The 66-Lakes-Trail (or Sechsundsechszig-Seen Wanderweg in German) is a 416 km (260 mi) hike circling Berlin in the state of Brandenburg. The hike begins and ends at the Brandenburger Tor in Potsdam. The trail is best hiked clockwise as the markers are easiest to follow in this direction and the guidebook describes the trail traveling this way. I bought this book from Amazon and this map, although I think you’d be fine getting around with just the book.
General tips: Always bring a rain jacket. When determining how long the tour will take, a generous estimate would be 4 km/hr; consider time for breaks/biergartens/sights.
My favorite tours are 4, 5, 6, 7, 12, and 13, although there are others I would repeat again as well. Below is an overview of each tour including distance, nickname, my own personal rating (in stars from 1-5), the book’s rating (given in number of stars from 1-5 in parenthesis), and a small description. Clicking the tour number will take you to a post about my experience on that section of trail.
Tour 1: Potsdam to Marquardt; 20 km; Castles, Parks, and Gardens; (my rating) ***; (book rating: 1-5). This tour is a great introduction to the hike because it’s one of the shortest, if that is something that causes you to hesitate. Mostly going through the city, I wouldn’t really consider this a “hike” but a long cultural walk through Potsdam. It was certainly interesting and showed a lot of highlights in and around Potsdam, finally passing by some lakes towards the end of the hike. The book also offers many explanations about the places you pass by and their history. Don’t forget to leave time for the great biergarten towards the end!
Tour 2: Marquardt to Brieselang; 20 km; On the Havel Canal; *; (2). I didn’t find this trail very interesting, but that it was just a connection between tour 1 and 3. It is along the canal for about 6 km, and is often within earshot of the highway.
Tour 3: Brieselang to Hennigsdorf; 23.5 km; Water, Forest, and Distance; ****; (3). Compared to tour 2, I thought 3 was much better. I liked walking through Brieselang and its surrounding forest as well as the forest near Schönwalde. A good section is along the Havelkanal, but there aren’t any lakes on this tour.
Tour 4: Hennigsdorf to Wensickendorf; 25 km; The Briese Valley; *****; (5). This tour is gorgeous and goes through many different kinds of landscapes. There’s swamp, marsh, meadows, and so many different kinds of forests. The trail is quite easy to follow as well because it continues along the Briese creek most of the way.
Tour 5: Wensickendorf to Melchow; 28 km; Eight Lakes in a Day; *****; (5). This was my first solo hike on the trail, but I LOVED it. It really goes by so many different lakes, and they’re always in view (which for me is a must!).
Tour 6: Melchow to Leuenberg; 29 km; Peace and Quiet; *****; (4). This trail was beautiful in autumn with so many trees bursting with bright gold colors. It is quite a peaceful tour and I felt like I had the forest all to myself. Just keep in mind that the connection back to Berlin from Leuenberg isn’t the best (bus is every 2 hours).
Tour 7: Leuenberg to Strausberg; 25 km; The Lake Chain in the Gamengrund; *****; (5). I did this trail with two colleagues who had done other tours with me and we all agreed that this was a fantastic tour. The trail is almost never on roads. It is basically a straight shot south from Leuenberg and really easy to follow. There are so few villages nearby that if you see any people, it’ll just be other hikers.
Tour 8: Strausberg to Rüdersdorf; 21 km; Shiny Pearls; ****; (5). Perhaps I’m missing a star on this trail because I did it in the winter and got wet with melty, slushy snow while slipping around on still-frozen puddles. It is a particularly beautiful trail and goes through many farms and very rural areas.
Tour 9: Rüdersdorf to Hangelsberg; 23 km; Winner of Points; ***; (5). Apparently for the author of the guidebook, this trail has everything you could ever want, but for some reason I wasn’t so thoroughly impressed. Let me know if you disagree with me.
Tour 10: Hangelsberg to Bad Saarow; 27 km; High Point and Big Stones; *; (1). Yeah, I really didn’t like this hike. It does have the highest point of the hike, big stones left over from the ice age, and a giant stone table, but it wasn’t enough to win me over. There’s a long stretch that goes directly next to the highway and the noise will blow you away. But the thermal bad in Bad Saarow is nice…maybe just take the train there instead of hiking.
Tour 11: Bad Saarow to Wendisch Rietz; 24 km; The Wellness Place and the Märkische Lake; **; (3). I began this trail after overnighting from tour 10, so it wasn’t off to a good start because of that. I was just dying to get my wet and frozen self home. It does go through some nice forest and spends a long time near lakes, but they’re not always in view. A highlight on this tour is the sand dunes outside of Storkow.
Tour 12: Wendisch Rietz to Leibsch; 25 km; The Glubig Lake Chain; *****; (5). Tour 12 must be done with Tour 13 since there is no transportation in between. I really loved this trail because it went by so many beautiful tiny lakes. If you plan to camp on the Neuendorfer See at Waldcamp Seeblick, hike the east side of the lake (not the marked route) because the bridge is out (as of March 2017). If you plan to stay in Leibsch, follow the marked trail until you get into Neuendorf and then take the recommended detour posted on the bulletin board.
Tour 13: Leibsch to Halbe; 23 km; Spree Forest Slices with Creampuffs; *****; (5). Tour 13 must be done with Tour 12 since there is no transportation in between. I fell in love with the Köthener See and the surrounding area, which is filled with small uninhabited lakes.
Tour 14: Halbe to Wünsdorf; 28 km; The Little Gift Land; ****; (1-5). This tour did have sections on the road, but also went through a lot of thick forests and along several nice lakes, many of which are good for swimming in. The walk through town is long before reaching the train station.
Tour 15: Wünsdorf to Trebbin; 29 km; The Lazy Swamp; ***; (4). OK, maybe I only liked this tour because I went through Christinendorf, but it really was a beautiful hike. Just bring mosquito spray in the spring/summer.
Tour 16: Trebbin to Seddin; 25 km; The Bird Paradise; ****; (5). This trail has a great lookout tower and some cute towns and lakes (that you can even go in!).
Tour 17: Seddin to Potsdam; 25 km; Sandy Distance and Havel; ***; (5). I thought the last tour was much too much on the road and though more heavily settled land than in the forest. But the Templiner See is really beautiful and the Einstein Haus is a remarkable place to visit!
It would be great to hear your opinions of any of these trails. If you have hike suggestions for me around Berlin, I would love to hear them!