From the series: Europe is Hot, Berlin is on Fire!!
I found the Isle of Youth! Located in the beautiful Treptower Park, the summer island beer garden, Insel der Jugend translates to Isle of Youth. Food, drinks and outdoor seating on the Spree lends to a beach atmosphere, completed by the colourful pedal boats, canoes and SUP rentals lazily circling the island. Can this island magically restore one’s youth, or is it just wishful thinking?
While out strolling in Treptower Park along the Spree River in Berlin, I spotted a bridge in the near distance. Needing to satisfy my curiosity, I quickened my pace and a beautiful view opened in front of me. Known by many names including Island of Love, Berlin Island, Abbey Island and Neu Spreeland, the official name today is Insel der Jugend or Isle of Youth in English.
The stone path which leads to the beautiful tower gates on the Abteibrücke (Abbey Bridge) is lined with blue hearts which were awarded to those who contribute to child welfare. Many prominent names have received this honour including Stephen Hawking, Oleg Popov, Franz Beckenbaur to name a few; there are 52 to date. This has lead to the nickname Bridge of Hearts. ?
Beautiful views of the Spree river slow my island approach, but eventually I cross through the second tower gate and already I am feeling the stress of everyday life falling away. To my left is a large grass area with wonderful shade trees lining the river banks. A few guys are playing frisbee, some families are picnicking and a woman is meditating while others are sitting at the waterside watching the world go by.
Heading right is the entrance to the island garden offering abundant seating as well as a grass area, all with fabulous river views. The Soul Kitchen is busy making fresh and healthy treats and meals; their motto “We do not have Fries”. Continuing towards the water, I eye a perfect table direct riverside. Grabbing myself a traditional Berliner Weisse with Waldmeister – that is sour white beer with a shot woodruff flavour, I settle in to people watch and enjoy some rays. Not a beer drinker, I can say it was an interesting mix of flavours and I could drink it again, maybe with raspberry next time! ?
Obviously, the garden is only open from mid May to mid/end September, but the Kultur Haus (Culture House) Inselküche Restaurant is open year round. The kitchen serves everything from Vegan to meat eater delights, and of course, wonderful cakes with coffee. They also have space for weekend theme parties (check schedules before going is recommended), live concerts on alternating Wednesdays and an annual Poetry Slam for literature lovers. In the summer months, there is an Open Air Theatre featuring wonderful Art Films on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Adding to the charm of this wonderful Berlin Island are the Classic 1950’s paddle boats one can rent. Paddle-boat not your thing? Kanuliebe also offers canoes and SUPs (paddleboards) for fair prices. You can rent by the hour, or for longer lengths of time if you plan a big excursion exploring the Spree river or the nearby lake Müggelsee, or both! If you are not adventurous enough to head out on your own, tours are offered as well.
An afternoon on the Insel der Jugend, relaxing by Spree riverbanks watching and listening to the sounds of summer has me feeling refreshed and reluctantly ready to move on. I take a final stroll around the Island of Love, breathing in the crisp, damp aroma of the river, taking in the view of people reading books, playing, sunbathing, relaxing; I feel replenished and reinvigorated. Perhaps this Isle of Youth can make us younger again, if only through body and mind recovery. Visit and decide for yourself!
Insel der Jugend – Photo Album
Insel der Jugend – YouTube
Insel Berlin – Website & Infos
Paddleboat, SUP & Canoe Rentals – Website
Foreign Travel Advice – UK Government
Alerts and Warnings – USA Government