The Landwehr Canal is an iconic 10 kilometre-or-so stretch of water that cuts through the heart of Berlin. It flows through the Tiergarten, most of Kreuzberg, skirting Neukölln and finally re-joining the Spree in Friedrichshain. Every Berliner has a fond memory from this special canal, and its long, luxurious banks can be enjoyed all year round.
Spring People-Watching Picnic
It is tough to beat the quintessential Landwehr Canal experience. In the Spring the canal is fringed with sun dappled grassy banks, wild flowers and weeping willows. Choose a spot, clamber down with a beer, some snacks and a picnic blanket and you’re set. It is an excellent place to spend the day observing the Berlin native wildlife. In addition to graceful swans and friendly ducks cruising by, there is also a steady stream of cyclists, joggers, tourists, lovers and families. There are many great places to park yourself along the canal, but in the Tiergarten you are guaranteed idyllic beauty.
Ahoy there! Celebrate summer on the canal with a different kind of ducks. Pictured are Berlin dream-pop-electro act Ducks! serenading a happy seafaring crew on board the Musikschiff, as part of 48 Hours Neukölln. This worthy vessel hosts many concerts with a range of interesting international performers. For the unbelievable price of just 2 euros you are treated to an open air dance party, complete with Landwehr sightseeing cruise while landlubbers look on from the shore jealously. Keep an eye on their page for your chance to board the good ship, departing from Wildenbruchstraße in Neukölln.
Every few years when the temperatures stay at sub zero and there’s a sharp frost in the air, conditions are favourable for the canal to freeze over! Thick ice creates a stable crust, locking mysterious pieces of debris in place, such as floating bottles, lost toys and even small automotive parts. While not officially sanctioned by authorities, the canal becomes a playground for locals to stroll, skate and slide across the ice. Beg, borrow or steal a pair of ice skates for a truly magical experience.
PSA: Traversing the frozen canal can be fun, but it is also dangerous. It is strongly recommended that you check advice from the Police before attempting to walk on the ice. Avoid sections with cracks, holes or water and discoloured areas that are grey or black.
If you’re broke and bored, head down to the Kreuzberg stretch of canal to watch buskers play at the corner of Maybachufer and Schinkestraße. On sunny Tuesday and Friday afternoons the markets attract gozleme eating audiences on the deck by the canal. Performers are unpredictable but rewarding; a harmonica wizard with a loop station, a woman warbling with an electric harp, or a madman, with his collection of costumes, choreographed dance moves and a keyboard. Of course, donations along with the applause are always appreciated.
**This article was written by Shani Moffat. Shani is an Australian creative living and working in Berlin. When not eating, dancing and exploring the city, she is working on performance and puppetry projects under the name Duckie L’Orange: www.duckielorange.com
Edited by Tulio Edreira.