• Germany edition
 
Escaping Berlin: Autumn colours from a Spreewald canoe
Photo: DPA

Escaping Berlin: Autumn colours from a Spreewald canoe

Published: 09 Sep 2009 17:08 GMT+02:00
Updated: 09 Sep 2009 17:08 GMT+02:00

Get it while you can, Berliners.

Just a 90-minute train ride into Brandenburg from the German capital’s central Alexanderplatz station, autumn day trippers can find a tranquil escape from the city’s hurly-burly where famous dill pickles, smoked fish, regional brews and quaint canoes abound.

While paddling along the maze of quiet, tree-lined channels in the summer months is resplendent with yellow lilies and audacious dragon fly tangos, the charm wears off after about the fifth collision with other tourist-filled boats. But come September, people in the know can enjoy the mild weather and changing leaves of the UNESCO biosphere without the crowds.

The Spreewald offers some 970 kilometres of canals, and one of the easiest places to access them is the town of Lübbenau.

Click here for photos of the Spreewald.

How to get there

The cheapest way to travel there from Berlin is with the Brandenburg-Berlin Ticket, which costs €27 from vending machines for up to five people both ways. You can also make your purchase for a few extra euros from ticket windows if you struggle with the automated option.

Regional trains to the “Lübbenau (Spreewald)” leave about every half hour from Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof, Zoologischer Garten, Alexanderplatz and Ostbahnhof. Some trains are about 20 minutes faster, so check Deutsche Bahn’s website for your fastest connection to Spreewald bliss. (Though it's not quite as convenient, the Spreewald also makes a great weekend destination from other eastern cities like Leipzig and Dresden.)

When you step off the train, hang a right (southeast) down Bahnhofstrasse towards town, then cross the street and go left on Dammstrasse for about 10 minutes, when you’ll come to a square full of kiosks along the canal.

What and where to eat (round one)

These kiosks signal a snack-time jackpot and you’ll need the calories to power your paddle, so dig into the vats of fresh gherkins the region is known for. Beer lovers can wash down their herb, garlic, dill, and mustard-flavoured pickles with a chilled local brew, and you shouldn’t forget to bring a few extras for the ride. Cross the footbridge and pick up a smoked fish sandwich – the eel is particularly mind-blowing – and head on to find your boat.

Boat rental

The Spreewald is famous for boats called Kahn, large punts with benches and tables frequented by the elderly or lazy. If you’re feeling particularly infirm, stop and reserve a ride. But unless you really want to join a River Styx-style procession, self-powered canoes are the most dignified way to enjoy the scenery.

Head to the Bootshaus Kaupen where the Ringl family will outfit you and your group with single or double wooden canoes and help you map out a route depending on your time constraints. This will run you just a few euros per hour.

What to look for

If it’s still warm out, keep your eyes open for pert black water snakes hunting for bugs. Otters, herons, ducks and the rare kingfisher can also be spotted along the canal banks.

Spreewald residents get their mail delivered by water, so if you’re lucky you might glimpse Deutsche Post’s very own post Kahn in service.

Hobby anthropologists will also be interested in the influence of the Sorbs on the region. Many descendants of the Slavic tribe that settled around the 6th century still live in the area and preserve traditional customs.

What to eat (round two)

Before you head home, dock your canoe in Lehde, where a cluster of biergartens await. At Zum fröhlichen Hecht, dive into some memorable Lübbenauer Babbenbier before trying the cucumber salad and hearty fish soup.

Edible souvenirs

Pick up a bucket of Spreewald gherkins on your way back to the train station to remind you of the excursion through the long winter months.

Related links:

Kristen Allen (kristen.allen@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Kerry's challenge to Russia at Berlin Wall
US Secretary of State John Kerry at the Berlin Wall. Photo: DPA

Kerry's challenge to Russia at Berlin Wall

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited remnants of the Berlin Wall on Wednesday and warned that East-West tensions again threaten freedom in Europe, 25 years after its collapse. READ  

Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train
Sonneborn in the EU Parliament. Photo: DPA

Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train

Martin Sonneborn can’t believe his luck. The German comedian, leader of the political party “Die Partei”, managed to get elected to the European Parliament in May, and has found himself overwhelmed with fresh material. READ  

The Local List
Which high school cliche is your city?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock

Which high school cliche is your city?

This week's Local List takes a leap of imagination and finds German cities fit perfectly into high school cliche categories. Who's the class clown? Who's the nerd? READ  

'German' hand grenades paraded by Isis in Syria
A screen grab from a jihadist video showing the grenades. Photo: DPA

'German' hand grenades paraded by Isis in Syria

The German military was on Wednesday investigating reports that Bundeswehr hand grenades have fallen into the hands of the Islamic State (Isis) terrorist group after a video appearing to show captured weapons surfaced on the Internet. READ  

North braces for storms and floods
Early signs of flooding at the Hamburg fish market on Wednesday morning.

North braces for storms and floods

The remnants of hurricane Gonzalo have drifted across the Atlantic and are now threatening North German cities with flooding, forecasters warned on Wednesday. READ  

Indian schools drop German teaching
Indian pupils enrolled in German classes prepare for Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier's visit to their school. Photo: DPA

Indian schools drop German teaching

Thousands of children in India will no longer be taught German after the country's education ministry allowed a contract to lapse. READ  

Syria-bound US teens stopped in Frankfurt
A passenger plane landing at Frankfurt airport. Photo: DPA

Syria-bound US teens stopped in Frankfurt

Three teenage girls from Colorado were arrested by German police at Frankfurt airport after running away from home, reportedly on their way to join Isis in Syria. READ  

Tourists stranded on cable car over Rhine
Tuesday night's rescue operation Photo: DPA

Tourists stranded on cable car over Rhine

Six people, including a family and two American tourists, were left dangling 40 metres in the air over the Rhine for hours late on Tuesday after Cologne's cable car came to a halt. READ  

7:1! Bayern celebrate record in Rome
Arjen Robben celebrates the first goal against AS Roma. Photo: DPA

7:1! Bayern celebrate record in Rome

Bayern Munich were elated on Tuesday night after securing a 7-1 victory against Roma in their group stage Champions League clash. READ  

Nazi U-boat wreck found off US coast
A preserved World War II U-Boat on the beach near Kiel, Germany. Photo: DPA

Nazi U-boat wreck found off US coast

A World War II German U-boat and an American merchant vessel it sank in battle have been found deep in the ocean off the coast of North Carolina, officials said on Tuesday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Robbers blow up Berlin bank
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: Facebook
Society
German motorcycle gang joins Isis fight
Photo: DPA
Politics
UKIP ‘seeks EU pact’ with German satirical party
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: World's biggest erotic fair opens in Berlin
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The ten richest people in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,490
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd