It borders on a small Advent miracle: a white blanket of winter has quietly and secretly spread over the landscape. With every step you take, the snow crunches pleasantly under your feet. Despite the cold season, many birds can be heard and seen flying from snowy branch to branch. Our winter vacation in the Spreewald couldn't have started any better.

We are all the more pleased about this wintry surprise and enjoy a magical break in Germany's “green Venice”, which is dressed in white when we arrive. Winter in the Spreewald is truly a contrast to the summer months but definitely no less magical. At the beginning of December we got to know the most beautiful highlights and sights for the cozy season in the Spreewald. Here are our best tips for a winter holiday in the Spreewald.

Winter vacation in the Spreewald: The most beautiful highlights & sights for the cozy season

Winter paddling in the Spreewald: meditation and adventure at the same time

The sun laboriously fights its way through the delicate wafts of mist that hang over the snow-covered meadows and bathes the landscape in a gentle light. The silence of the Spreewald is particularly intense in the winter setting on the slightly winding waterways, which are so busy with boats and tourists in summer.

But now everything lies before us in peaceful calm. Before we start, we warm ourselves by the crackling fire in the fire bowl. Then we can slip into the splash guard for our clothes and get our paddles with the paddle paws that keep our hands nice and warm.

Winter vacation in the Spreewald: The most beautiful highlights & sights for the cozy season

Get your paddling paws on: With the canoe through the Spreewald

After a short briefing on Boathouse on the Leineweber it's already starting. Our canoe glides gently over the glassy water. The only sounds that break the silence are the soft crunch of ice on the banks and the happy splashing of a nutria, which luckily even swims past our GoPro.

On the water in the winter idyll we feel immediately decelerated. Passing picturesque farmsteads and charming houses with direct access to water, we dream about it for a moment. And imagine what it would be like to live here. Then winter paddling would become our ritual.

Winter vacation in the Spreewald: The most beautiful highlights & sights for the cozy season

Spreewald Christmas: Take a boat to one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Germany

We stay on the water for a while and visit two Christmas markets in the Spreewald: the maritime-themed Christmas market in the large Spreewald harbor in Lübbenau and the historic Christmas market at the Lehde Open Air Museum. Under the motto “Christmas as it used to be”, the open-air museum invites you to take a short journey through time. The special thing about this Christmas market is that it is located on an island surrounded by rivers that can only be reached by boat or over small bridges leading to paths.

Before we get started, we would like to take the opportunity to try a warm Spreewälder Hefeplinse in Lübbenau (*spoiler alert* Very tasty!) Cuddled up in warm blankets, we toast our boat trip with a cup of mulled wine and enjoy the wintry landscape that is slowly approaching passes us by.

Winter vacation in the Spreewald: The most beautiful highlights & sights for the cozy season

We have visited many Christmas markets, but this experience on the barge is definitely one of the most beautiful. Starting with the festive atmosphere, through the romantic idea of ​​traveling in a Christmas-decorated boat to the magically beautiful landscape.

With the boat to the Spreewald Christmas

When: The Spreewald Christmas takes place on the 1st and 2nd weekend of Advent
Wo: In Lübbenau & Lehde
Romance factor: 5 from 5

About wild Spreewald women, Sorbian traditional costumes and extraordinary wedding dresses

It is said that the wild Spreewald women, mysterious spirits in the form of women, once lived deep in the Spree Forest. Every night they pushed a basket of spindles and flax through the spinning room window. Girls who were still spinning after ten o'clock had one hour to fill all the bobbins or face death.

But two clever girls outsmarted the ghosts by putting each thread on just one spool. So they solved the difficult task and escaped the dark fate. The story of their clever trick quickly spread throughout the Spreewald. 

