There are many ways to explore Berlin. While the on foot option is the “cheapest” one, well not counting the expense of tired feet and slightly used shoes, Berlin from a watery perspective is no less charming.
Through the heart of the city runs Spree, stretching approximately 400 km. On the banks of it are nestled many of the Berlin highlights, so naturally a cruise across the river is a nice chance to admire the city. Which we did on a beautiful April day, when the sun was shining bright and the sky was deep blue. As it proved later such days would be a rare occurrence in the summer. We – Berliners – were left to the mercy of never-ending rain, grey sky and cold temperatures. The sun was too shy perhaps…
There are a few cruise operators in Berlin, we went with Stern und Kreisschiffahrt. They offer various tours from a basic one-hour journey covering the highlights (9 EUR) to whole day cruises through Berlin (24,50 EUR). Here are the links to the tours we did:
Besides Spree, there are tons of small and big lakes scattered in and around the city. A lake in German is called “der See” (pay careful attention to the article, as there is also die See – sea. Well what can you do this language is so full of tiny little tricks and traps). Now if you look at a Berlin map, it is full of Seen. Wannsee, Tegeler See, Weissensee, Schlachtensee, Grosser Müggelsee and tens of other Seen. Take your pick and enjoy the idyllic nature. Most of them are conveniently reachable by the wonderful Bahn service.
Many of the lakes are also good for swimming with or without swimsuit, check the beach first to avoid sudden shocks. Berlin and Germany in general have a strong naturistic culture. Ever came across the term FKK – Freikörperkultur (Free Body Culture)? Here is a website that lists all the FKK beaches in Germany. Scroll and take a bath.
As if lakes are not enough saunas too support FKK Besides they are mostly mixed gender. Of course you can choose to keep your attire on but that might be judged as weird by your fellow sauna-peers.
One of the uniquely crazy yet adorable things about Berlin is the Strandbar (beach bars) that spring up like mushrooms in every possible or impossible locations. People like to put up beach chairs, pour some sand and enjoy the life in the middle of all the hustle. A selection of these can be found here if you are lucky and the sun is smiling at you that is. Join the bandwagon fun