Large tracts of heathland increasingly assert themselves as you travel northeast from Berlin and into a region known as the Schorfheide. Its gentle charms may fail to draw the crowds, but as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve it’s certainly ecologically important and within it a couple of sights are worth a detour, particularly the romantic Gothic ruins of Kloster Chorin, a monastery 61km from Berlin, and an impressive industrial monument in the form of a giant 1930s barge hoist at Niederfinow. Then, on Schorfheide’s northeastern edge and hard on the Polish border, the Unteres Odertal Nationalpark offers great birdwatching and peaceful, traffic-free cycling.

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