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TOURISM

Six hiking tours to try in the north east of Germany

If you want to explore Germany this summer, look no further than these cool hiking tours in the north east of the country.

Six hiking tours to try in the north east of Germany
National Park on the island of Rügen. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Stefan Sauer

The following hikes can be found in Berlin’s neighbouring state of Brandenburg and Meckenburg-Western Pomerania. Don’t forget that you can use your €9 public transport ticket on local transport and regional trains for the months of June, July and August 2022. 

READ ALSO: How to explore Germany by train with the €9 ticket 

Round the Schwielowsee

This route takes in the idyllic village of Caputh in Brandenburg, which is best know as the place Einstein escaped to when he needed respite from the mid-summer Berlin heat. You can visit his house at the start of the trip, after getting off the bus from Potsdam.

The Schwielowsee is a real beauty spot. From Caputh head southwest to the small village of Ferch and then back up the west bank, making sure to take a route through the gardens of Schloss Petzow, a bucolic country house with gardens that roll down to the lakefront. A hidden tip: the Japanese garden in Ferch has been described by visitors as “a truly beautiful and peaceful place.” 

If you’re feeling up to it, take a detour into Werder, a town with charming centre famous for its apple orchards.

There are also several beer gardens along the way which offer respite during the hot summer months. The Gaststätte Baumghartenbrück is particularly charming and has great views over the waters.

The whole circuit is doable in about three and a half hours.

Enjoying the Schwielowsee. File photo: DPA

Looping the Mühlenbecker Land in Brandenburg

Another one that is easily accessible from Berlin, this two and a half hour walk takes you past the abandoned palace of Dammsmühle a beautiful baroque building that has sadly fallen into ruin.

The starting point in Summt can be reached with the 806 bus from northern Berlin. From there the route progresses around the Summter See before passing north of the Mühlenbecher See between two smaller mini-lakes. The route comes out above the Mühlenteich and then cuts south to visit Schloss Dammsmühle before returning along the north bank of the Mühlenbecker See.

There are ample opportunities for bathing on remote and largely empty lakesides. And another Japanese secret should be noted here: a hidden Pagode on the north shore of the Mühlenteich.

Circuiting the Stechlinsee

This one takes us into the heart of the nature reserves north of Berlin. People travelling from the capital will need to take the train to Gransee – about an hour from Gesundbrunnen. A short bus journey later and you will arrive at the start of the tour in Neuglobsow.

The route couldn’t be more simple. You just stick to the banks of the lake. A clockwise route is recommendable as you then finish with the Fischerei Stechlinsee smokehouse, where you will be served delicious locally-caught fish.

The whole tour takes about four and a half hours. Hikers have often remarked on the clarity of the lake’s waters.

Boats tied up on Stechlinsee. Photo: DPA

Bodden-Panorama Path, Rügen

The next location on our trip takes us into serious hiking territory. This is a 24 kilometre trip on the beautiful island of Rügen in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, so you need a pretty good level of fitness if you are going to attempt it. It starts in the village of Neuenkirchen and follows the banks of the Jasmunder Bodden before finishing just south of the fishing village of Sassnitz.

READ ALSO: Germany’s best beaches – The Local’s ultimate guide

It gets going with a site of historical note – the oldest church bell on the island at Neukirchen’s Maria Magdalena Church. The next stop is Lasse before one crosses the bridge over the Liddower stream. This route also delivers a palace – you’ll pass the Ralswiek Schloss on your way.

A little tip: if you are a fan of salt water fish, visit the harbour at Sassnitz at the end. The fish shops there fry up the day’s catch of cod, herring and lots more. Delicious and affordable.

This trip can be broken down into two days with an overnight break in the community of Ralswiek.

Sea Birds on the Jasmunder Bodden at sunset. Photo: DPA

The monastic triangle

This huge hike will demand five days of your time, but it could well be five of the most relaxing days you will spend in the German countryside. It starts in a Unesco nature reserve at Zarrentin in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania before heading north along the Schaalsee to the monastery at Rehna. The route then heads east to Ratzeburg and finally winds back down south to the monastery at Zarrentin.

