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Refreshingly new: Saxony’s lake districts

Saxony is famous for both its cultural treasures and natural beauty. Many people are unaware that the Lusatian and Leipzig Lake Districts are travel destinations made in paradise. They are beautiful regions whose leisure attractions lure visitors in search of both adventure and relaxation. Where once coal diggers tore up the ground, forming huge craters, today sailing boats glide along the water, and surfers, wakeboarders and standup paddle boarders criss-cross the turquoise lakes.

The Lusatian Lake District: a tourist paradise with innumerable attractions

For over 150 years Lusatia was known for lignite mining. Over the last three decades however it has been transformed. Cranes and coal diggers have given way to marinas, ice cream parlours, restaurants, playgrounds and shops that rent out water sports equipment, bicycles and houseboats. Dusty pits have become glistening lakes filled with clear water. The marinas are home to sailing boats and people can take leisurely walks on the shoreline and a bridge over the lake. Hardly anything reminds one of what was once an industrial landscape, were it not for the odd information board that tells how an open-cast mining region has been transformed. On land, various cycling routes invite the visitor to explore the lake district’s myriad attractions. Cycling is easy on all the routes, which have no gradients. A trip around the lakes offers lots of attractions, the Rostiger Nagel (Rusty Nail) for instance, an observation tower.

The flat landscape and mostly favourable winds are ideal for sailing or surfing holidays, on the Geierswalder See or Senftenberger See for example. The Halbendorfer See is for those who prefer water skiing or wakeboarding, while the Bärwalder See is recommended for kiteboarding. In the evenings one can sit back with a cocktail and enjoy the sunset. Campsites and holiday apartments let visitors relax in nature. Unusual accommodation such as romantic house rafts and cool houseboats whet one’s appetite for a holiday on the water.

Europe’s largest man-made lake district is still work in progress. Spectacular moonscapes invite visitors to explore the region’s industrial charm by quad or off-road vehicle. Ageing powerplants such as Knappenrode are now museums that tell the story of lignite mining. Nowadays, the original sites are used for events.

Leipziger Neuseenland: a holiday heaven of superlatives

An impressive recreational zone has also sprung up around Leipzig, the city of music and literature. Since the Nineties what were once huge open-cast mines are being recultivated here too. VINETA, an ’island of culture’ in the middle of a lake, Störmthaler See, symbolises this radical transformation. It stands for the many villages that had to make way for the mining industry and simultaneously for cultural renewal. A trip to this special place and its  characteristic church is by a form of transport that is unique in Germany: an amphibian takes visitors across the deep lake to VINETA. In addition to this transport the Leipziger Neuseenland has other attractions too. Only a few minutes from Leipzig’s inner city visitors can play beach volleyball, go swimming and bask in the sun on Cospudener See, a lake with a glorious marina and Saxony’s longest sandy beach. The lake can be reached in style by canoe via an inner-city canal. That way visitors can combine a city break with a unique experience in nature. The Kanupark Markkleeberg is all about wildwater canoeing and is home to one of the world’s most modern artificial wildwater courses. The world’s canoeing champions train in its channels, as do visitors in search of action and adrenalin.

Today, a landscape that was once as desolate as the moon impresses visitors with an abundance of flora and fauna. Numerous nature reserves are a fascinating attraction for holidaymakers.  Far away from the hustle and bustle of the city and yet so close to places brimming with history and culture: the Leipziger Neuseenland with its turquoise water, lagoons and campsites is a paradise where one can leave one’s worries behind.

Note: Saxony is the official culture partner of ITB Berlin NOW 2021. At the virtual platform from 9 to 12 March, those keen to delve into the world of Saxony’s cultural attractions should visit the Kultur-Café, which will feature interviews, videos, classical and modern music and presentations.

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