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Last year I asked about mountain hut treks near Vienna, and the answers I got helped me plan a wonderful trip. This year I'm going to be in Berlin in June, and would be happy to do a (fairly laid back) two-three day trek somewhere near there. One thing I've read about is a 416 km trail that encircles Berlin, the 66 lakes trail. However, I haven't found much information - certainly not in English - and even in German, I'm missing something like the Austrian hut finder site which I used last year to find a good area in Austria.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a specific part of the 66 lakes trail, an alternate suggestion, or know of a good resource to help plan something near Berlin? (When I say "near" I mean up to a three hour train/bus ride to a good starting point.)

UPDATE: An example of a nice resource that I stumbled upon: the "Berlin Hikers" Meetup Group. Their list of past events is a useful (and English) guide to hikes around Berlin that I can use as a starting point for planning a longer trip. It seems like they've been to many of the places Paul mentions in his answer below.

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How would you like to spend the night? Hotels/Hostels or camping? Also, do you expect something special, i.e. you only like to hike through mountainous forests (which would be difficult near Berlin)? Are kayaking or cycling an option? –  Paul Paulsen May 13 at 7:48
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@Paul Ideally, in huts/hotels/hostels ... we won't be bringing camping and cooking equipment with us. As for the scenery, it doesn't have to be mountainous forests, but it should be pretty enough that it makes sense to walk there during a visit to Germany, the kind of place that similarly-inclined tourists from other countries in Europe might go to. –  Eyal May 13 at 10:33
    
Will you have access to a car? –  gerrit May 13 at 22:48
    
@gerrit No, we weren't planning on renting a car. –  Eyal May 14 at 4:43
    
Hi Eyal, are you missing something specific in my question? Or would you just like to get others to contribute as well? –  Paul Paulsen May 25 at 21:35

1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted
+50

I have so far not been hiking close to Berlin. However, I know to areas that might be worth a try:

The Spreewald and the Mecklenburger Seenplatte. Also I just learned about the "Märkische Schweiz", a small low mountain range. I have never heard of the 66 lakes trail, so I can´t give you information on that. Note that you can reach the baltic sea in about three hours, maybe that´s something you would like?

General tips

During my research, I was quite surprised how scarce information is in English (I am german). However, at most tourist bureaus people should be able to speak it, so phoning or mailing them is a good idea. You can try that directly in Berlin or at the suggested places (links follow). If you already know, where you want to hike (the 66 lakes trail e.g.), you can ask them directly for places to sleep.

Berlin itself is a big city with some nice places for short walks, but nothing I would call hiking. Around it lies the state of Brandenburg. It is mostly flat, has few forests and a lot of agriculture. Due to this, cycling and paddling (where possible) are more popular, hence my question if you consider that.

Despite this, there are two major long distance trails passing by: the E10 and the E11. Here you can find general information on the E-trails and here on their particular way in Brandenburg (in German, sorry).

Spreewald

Very beautiful lowland forest. Most people go here to kayak along the small streams and channels in the Spree. There are cycling trails as well as dayhikes. The E10 crosses here (Werben till Groß Köris would be the etaps), so there should be a marked long distance trail. If I would be to hike near Berlin, I would give this a try because it is by far the nicest nature in this area. There are a lot of small villages and, during summer, tourists and it is far from wild. There are a lot of places where to sleep, it can be a little expensive though. Here is their tourist information - all German, but you should be able to contact them directly. If you are also interested in history/culture, I would definitely give it a shot, since it is one of the few areas in Germany where there has been preserved some kind of folklore.

Get here: ~ 1.5 hrs to Lübben or Märkisch Buchholz by train, about 50-80kms.

Mecklenburger Seenplatte

An area with a lot of lakes: Made for paddling and cycling. However, the E10 passes by, so there should be some hiking possible ( I just read that it hasn´t been realized yet between Strasen and Stralsund, which would contain the part through the Seenplatte. This information might be outdated, but please check with the tourist bureau! ). It would be a good idea to get in touch with their local tourist information, since there are some less densely inhabitated areas where its nicer to walk. They also provide some information in, well, lets call it "semi-english" on their homepage.

Get here: ~1.5 hrs to Neustrelitz by train

Märkische Schweiz

A nature reserve with a lush forest, some rolling hills and lakes. For information here (again, in German - sorry!). The E11 seems to pass it. You can probably ask also in Berlin about it.

This is a description of the latest "Berlin Hikers" day hike in this area.

Get here: ~1 hr by train (switching to a bus brings you closer to the forest, but you can walk through fields instead)

Hope you find this information helpful - maybe you could give a small update about your choice and experience afterwards?

EDIT3: Some small improvements for the "Märkische Schweiz" area (Eyal)

EDIT2: After @bashophils suggestion I will add the Saxon Switzerland and steal his links.

Saxon Switzerland

The Saxon Switzerland is a low mountain range very popular for rock climbing due to the large amount of cliffs. In my personal opinion it is one of the most beautiful places in Germany. A big part of it is a national park. Two options for hiking there would be:

  • Following the Malerweg, a 8-9 day round trip. You can easily pick only a part of it, I specially can recommend etaps 2-5, but I don´t know the last ones. You have to pay attention where to sleep, though.
  • Getting a room in the area, e.g. in Bad Schandau, and do a couple of dayhikes from there.

Both possibilities will surely provide a unique experience. I didn´t mention this area at first, because it is rather far away and doesn´t belong to the Berlin region. Also, it really merits a visit on its own (like the nearby state capital of Dresden).

Get here: ~ 3(fast train) hrs /4.5(slow=cheaper train) hrs from Berlin to the start of the Malerweg or to Bad Schandau in the heart of the area.

EDIT1: I just realized I should probably mention that all this is not about "untouched nature" but more or less cultivated lands. I would not call this suggestions a place for an outdoor experience, but more for a couple of nice dayhikes since you will have to sleep inside. Nevertheless, it can be beautiful, just don´t expect wilderness.

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Thx @Paul I can see you putting a lot of effort/research into your helpful answer. I wasn't doing a research but it makes me sad that there is not much help provided in English. –  EverythingRightPlace May 13 at 20:07
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Three hours from Berlin gives room for more, like being said you could even reach the Baltic Sea. Another suggestion is the Saxon Switzerland, a great landscape for hikers and climbers. Have a look at those pictures: sueddeutsche.de/reise/… There is also a 112km hiking trail ("Malerweg") and even some information in English: saechsische-schweiz.de/en/home-malerweg Also a beautiful low mountain range is the Harz, but it's not really close to Berlin: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harz –  EverythingRightPlace May 13 at 20:21
    
Like Paul said, the region around Berlin (in the states Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) is great for paddling, if this is an option for you... sportjugend-peine.de/bilder/allerlei/news/021_c.jpg –  EverythingRightPlace May 13 at 20:22
    
thank @bashophil . It really is sad that not even tourist bureaus have english sites... Great that you mention saxon switzerland, I love that place. It´s as beautiful as Germany gets IMO, but I considered a little too far. But its actually closer than the baltic sea. –  Paul Paulsen May 13 at 20:24
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I ended up going to "Märkische Schweiz". Two days, sleeping at a hotel in Buckow in between. It was beautiful and convenient. Like @PaulPaulsen wrote - it's not remote, rugged wilderness, but still very pretty. You can swim in the lakes, too. –  Eyal Jun 27 at 8:15

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