People paddle a canoe on the Karl Heine Canal and in the background you can see the stilt house, leisure, water city Leipzig, active sports, water sports, industrial architecture

Waterways in Leipzig – Explore the City by Boat

Step onto a boat in Leipzig to experience urban flair, architecture and nature in perfect harmony. Even industrial pioneer Karl Heine saw this connection, admittedly primarily from an economic point of view. His dream was to connect the flourishing city to international waters via a canal. All Leipzig residents and tourists still benefit from his legacy. The waterways in Leipzig allow you to discover the city by boat. Here in the blog we’ll be telling you what’s going on on the Karl-Heine-Canal and the other waterways.

Clear Sailing
Out on the Canal
The Founders’s Jewels
Natural Paradise Nearby

Clear Sailing

Clear the way! Lindenauer Hafen has been connected to the Karl Heine Canal since July 2015. © Andreas Schmidt

Named after Karl Heine, the canal runs from the Weisse Elster in the city centre to the west , and in 2015 was connected to the Lindenauer Hafen, first built in 1938. From here it is not far to the river Saale. The canal crossing was a decisive step in the further expansion of the Saale-Elster Canal, which connects Leipzig with the river to the north and should provide a path for ships stretching as far as Hamburg. The new route has already enriched Leipzig’s delicate water system and will open up a further way to reach the Leipzig New Lake District. You can see excursion boats and canoes all along the route. As soon as the first rays of sunshine are visible, you can see them drifting colourfully across the water at the foot of Plagwitz and Schleußig‘s imposing industrial architecture, gliding through the rustic Floodplain Forest – Leipzig’s green lung – or making their way to the lakes.

Out on the Canal

The Leipzig canal landscape gives you a whole new perspective on Leipzig. © T. Williger

Would you like to explore Leipzig by boat? You can find all information on motorboat tours here. Do you want to be active? Everything is possible on the canal, from canoeing to trips on a rubber dinghy to stand-up paddling. At Leipzig’s city harbour you can rent the necessary equipment and get a good meal before going out on the water. Guided tours are also possible.

The Jewels of the Gründerzeit

The former industrial buildings along the Karl-Heine-Canal are now home to offices and lofts. © Philipp Kirschner

In this area, recognised by Unesco as one of the largest industrial monuments in Europe, leisure sailors glide past brick buildings, which stand out for their impressive artistic facades. Behind the walls of the Wilhelminian style palaces you will find modern loft and hip restaurants, as well as spacious offices and studios. A monument on the riverbank commemorates Karl Heine, who had bridges, roads, railway lines and canals, factory sites and residential areas built here from the mid-19th century onwards. The canals are somewhat reminiscent of Venice. Some gondolieri have also discovered this and offer you the opportunity to glide along the canal between excursion boats, kayaks and rubber dinghies. The Karl Heine Canal also has a lot to offer in the way of culinary delights, so you won’t be missing out on refreshments along the way. Straight from the water to the restaurant? No problem! The excellent Mørtelwerk, for example, is impressively located directly on the water. If you would like a little more history, we recommend the Stelzenhaus in Plagwitz. This served as an industrial workshop until 1990, thus making its name as one of the most famous industrial buildings in Leipzig.

Natural Paradise Round the Corner

After a day in a canoe, it is worth relaxing and watching the sunset at Lake Cospuden. © Dirk Brzoska

Not far from the city’s architectural jewels, you can take a boat ride through the dense green of the Floodplain Forest. Here you can hear birds tweet and watch giant old trees stretch their gnarled roots into the embankment. Can you imagine that the next tram stop is just a stone’s throw away? End your day on a relaxing note: with a refreshing drink at the Hacienda Cospuden, including a romantic sunset at the Lake Cospuden.

Any furtherquestions? Then contact us!

Leipzig Tourismus und Marketing GmbH
Social Media Office
Tel.: +49 (0)341/7014-340

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