Project 30: Fürst-Pückler Path

500 kilometres through the time

This path stretches from the Spreewald, through both the Pückler parks in Branitz and Bad Muskau in the Lusatian Lake Land and through meadows with fruit trees towards Bad Liebenwerda, past traces of industrial culture and the moonscapes left behind by lignite mining. The Fürst Pückler Path is at least 500 kilometres long, and connects all thirty IBA projects, plus numerous other sights in the Brandenburg and Saxony parts of Lusatia.


Lower Lusatia has had to endure a bad reputation for decades. Its lignite mines, power plants, and coking plants may have provided well-paid jobs for hundreds of thousands of people and provided the state with heat and electricity, but no one wanted to live here – there was too much air pollution and damage to the environment, and not enough quality of life. No one living in the GDR would have contemplated spending their holidays in Lower Lusatia. Only the Spreewald – sufficiently distant from the smoking chimneys and dusty coalmines – was ever popular as a holiday destination. In the nineteen-seventies it was joined by the Lake Senftenberg, but the region’s many other places of natural beauty, landscape parks, castles, and idyllic villages remained virtually unknown – and many of them were either under threat, neglected, or already destroyed by the bulldozers.
After the political changes of 1989/90, these hidden assets began to receive more and more attention. The reunification and the region’s sudden de-industrialisation had a devastating impact on the local labour market – but were a boon for the environment and for certain cultural monuments. The run-down historic city centres in Cottbus and Senftenberg and the historic factory houses in Brieske and Lauta were renovated. Not only was the backlog of countless open-cast mine sites in need of recultivation largely cleared, but the birth of the Lusatian Lake Land transformed what had been a moonscape from a »liability« for Lusatia into an »asset.« Many of the old power plants and factories proved to be real industrial treasures, attracting crowds of visitors.

In addition to water sport opportunities in Lower Lusatia’s nascent lake district, tourism experts and economic experts saw the potential for linking Germany’s long-distance cycling trend with tourism in the region – thanks to its mostly flat topography.


In 1998, the IBA’s founding committee suggested connecting the whole region via a central, circular cycle path – to promote cycle tourism and to connect future IBA projects and beautiful towns and villages. It was to allow cyclists to experience Lusatia’s cultural landscape and the geological landscape’s gradual transformation for themselves. The IBA worked closely with the administrative districts involved to develop a route that would connect almost all of the IBA projects plus the region’s major tourist attractions – and could be integrated into the existing or planned network of tourist routes for the various districts. Where new sections of path had to be built, they were created as part of the LMBV’s mine restoration activities in the Lusatian Lake Land.

When the Fürst Pückler Path was opened as part of the presentation to mark the IBA’s »halfway point« in 2005, it received a lot of interest from sports clubs, ordinary citizens, and the media. As well as displaying the transformation of the landscape, it »tracked« the thoughts behind all the IBA projects, and how the individual ideas fitted together. Five hundred kilometres long, the path goes past the active open cast mine at Welzow-Süd and many former lignite trenches in various stages of being flooded – from »still dry« to »completely full.« The Fürst Pückler Path connects the Raddusch Slavic Fort – a trace of the region’s preindustrial human settlement history – with industrial relics like the F60, and the Spreewald Biosphere Reserve with the artificial Lusatian Lake Land and its floating homes. Naturally, this cycle path named after Lusatian garden artist Fürst Pückler also connects his two masterpieces: the Pückler parks in Bad Muskau and Branitz. This is a path that unites the past, present, and future of the region.

Just a year after it was opened, the Fürst Pückler Path became the first long-distance cycle route in Germany to be labeled a high-quality route and awarded four stars by the Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club (ADFC). This endorsement was awarded partly because of its smooth ride, safety, and services for tourists – overnight shelters on the route. This special honour was confirmed by the ADFC in 2009. In the same year, Bikeline – the best-known publisher in the sector – published a tour guidebook entitled Fürst-Pückler-Weg – Eine Rundtour durch die Lausitz und den Spreewald (The Fürst Pückler Path: a round-trip tour of Lusatia and the Spreewald). Professional cycle trip organisers began to include the Fürst Pückler Path in their programmes.
The cycle path is supplemented by the Fürst Pückler coach route, which takes visitors on a totally different journey. The two Pückler Parks – in Branitz and Bad Muskau – were first connected by a coach route in 2002, and visitors can now pay to make the journey in a mail coach – as they would have in Pückler’s day. The road, however, is also open to motorists.


The Fürst Pückler Path is already completed, and is a well-established cycle route. As well as enhancing the range of tourist opportunities, this makes people more likely to spend some time in Lusatia. In future, the tourism associations will take on the marketing and expand the range of privately-run services – additional »bed & bike« businesses, luggage services, and eateries. This will be the basis for raising the rating of this path from four to five stars. It also needs better signposting in places. In recognition of the increased importance of cycle navigators as pathfinding aids, visitors have the option of downloading the route from the internet as a GPStrack.

Download the flyer: Prince Pückler Path (3.3 MB)

IBA tour book for the Fürst-Pückler cycle track ist available at IBA:
Phone: +49 (0)35 753 – 261 0

bicycle routes

Phone +49 (0)355 – 879 010 0

horse-drawn carriage

Phone: +49 (0)88 08 – 386

Our partners

German Cyclists' Federation (ADFC) + German National
Tourist Board (DZT)

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last update: 1/26/2017 13:13