The River Havel flows through Berlin for 30km/19mi of its total length of 340km/210mi. It rises near Neustrelitz in Mecklenburg, traverses Berlin from north to south and finally joins the Elbe at Rühstädt-Gnevsdorf, near Havelberg. It is linked by canals with other natural watercourses, and its principal tributary is the Spree, which flows into the Havel at Spandau. The level of the river within Berlin is regulated by sluices, but it can still occasionally flood. The most beautiful stretches of the Havel within the city area are around Schildhorn, Lindwerder, Schwanenwerder and the Pfaueninsel. On the left bank extends the Grunewald. The Havel lakes offer excellent facilities for a variety of water sports.One good way of getting a general impression of the scenery of the Havel is a drive along the Havelchaussee, which has been completely re-opened to cars since 1990. There are also coach excursions all the year round, running between Theodor-Heuss-Platz U-Bahn Station and Wannsee S-Bahn Station. A cycling tour is even nicer. Havelchaussee starts from Teltower Strasse in Spandau in the north and proceeds southwards past Tiefwerder. It passes under Heerstrasse to enter the Grunewald and at Schildhorn circles the Dachsberg before climbing to the Grunewald Tower. It then leads down to the level of the river in a straight and relatively gradual descent. At the Lieper Bucht (bathing; feeding of swans in winter) the road follows the river to the Grosse Steinlacke (bathing beach) and then, beyond a parking lot, climbs again to an Ice-Age dune. After some 2km/1.25mi it joins Kronprinzessinnenweg, from which (turning right) it is a few minutes' drive to the Nikolassee district.Another way of getting to know the landscape of the Havel is to take a trip on a river steamer. Since 1990 all Berlin's waterways have again been navigable in summer. Vessels belonging to private firms as well as the state-owned Stern- und Kreisschiffahrt and the "Weisse Flotte" (White Fleet) ply the Havel, the Spree and the canals. Timetables are displayed at the ticket offices on the landing stages. One good plan is to start from the Freybrücke landing stage in Heerstrasse (Picheldorf, in Spandau) and take a boat that sails downstream past Schildhorn, the Grunewald Tower, the Hohengatow bathing lido, Lindwerder and Breitehorn to Kladow. Then take another boat to the Pfaueninsel, Wannsee, Glienicke Bridge and Potsdam. From the Wannsee a BVG municipal bus or S-Bahn can be taken back to the city center.Passenger shipping traffic within the Berlin area has a long tradition that can be traced back to the year 1702. In those days there was a twice-daily service of boats, pulled by horses on a towpath alongside the Spree, between Berlin and Charlottenburg. The first steam-driven vessel in continental Europe was the "Prinzessin Charlotte von Preussen", 136ft long, which was launched at Pichelsdorf on Aug. 14, 1816. A special attraction is the motor ship "Moby Dick" (built 1973), which is shaped like a whale. It has a length of 48.3m/158ft and a beam of 8.2 m/27ft and can carry 486 passengers.
Located in the River Havel, Peacock Island is a natural area, popular with locals and tourists. In the late 1600s the island was the site of a glass factory.
Map of Berlin Attractions