If you’re looking for the perfect day trip from Berlin, pack your backpack and jump on a regional train, and head over to the charming town of Lübbenau. In just under an hour, you can start your day exploring the UNESCO Spreewald Biosphere Reserve. You can choose from floating down the seemingly endless canals on a traditional wooden barge, renting a bike and cycling along the 260km long Gurken-Radweg (the Cucumber Cycling Trail), or simply strolling along the harbourfront Gurkenmeile market and indulging in what has been the region’s #1 specialty since the 8th century: pickles.
Explore the most charming old town in the Spreewald
The oldest part of Lübbenau is the palace district and its accompanying English gardens. Already in the 8th century, the building was built as a former Slavic castle and later as a water castle. After it was demolished, it was replaced in the 19th century by the Renaissance castle which still stands today. In the last years, the palace has been transformed into a hotel so you can sleep like royalty during your visit.
Only a few steps away from the palace district you get to the market square with its two-story townhouses and the Nikolaikirche from the 18th century. Don’t miss the unique fountain here with mythical creatures from the Spreewald! There are also several cafes and local shops worth visiting here.
Visit the Spreewald’s only Gherkin Mile
At the main harbour, there are many small cafes overlooking the water that invite visitors to enjoy coffee and cake or regional specialties. However, the highlight is the Gherkin Mile where the gherkin picklers of the town present their range of products at a small waterfront market. Although pickles are in the limelight here, you’ll also find linseed oil and honey abound.
Take a traditional Kahnfahrt through the Spreewald
At the end of the Gherkin Mile, you will find the lively port quarter of Lübbenau. This is a popular starting point for boat trips into the Spreewald.
To solve agricultural challenges due to these natural wetlands, farmers since the sixth century dug these shallow canals to the Spree river, giving rise to their main mode of transportation — a traditional wooden, flat-bottomed boat. Each one has colorfully decorated tables and you can pick up snacks along the way at vendors who line the banks of the canal; otherwise, you can grab a round of drinks on board.
A 2-hour Kahnfahrt will cost you about 11€. You can also opt for longer tours that go up to 9 hours (with stops, of course!). Alternatively, you can rent your own boat for the day and explore the 200+ canals on your own.
Visit the 19th-century village of Lehde
One of the oldest villages in the Spreewald houses only 130 residents. Here you can visit the open-air Freilandmuseum and be transported back to the 19th century to see how the residents of Spreewald ate, slept, and played. Often, you can see people wearing their traditional Sorbian clothing. There are also several cafes and restaurants where you can grab a drink and spend the afternoon.
How to get to Lübbenau
The easiest way to get to Lübbenau from Berlin is to take a regional train for 10-20€. The RE2 train leaves hourly towards Cottbus stops at Lübbenau (Spreewald) station.