The Spree Forest, the German Venice where mail is still delivered by boat

Sure you’ve heard of the Spree River that runs through Berlin, but have you heard of the Spree Forest, or Spreewald? This forested region is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve covering some 480 square kilometers and its origin dates back to the Ice Age. There are more than 200 canals or waterways within the Spree Forest, and in some areas mail is delivered by boat.

There are some 18,000 species of plants and this forest has to have something to attract the many people who visit it every year. Some come for the outdoor recreational activities, such as boating or barge rides, as it is common to hire a boat to tour this unusual swarm of canals.

It is also a place prepared to enjoy the routes available for those who opt for ecotourism by bicycle: the forest has its own scenic route, the Gurken-Radweg, organized into eight stages along beautiful routes.

The German Venice / photo Shutterstock

It is in Brandenburg about 100 km south of Berlin. There are lots of different canals to explore and the area is very well preserved. The beauty of the Spreewald was discovered in its day, not least due to the work of the great 19th century poet and writer Theodor Fontane, who described the romantic side of this idyllic place in detail. It was a very difficult area to access and you can hear people speaking Sorbian, which is a rarity, as the Spreewald is home to the Sorbs, or Sorbs, a Slavic people from the days of the Holy Roman Empire, who settled here long ago. centuries.

The Spree Forest in the Golßen area is full of historic buildings. The city of Lübben has an amazing Renaissance-style castle, which is today the City and Regional Museum, and the castle island is used as a venue for all kinds of cultural events and concerts. In Altstadt there is also another castle, with a local History Museum and an interesting point to practice bike rides along the different routes for cyclists.

Map and location of the Spreewald Biosphere Reserve / photo Maximilian Dörrbecker on Wikimedia Commons

One of the towns, Lübbenau or Lehde, is the most common access to the Spree forest, where a barge ride is definitely on the must-see list, and there you will be able to see the postman doing his job with the mail boat even today in day. A picture that well describes the special rhythm that lived in this hidden place in the past, which preserves this postal service, shocking today.

Lehde residents have enjoyed – or suffered, depending on how you look at it – receiving mail delivered by boat for over 100 years. A custom that is undoubtedly about to disappear and is worth seeing.

From the port of Lübbenau you can start a barge tour, or you can rent a canoe and explore the area on your own. Each house in the Spreewald has its own jetty and many are holiday homes. You can also rent a bike or take walks. There you can visit the Spreewald open-air museum, which is in this town, the oldest in the vicinity of the forest and is worth seeing, with several old houses that are very well preserved.

Traditional construction of the area / photo Uwe Barghaan on Wikimedia Commons

An ideal place to take a break during our hiking trails, 3.5 kilometers from Lübbenau, is the island of Wotschofska, called the “Venice of the Spreewald”, where the trees are more than 30 meters high. If you are fit, it will take between one and two hours to walk, since it is only five kilometers away.

In short, the Spree Forest, just an hour from Berlin, is a fantastic place with its maze of canals and green nuances, with trails for hiking, biking and canoeing, where you can enjoy traditional or spa accommodation and it is a region famous for its cuisine.


UNESCO / Brandenburg Tourism / Spreewald / Wikipedia.