• Germany's news in English
 

Escaping Berlin: Autumn colours from a Spreewald canoe

Published: 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
Family's ten-year quest for truth about dead son
Jeremiah Duggan. Photo: Justice for Jeremy

Family's ten-year quest for truth about dead son

The family of a British student killed in Wiesbaden over 12 years ago made a fresh step towards justice on Thursday, after a London coroner disagreed with German authorities' belief that he killed himself. READ  

Property of the week
Property of the Week: May 22nd
Photo: Mr Lodge

Property of the Week: May 22nd

Modern and sophisticated: This week’s property combines classic architecture with chic furnishings to create an elegant and luxurious living experience. READ  

83-year-old gets second drug dealing sentence
The judge said, given his age, he was not the ideal candidate for therapy. Photo:DPA

83-year-old gets second drug dealing sentence

An 83-year-old man was handed a six month suspended sentence on Thursday after being caught carrying seven bags of heroin in Düsseldorf. READ  

Carnival of Cultures in Berlin: six top picks
The dazzling colour of 2014's festival parade. Photo: Karneval der Kulturen

Carnival of Cultures in Berlin: six top picks

This weekend Berlin will be lit up by the vibrancy and colour of the Carnival of Cultures, an annual four-day urban festival that celebrates the diversity of Germany's capital. Here are six things not to miss. READ  

Bayern fans bring club's earliest years to light
FC Bayern's first team in 1925, the year of the commemorative publication. Photo: Jewish Museum

Bayern fans bring club's earliest years to light

For decades the early history of FC Bayern München was forgotten, but FCB fans have re-discovered a book from 1925 documenting the club's founding moments. READ  

Top spy admits: We're 'dependent' on NSA
Gerhard Schindler admitted that the BND had made mistakes in its handling of NSA requests. Photo: DPA

Top spy admits: We're 'dependent' on NSA

The head of the German Intelligence Agency (BND) told a special parliamentary committee on Thursday that his agency is 'dependent on' the American National Security Agency (NSA). READ  

Autobahn driver suffers drone windscreen smash
Photo: Polizei Bochum

Autobahn driver suffers drone windscreen smash

After a low flying drone crashed into the windscreen of a car on the Autobahn outside Bochum, police announced on Thursday they are looking for witnesses. READ  

Business confidence slack as growth slows
A worker puts the finishing touches to BMWs at the car producer's Regensburg, Bavaria production line. Photo: DPA

Business confidence slack as growth slows

German business confidence slipped fractionally from its previous high level in May, as the upturn in Europe's biggest economy continues, the Ifo economic institute said Friday. READ  

Two criminals on the run after daylight escape
Two fugitives on the run since Thursday. Photo: Polizei Kleve

Two criminals on the run after daylight escape

Police are searching for two fugitives in North Rhine-Westphalia after a young woman freed a man from custody as he was being taken to the doctor. READ  

Merkel pushes for Greece deal at Euro meet
Angela Merkel with Francois Hollande and Alexis Tsipras in Riga. Photo: DPA

Merkel pushes for Greece deal at Euro meet

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras held "friendly and constructive" debt talks with the leaders of France and Germany Thursday, but gave no sign of a breakthrough ahead of a crucial June deadline. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Why the train strike is bad for passengers and workers
National
Meet Germany's Eurovision hope
Business & Money
Is 2015 a new moment for jobsharing?
Features
How the LGBT rights movement was born in Germany
National
Why you don't make bomb jokes at the airport
National
Why Germany needs a little less tipple
National
Who Germans and Americans trust... and don't
Politics
What the UK election means for Germany
National
Why Germany is great for mums
Features
The Germans with GI dads
Five ways Germany falls short on gay rights
Travel
Giant tortoise found riding Munich rail
National
FCK CPS? A-OK with court
Politics
Opinion: Brexit's dangers for Germany
Features
Smart kids all want to work for BMW
National
Minister shows off top Denglisch
National
Germany's 'other genocide' in Africa
National
Arms firms get a 'must do better' mark on ethics
Sport
Bayern's anticlimactic 25th Bundesliga win
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
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

6,778
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd