The Spreewald is a region in Brandenburg in the east of Germany.
The Spreewald (Spree Forest) includes low-lying areas in which the river Spree meanders in thousands of small waterways through meadows and forests. It is a beautiful, unique landscape about one hour south of Berlin and well worth a day trip or a weekend trip to relax from the buzzing city life.
Besides its beautiful nature, the Spreewald is home to one of the two recognized minorities in Germany, the Sorbs with their unique culture. Many old, traditional farmhouses along the waterways offer beautiful sights.
It has been a protected UNESCO biosphere reserve since 1991.
Forested low moor landscape with 1,300 km of irrigation channels.
Flora and fauna
Broad leafed forest, mainly Alder on wetlands, with pine on sandy dry areas.
Most people only speak German (at least the standard variation without major accents). Some younger people understand and speak English, some older people might still remember a few words of Russian. Some people may still speak Low Geman dialect and Sorbian is still spoken in the south of Brandenburg.
- The main entry points to the Spreewald are Lübben, Lübbenau and Burg (Spreewald). Lübben and Lübbenau are pretty touristy but can be reached directly by train. Burg (Spreewald) is more quiet and more beautiful if you are interested in nature and canoeing. However, the latter can only be reached by car.
- By car from Berlin: Follow the A113 south out of the city. At "Schönefelder Kreuz", continue south on the highway A13 to Dresden. Leave the A13 at the exits Lübben or Lübbenau or continue to the "Dreieck Spreewald" (junction of highways A13 and A15) and then on the A15 towards "Vetschau". Leave the A15 at the exit "Vetschau" and continue to Burg(Spreewald).
- By train from Berlin: Take the hourly regional train RE2 from Zoologischer Garten, Hauptbahnhof, Friedrichstraße, Alexanderplatz or Ostkreuz to Lübben or Lübbenau. Some of the hotels in Burg (Spreewald) offer a pick-up service from the Vetschau railway station when you book in advance.
Fees and permits
Get around on your feet, on a cycle or by boat. Not every location can be reached by motorized transport. Visiting the Spreewald means getting around by muscle power. Public transport is virtually nonexistent.
- 1 Freilandmuseum Lehde (open air village museum Lehde), near Lübbenau, ☏ +49 3542 2472.
- 2 Slawenburg Raddusch (Slavic Fort at Raddusch) (15 km south of Burg (Spreewald)), ☏ +49 35433 55522. rebuilt Fort
- 3 Kirche St. Nikolai, Lübbenau.
- 4 Spreewaldmuseum, Topfmarkt 12, Lübbenau.
- Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche (Nikolaikirche), Lübben. Late Gothic
- 5 Stadtmuseum Schloss Lübben.
- Schlossinsel, Lübben. with Wasserspielplatz, Buchenlabyrinth
- Burglehn, Lübben. remains of Slavic castle
- Bismarckturm, Burg.
- Visit the impressing post-mining landscape that left large areas devastated land (undergoing rehabilitation) south of Cottbus and the Spreewald.
- Take a guided boat tour on one of the traditional barges to experience the beautiful nature in this area. The barges are moved forward by punting - similarly to the gondolas in Venice. The ferrymen explain the nature and culture of the Spreewald on the way. If you need an English-speaking ferryman, you are most likely to find one at the larger tourist stations in Lübben or Lübbenau.
- Hire a canoe or kayak from one of the plenty to paddle some of the hundreds of kilometers of waterways yourself.
- Go on a hiking or cycle tour in the beautiful nature and landscape. Numerous quiet hiking and bicycle tracks lead through the beautiful countryside.
- 1 Spreewald Therme (Thermal Spa), Ringchaussee 152, Burg (Spreewald).
- 2 Tropical Islands Resort, Krausnick. Tropical theme park in old airship hangar.
- Do not miss to try the large variety of pickled cucumbers (cornichons), horseradish, linseed oil and "Sauerkraut" - that is what the region is famous for. Pickled cucumbers are available sour, with herbs, with garlic, with mustard - the choices are almost infinite.
- Pike and pike-perch (sweetwater predatory fish) served with a heavy sauce made from cream, flour and horseradish.
- Potatoes with cream cheese, onions and linseed oil. Be careful with the latter, it is said to be very healthy but you really have to get used to it. In other regions, they use the stuff to produce putty to seal windows and not to eat.
- 1 Alter Spreewaldbahnhof, Am Bahnhof 1, Burg (Spreewald), ☏ +49 35603 842. In the historic station of a now closed light railway that connected the villages in the upper Spreewald with Cottbus. Drinks and desserts (with small firework fountains) are delivered to the table by a large model railway. Very nice interior with uncountable antiques and collectibles related to railways. Reasonably good regional and German cuisine, but not top end. But definitely great fun, especially when you are with kids or a fan of model railways yourself.