Wurlawy Lübbenau

Wurlawy: Sorbian-inspired and regionally produced fashion

Inspired by Sorbian legends and traditional costumes, Sarah Gwiszcz founded her own label in 2014 Wurlawy, which loosely translated from Sorbian means something like “wild Spreewald women”. We visit her in her boutique in Lübbenau. In her collections she cleverly combines the tradition of Sorbian costume with modern elements and influences from Mexico, such as the calaveras.

In addition to everyday clothing and accessories, she also designs wedding dresses in the Sorbian style. “A wedding is not a day to wear boring wedding dresses.” is their motto.

Wurlawy Lübbenau

She regularly hosts fashion shows and is already deeply connected to the region with her unique designs. Sarah herself originally comes from the Spreewald. Her decision to return to her old home from Berlin after studying was not only a professional step, but also a personal return to the source of her inspiration.

Your collections are sewn in Cottbus, the fabrics come from fair production in Europe. Another piece of closeness to home can also be found in their use of blue printing, a special dyeing process that is just as well known in Lusatia as the traditional costume. The art of blue printing is a centuries-old technique for refining fabrics.

Only twelve companies in Germany and 15 in other European countries still practice this traditional craftsmanship. UNESCO has given blueprint a special place on its list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity - a form of official recognition for this fascinating tradition.

Wurlawy

Baumkuchen for breakfast? We visit the Baumkuchen factory Groch & Erben in Cottbus

At least 26 rings, around 16 layers and a wealth of tradition – what could it be? Little tip: It's not an onion...

Correct! About a Baumkuchen. Our day starts with a delicious smell in the Baumkuchen factory Groch & Erben in Cottbus. The history of the Baumkuchen Manufactory goes back to 1819, when Maria Groch created her first Baumkuchen. Their traditional heritage is still family-owned today, with the clear goal of continuing to bake timeless, delicious Baumkuchen specialties.

Groch & Erben Cottbus

However, modern creations are now also offered, such as the Spreewald Baumkuchen with a delicious matcha filling. The green, fresh matcha represents nature in the Spreewald, but is also a bridge to Japan. Because tree cakes are really popular there. In Japan they are not only found more frequently during the Christmas season, but also 365 days a year. There is even a day dedicated to traditional pastries. Since 2010, March 4th has been the official Baumkuchen Day.

Baumkuchen came to Japan in the 20th century when it was introduced to the country by a German confectioner. This traditional German treat was so popular there that over time it has become a popular pastry that is often given as a gift on special occasions such as birthdays and weddings.

Baumkuchen

We are curious and happy when we get to try the classic Baumkuchen and the Spreewald Baumkuchen in the cozy Café Lauterbach. The complex and precise manufacturing process definitely pays off in the fine taste. Strengthened, we then go on a short exploration tour through Cottbus.

Baumkuchen Spreewald

Photos: (c) www.spreewald.de/Lena Tschuikow

Cottbus: old town, love of coffee and the Sorbian-Wendish culture

Around 100.000 people live in Cottbus. The gateway to the Spreewald is the second largest city in Brandenburg after Potsdam. We immediately feel at home in the historic old town with its medieval towers, gates and baroque houses. The history of the Sorbs and Wends can be felt almost everywhere. The street signs are written bilingually in German and Sorbian, which underlines the cultural presence of the Sorbs.

I had my first encounter with Sorbian culture during my studies and I was immediately fascinated. We get further insights into Sorbian history in the Wendish Museum in Cottbus. The Sorbs and Wends are a Slavic tribe that settled in the Spreewald in the 6th century. There are around 60.000 Sorbs living in Germany today. “But you have to admit to being Sorbian,” our city guide explains to us.

Winter vacation in the Spreewald: The most beautiful highlights & sights for the cozy season
Winter vacation in the Spreewald: The most beautiful highlights & sights for the cozy season

Cottbus from above: The Spremberg Tower

Before it comes to us Spremberger Tower Let's warm up in the room for a moment Cottbus coffee roasting company on. The cozy little café and coffee roastery is the best address for coffee lovers and baristas in Cottbus. Warmed up again, 131 steps follow up to the Spremberger Tower. The former defense tower has been accessible since 2007 without prior registration and offers a magnificent view of Cottbus and the surrounding area.

