Autumn is here and with it comes leisurely walks, cold fingertips, mushroom-filled baskets and chestnuts in your pockets. One destination to experience all this is a lake just north of Barnim: Werbellinsee. Not only does this area offer breathtaking views of beech and alder-lined shores, but it is also full of relics from the German Empire. Take the regional train from Gesundbrunnen and you are greeted at your destination by the listed Joachimsthal Kaiserbahnhof, a red timber-framed railway station built in 1898. From there it is only a few minutes’ walk through thicket to the Joachimsthal shoreline, from where you can take a left to walk 5km up the shore to Altenhof. If you head to the jetty in the center of the village you can pick up some filter coffee and a waffle to enjoy as you take in the surrounding nature. Picking mushrooms as you go, continue around the lake until you reach its southern tip – the “Süßer Winkel” (“Sweet Corner”) as it’s called. An idyllic wooden bridge leads to the other side and from here it is another 1.5km to the “Spring” jetty.
Admittedly, we overestimated the size of the lake’s perimeter – the full circuit is 30km – while the mushroom picking took us off our path. Thus it was a relief that we only had to wait ten minutes at the jetty before the historic Wiederhöft steamship (built in 1935) docked. Wrapped in colorful blankets, we made our way back to Joachimsthal overwater in what was the highlight of our excursion. The service operates until the end of October, so we definitely recommend visiting before then. 19th century German novelist Theodor Fontane called the Werbellinsee the most beautiful lake in Brandenburg. We think he was right.