Hear the call of nature – by boat along the Havel River
Beavers gnaw contentedly on trees and sea eagles circle overhead; the Havel River between Potsdam and the Hanseatic city of Havelberg is an excellent point of departure for boat trips through a water-sport region full of fantastic natural resources.
Nature as far as the eye can see
The water-sport region of the Potsdam and Brandenburg Havel Lakes and the neighbouring area Flusslandschaft Untere Havelniederung are the habitat of a great number of protected plants and animals. European otters and kingfishers can be observed easily from the boot, and thousands of geese and cranes flock to the bird sanctuaries for a short respite. The 'Naturpark Westhavelland' nature reserve also provides refuge for very rare plants such as the Cnidion dubii and the everlasting sandflower.
On 'shore leave' you can discover nature from a different perspective. Visit one of the numerous observation towers, nature trails or exhibitions on nature along the river. We will even recommend the most convenient mooring for each one of the locations!
Do you fancy a change of perspective? So why don't you climb one of the many observation towers along the river and enjoy the wonderful views of the Havelland countryside?
From this neo-Gothic observation tower right in the centre of Babelsberg Park you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city of Potsdam and of its surrounding landscape.
» PHv 26.8: Marina am Tiefen See (1.8 km)
» PHv 26.0: Bootswerft und Kanucenter Jahn (2 km)
» PHv 26.4: Öffentliche Sportbootliegestelle Alte Fahrt (2 km)
Visitors have a fantastic view of the Havel Lakes region and the landscape around Schwielowsee Lake from the observation platform of the radio tower situated on Wietkiekenberg mountain near Ferch. You cannot miss the hiking route leading to the platform (round trip) if you follow the signposts in Ferch (green dot).
» Schwielowsee: Marina Ferch (1.5 km)
» Schwielowsee: Kanuanleger zum Alten Landrat Ferch (3.5 km)
open at all times · free admission
Petzow Church is situated on a little hill and its tower offers visitors a view over Schwielowsee Lake and Glindower See.
» Glindower See: Sanddorn Garten Christine Berger (1 km)
» Glindower See: Yachthafen Porta Elisa (500 m)
» PHv 26.8: Marina am Tiefen See (1 km)
Mar. to Oct., Sat./Sun. 11am – 6pm, Nov. to Feb., Sat./Sun. 1pm – 5pm
You have a wonderful view of the Havel Lakes and the town of Werder (Havel) from 'Bismarckhöhe', which is an architectural and cultural monument on Galgenberg mountain. Follow the signposts in Werder (Havel).
» PHv 12.3: Wasserwanderrastplatz Werder (1 km)
» PHv 12.3: Wassersportfachgeschäft Krüger und Till (1 km)
» PHv 10.5: Unruh Marine (1.5 km)
» PHv 10.3: Marina Vulkan Werft (1.7 km)
1st, 2nd and 5th Sun. of Mar., Sept. to Nov., 2pm – 5pm, Apr. to Aug. 2pm – 6pm , Jul. to Aug. also Thurs. 3pm – 6pm, during the Tree Blossom Festival, daily 2pm – 6pm
The marked hiking trail 'Mühlenrundweg' leads you on a round trip route from Deetz to Mühlenberg mountain, which offers a splendid view of the natural landscape of the Havel River, fruit plantations and the 'Erdelöcher' of Deetz where people used to extract clay for bricks.
» PHv 42.2: Leave your canoe at the 'Ablage Deetz' mooring (1.3 km)
You can also reach Deetz by bike via the 'Havel-Radweg' (Havel bike trail). It is approx. 10 km from the mooring in Ketzin (includes ferry crossing), and from Phöben it is approx. 15 km.
open at all times · free admission
At an altitude of 135 m above sea level, you get a spectacular panoramic view across the Havel lowland from the tower on Götz mountain ('Götzer Berge'), and on clear days you can even see Berlin.
