There's lots of fun to be had in the Spreewald. The area offers a host of activities for sports fans and recreation seekers, as well as for culture and nature lovers. A weekend trip allows you to get to know the countryside better – either on foot, by canoe or by bike.
The Spreewald is situated in the south-east of the federal state of Brandenburg and is a large wooded region crisscrossed by the river Spree and its many branches. With its unspoilt countryside, numerous leisure activities and small towns and villages, the Spreewald is one of the most popular travel destinations in eastern Germany.
The biggest town in the Spreewald is Lübben with some 14,000 residents – not to be confused with Lübbenau, another town in the region. The region is worth visiting at any time of year. The Spreewald is perhaps most famous for its pickled gherkins, but culinary specialities are not all the region has to offer!
For over 20 years, the Spreewald has been a UNESCO biosphere reserve with its rich plant and wildlife. Covering an area of 475 square kilometres with a 300-kilometre network of navigable waterways, the Spreewald is a wonderful place to explore. The best way for nature lovers to discover the region is via the many canals. Numerous hire stations rent out kayaks and canoes for around 20 euros a day. It’s best to start your trip in the morning before it gets too hot.
In Lübbenau, you can take a leisurely stroll to the harbour and rent a boat from there. Grab a map and you are all set to explore the canals. An ideal place to take a break after 3.5 kilometres is the adventure island of Wotschofska, where the trees are over 30 metres tall, or Lehde, after five kilometres. It has been dubbed “a pocket-sized, rural version of Venice”. You’ll need a whole day for this tour. It’s best to go from Lübbenau via Lehde to Wotschofska. Depending on how fit you are, this takes between one and two hours.
Camping is the cheapest form of accommodation. There is a campsite in Lübbenau where you can pitch a tent from five euros a night.
The next day, continue your journey by bike. With a total of 1,000 kilometres of flat cycle paths and hiking trails, there is something for every level of fitness and ambition. Bikes can be hired for around 10 euros a day.
The Gurkenradweg (literally: gherkin cycle path) is a good choice for a one-day tour. The full route is 260 kilometres long and goes right across the Spreewald. You always follow the gherkin signs. One 15-kilometre-long tour takes you to Briesensee lake where you can swim and relax in the sun.
There are lots of beaches and bathing spots in the Spreewald. And maybe you’ll strike lucky: in the summer, many towns and villages organise traditional town festivals and so-called Schützenfeste, or shooting fairs. If you’re in Lübbenau in the first week of July, for example, the town becomes one big party.
If you don’t fancy kayaking or canoeing under your own steam, join one of the traditional tours. You can choose tours of different lengths, from between one and eight hours. Watch out for special theme trips, such as night-time punting trips, summer concerts or winter trips.
If you want to explore the Spreewald more extensively, you can cycle the entire length of the Gurkenradweg. This takes between five and eight days. Or, if it’s action you’re looking for, visit the student city of Cottbus with its pubs, cosy cafés and the PolkaBeats Festival.