LÜBBENAU’s unassuming Altstadt is crowded with hotels, restaurants and services, and with a million visitors a year strolling through its centre, it’s a fairly touristy place worth avoiding on weekends and in the peak summer season. Punting, canoeing and cycling are the main draws, though two small museums in town warrant a look if the weather is poor: the Spreewald-Museum, Am Topfmarkt (Tues–Sun: April to mid-Sept 10am–6pm; mid-Sept to March 10am–5pm; €3; 035 42 24 72), in the brick former courthouse, jail and town hall, offers local cultural history; the Haus für Mensch und Natur, Schulstr. 9 (April–Oct Tues–Sun 10am–5pm; free;035 428 92 10), behind the tourist office, explains, in German, why the area is a Biosphere Reserve.

Lehde and the Freilandmuseum

The most popular trip by punt, canoe or bike is to Lehde, a protected village oft touted as the Venice of the Spreewald for its many waterways, and which lies 3km east via signposted paths from Lübbenau’s Grosser Hafen. Lehde’s prime attraction is the excellent Freilandmuseum, an intriguing open-air museum with a Sorbian village, whose houses and farmhouses have been brought here from other parts of the region and furnished with traditional Sorbic household objects. Unusual are the buildings’ large foundation stones that rest on top of timber poles driven deep into the marshy ground, and inside, beds designed for a whole family.