Canals and rivers weave through meadows, fields and farmland in a network known as “Fließe” in the Spreewald. In total, the region has an impressive 1,500 kilometers of river network, 300 kilometers of which can be explored by boat. In the past, almost all the farms were connected by water and used for agricultural transportation. In some parts, even today, mail is delivered by barge from spring to fall. Time stands still in the Spreewald. It’s an idyllic place for Berlin city-dwellers to treat their lungs to fresh air and their retinas to lush greenery on weekend trips. Lübbenau, known as the “gateway to the Spreewald”, is less than an hour away by regional express train. From the small historic town, the route takes hikers over the first bridges and dams, directly into the network of canals and onto wide open landscapes. You’ll soon notice the hustle and bustle of tourists melt away. It’s worth mentioning that the Spreewald has been a UNESCO biosphere reserve since 1991, attracting many nature enthusiasts. But, after the fifth bridge crossing, the number of grazing cows far outnumber the tourists.

The walk along pastures and rolling meadows is particularly beautiful during springtime when the temperature is a little milder and you can soak up the sunshine. A highlight is the Wotschofska beer garden, which has been serving guests on the Erleninsel since 1894. Right by the water under shady trees, the space accommodates up to 300 visitors with traditional cuisine from the Spreewald. From potatoes with Spreewald cream quark and linseed oil to cucumber soup or baked pike-perch fillet, all desires are satiated here. With a full belly and tired legs, take the boat back to Lübbenau (and be sure to get an extra Spreewald gherkin as a “dessert” from the boatmen while you’re cruising the canals). Funnily enough, the Spreewald’s roads are de-iced with excess gherkin water during winter. And did you know the Spreewald gherkin had its big revival in 2003 with Daniel Brühl in the film Goodbye Lenin?

Text & Photos: Laura Iriondo


Gasthaus Wotschofska, Wotschofskaweg 1, 03222 Lübbenau/Spreewald; map