Germany » Untere Havel-Wasserstrasse (Lower Havel-Waterway) with Elbe-Havel-Kanal und Havel-Kanal | Germany

The connections from River Elbe to Berlin
Havel / Elbe-Havel-Kanal / Potsdamer Havel / Sacrow-Paretzer-Kanal


Untere Havel-Wasserstrasse (Lower Havel-Waterway) with Elbe-Havel-Kanal und Havel-Kanal | Germany: Characteristics & Overview

Rating of waterway

Degree of difficulty: Some experience is an advantage
Requirements: no rating
Character of waterway: back to nature, with urban surroundings
Profile of waterway: Commercial traffic and tourism
Facilities groundside: Good

Weitere Informationen

Waterway has access to:

Berlin / All the waterways of the capital | Germany
Elbe River | Germany
Havel-Oder-Waterway | Germany

Untere Havel
starts at the confluence with the Spree at Berlin Spandau. It goes, with a huge detour to the south, over to River Elbe, where it flows at Havelberg across the Schleusenkanal into this river. This trip of 160 km can be shortened if one doesn’t cruise the beautiful Potsdamer Havel with its big lakes and takes the rather dull shortcut over the Sacrow-Paretzer-Kanal. This one turns off on the Jungfernsee just before the famous Glieniker Brücke to the east and meets the Havel again before Ketzin.

The Lower-Havel-Waterwaye is as far as tourism is concerned a bit in the shade of the Mecklenburgischen Seenplatte.  This is unfortunate since it really is one of the most attractive regions for inland waterways activities in Germany.

After the city of Brandenburg, one has again the choice: Here, the Havel leaves the Plauer See to the north to Havelberg, those in a hurry or on their way to the Rhine, take the Elbe-Havel-Kanal, going directly to the Elbe and the Mittellandkanal.

Potsdamer Havel
After having decided on Jungfern See for the detour to the south, you get after the famous Glienicker Brücke first into the Tiefer See and the city of Potsdam with its old Prussian Schloss Sanssouci of King Frederik II, the Great. Then it goes on with Templiner See, after the narrowness at Kaputh follows the Schwielow-See and then the Grosse Zernsee with the city of Werder.  The idyllic old town is on a peninsula and invites with the Restaurant Arielle, which has its own fish smokehouse, for a stay. After the Kleine Zernsee we are back on Potsdamer Havel, going into Ketziner Havel at Paretz. Now we are back on the Untere Havel-Wasserstrasse.

The Glienicker Brücke got sad famousness during the Cold War. In the middle of it was the last interchange of agents in 1986.




Elbe-Havel-Kanal
With industrializing it became more and more important to have a waterway between Berlin and the Ruhrgebiet. In the 18th century one already worked on small connections westerly of Plauer See. In 1872 the Elbe was reached from the Plauer See in the north of Magdeburg at Niegripp for the first time. In these years planning of the Mittellandkanal started the connection of the Weser and the Elbe. Works began finally in 1906 and in 1938 the ship lift of Rothensee was completed and one had reached the Elbe. Soon later construction of a viaduct over the Elbe started but works stopped during the Second World War, followed by the division of Germany.

After the reunification
the ruins were removed and one started with the construction of the Madgeburger Wasserstrassenkreuz which was inaugurated in 2003. Since 2000 the canal was deepened and broadened, locks got a second chamber and 18 new bridges have been built in order to allow more draught.

Havel-Kanal
a waterway for those, being in a hurry to get from the northwest of Berlin to the southwest with Brandenburg and River Elbe. It is a rather new waterway which is already overtaken by history. It was built by GDR as a bypass of West Berlin in order to be able to get to River Elbe .