River Spree, Wannsee and Havel Lakes, Berlin
IMPORTANT: Berlin's Higher Administrative Court has ruled on April 3, 2009 that the FIRST PART of the walk (pic 1) IS PRIVATE. Residents will no longer grant the general public access to the lake!
This is a 6.5 km or 4-mile-walk formerly used by GDR border police along Griebnitzsee to Potsdam (main/central station). The walk can easily be extended to visit the Dutch Quarter (8km / 5 miles) and Sanssouci Palace (11-13 km / 7-8 miles).
The walk is easy, just never leave the shore and changes to "get lost" are slim. A map of Potsdam is recommended, though.
There are coffeehouses and ice parlours along the way.
The walk is quite unique, not only for historical reasons, but also because it guides you along lakes and castles that are part of the UNESCO World Heritage program.
Take the S-Bahn railway to Gribnitzsee station, cross the street and your are standing in front of Gribnitzsee. Now turn left and follow the way (pic 1).
There are only two occasions where a little care has to be taken not to choose the wrong direction (pic 2+3). Again, just make sure that you stay close to the shore and you cant go wrong.
Some parts of the walk are now private property, which is a shame since the treaty between both German countries stated that the way around Griebnitzsee and access to the lake shall remain public domain. Still, owners have to allow the general public pass their soil. There's no reason to return to the S-Bahn station when you see a sign that reads "Privatweg" (private way).
Later, the surrounding area becomes more open. You walk through one or two parks but still along water, only that it's now river Havel.
Glienicke Bridge, the famous bridge used for exchange of spies during the Cold War, is easily visible.
When you see a main street (pic 4) cross your way, you can either go straight and head directly to Potsdam central station where you can take the S-Bahn back to Berlin.
Or you go down main street and at crossroads keep a little left. This way will take you to Potsdam's picturesque Dutch Quarter.
Have a coffee and consider taking the "full blast" by visiting Sanssouci Palace (pic 5). Entrance to the park is free; voluntary admission fees are welcome.
This huge sculpture is standing in the river Spree, on the southern bank of the river, between the bridges Elsenbrücke and Oberbaumbrücke. It is just a short stroll to the west from S-Bahn station Treptower Park. The so called Treptowers, two not very exciting skyscapers of the Allianz insurance company, are nearby.
If you do not want to continue a rather boring and seemingly endless walk along the river to Oberbaumbrücke, go back to the S-Bahn station and take the bus (# 265) to Oberbaumbrücke. (Believe me, we walked LOL)
But now to the Molecule Man.
This is a substantial 30 metre high statue, weighing 45 tonnes. Although that big and heavy, it has a lightweight and transparent feel, thanks to the aluminium construction and the structure dotted with holes. It was created by the American artist Jonathan Borofsky, and has been on display since May 1999.
The three figures symbolise individuality and unity at a time. The figures are standing in the water individually but are joint around a virtual pole in the middle, at 120° angles between each of them. Additionally they look like just one figure from certain viewpoints and like two from others.
The intention of the artist was to remind the viewer “that both man and molecules exist in the world of probability and that finding wholeness and unity within this world remains the aim of any creative and spiritual tradition”. I could not have said it better LOL
Set in the river Havel - between Wannsee and Kladow - is the Pfaueninsel - Peacock Island.
This Island with 1,5km length and 0.5km width is full of exotic trees and shrubs, phantastic buildings, romantic ruins and, of course, peacocks.
The buildings on the Island have been built by the Prussian Lords and Kings to create a phantastic place for leisure and relaxing. There are Schloss Pfaueninsel and the gardens to be seen, the latter planned by Peter Lennè in 1816 as well as a Voliere for birds, greenhouses, another house called the Kavaliershaus, built by Karl Friedrich Schinkel in 1824 and purposely build ruins. The peacocks where brought to the Island in 1793 and today they are everywhere. They are allowed to roam free and there are loads of them.
14109 Berlin-Zehlendorf (Wannsee), Pfaueninsel bus 116 and 216 from S-Station Wannsee to the Ferry
Usually, planes take off in a western direction from Berlin's Tegel Airport (TXL). If they do and if you managed to get into a starboard window seat, you might enjoy to look down onto Tegel Lake ("Tegeler See" in German), which is one of the many lakes in and around Berlin.
On its northern shore, in the Tegel district, you'll find some cruising boats taking you down and up the river Havel (a part of which can be seen in the upper left of the picture), which runs through Berlin's western areas.
You can spend a whole day on these boats and enjoy the Havel. Some of them take you down to "Pfaueninsel" (Peacock Island), which is a lovely small island in the south of Berlin.
I guess you wouldn't have expected that much water and forests if you had spent your time just in the inner city beforehand, would you?
I took this pic heading out of Berlin on an early morning Airberlin flight to Vienna on August 18, 2004.
Berlin spills north and south of the Spree River, which winds through some of the magnificent parks which cover approx. a third of the municipal area. There were a lot of canals which formed water ways crossing the city of which the most important was Landwehrkanal. There were many, different boat tours on the river and its canals in offer of each Berlin tour operator.
There are some lovely walks alongside the River Spree, Berlin's main river. It passes through many parts of the city and you'll be sure to find plenty of historic and interesting to see on your walk. One of the nicest walks along the Spree is around Museum Island in the Mitte district of Berlin.
Berlin is located along Spree River which flows from east to west. Hmm... it's not Mississipi as you can see on my picture but I enjoyed short walk along its southern bank at Spreeside government quarter.
There was the Jakob Kaiser House on the right - a complex of old buildings but mostly reconstructed in modern way. It accommodated members of the presidium of the Bundestag, its administrators, and representatives of the parties. There was modern Marie-Elisabeth Lüders House on the oposite, northern side of the river. It housed world's third largest library. There was Marschallbrücke (Marschall Bridge) seen to the east and the skyline was dominating by TV-tower (Fernsehturm).
Before leaving Berlin I stopped at district of Kreuzberg (again) and took a walk along northern bank (Frankentaler Ufer) of a main canal of Berlin called the Landwehrkanal. Its banks with metal fences, walking pathways and old 4-5 floor old buildings remained me Amsterdam. Hmm... not at all - there was no traffic on the water.
The main canal of Berlin (Landwehrkanal) crosses district of Kreuzburg. There were metal fences, walking pathways and narrow (as for Berlin) one-way (unique in Berlin) streets along its banks. Walking along Frankentaler Ufer I enjoyed my eyes with a view over beautiful old buidings standing there.
for two or three rare weeks in the year it really is warm enough to walk around in flip-flops and get a mild sweat just standing still in the heat. everyone flees to the many lakes that surround berlin, and it really is a magical time, with children swinging from ropes and into swimming holes and people relaxing on river banks. so it makes me a little sad that it isn't warmer here more often. the thing is, if it's warm like that you have to drop what you're doing and run, because you might not get the opportunity again!
as I usually come for business there´s always few time to look around - though I like walking in early morning hours along the river Spree enjoying the light and the marvellous buildings along the river side ...
The sun set on the Wansee was lovely. In the Summer months the hours of daylight were very long. It was late in the evening before the sun would set and shortly after midnight you could watch it rise again.
then check out the outlying areas of Berlin and Brandenburg - lakes, rivers, and green green green. The picture here is the Rangsdorfer See, a lesser-known lake than the Wannsee, but just as beautiful.
There are scores of green, scenic areas all around Berlin. One of the most popular escapes from the big city is to go to one of the lakes. The Wannsee can easily be reached on the S1 and is just three stations away from Potsdam, so can easily be combined with a day trip to Schloss Sanssouci.