Cottbus Church
Cottbus Monastery Church – Ev. Cottbus monastery parish
Winter vacation in the Spreewald: The most beautiful highlights & sights for the cozy season
View from the Spremberger Tower

Hiking & Poetry in the Spreewald – In the footsteps of Theodor Fontane along the Fontaneweg in Burg

One of the most beautiful hiking trails in the Spreewald begins at the Waldschlösschen harbor in Burg-Kauper. The idyllic 10 km long route, named after the German poet Theodor Fontane, stretches along dense forests, past old stands of trees, farmsteads typical of the Spree Forest and small bridges that lead over branching waterways.

“Standing upright, with a stoic calm through the river” – this is how Fontane described the barge drivers in the Spreewald. Theodor Fontane was not only a writer, journalist and critic, but also a passionate traveler. So it happened that from August 6th to 8th, 1859 he visited the Spreewald with three friends. He poetically immortalized his observations in the novel “Walks through the Mark Brandenburg”.

Winter vacation in the Spreewald: The most beautiful highlights & sights for the cozy season
Photo: (c) www.spreewald.de/Lena Tschuikow
Winter vacation in the Spreewald: The most beautiful highlights & sights for the cozy season

Enchanted winter landscapes in the Spreewald

And this poetry can still be felt in the landscape today. On our hike, magical views of the snow-covered meadows and floodplains of the Spreewald always open up. The variety of trees, the gently rushing river, together with the silence of the surroundings, give our walk an almost meditative atmosphere.

On some trees and tree stumps we can see gnawed areas that indicate that a beaver was at work here. But at that moment there are only traces; unfortunately there is no sign of the beaver itself. The ranger explains to us that beavers are nocturnal animals.

The path continues to the Waldhotel Eiche, the inn near which Fontane once ate a tasty pike with Spreewald sauce. Here you have the opportunity to take a short break and warm up with a cup of tea or coffee. Even though Theodor was in the Spreewald in the summer 164 years ago, we believe that he would have enjoyed the wintry backdrop too.

Winter vacation in the Spreewald: The most beautiful highlights & sights for the cozy season
Photo: (c) www.spreewald.de/Lena Tschuikow

Details about our winter hike in the Spreewald

Length: 10 km
Mark: Fontane cartoon
Start finish: Waldschlösschen harbor in Burg-Kauper
Rest/refreshment options: Waldhotel Eiche, Landhotel Burg, Ristorante “il Fienile”, harbors on Waldschlösschenstrasse, Steffi’s Hafenstübchen
Things to see along the way: Waldschlösschen harbor, Waldschlösschen lock, Spreewaldhöfe, farm restaurant in the Spreewald resort “Zum
Snake King”, Huppatz adventure trail, Piezonka pottery, petting zoo, “mini golf” adventure at “il Fienile”

A little hint

If you would like to shorten the tour, you can simply continue along Ringchaussee Straße at the turnoff to Fischerfließ and return to your starting point after just 5 km.

Winter vacation in the Spreewald – chimney boat trip in Burg

Our boat glides silently through the darkness while we warm ourselves by the fireplace. The shadowy shapes of the trees, the gentle rippling of the currents and the crackling of the fire give our trip on the water a mystical aura. Boat trips are part of the Spreewald like the wind is part of the trees. This is why the barge is still a common means of transport today.

Mail in Lübbenau-Lehde is still delivered by barge from April to October, and garbage collection also uses the waterway. Given this, it is not surprising that boat trips are increasingly being used for creative purposes. There are now, among other things, legendary, gourmet and moonlight boat trips. But a particularly romantic highlight here is definitely this Chimney boat trip.