- 2 17fuffzig (Hotel zur Bleiche), Bleichestraße 16, Burg (Spreewald), ☏ +49 35603 620. Haute cuisine in the Resort & Spa "Zur Bleiche" (see Stay / Do). Pretty expensive, but worth it.
- 3 Kaupen Nr. 6, Kaupen 6, Lübbenau (Can not be reached by car, only on foot or by boat (both from Lübbenau).), ☏ +49 3542 47897. Authentic local food served in an authentic place, an old renovated farmers' house.
- 4 Zum Grünen Strand der Spree, Dorfstraße 53, Schlepzig, ☏ +49 35472 6620. Excellent food served in a nice ambience in a small village in the lower Spree Forest.
- 5 Glück Auf!, Ringchaussee 93, Burg (Spreewald), ☏ +49 35603 243. Here, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) is still alive! Three old ladies in nylon aprons serve good plain cooking. Huge servings and great value. Better to skip the other meals of the day before you go there. Sometimes closed for no obvious reason or because of private parties.
- 6 Gasthaus Lehnigksberg, Lehnigksberg 1, Lübben, ☏ +49 3546-229303.
- 7 Kräutermühle, Kurparkstr. 7b, Burg, ☏ +49 35603-61442.
- 8 Restaurant Bleske, Hauptstraße 43, Burg, ☏ +49 35603-210.
- Local beer from a small brewery in Lübbenau ("Babben-Bier") is served in many restaurants in the area.
- The restaurant and hotel "Zum Grünen Strand der Spree" in Schlepzig serves beer from its own in-house brewery. Seasonal beer specialities are offered. The beer can also bought for take-away.
The Spreewald is a preferred region for short holidays of people from Berlin and Saxony. Around the holidays in April and May (Easter, Pentecost, Ascension) and during the summer holiday season, it may be hard to find accommodation without prior reservation. During the rest of the year, finding accommodation should be no problem. The local tourist offices will assist in finding accommodation.
- Camp with your tent or caravan at one of the numerous camping facilities in the middle of nature.
- Rent one of the many holiday apartments.
- Stay at one of the numerous bed & breakfasts and hotels.
- Zelten am Ostgraben, Schwarze Ecke 32, Burg, ☏ +49 35603-18773, fax: +49 35603-18778, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Landgasthof "Zur Wildbahn", Wildbahnweg 20, Burg, ☏ +49 35603-293, fax: +49 35603-61856, email@example.com.
- Wasserwanderrastplatz "Zum Jägerhof", Erste Kolonie 42, Burg, ☏ +49 35603-750262, fax: +49 35603-750264.
- Wasserwanderrastplatz "Ramonas Wiesenfühlung", Weidenweg 4, Burg, ☏ +49 35603-61839, fax: +49 35603-189686, Ramona-Hagen@web.de.
- Pension Kräuterscheune, Kurparkstr. 7b, Burg, ☏ +49 35603-61442, fax: +49 35603-61443, firstname.lastname@example.org. NS: €35.50/71.00 to 50.00/100.00 (EZ/DZ); HS: €35.50 to 57.00 per person.
- Ferienhof Fiedermannhof, Erste Kolonie 13, Burg, ☏ +49 35603-75960, fax: +49 35603-759629. from €32.
- Pension Schwalbennest, waldschlösschenstraße 41, Burg, ☏ +49 35603 466, email@example.com. 50 Euro DZ/ FeWo.
- Hotel zum Leineweber, Am Waldrand, Burg, ☏ +49 35603-640, fax: +49 35603-61129, Hotel-zum-Leineweber@t-online.de. EZ: €55-72 (NS/HS); EZ: €76-99 (NS/HS).
- Spreewaldhotel zum Krabat, Brandenburger Straße 20, Burg, ☏ +49 35603-750950, firstname.lastname@example.org. €48/77 (EZ/DZ).
- Hotel zur Linde, Hauptstraße 38, Burg, ☏ +49 35603-209, fax: +49 35603-759103, email@example.com. €69 (EZ) to 170 (large apartment for up to 4 persons).
- Spree Balance, Ringchaussee 154, Burg, ☏ +49 35603-759490, fax: +49 35603-759499. €95-175.
- Zur Bleiche Resort & Spa, Bleichestraße 16, Burg, ☏ +49 35603-620, fax: +49 35603-60292, firstname.lastname@example.org. €125-505 (inkl. Frühstück und Spa-Nutzung).
- 1 Schloss Lübbenau, Lübbenau.
- Canoeing is absolutely safe because most of the waterways (except for a few larger ones) are only knee-deep.
- Mosquitoes and horse-flies can be pretty annoying in wet summers and summers following mild winters. However, repellents will help.
- Dresden, 1½ hours south by car)
- Berlin, 1 hour north (by car or train)
- Upriver on the Spree lies the (still under development) Lusatian Lake District of former open pit lignite mines being developed into lakes many of which are already open for use