It may be a landlocked city, but Berlin is built upon a vast system of waterways that contains more bridges than Venice. The city and surrounding area boast more than 80 lakes and 100 miles of navigable waters. Why not forget the cycle paths and U-Bahn, and consider discovering the joy of Berlin by boat?
Farther down the Havel, the waters open up into Greater Wannsee, a lake with one of the longest inland beaches in Europe. For over a hundred years, Berliners have been flocking to its shores every summer to swim, sunbathe, and relax. From this beach, it’s also possible to rent paddle boats and dinghies to explore the nearby waters. The Havel’s network continues south to Potsdam, where travellers by boat are afforded beautiful views of the Prussian architecture, such as the magnificent Babelsberg Palace. The Havel lake system offers ideal conditions for sailing, particularly Lake Templin and Lake Schwielow. On the other side of the city, the Spree River meets the Dahme River and the Treptow-Köpenick region opens in a series of lakes, canals and river waterways. Houseboat rental is most prominent among this area of Berlin. With many tourists taking to land accommodation, you can escape and enjoy the laid back atmosphere of Berlin in a houseboat. In the Treptow-Köpenick region you can also find Berlin’s largest lake, Müggelsee. Boat rental is available all around the lake, from large motorboats to paddle boats and one-man canoes. You will also find there are designated beaches and a lido if you fancy a swim. More info's -> visitBerlin.de - the official tourism portal for visitors to the German capital.
Kayaking and canoeing are also excellent ways to view Berlin from the water. A number of companies offer tours throughout the city’s waterways—for example, Kayak Berlin Tours have everything from a historical exploration of the lakes and palace gardens of Potsdam to an after-dark tour along the Landwehr Canal to discover Kreuzberg and Neukölln’s famous nightlife. If you’d prefer to go it alone, it’s easy to plan kayaking and canoeing trails yourself. Fittingly, given the city’s history, Berlin has a “Little Venice” on each side. Tiefwerder, the Little Venice of the west, lies just north of the Havel. It’s an old fishing village offering lazy waterways lined by weeping willows for kayakers to travel. The east’s Little Venice borders Müggelsee in the old town of Köpenick, and offers an ideal starting point from which to discover the water of Treptow-Köpenick. Nearer the centre of the city, you can head to the scenic Treptower Park to rent rowing boats, canoes and pedalos. If you’d prefer to enjoy lunch while sailing down the river, there are even motorized BBQ boats available.
Brandenburg Airport (under construction)
As any local will tell you, Berlin by summer and Berlin by winter are two different cities. In the summer, temperatures average highs of 22–25° and the waterways and lakes become a playground for the city’s inhabitants. Between May and September, the weather for boating should be pleasant and warm, and visiting in June and July will allow you to take advantage of the long daylight hours. On the other hand, winter is typically dark and cold, with temperatures dropping below freezing for much of December to February. In these months, it’s not unusual for the canals and smaller lakes to freeze, creating a network of pathways for ice skaters around Berlin.