Johans Kayak Site


In the east of Germany you can find a beuatiful area for kayaking in the woods of the Spreewald. On this page you find three trips I made in 2012.

  1. A round trip from Lübbenau through the Hochwald (26 km).

  2. A round trip from Lübbenau to Lübben (26 km)

  3. A roudn trip from Lübbenau to Burg (31 km).


Tourenatlas Nr.5: Berlin-Brandenburg. ISBN: 978-3-929540-65-9. It has detailed maps of the Spree (including Berlin), Havel and Oder.

The Spreewald (forest of the river Spree) is situated in the east of Germany 70 km south of Berlin. The area is about 12 x 40 km existing mainly of forest. Between the arms of the river are many small streams and man-made canals. Water-level is kept under control by a few dozen weirs. Many of them also have locks for small boats. You have to operate them by yourself as usually there is nobody there. Sometimes schoolchildren are there to operate the locks for you. They expect you to give a tip for their service (notice the small basket on the edge of the locks). At all the locks there are kayak-piers so portage is always possible. The weirs without locks usually have no kayak piers either. From Lübbenau you can make trips in different directions as it is located in the middle of the Spreewald. If you don't stay along the river you can take your kayak to the river at almost every place where there's a bridge or locks. There are no roads passing through the Spreewald though (except for a bike road leading from Lübbenau to Leipe). You can reach Lehde or Leipe by car, but there are no through roads in the area. I first visited the Spreewald in 1999. Much has changed since then. The former transit-road to Berlin is a great 6-lanes highway now. The highway to the south is very modern too. You can also travel there by train. There is an hourly train-service from Berlin-Ostbahnhof. From the railway-station it's a 10 minutes walk to the camping Am Schlosspark. In the Spreewald tourism is booming. Most people go there to take a tour with a traditional boat: the kahn. This is a wooden flat bottom boat that was used in the past to transport goods. Now they have seats and groups of people can go on a tour to visit the Spreewald. If you don't like camping there are many guesthouses, hotels and vacation-homes available. If you bring your own kayak it's advisable to stay at a place along the river where you can take the kayak to the water. During my stay in May 2012, I rented a 2-bed apartment in the boathouse Bootshaus Kaupen. Although a bit small (low roof in the kitchen and bathroom) it was clean and comfortable. There are many restaurants around and usually you can get a good meal for a reasonable price. In the heart of the Spreewald you find Gasthaus Wotschofska along the Wehrkanal. It can be very busy there because many of the kahn-tours go there. Many of the local people are descendants of the Sorbs, a Slavic people that entered the area in the 9th century. They have their own language, which you can find back on signs sometimes and hear on a local radio station. They all speak German though. If you like kayaking, and if you like the nature of forests, this is the place to be.

Route 1: A round trip from Lübbenau to the Hochwald (26 km).

Downloadable GPX-track: Lubbenau-Hochwald-Lubbenau (unpack and open with Garmin Basecamp or other program).

From Lübbenau (locks near the camping) you head north (downstream) following the main stream Hauptspree. At the X-intersection you turn right on the Kleine Kossa. After the locks you turn right on the Bürgerfließ. Follow the canal (keep left) until you come at locks again. After the locks you tur left on the straight Wehrkanal. You pass the Gasthaus Wotschofska and you go straight on. At the X-intersection a sign indicates Hochwald straight on following the Ditmarfließ. You keep going straight on and you pass locks. At Waldhotel Eiche the river merges with the Großes Fließ. Follow the main stream to the right. Then you turn right on the Weidengraben. You go straight on and you come at locks in the small village Burg-Kauper. Next you turn left and pass Bootshaus Rehnus. At the next T-junction you turn left (straight on is closed). Then you keep going straight on (all the side-canals to the right are cosed). At the end of the canal you come at a T-junction. Turn right on the Hauptspree. Follow the Hauptspree back to the starting point.

Route 2: A round trip from Lübbenau to Lübben (26 km).

Downloadable GPX-track: Lubbenau-Lubben-Lubbenau.

From Lübbenau (locks near the camping) you head north (downstream) following the main stream Hauptspree. At km 2.8 you pass the locks (portage possible). At km. 4.8 you pass locks again (portage possible). Now you have a long straight stretch towards Lübben. After a few bends you pass at km. 9 a youth hostel on your left. Continue straight on until you see the weir. Just before the kayak rentals at Hafen 2 you turn left into the narrow canal. Follow the bends and keep to the right. After the locks you continue north. When you come at a wider river (Hauptspree) you turn right. You pass through Lübben and you come at locks. They are operated free of charges. Portage is not possible. After the locks you take the third narrow canal to the left. You pass through the Schloßpark. When you come at wider water you turn right and after a short distance turn left (not sharp left) on the Burg-Lübbener Kanal. Follow this canal for a few km. You go straight on at the side-canal to the left (Nordumfluter). At the next intersection you keep left. You go straight on until the locks. After the locks you turn right and then left again. At the next Y-intersection you turn left. You come at locks again and at the Y-intersection you turn right on the Puschhalle. Next you turn sharp left on the Hauptspree and you return to the starting point.

Route 3: A round trip from Lübbenau to Burg (31 km).

Downloadable GPX-track:Lubbenau-Burg-Lubbenau.

From Lübbenau (locks near the camping) you head south (upstream). At the X-junction you go straight on. Then turn left into the narrow canal along Bootshaus Kaupen. When you come at the Hauptspree you turn right and left again on the Lehder Graben. In the center of Lehde you turn right under the wooden footbridge (Hechtgraben). At the X-junction you turn left on the Hauptspree. Take the fourth canal to the right. This canal bends to the left and runs parallel to the Hauptspree. After a while it merges with the Hauptspree. Now you follow the Hauptspree upstream all the way to Burg. When you come near Burg the river narrows and there is more current. You pass under the Liebesbrücke (Love Bridge) and you end up at the weir in Burg. At Pension und Gasthaus Hafeneck on your right you can have a good meal for a reasonable price.

It is possible to portage passed the weir: take the kayak out and walk passed the weir. Cross the road, walk to the left passed the clock-shop and then turn right to the river. There is a kayak pier. You can continue on the Hauptspree and turn left (downstream) at the next weir (kayak piers). Then at the next weir (kayak piers) the river splits into the Nordumfluter (right) and Großes Fließ left. On the Großes Fließ you can return to the mapped area of the Spreewald.

From Burg you go downstream on the Hauptspree. After a short distance you go under a bridge and turn left on the straight canal with a road next to it. You pass Zur Bleiche Resort und Spa. After a bend to the right you turn left. At the end of the canal you turn right passed the locks. At the T-junction you turn left, then at the X-junction straight on, and at the next T-junction you turn left. Then at the next T-junction you turn left (locks on your right). Follow the narrow stream downstream. After a while it merges with the wider Südumfluter. Follow the the Südumfluter downstream back towards Lübbenau. On your right you pass the side-canals Untere Boblitzer Kahnfahrt, 1e Freiheitskanal, 2e Freiheitskanal, 3e Freiheitskanal. Then turn right on the Uska Luke. Keep to the left and follow the Hauptspree back to Lübbenau.


Hauptspree near Lübbenau.

Hauptspree near Lübbenau.

Portage at camping "Am Schloßpark", Lübbenau.

Kahn passes the kayak rental place at Bootshaus Kaupen, Lübbenau.

Kaupen, Lübbenau.

Locks in the Hauptspree.


Hauptspree in Lübben.

Kayak rental place in Lübben.

City park in Lübben.

Burg-Lübbener Kanal and to the left the Nordumfluter.

Liebesbrücke across the Hauptspree just before Burg.