» You can reach Götz mountain by bike via the 'Havel-Radweg' (Havel bike trail). It is approx. 15 km from the mooring in Ketzin (includes ferry crossing), and from Phöben it is approx. 20 km. There are signposts leading to the mountain along the bike trail.
open at all times · free admission
The 'Friedenswarte' observation tower on Marienberg mountain in the city of Brandenburg an der Havel enjoys a panoramic view across the vast forest and lake area of the Havelland and the rolling hills of the Fläming.
» BHv 57.4: Wasserwanderrastplatz Salzhofufer (700 m)
» BHv 58.0 Wasserwanderrastplatz am Slawendorf (1 km)
» BHv 57.3 Wasserwanderrastplatz Packhofufer (1 km)
The 11-metre tall building of Premnitz's pumping station has been fitted with a wooden construction that functions as an observation platform and extends 2 metres over the Havel River. Visitors can either take the stairs or the lift to access the platform. Once there they will find illustrated charts with information on the flora and fauna of the Havel River's floodplain, which you can then view through the platform's telescope.
» UHW 90.9: Anlegestelle Premnitz (100 m)
» UHW 90.7 Boots-/Kahnhafen Premnitz (300 m)
Apr. to Oct., 9am – 8pm, Nov. to Mar., 9am – 4pm · free admission
One of Rathenow's landmark symbols is the 'Bismarckturm' tower, which was built in neo-Gothic style on Weinberg mountain. The view from the top covers the beautiful landscape of the Westhavelland with its meadows, forests and lakes.
» RHv 104.4 (Mühlenarm): Wasserwanderstützpunkt Optikpark (1.5 km)
» RHv 104.4: Anlegesteg »Am Alten Hafen« (1.5 km)
Business hours are identical with those of the 'Optikpark' (end of Apr. to beginning of Oct., daily 11am – 5pm).
€1.50 admission (reduced rate €1)
Exhibitions involving nature
So what are all the 'creepy crawly' things in the forest and on the fields and what plants are flourishing on the meadow? Exhibitions on nature give an insight into the diversity of the natural wildlife in the Havel region.
Potsdam's Museum of Natural Science introduces you to the small and large mammals and the feathered friends in Brandenburg, not to mention aquariums full of fish. The museum also illustrates how climate change affects us.
» PHv 24.5: Anleger Neustädter Havelbucht (500 m)
» PHv 26.4 Öffentliche Sportbootliegestelle Alte Fahrt (1.3 km)
Tue. – Sun. 9am – 5pm, 50% off admission on the 1st Mon. of the month 9am – 6 pm
€1 for children aged 6–12, €2 for children aged 13–18, €4 for adults
At the 'Krugparkzentrum' you can learn to appreciate nature more while walking along the nature and adventure trail, the sensory walkway or visiting the nursing ward for injured wild animals. There are two exhibitions on plants and animals of the Mark Brandenburg.
» BHv 62.9: Buhnenhaus (1.7 km)
» BHv 58.7: Wasserwanderrastplatz Wiesenweg (4.2 km)
You can reach the 'Krugparkzentrum' by bike via the 'Havel-Radweg' (Havel bike trail) or by taking one of the buses operating on the B bus route.
Mon. – Thurs. 8am – 3pm, Fri. 8am – 1pm, Sat./Sun. (only animal care) 10am – 2pm
Learn about the world of reeds at the 'Rohrweberei' (reed weaving mill) in Pritzerbe! Visitors can try their hand at weaving this renewable raw material on hand-looms. You can plunge into the flora and fauna in the waters of Pritzerber See from the jetty belonging to the weaving mill.
» UHW 79.2 Bootshaus Pritzerbe (2 km)
» UHW 78.8 Havel-Oase Pritzerbe Marina und Anglercamp (2 km)
Artisanal craft, shop and museum, Mon. – Fri., 8am – 4pm
In Apr. – Oct. the museum is also open on Sat./Sun. 10am – 5pm
Are fish really mute? How many hairs does an otter have? At the visitor centre of the 'Westhavelland' nature reserve you can study the nature of the Havelland region on interactive museum stations like a model of the river renaturalization, the discovery table and the stars adventure room.
