How to save on Berlin’s boat tours and river cruises

Posted in: Berlin Sightseeing


Berlin river cruise
Cruising by the Reichstag in central Berlin. Photo: Caribb

There is something incomparable about seeing a city from the water. Though no city may ever top Amsterdam in this respect, Berlin’s regular cruises – traveling along the Spree and its canals throughout the city – provide visitors with an unparalleled view of many central sights.

City Tour

There are numerous boat companies plying the central waterways on sunny summer days. Such tours typically last one hour and take passengers past the city’s major sights: Haus der Kulturen der Welt, government quarter including Chancellery and Reichstag, Hauptbahnhof, Berlin Cathedral, Museum Island, and Nikolaiviertel.

Boat companies include: Stern & Kreis and Reederei Riedel. The most convenient location with regular departures is Friedrichstrasse station. Cost: Around €10

• Cheapo tip: Have a local friend or host with a transportation ticket subscription? Such “Abo” customers are eligible for 2-for-1 tours on BWSG boats. Print the coupon here.

Canals Tour

Stern & Kreis offers a “bridges” tour through Berlin’s canal system, taking you through Mitte, Friedrichshain, Treptow, Kreuzberg and Charlottenburg, before returning through the center of the city. It’s an excellent three-hour excursion. Wait for a fine day and slap on sunscreen! Click for departures from Friedrichstrasse or Jannowitzbrücke. Cost: 20€.

• Cheapo tip: Score 20% off your ticket price with a coupon from the Berlin Stars booklet, distributed with paid admission by participating attractions (Fernsehturm, Madame Tussaud’s, SeaLife, Legoland, etc.).

Ultimate Cheapo Tour

For the price of a regular AB public transportation ticket or included in any day or week ticket, Cheapos can take the ferry F10 across Wannsee to Alt-Kladow. The harbor is a quick walk from Wannsee station, located 20-30 minutes from Friedrichstrasse (S1/S7) or Zoo (S7) stations.

The ferry ride takes 20 minutes in one direction; either enjoy a stop in one of Alt-Kladow’s harbor-side biergartens for an hour, or disembark and immediately join the line reboarding for Wannsee. Consider stopping on an excursion to or from Potsdam. Cost: 5.20€ (or free). More information.

About the author

Hilary Bown

An academic by training, a writer by day, and a Cheapo by heritage, Hilary Bown's meagre means and insatiable travel appetite have helped her sharpen her "no-budget travel" skills across the European continent over the past decade. At home in Berlin or on an adventure abroad, you'll find her in sandals, riding the bus, reading novels while walking, drinking the local wine, writing out postcards with a felt-tip pen, and browsing the shelves of the supermarket and hardware store. Find her unique blend of travel adventure and tested advice at Less Than a Shoestring.

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