By Brianna Stracuzzi
A trip through Europe can lead to many adventures, great sites, smells and flavours but it can also leave a person begging for time off from their time off. Whether you are backpacking, traveling with friends, or seeking that romantic vacation you always dreamed of it’s nice to take a day or two away from the big city lights. Of course you cannot be in Berlin and skip the monumental Brandenburg Gate, or whiz by the Berlin Wall without stopping to appreciate where you are. But why not get a little off the main course and experience some of the rest and relaxation the surrounding areas of Berlin can offer you starting with the quaint town of Bad Saarow.
What to Expect:
About an hour train ride from Berlin Mitte you will find yourself in Bad Saarow. The town itself is situated around a large lake (Scharmützelsee) and has all the makings of a perfect getaway from the sometimes overwhelming chaos of the Berliner life, or the backpacking aficionado. Bad Saarow is most famous for its hot springs and mineral rich mud. The mud has healing properties that have attracted visitors for many years. Today you can find 28 restaurants (including 2 beer gardens), 8 hotels, rock climbing, golfing, boating, cycling and so much more. Although the town boasts a mere 5000 citizens, you will see many people traveling from the surrounding areas to enjoy the smell of the fresh pines, or for a refreshing dip off one of its sandy beaches.
Town records date back to 1463 and the word “Sarow” means ‘place of mourning’. The explanation behind the name still lies as a mystery, back in 1463 Bad Saarow didn’t even host its own cemetery.
Throughout history the town itself was well known, most notably during WWI when the mud bath was used by the military to treat sick officers.
What to See and Do:
After taking in the scenes of the Segway tours, Kletterwald (for rock climbing), hiking trails and boat rides I decided it was time to find a place to sleep. After exploring many options I settled on the Esplanade Resort, a 4 star hotel which overlooks the lake. I was sold primarily on the spa that was included in the price of the room. Not only was the hotel and service outstanding but the spa itself had so many things to offer. There was a huge outdoor salt water heated pool, a gym including daily classes, steam rooms, saunas, and hot tubs just to name a few. My personal favourite were the individual heated water beds for lounging.
As much as I recommend this hotel, there were many other options for accommodations including apartments, long term rentals, and hostels offering many different price points and environments.
If you are looking for a separate spa experience the most famous one in the city is the SaarowTherme. While enjoying the spa you can look directly over the lake. It is worth a visit with its reasonably priced package deals and great view.
How to get there:
The regional trains are the quickest way to travel without a car to Bad Saarow. From Berlin Hauptbahnhof you can take a train to Fürstenwalde (Spree) and from there you switch to an entertainingly tiny regional train consisting of about 1.5 carts that will take you right into the centre of the city. Be sure to hop off at the Bad Saarow main station though, and not the Klinikum. Missing your stop and ending up at the Bad Saarow Klinikum station will land you in front of the Bad Saarow hospital which is perhaps not the happiest first stop on your trip.
Additional details can be found on the Deutsche Bahn website:www.db.de.
For more information you can visit the Bad Saarow town website or visit their tourist information office located directly in the main train station. (Tourist Info – Bahnhofsplatz 4.)