Chimney boat trip Spreewald
Photos: (c) www.spreewald.de/Lena Tschuikow

A song of fire and ice: The winter landscape in the Spreewald

Under cozy blankets, we let ourselves be enchanted by the crackling of the fireplace in the magical winter landscape, where we wouldn't be surprised to meet a forest spirit. Suddenly there is a rustling on the bank. We see the typical gnawing patterns on the tree trunk again, which briefly light up like a fire in the darkness. We immediately think that he can't be far from where these traces are. And in fact he sits there motionless and hopes that we will disappear again as quickly as we came. When he can't move fast enough, the fat beaver hops into the water and swims into the darkness.

Winter vacation in the Spreewald: chimney barge ride
Photos: (c) www.spreewald.de/Lena Tschuikow

Accommodation in the Spreewald in winter

Amid dense forests, picturesque canals and idyllic villages, travelers will find a variety of accommodations in the Spreewald that are much more than just places to sleep - they are retreats into nature and also reflections of the regional way of life. From rustic farms to modern boutique hotels, the diversity of the region is also reflected in the architecture and furnishings of the accommodation. There are a variety of cozy and magical accommodations, especially for a winter holiday in the Spreewald. Here is our small, fine selection of hotels:

Winter vacation in the Spreewald: The most beautiful highlights & sights for the cozy season

Spreewaldresort Seinerzeit – weddings, honeymoons & more in the Spreewald

If you think of a honeymoon, the Spreewald would probably not immediately come to mind as a honeymoon destination. But our Spreewald trip showed us that the Spreewald is one of the most romantic honeymoon destinations in Germany. This is what particularly convinced us Spreewaldresort at the time.

The cozy hotel in an elegant country house style has an idyllic location directly on its own barge harbor. Guests have a choice of over 41 stylishly furnished rooms and suites in various categories. The rooms are mainly oriented towards the picturesque Spree meadows and, depending on the category, have a balcony or terrace. We stayed in the small spa suite and were really happy about the private sauna right in our room.

The hotel's carefully selected interior is impressive on its own, but just a short walk away lies a truly extraordinary highlight.

Winter vacation in the Spreewald: Spreewaldresort Seinerzeit
Winter vacation in the Spreewald: Spreewaldresort Seinerzeit

The Weidendom in Schlepzig or probably the most beautiful registry office in Germany

The Spreewaldresort Seinerzeit has been a popular address for weddings for many years. This is particularly due to the spacious and beautiful rooms but also what is probably the most beautiful open air registry office in Germany. It is just a short walk away, past the cozy tree house Willow Dome. In addition to the striking haystack, the magical willow dome is the landmark of the Hotel Seinerzeit and offers a romantic backdrop for couples who want to exchange vows under the magical willow branches.

As a publicly licensed registry office, the Spreewaldresort has the official authorization to organize public weddings. Up to 100 people can take part in the ceremony at the same time under the protective roof of the willow dome. And the immediate proximity to the barge harbor is the icing on the cake. Here the bride and groom can enjoy a romantic entry to the wedding venue with a picturesque boat trip across the water.

Winter vacation in the Spreewald: Weidendom Schlepzig Spreewaldresort Seinerzeit

Activities in the Spreewaldresort Seinerzeit

For those looking for relaxation, this is what it offers SATAMA SPA in the sister resort at Scharmützelsee (30 minutes away by car) an oasis of relaxation on over 7.000 m² with various saunas, steam baths and cozy islands of relaxation. Directly at the Spreewaldresort, guests can also take the traditional Spreewald barges on a leisurely journey through the Lower Spreewald with coffee, cake and Spreewald delicacies and discover the unique landscape.

Winter vacation in the Spreewald: Spreewaldresort Seinerzeit

The culinary delights come in the in-house restaurant Fine cuisine on the green beach of the Spree also not too short, where regional delicacies are served with a modern touch. In addition, guests at Seinerzeit can experience culinary highlights in the historic brewery of the Spreewald Private Brewery 1788.

