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On the hunt for gherkins in the Spreewald – Gherkin bike path

Bomenius, CC BY-SA 4.0

On the hunt for gherkins in the Spreewald – Gherkin bike path

Bike Touring Collection by Hannah

Get ready to track down the Spreewald gherkin on the 260-kilometre (161-mile) Gherkin bike path (Gurkenradweg) through the Spreewald forest in north-east Germany. On the way, you ride through the UNESCO biosphere reserve, picturesque floodplains, quaint Spreewald villages, and interesting cultural sites. Of course, you will also have plenty of opportunities to try the Spreewald gherkin, a traditionally pickled cucumber from Brandenburg that can be eaten with mustard, pepper, garlic, honey mustard, horseradish, or chili. If your mouth is already watering then hop on your bike and start tracking down the gherkin through the Spreewald.

The Gherkin bike path runs from the town of Lübben in three circular loops. On the first circular, you ride eastwards through the Spreewald to the towns of Lübbenau and Burg and on to the cultural city of Cottbus. From here, you cycle back westwards through wonderful pond landscapes, completing the circle in the towns of Burg and Lübben. The north trail takes you through the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the typical Spreewald town of Schlepzig, and past picturesque swimming lakes. The final loop heads west to the town of Golßen, where the traditional Spreewald Gurkentag (cucumber day) takes place each August.

The cycle path is signposted with a friendly, cycling gherkin which you can also find on the label of the special gherkin Radler drink at Kirchers Brauhaus (brewery). If you can’t get enough of this pickled cucumber, then you should definitely try this drink! However, this Tour is not just for gherkin lovers. Aside from stunning landscapes, you can also try other local delicacies in the Spreewald such as jacket potatoes with freshly pressed linseed oil and curd and carp that is freshly caught from nearby lakes. There are plenty of delicious things to spoil yourself with after your ride.

This Collection guides you along the Gherkin bike path in five stages. With just one exception, the Tour is flat the entire way, making it ideal for families and older cyclists. Ranging in length from 45 to 60 kilometres (27 to 37 miles), the routes are quite physically challenging. Of course, it’s up to you whether you ride all of the stages at once or just complete one leg.

From Lübben, you can choose to just do one of the circulars as a day trip. Or, you can cycle from Lübben to Cottbus on a weekend trip with an overnight stay. If you are planning a longer holiday in Brandenburg, then you can combine this route with the Tour Brandenburg or the Spree Cycle Route. This way, you can tailor the Gherkin bike path to suit your own travel plans.

You can always find overnight accommodation at the stage destinations, but it’s a good idea to book in advance, especially in the smaller towns. You can travel to the cycle path by train via Lübben, Lübbenau, Cottbus, or Vetschau. These towns have excellent regional train connections to Berlin and the rest of Brandenburg. So grab your bike, get on the train and look forward to 'cucumbering' around in the Spreewald.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

    Intermediate
    03:43
    38.4 mi
    10.3 mph
    425 ft
    350 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today your tour starts on the trail of the cucumber. The first stage takes you about 60 kilometers from the resort of Lübben to the university town of Cottbus. The starting point is the Lübben train station in the Spreewald, which is easy to reach from Berlin and Brandenburg. From here you cycle through the friendly Spreewald town and already have the first opportunity to bite into a juicy Spreewald cucumber on the gherkin mile at the large harbor.Now you cycle along the Spree on the edge of the Oberspreewald nature reserve. After about ten kilometers you will reach Lübbenau, which with its nice market square and Spreehafen invites you to the next cucumber stop. A wonderful bike path leads you along the banks of the Spree on fine gravel through pure nature past the small villages of Lehde and Leipe, which are located on small islands in the middle of the Spree waterways.You cycle through the nature reserve on wonderfully developed bike paths until shortly before Raddusch, where you can visit an alpaca finca or learn something about Slavic history. Then you cycle through the Stradower ponds, which are home to a large number of water birds.The second half of the tour takes you through the spa town of Burg, as well as the small villages of Werben, Briesow and Sielow, which is just before your destination Cottbus. The route leads over wonderfully developed bike paths and you always have the opportunity to take a break at nice covered rest areas.Cottbus offers a wide range of cultural activities, various restaurants and beautiful parks where you can end your tour. You can find the accommodation offer at cottbus-tourismus.de. The next campsite is about 15 kilometers away and is located directly at the Spremberg dam. The city is also well connected by train.

