The River Spree

Running through the centre of the city, much of Berlin’s culture emanates from along the Spree’s riverbanks.

TravelCurious Tip

Fancy a swim? Don’t risk the Spree — instead go to Badeschiff on the banks of the spree, which has heated pools, saunas and a riverside beach bar

The River Spree. It sounds small, whereas the Rhine, for example, could be nothing other than enormous. However, the Spree is not to be sniffed at. Approximately 400 kilometres in length, it flows through the Saxony, Brandenburg and Berlin states of Germany before cutting into the Czech Republic. It is the river on which the original centre of Berlin was built.

The Spree drains an area of 10,100 square kilometres. It begins in the Lusatian Moutains above Neugersdorf and flows past Bautzen and Spremberg where it forks. After it passes Cottbus, its unweaves into many channels, making the marshy wooded region known as the Spree Forest. Eventually it passes Fürstenwalde and Köpenick before winding through Berlin. The course of the Spree, with its place names seeingly lifted from a Brothers Grimm fairy tale, is the kind of thing that would have had Patrick Leigh Fermour beside himself. There is something magical about the German countryside.

However, within Berlin, there is the option to take a riverboat cruise along the Spree. You can catch dozens of sights from a rather different perspective as the river wends between them. You can choose your time, too — for something really lovely, go for the evening tour during the summer months. The more energetic can rent bicycle to follow the river, stopping off to visit attractions as they go, and the languid can simply relax in one of the many fine bars that can be found on the banks of the Spree.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Berlin
Known for its bustling nightlife, in Friedrichshain, you will also find peaceful green spaces and cosy cafes in this neighbourhood.
East Side Gallery
This mile long stretch of beautiful murals was painted by 118 artist from 21 countries, to commemorate the fall of the Wall.
Oberbaumbrücke Bridge
Built-in 1895 this double-deck bridge crosses River Spree linking Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg districts, becoming an important symbol of Berlin’s unity.
Urban Spree
Urban Spree is an artistic area with art, dance clubs and food stands
RAW-Gelände in Friedrichshain , Berlin is a former train station with an amazing nightlife
Turkish Food
Turkish cuisine is a must-try in Berlin

Related Tours

Private Walking Tour of East Berlin with a Local
“Berlin is poor, but sexy” a former mayor famously declared about the city – discover for yourself why the world fell in love with its urban grit and underground freedoms in this half-day tour of the real, local Berlin. 

  • Take a journey through the vibrant Freidrichshain, Kreuzberg and Mitte neighbourhoods. 
  • Hear how locals describe Berlin - the experiences that have shaped their worldview.
  • Retrace history and observe the lasting repercussions of Soviet occupation.
  • Enter decaying hospitals and Industrial complexes, now converted into art spaces.
  • Unearth the finest cafes, vintage shops and music venues that lie tucked away. 
  • Explore and learn about the dazzling street art that coats the neighbourhood.
  • Grab a drink - a coffee or beer - in your local guide’s favorite haunt.
  • Learn first-hand what locals love about Berlin from someone who knows the place inside-out.
Since the fall of the wall in 1989, Berlin has metamorphosed from a Cold War city bound by razor wire and concrete to a vibrant, open city reborn. Seismic change is still ongoing, especially in Europe’s ‘Silicon Valley’ - where an insatiable appetite for innovation ensures Berlin is never static. From its cutting-edge artists, electro-DJs and uber-hip creative intellectuals that trail blaze effortlessly to the bright, bold confidence of Berlin’s neon-lit cabaret bars and nightclubs - the city is constantly abuzz.  Following your insightful local guide through hip districts, multicultural communities and countless creative spaces, you’ll learn how Berlin became a bastion of alternative living and what it’s like to live here today. Get off the beaten track and onto the streets as you explore this distinctive cultural landscape through the eyes of a Berliner. 

Enjoying a private, guided tour with a local will help you discover the sights that tourists so often miss in the artistic center of Kreuzberg. This former working-class area is a place of architectural contrasts and the transforming influx of vibrant immigrants have left it with a strong bohemian element. It hosts a number of great galleries and you will visit the Berlinische Galerie. Experience the humour, subtle nuances, social conventions and psyche of a place over a beer or coffee, and then jot down your guide’s version of “must do Berlin.” 


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