Brauhaus winter vacation in the Spreewald: Spreewaldresort Seinerzeit

Spreewelten Hotel in Lübbenau: family fun and wellness are guaranteed

We have our second stop in Spreewelten Hotel spent in Lübbenau. The 4-star resort has classic double rooms as well as spacious apartments. We spent two nights in a great apartment that can accommodate up to four people - perfect for the family. In particular, the double bunk beds with sweet penguin paintings on the walls are sure to make many children's hearts beat faster. 

Spreewelten Hotel in Lübbenau

The hotel is directly connected to the popular Spreewelten bath and sauna worlds via a 100 meter long “bathrobe corridor” - so you can be in the bathing paradise from your hotel room in just a few minutes. The best thing: Entry to the Spreewelten is already included with the hotel stay.

What we particularly liked about the Spreewelten Bad is the sauna area - with more than 5.000 square meters, the “Spreewald Sauna Village” is not only very spacious, but also designed with so much attention to detail. Here, sauna after sauna was not simply lined up, but each sauna was given its own “motto”. These themed saunas have funny names like the Cucumber sauna, hay sauna, the sow stable, or the bakery. Our favorite was that “Good parlor sauna”, a sauna in the style of a Sorbian house.

Spreewelten Hotel in Lübbenau

Winter vacation in the Spreewald – SPREE WORLDS OF LIGHTS

The event is a special highlight in the Spreewelten SPREE WORLDS OF LIGHTS. From December 1, 2023 to February 14, 2024, the bathing and sauna world will shine in fascinating lighting. Every day from nightfall, special light objects in combination with relaxing music enchant the surroundings and create a unique atmosphere. The experience of SPREEWELTEN OF LIGHTS is already included in admission.

After an extensive sauna tour, we enjoyed some culinary delights in the restaurant in the sauna worlds, where we serve regional and seasonal dishes. As already described above, entry to the Spreewelten bathing and sauna world is already included with the hotel overnight stay, but if you would like to take a day trip to Lübbenau, you should definitely not miss this sauna area even without an overnight stay.

Landhotel Burg: top-class wellness hotel in the Spreewald

Our last stop was in Burg, the largest village on the European continent at 35 square kilometers. We were able to spend the night in a beautiful place 4-star country hotel Burg, which offers a perfect starting point for boat trips and hikes in the middle of the Burger settlement.

We took our chimney boat trip from here on the first evening near the hotel, an experience that we will remember for a long time: going in the dark in a boat with a crackling fireplace, blankets and mulled wine is quite something something special. And if a fat Bieber stops by, even more so 🙂

Country Hotel Burg
Country Hotel Burg:

Enjoy wellness and nature at the Landhotel Burg

The Landhotel Burg has a total of 94 rooms and a beautiful sauna area (both indoor and outdoor) as well as a spacious wellness oasis with a heated outdoor pool. We spent our stay in the new bathhouse: There is also an indoor pool and two relaxation rooms. Our room was very spacious, with a balcony and modern furnishings.

Country Hotel Burg:
Country hotel castle rooms

Culinary cuisine is very important at the Landhotel Burg: we have it in the restaurant Turning king can enjoy various Spreewald delicacies. If you prefer Italian cuisine, you can have it at “The Barn” Let it go well - there are delicious pizzas from the stone oven here, but also various pasta dishes. And after a lovely evening, you can end the day perfectly with a cocktail at the chic in-house bar. 

Country Hotel Burg Bar
Country Hotel Burg Restaurant
Country Hotel Burg

We were particularly impressed by the small petting zoo with goats, sheep, horses, donkeys, alpacas and even squirrels that took our hearts by storm.

Landhotel Burg petting zoo

Winter trips are already a bit of a tradition on our blog. You can find even more inspiration for other winter trips & tips for the cold season here.

This article is part of a collaboration with Spreewald.de developed. We would like to thank you very much for that!