• Germany's news in English
 
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

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
Xenophobia thrives in shadow of Berlin towers
A demo in Marzahn-Hellersdorf. File photo: DPA

Xenophobia thrives in shadow of Berlin towers

There's little to break the monotony of communist-era apartment blocks stretching across Marzahn-Hellersdorf, an east Berlin satellite district that has gained national notoriety for a spate of anti-foreigner protests. READ  

Ecuador returns German money in oil valley spat
Photo: DPA

Ecuador returns German money in oil valley spat

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa said Saturday that Quito would be giving back about $8.5 million donated by Germany last year, in an environmental row. READ  

German bank sues Ecclestone for €345mn
Photo: DPA

German bank sues Ecclestone for €345mn

German bank BayernLB is seeking €345 million ($423 million) in a lawsuit against Formula One magnate Bernie Ecclestone over the 2006 sale of the sport's rights, according to a report. READ  

Löw aims for Euro 2016 with new-look Germany
Joachim Löw holding the World Cup trophy. File photo: DPA

Löw aims for Euro 2016 with new-look Germany

World Cup winners Germany have suffered something of a hangover since their triumph in Brazil, but coach Joachim Löw is hoping a new-look side can go on to claim more glory at Euro 2016. READ  

T-Mobile to pay $90 mn over US fraud charges
Photo: DPA

T-Mobile to pay $90 mn over US fraud charges

German mobile phone company T-Mobile has agreed to pay at least $90 million to settle US government claims that it bilked customers with bogus charges, US regulators said Friday. READ  

Ethics Council rejects assisted suicide law
Photo: DPA

Ethics Council rejects assisted suicide law

The German Ethics Council said the law should not be changed to permit assisted suicide in a paper published on Friday. READ  

Abandoned themepark needs 14m says Berlin
Swan Lake. An abandoned ride in the Spreewald pleasure park. Photo: DPA

Abandoned themepark needs 14m says Berlin

The iconic ruined themepark in the centre of Berlin - a long-time favourite of hipster adventurers - needs a clean-up costing at least 14 million euros, the Berlin government has revealed. READ  

Police nab Nuremberg station bomb hoaxer
File photo of Nuremberg main station: Shutterstock

Police nab Nuremberg station bomb hoaxer

Officers in Nuremberg arrested a man on Thursday evening after he called in a false bomb threat against the main train station READ  

Opinion
Angela, David...and Nigel
So near...and yet so far Photo: DPA

Angela, David...and Nigel

The rise of UKIP broke up what had been a good 2014 for Cameron and Merkel. READ  

'Dr Death' corpse museum gets go-ahead
Dr Gunther von Hagens. Photo: DPA

'Dr Death' corpse museum gets go-ahead

A Berlin court has said that infamous human taxidermist Gunther von Hagens can open a museum in the capital - over objections from local officials. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Willy Brandt at his inauguration in 1972. Photo: DPA
National
Willy Brandt: the man, the chancellor... the airport?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Sponsored Article
Why are these International Baccalaureate students cheering?
Germany's national football team lifts the World Cup trophy
Gallery
Germany's most-Googled words of 2014
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Sponsored Article
Top ten gifts for an expat Christmas
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Stuff your face with these festive German cookies
Photo: DPA
Culture
What do beer, breakfast cereal and dildos have in common?
Culture
The Local's guide to German Christmas markets
Sponsored Article
Top five quirky Christmas jumpers
Photo: DPA
Culture
Get ready for Christmas like a German. We tell you how.
Photo: DPA
Munich
She did what with her dead mother?
Photo: DPA
National
Germany still paying for crisis fall out
Photo: DPA
Culture
Saxon wurst is the worst, Christmas market declares.
Photo: DPA
Politics
Can 'sorry' ever be enough for the Linke?
Sponsored Article
Shop Christmas gifts at Debenhams international store
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles through December 19th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
See how Berlin has changed in 22 photos
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
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

3,168
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd