With one third of its area being a nature reserve, over 3000 lakes and only 84 people per square kilometre, Brandenburg is best known for its enchanting landscape and untouched nature. Shaded paths tempt young and old to go on bike trips or walking tours. With its close proximity to the German capital, it is an ideal day-trip destination from Berlin.
Things to see and do
Potsdam Palaces and Parks
The spectacular palaces and parks built in and around Potsdam between 1730 and 1916 are a real visitor magnet from Berlin and were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990. Among the protected areas are: the palace and park of Babelsberg, the New Garden, as well as the palace and park of Sanssouci, which is often referred to as Prussian Versailles.
Steeped in history and studded with gorgeous castles, Brandenburg’s capital Potsdam is also home to the famous Babelsberg Film Studios. They are the world’s oldest large-scale studios and still the biggest studio complex in Europe. Since 1912 more than 3,000 movies, including some blockbusters, have been produced here. Visitors can explore the Studios’ most famous productions and rich history in the “Filmpark Babelsberg” theme park, which offers both fun activities and interesting insider details.
Brandenburg is defined by its waterscape of around 3,000 lakes, which offer something for everyone: small and large lakes invite you for a swim, a boat tour, a lakeshore picnic or a sunbath in the grass. Water-skiing and wakeboarding are also popular activities. Among Berliner’s and Brandeburger’s favourite lakes are the tranquil Stechlinsee, Werbellinsee, Schwielowsee and Scharmützelsee, which has thermal sources. The small town of Bad Saarow, on the north bank of the lake, is known for its spas and wellness resorts.
Best discovered by boat — as roads and paths are rare — the Spreewald (“Spree forest”) is a must for a Brandenburg holiday. Here, small streams and natural channels of the river Spree find their way through a dense forest to create a unique landscape, dubbed “Venice of Brandenburg”. As a UNESCO world heritage site and biosphere reserve, it offers fascinating and picturesque natural spectacles. The regional gherkins, “Spreewälder Gurken”, are popular throughout Germany.
The Spreewald is home to the Sorbs, a Slavic minority, dating back to the 6th century BC, whose customs have been recognised as UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. To this day, the Sorbs wear their traditional gowns and their language is taught in school. Visitors can get insights in the Sorb culture through various museums or by attending holiday celebrations.
Nature reserves and parks
Brandenburg might not have many inhabitants, but its nature is all the more rich and diverse. To give but one example, the “Naturpark Hoher Fläming” offers stunning sights on rare animals, old castles and picturesque villages. Famous as the location of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s holiday home, the Uckermark is another area of outstanding beauty. Animal lovers in particular will be drawn to the region as wild moose live here.
Brandenburg’s second largest city (after the capital Potsdam) is over a thousand years old and is well-known for its medieval city wall and its gate towers. It is part of the European route for red brick gothic, a distinct architectonic feature of the medieval era in North-East Europe.
The university town of Cottbus boasts a historic city centre, and, unsurprisingly for Brandenburg, it is renowned for its parks. Probably the most famous is Fürst-Pückler Park Branitz featuring two unique earth pyramids. The castle Branitz has been decorated by the extravagant Fürst Pückler.