



White Crosses Memorial Berlin Near Reichstag Building


On a happier note the sunshine had brought out many people enjoying a spot of sunbathing by the river. The pretty greenery of the Tiergarten came into view along with cafes lining the river and our guide turned his microphone off at this point (not that it had been intrusive) and let us enjoy the rest of the cruise at our leisure. Amongst other places of interest we came across the Haus der Kulturen den Welt (House of The World’s Cultures), which is Germany’s national centre for the promotion and discussion of international contemporary arts (housed in what was formerly called the Kongresshalle). All too soon we arrived back at our starting point. We had thoroughly enjoyed our jaunt along the Spree and disembarking headed off to enjoy some afternoon tea in the sun.



I’ll be continuing the Berlin series in the New Year. With Christmas approaching and our younger daughter, Mlle, arriving from London for a 3 week visit later today, the blog will have a mini hiatus. I’ll still be coming on here though from time to time and will try and post some “#justanotherdayinwa photos” as we’ll be going out and about a fair bit over the next few weeks. In the meantime wishing everyone a very happy Christmas and very best wishes for 2017! Thanks for reading Le Chic En Rose – I value the support and blogosphere community very much!




Copyright © 2016 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved

14 thoughts on “Berlin – Cruising On the River Spree

  1. Nice, I always like a river cruise. Thanks for taking me along!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very welcome – you definitely get a different perspective from the river and it’s such a pleasant way to see the sights 🙂


  2. fifi + hop says:

    Wow – looks like you packed a lot in. Seeing a city by water is one of the best ways in my opinion – and fun and relaxing ;).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I agree it’s relaxing, you get to see a lot and it’s a good way to unwind! We’d done a “heavy” museum tour in the morning, which was fascinating but exhausting and the river was the perfect place to sit back and chill out for a bit but still seeing the sights!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love a boat trip in a new city, this one looks great and the glass roof on the boat is such a good idea. Lovely views and great pictures Rosemary, the story about the children though… how terrible. Enjoy your Christmas break, very best wishes for 2017 and looking forward to reading more about Berlin!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joy it was a great river trip 🙂 I did hesitate to write up the story about those poor children, just unthinkable, but the history is so much a part of Berlin and they certainly don’t shy away from it. It is testament to the spirit of the city how vibrant and positive a place it is. There is acknowledgement of the past, enjoyment of the present and hope for the future – it really has a special vibe, which we loved! Am glad you’re enjoying the Berlin posts and definitely more coming up! Have a wonderful Christmas too and very best wishes for 2017. Look forward to all your future posts too – always so interesting and informative! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. restlessjo says:

    Enjoy your family time and have a wonderful Christmas, Rosemay 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jo! Wishing you a lovely festive season too and very best wishes for 2017 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Anabel Marsh says:

    Enjoy your break – have a great Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Anabel! Merry Christmas to you too and all the very best for 2017! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. kayrpea61 says:

    Thanks for this new perspective on Berlin, Rosemary. We didn’t have time for the river cruise. Still getting over the Pergamon Altar (and Gates of Babylon, of course) as well as Nefertiti 🙂 Those museums are something else, aren’t they 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ken! Yes we hadn’t time either on our first trip so it was lovely to fit in the river trip recently. We did do many museums and yet I must confess have still to visit the Pergamon and see the antiquities! Am sure we’ll be going back at some point as we seem very drawn to Berlin so we must make amends then. This time we did the Mauer Haus Museum and the 800 Years Of Berlin one just off Kurfuerstendamm – absolutely fascinating but both took up a lot of time and then we couldn’t really face any more museums for a while! We also did Sanssouci at Potsdam plus the ones we did on our first trip! I feel you could live in Berlin for a month and still leave so much undone (and there are always new exhibitions running for a limited time)!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. kayrpea61 says:

        True, give me a month there, but then there’s Liepzig, Prague, Vienna, Budapest and a few more where I would love to have longer visits. Thankful for what I have had 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. There are so many lovely places aren’t there?!

          Liked by 1 person

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