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Leipzig – a university city famed for its historical buildings, its orchestra and its current status as “the better Berlin”. Anyone familiar with the German capital should certainly also pay a visit to Leipzig. The “Karli” – a hip street lined with restaurants and bars – exhibitions in the former cotton mill of the Baumwollspinnerei, the majestic view from the MDR Panorama Tower: all these things are on a list of must-dos for a trip to the city. Guests with a more relaxed itinerary should certainly plan some time to meander through Leipzig’s greener side as well. Floodplains, forests, parks, repurposed opencast mines – there’s always some greenery and a perfect place to relax in the immediate vicinity, whether in the city centre or on the fringes. Today we will showcase three of these locations.
Perched right at the heart of the city just a short stroll from the centre, the Cara Zetkin Park is one of Leipzig’s most popular expanses of greenery. Spread over a generous 125 hectares, visitors are certain to find a quiet spot for a picnic or to lounge around in a hammock strung up between the trees, even on sunny weekends. Our tip: at the centre of the park is the racetrack jetty, where visitors can rent a canoe and explore Leipzig from the water.
The former opencast mine was shut down and flooded with water – that’s the backstory to Lake Cospuden. And it is a lot more enticing than it initially sounds. Situated just 10 kilometres from the city centre, the 436 hectare expanse of water is a hotspot for surfing, rowing and even sailing enthusiasts. And those with a mind for more relaxed downtime will find a cushy spot on Saxony’s longest sandy beach. Our tip: hire a bike, grab a towel and some beachwear and pedal out to Lake Cospuden. The route there is lovely, and you will have wheels when you arrive to discover all the prettiest spots and the extensive range of activities on offer.
The Riverside Forest (Auwald)
“Auwald” is the name given to forests that extend along rivers and streams and that are affected by these damp environments with their high ground water levels and occasional flooding. In a sense, the riverside forests are like Europe’s answer to the Amazonas, although naturally not quite so extensive. Still sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Exactly this kind of riverside forest bisects Leipzig. Its sprawling woodlands make it one of the largest of its kind in central Europe. So we didn’t promise too much when we said that Leipzig is a green city. But there’s more on offer than just a pleasant stroll in the Riverside Forest: visitors can also download the “Auwald Erlebnispfade” (Auwald Adventure Trails) app to learn more about the flora and fauna. The app takes you on a four-kilometre trail right through the woods that starts at the Forest Station and winds past beautiful fields, meadows and streams. Lovingly narrated texts provide plenty of background information about the giant trees, particular species of birds and even the snakes lurking in the undergrowth. It’s a fantastic tour and a paper chase for young and old alike.
By the way: once you’ve completed the trail through the Riverside Forest – and assuming you are up for more – you can stroll through the delightful park around Lützschena Palace right next door.