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    Intermediate
    02:39
    28.3 mi
    10.6 mph
    250 ft
    300 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The second stage of the Gurkenradweg takes you around 45 kilometers in a loop back to the Spreewald-typical spa town of Burg. A wonderful riverside cycle path leads out of Cottbus. You will soon reach the Peitzer pond landscape at Hammergraben, where the route leads you through the middle. The ponds serve as a recreation area and here, among other things, carp are bred, which you can also pull out with a fishing rod.Behind Peitz you cycle past a small swimming lake and a bit along the Spree. The route leads past grazing aurochs and on a detour through the two villages of Dissen and Striesow. In the museum village of Dissen you can learn more about the life of the former Slavic population and watch numerous storks.Now the route leads back to the bank of the Spree and you cycle on a wonderful bike path along the renatured Spreeaue. Then you head for your stage destination and pass the famous Bismarck Tower, from the top of which you can see to Berlin on a clear day.Your destination Burg welcomes you at the idyllic Spreehafen, where you can continue your gherkin tasting and end your tour with a hearty gherkin platter on the banks of the Spree. The city impresses with its wide range of wellness facilities and the lovingly laid out spa park, which takes you into the world of Sorbian-Wendish legendary characters.You can find the accommodations in Burg at burgimspreewald.de. From camping sites to organic hotels, everything is included.

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  • Intermediate
    02:50
    29.4 mi
    10.4 mph
    250 ft
    275 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    On the third stage you cycle almost 50 kilometers back towards Lübben and along the Innerer Spreewald nature reserve to the traditional Spreewald village of Schlepzig. First you drive back to the Bismarck Tower, but this time the route leads you around to the left.The path leads you along quiet village and country roads to the lock of Burg. Behind it you reach the northeastern border of the Inner Spreewald. The tour takes you to Straupitz in a detour; here is the last triple windmill in Europe that is still in operation. Here you can stock up on linseed oil and nibble on a typical “linseed oil” tip on your next rest.Now you cycle on dirt roads and head for the two villages of Alt- and Neu Zauche. Behind it, the route leads along wonderfully quiet dyke paths along the Nordumfluter. Over a small bridge you get to the other side and reach the starting point of Lübben again. This time, however, the route bypasses the city center and takes you further north through the Wiesenau nature reserve. The Spreewald pond landscape begins directly behind it - over the next ten kilometers you will find a fantastic water backdrop, rare species of birds and several opportunities to jump into the cool water.Behind the ponds you have already reached your destination. Traditional vegetable growing and the Spreewald distillery with whiskey tasting await you in Schlepzig. The place is very small and the choice of accommodation is limited; If you are planning an overnight stay here, it is best to reserve in good time.

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    Intermediate
    03:13
    33.8 mi
    10.5 mph
    825 ft
    800 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The fourth stage takes you in a large arc to the north, past several charming lakes and ends in the village of Krausnick, nestled between Spreewaldwiesen and hills. The tour is almost 55 kilometers long and you can look forward to the ascent of the Wehlaberges shortly before your stage destination, the highest elevation of the Krausnicker Mountains in the otherwise completely flat Brandenburger Land.Let's go in Schlepzig; There are no large supermarkets on the route, so keep your eyes peeled for farm shops and bakeries. You cycle on a quiet side road through the small villages Krugau and Groß Leuthen, where the first swimming lake of your tour is located. You continue through the village landscape and you will soon reach the northernmost point of the Gurkenradweg on the picturesque Neuendorfer See. Here you can fortify yourself with hearty food from the goulash cannon.The path leads you on to Lake Koethen, whose banks are partially protected. You cycle through the picturesque protected area of the Heideseen and then start the first and only ascent of the Gurkenradweg up to the Köthen mountains. Once at the top, you can take a detour to the observation tower and enjoy the wonderful view.The last part to Krausnitz you can roll back down the mountain. The small village is very contemplative and magically idyllic - you should also inquire about accommodations here in good time. If you want to cycle a round trip, you are back in Schlepzig after only six kilometers.

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    Intermediate
    03:23
    36.0 mi
    10.6 mph
    450 ft
    450 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    Today you start your last stage on the Gurkenradweg, which leads about 58 kilometers in a large loop over Golßen through western Niederlausitz and ends at the train station in Lübben. Let's go on a wonderful, long bike ride through the forest. In Groß Lubolz you come to one of the junctions where the Gurkenradweg branches off in several directions. In this tour you cycle the Westring clockwise towards Niewitz.The route continues through the rural surroundings. During the main harvest season for the delicious Spreewald cucumbers in July and August, you can certainly watch the notorious “cucumber flyer”, in which the harvest workers lie on their stomach and pick the coveted green fruits.Via the small village of Zützow and past the Kanow mill, where you can buy high-quality, freshly squeezed oils, you get to the tranquil town of Golßen. Here you will find various supermarkets where you can stock up on your provisions. The route leads you around the curve and on beautiful forest paths back to the junction, where you now continue cycling in the direction of Lübben. The tour ends in front of the Lübben train station, where you are wonderfully connected with the regional train. Of course, you can still do a farewell round on the castle island and end your tour with your favorite cucumber variety on the banks of the Spree. If you still have space in your bike bags, you can stock up on the crunchy delicacy for home, because you can only get it so fresh and tasty here.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    5
  • Distance
    166 mi
  • Duration
    15:49 h
  • Elevation
    2,175 ft

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Hannah

On the hunt for gherkins in the Spreewald – Gherkin bike path