All of the monasteries are classic examples of “backstein gothic” or red brick gothic and date back to the 13th century.

READ ALSO: Weekend Wanderlust: How to travel the world without leaving Germany

The route involves hikes along lakesides, though forests and into charming cobble-stoned villages. It also crosses the former border between East and West German on several occasions and offers the chance to see a border crossing from that era that has been preserved.

The gates of the Rehna monastery. Photo: DPA

To Darß lighthouse and back

This hike starts in Prerow, a holiday village on the Darß peninsula in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. From there you walk north to the coast and then head out west. You can either walk along the beach or take the hiking route through the forest. The route to the lighthouse is well-marked and takes about an hour and a half.

A museum inside the building tells the history of the lighthouse and explains why it won’t be around forever…

Hikers who return along the beach can trawl the seaweed for amber before stopping off for a beer at the surf bar at the Regenbogen campsite.

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TOURISM

Is Leipzig really Germany’s ‘ultimate travel destination’?

The Saxonian city of Leipzig has been named by traveller’s bible Lonely Planet as its “ultimate” travel tip for Germany. Does the Local Germany’s knowledgeable readership agree?

The city centre of Leipzig.
The city centre of Leipzig. Photo: Jan Woitas/dpa-Zentralbild

Long a cult favourite among Germany fans, the left-wing city of Leipzig appears to now be gaining mainstream recognition after the Lonely Planet crowned it the country’s top travel destination this week.

In a new book titled “Ultimate German Travel Destinations – the top 250”, the travel publisher put Leipzig ahead of picturesque getaways such as Lake Constance and the Zugspitze as its number one destination.

“The hype that some say surrounds the city isn’t hype t all: Leipzig really is hipper than Berlin, and hotter than Munich, especially among millennials,” the guidebook boldly claims.

It goes on to lavish praise on the city of 600,000 inhabitants as “young, exciting, multifaceted – sometimes colourful, sometimes grey – and with a vibrant liveliness.”

“Everyone wants to go to the city where the anti-GDR demonstrations started,” the guidebook continues. “It is the home of Auerbachs Keller (made famous by Goethe and Faust); it’s the city of street art and wave gothic festivals; and its artistic scene at the Baumwollspinnerei is second to none.”

READ ALSO: A love letter to the eastern German city of Leipzig

‘Not cooler than Berlin’

Reaction to the list among the Local’s readership was mixed.

“It is a beautiful city and it’s easy to navigate. I find it hard to say that it’s cooler than Berlin, though. Berlin simply has more,” one reader told us on Facebook. “It’s the kind of place where people find their ‘spot.” I think most people in Leipzig know about most places in Leipzig. It’s a much smaller city. That may just be a more favourable lifestyle for some.”

Praise for Saxony’s biggest city ranged from admiration for the beauty of its architecture (particularly its train station) to the vibrancy of its arts scene.

Others suggested that Leipzig is indeed overhyped and that it can’t compete with natural wonders such as the pristine Königssee in the Bavarian Alps.

https://twitter.com/cr15b/status/1447491633486995458

Lake Constance wins silver

Lake Constance, the country’s largest body of fresh water, came in second on the list.

The authors praised the southern See, which borders Switzerland and Austria, for “the many beautiful spots on its shores: Lindau, Meersburg, Überlingen, Constance and more – often surrounded by lush orchards.”

A regatta on the Bodensee in September 2021. Photo: dpa | Felix Kästle 

Hamburg’s new Elbphilharmonie concert hall came in third. 

“It’s impossible to imagine the Hanseatic city’s skyline without this glass work of art, which soars into the sky above the harbour like a frozen wave,” the book notes.

Also in the top ten were the Wattenmeer, which is a huge nature reserve on the North Sea coast, Berlin’s museum island, the sandstone hills of Saxony, and Germany’s highest peak, the Zugspitze in Bavaria.

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