» UHW 93.2: Wassertouristisches Zentrum Milow (100 m)
» UHW 93.0: Biwakplatz Milow (400 m)
Apr. to Oct., open daily 10am – 5pm, closed on Wednesdays
Nov. to Mar., Thurs. – Sun., 10am – 4pm
€3 admission (reduced rate €1–2)
This multimedia exhibition 'Haus der Flüsse' (House of the rivers) in the Hanseatic city of Havelberg is dedicated to the fluvial system formed by the two rivers Havel and Elbe, its pasture land, wildlife and plants as well as the development of the man-made landscape along its borders. Outside the exhibition centre there is a water playground and discovery stations with environmental education activities.
» UHW 146: Campinginsel Havelberg (1.5 km)
» UHW 146: Yachthafen Havelberg (1.7 km)
Apr. – Oct., daily 10am – 6pm, Nov. – Mar., Tue. – Sun. and on holidays 10am – 5pm
Nature trails/bird observation towers
Please remember to bring your binoculars! If you fancy more information on what you're seeing, there are illustrated charts right on the trails and observation towers.
This nature trail explains the varied flora and fauna that took root in the seclusion of the Glindow Alps. The trail head is on the right side of the road and in front of the tower of the brickworks, eventually taking you across a plateau offering a view of the lake Glindower See.
» Glindower See Yachthafen Porta Helena (500 m)
This tower right in the middle of the bird sanctuary for Rietzer See, an area along the lake designated as a 'Special Protection Area' by the EU, is ideal for watching water birds. In spring and autumn thousands of bean geese, greater white-fronted geese and cranes can be observed here. The tower is located close to the village and right behind the fire station.
» Emster Kanal Bootssteg Rietzer See, accessible to canoeists only
This observation tower is noteworthy from an ornithological point of view and numerous species of water birds such as the red-necked grebe or the bearded tit can be seen here. Migratory birds such as cranes and geese rest here in great numbers in spring and autumn. Leave the mooring directly at the canal bridge and follow the canal for approx. 300 metres, then turn right to find the tower.
There is a 3-km nature trail taking you across meadows and fields on the opposite side of the canal bridge. Illustrated charts provide information on the flora and fauna and in particular, the great variety of bird species in the region.
» Emster Kanal km 10: Bootssteg Emster Kanal (500 m)
» Emster Kanal km 10: Hotel Restaurant Seehof Netzen (1.5 km)
The tower on the south shore offers a direct view over the bird sanctuary on Gülper See. On summer and autumn evenings you can marvel at the spectacular sight of cranes, bean geese and greater white-fronted geese as they settle in for the night.
A nature trail runs from the tower and on top of the dike right to the windmill in Prietzen. On the trail there are two further towers inviting visitors to do more bird watching. The charts along the trail help identify the various species. Leave your boat at the mooring in Gülpe (see below) and walk down the small road leading to Prietzen. Pay attention for the signpost on this road indicating the tower and nature trail.
» Gülper Havel Biwakplatz Gülpe (2.3 km)
Europe's biggest river renaturalization project will bring the Havel River between Pritzerbe and the point where the Havel flows into the Elbe River even closer to its natural state. Old river branches will be reconnected, embankments will be removed, riverside and riparian forests will be established and fish ladders will be constructed. The Havel River will become an even more lively and attractive place for nature-loving visitors to come by boat.
Behaviour in nature reserves
Please help us protect our unspoiled countryside! There are nature reserves along the Havel River where a number of rules apply to boating visitors, as well. Please go onto shore only in designated areas, keep to the paths and be considerate of animals and plants.
NATURE AND ITS INHABITANTS