02. Januar 2012
It's the same thing year after year: First the opening of the presents, and then an unrestrained food fest. We've collected new ideas for adventure lovers, culture fiends and wellness fans. Number one: Brandenburg
Only about one hour by car from Berlin Mitte, Santa Claus will have a horse carriage waiting at the shore of Scharmützelsee. He will pass out presents at Diensdorfer Strand at 2 pm. Don't forget your ice skates! If the weather cooperates, you will be able to pirouette around on the water before collecting your gift. Whoever would like to take part in the exchanging of Christmas gifts needs to submit their present to Ms Sydow in Diensdorf-Radlow a couple of days beforehand so she can forward them to Mr Claus.
It's time to get into the mood for Christmas eve with some festive music. In Neuzelle, a small town near Eisenhüttenstadt, musicians will be playing on the balcony of Gutshaus Steinsdorf at 4pm.
A lush meal in best Brandenburg tradition: Located at the border to “Saxonian Switzerland”, Burhotel Strausberg offers English style lodging and an underground knight's hall for dining. On Christmas Eve, a four-course meal will be served.
Contact for presents at Diensdorfer Strand: Frau Sydow Tel: 03367-753 62
Tourism Information Neuzelle, Tel. 03365-261 02, www.neuzelle.de
Burghotel Strausberg, Gielsdorfer Chaussee 6, 15344 Strausberg, Tel: 03341-346 90, www.burghotel-strausberg.de
If you would like to clear your lungs from Berlin's pollution, you should take a walk at the hotel lake before heading out to Brandenburgs capital, Potsdam.
Stroll across the Christmas market at Krongut Bornstedt and enjoy a spiked Glühwein (wine punch), ceramics and crafts from the Erzgebirge region and regional jewellery and foods. Snow sports fans should then head over to the ice stock run, where huge, round pins are pushed over an icy surface.
A walk through the historical city center should not be left out – guided tours start at the tourism information center at 2pm. The tour ends in Potsdam's Dutch quarter where you can relax with a cup of coffee in one of the numerous cafés before heading to the Nikolaisaal at 5, where the family christmas orchestra will be playing “Peterchens Mondfahrt” (Peter and Anneli's Journey to the Moon).
Either go for dinner in Potsdam – or head to Ludwigsfelde to kick back in a crystall sauna thermal bath. Here, you can enjoy Christmas menus and then jump into a salty natural brine pool or take a seat in one of the saunas.
Christmas fair Krongut Bornstedt, 400 meters from Schloss Sanssouci, Ribbeckstraße 6–7 14469 Potsdam, open 11am-7pm, admission 1 euro
Altstadtspaziergang, Touristeninformation Potsdam, Brandenburger Straße 3, Potsdam, Tel: 0331-27 55 88 99, www.potsdamtourismus.de
Nikolaisaal Potsdam, Wilhelm-Staab-Str. 10/11, 14467 Potsdam, Tel. 0331-28 88 80, www.nikolaisaal.de
Kristall-Saunatherme Ludwigsfelde, Fichtestraße, 14974 Ludwigsfelde, Telefon: 03378-51 87 90, www.kristall-saunatherme-ludwigsfelde.de
Day after Christmas
The Chorin monastery near Eberswalde is already worth the trip – right now, an exhibition is showing paintings and graphic designs by Sibylle Leifer.
Right next to the monastery lies the Biosphere reserve Schorfheide Chorin. It's perfect for a short walk or an elaborate hike. If you'd like to go with a group, the Oberbarnim Oderland nature lovers group will meet in Falkenberg and attend a “Christmas hike” through the forest in Cöthen – with stollen bread, coffee and wine punch.
If you've got any energy left, use it for stopping by a preserved industrial landmark around the corner. The ship canal lift Niederfinow lifts up ships to over 36 meters over the Oder-Havel-Kanal. The platform is closed on rainy or snowy days but even a look from underneath is pretty mindblowing.
After an extensive day's program, the Christmas goose will taste all the better, especially at Hotel Döllnsee-Schorfheide or IFA Hafendorf Rheinsberg. Book a room, enjoy the holiday feast and relax in the pool or sauna the next day.
Kloster Chorin, near Chorin, 6 km north of Eberswalde, open daily 10am-4pm (except Christmas Eve)
Schiffshebewerk Niederfinow, Hebewerkstraße 1, 16248 Niederfinow
Hotel Döllnsee-Schorfheide, OT Groß Dölln, Döllnkrug 2, 17268 Templin, Tel: 03 98 82-630, www.doellnsee.de
IFA Hafendorf Rheinsberg, Hafendorfstraße 1, 16831 Rheinsberg, Tel: 03 39 31-80 00, www.ifa-hotel-rheinsberg.de