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Via Imperii (Berlin - Leipzig) - a short report

Marc S.

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Some in Spain, Portugal, Germany and Netherlands
In September I walked the Jakobsweg from Berlin to Leipzig, also known as Via Imperii. As there isn’t much information in English about this route, I hope this short report may be usefull for some.

The Via Imperii is the collection of imperial roads of the Roman Empire. The Jakobusgesellschaft Brandenburg has a done a great jobs waymarking and researching these roads in Brandenburg. For more information, check their website (partly in English): https://www.brandenburger-jakobswege.de/unsere-wege/berlin-leipzig

I walked from Berlin to Leipzig (220 km), but one can also start in Frankfurt a/d Oder or Stettin (check the very informative thread by @florrod elsewhere on the forum) and walk to Berlin from there. After Leipzig the VI continues south. However I can’t tell much about it, as I did not research it.

There is a German guide book on the Berlin-Leipzig section. It is available here: https://www.verlag-dr-barthel.de/info1.php?wahl=236

Waymarking is really good. After Wittenberg, the VI coincides with the Lutherweg. In fact, we are very much walking through the land of Maarten Luther, passing many places connected to the Reformation and the life and times of Luther. We are walking through a flat landscape, mostly forests and rural fields, not passing through any bigger towns - except for Wittenberg. During most stages, you’d better take food, as facilities and shops are limitedly available on the German countryside.

Pilgrim accommodation is limited. An overview can be found here: https://www.brandenburger-jakobswege.de/rund-ums-pilgern/pilgerherbergen

As always in Germany, phone the Herberg in advance so they know you are coming and you can arrange something to get the key. Please note this overview is not sufficient - unless you want to walk some 40km stages - so you will probably have to use some other private accommodation during some stages.

In this respect (and amongst other reasons) you may want to forget about booking.com. It mentions only a fraction of the accommodation available and it tends to focus on hotels. The nicer places (i.m.o.), such as small family run guest houses and b & b’s, are often not listed. When in Germany, I always check the websites of a local towns/municipality - or I visit the local tourist information office, especially in smaller towns I find these to be very helpful. I mostly managed to find a room in the 30-40 euro region, often including the use of a fully equipped kitchen, although sometimes 5-10 km off the VI.

Camping may also be an option. I came across campings in Buchholz, Wittenberg and Bergwitz. There may be even more (I did not fully research it), so - if you like camping - it is worth doing some more research on this.

All in all, I very much enjoyed my walk. Please be aware that this is not a crowded camino though. I met no other pilgrims. My hosts in Saarmund and Kropstadt told me that the Via Imperii is becoming more and more popular in recent years. However, compared to Spain this is all relative as they host ca 50 pilgrims per year, most of them in the summertime during the German holiday season.

In my next post I will give some more details about my stages.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Via Imperii - stage by stage

Stage 1 Berlin - Teltow (25km)


The 'official' starting point is at the Brandenburger Tor. On the way out of Berlin we follow the ‘Berlin green trail’, meaning you are mainly walking through parks and leafy suburbs. The last 8 km we follow the Berlin Mauer Weg, a 150 km long trail following the course of the Berlin Wall. Really interesting, as there are many information boards along the way with pictures of how it used to look like during the Cold War.

In Teltow we leave Berlin and enter Brandenburg. There is no pilgrim accommodation in Teltow. I stayed in the Hoteltow hotel (50e.), but there are some slightly cheaper options available.

Accomodation in Teltow: https://kultur.teltow.de/tourismus/erleben/uebernachtung.html

Stage 2 Teltow - Saarmund (22km)

The walk out of Teltow and into Stahnsdorf is rather uninspiring, but after that it is a rural walk.

Saarmund has a supermarket, an Asian take away and a really nice pilgrim Herberg (Spende/Donativo) in a community centre attached to the church. It is currently inhabited by Ukrainian refugees, but there is a provisional Herberg in the centre. When I visited there were building works going on (replacing the floor), making it a bit more provisional, but this is probably sorted by now. Anyway, I loved staying there – the vicar and other church volunteers being really friendly and welcoming.

Stage 3 Saarmund - Beelitz (17 km) (+ 7 km to Beelitz-Schape)

The walk is rural, going through forest (unfortunately sometimes with the noise of the highway in the background) and passing two lakes. There are no facilities until Beelitz.

Beelitz has a nice little old town centre, all facilities and is famous for asparagus. I stayed in Beelitz-Schape (7 km off the VI) in Landmotel Jakobs - it has nothing to do with the Jakobsweg, it refers to the name of the owner. Not a very scenic building, but a spacious room (30e) including fully equiped kitchen.

Accomodation in and around Beelitz: https://beelitz.de/gastronomie-und-uebernachtung/

Stage 4 Beelitz - Buchholz (12 km)

Walked back to Beelitz, enjoyed a coffee on the market square and walked a short stage too Buchholz.

Stayed in Pension and Camping Gartenidylle (40e) in fact a little holiday house with a smalll private garden and fully equiped kitchen. No facilities in Buchholz, apart from a Gaststatte (however, open only on Friday nights, for drinks only) and a vending machine selling all kinds of sausages and sausage related products. I looked at it with curiosity, but did not use it.

Stage 5 Buchholz - Treuenbrietzen (11 km) + 6 to Jeseritz

Walked to Treuenbrietzen, a quiet little town with all facilities. There are two cheap pensions (one [particularly aimed at pilgrims and other walkers) but they were both full. I stayed in Landhaus Maerkische Zauge (45e) in Jeseritz. Really nice place. Large garden, fully equipped kitchen, common living room and a good selection of German beers available in the fridge.

Accomodation in and around Treuenbietzen : https://www.treuenbrietzen.de/seite/370407/tourismus.html

Stage 6 Treurenbrietzen - Kropstadt (24 km)

Took the bus back into Treuenbrietzen, had a walk around town and admired the Lindenbaum, a tree where Maarten Luther supposedly once adressed a curious crowd. In fairnesss, the region is full of trees where crowds once supposedly gathered to hear Luther speak.

Walked 17 km to Marzahna and 7 more to Kropstadt, meanwhile leaving Brandenburg and entering Sachsen. Not much cover, so it could be really warm in summer. There are some facilities on the way: Diedersdorf has a swimming pool - apparently also selling fries and Bratwurst - and Marzahna has a little shop attached to a gas station.

Marzahna used to have a pension, but the owners are quite elderly so they no longer host pilgrims. This effectively means that Kropstadt is the only possible stop untill Wittenberg - unless you want to walk a really long stage. Please note there is a bus from Treuzenbrietzen to Marzahna, but it is not going any further. From Kropstadt there are regular busses to Wittenberg.

Kropstadt has no facilities, apart from Pension Goritz (25e including breakfast). Really nice place, the owner was really talkative and told me a lot about local history. She told me the village used to have 2 bakeries, 2 pubs and a butcher shop, but this is all in the past. Unfortunately, a sad reality in many German villages.

Stage 7 Kropstadt - Wittenberg (18 km)

A lovely walk to Wittenberg. Lots to see and do Wittenberg, of course all connected to Maarten Luther and the Reformation. Although rather touristy, the town has a nice and quiet atmosphere.

I stayed in Im Gloecknerstift, a Herberg/youth centre run by the CJSM (a Christian youth group) in the town centre. The main building was occupied by a Christian group, but they have also two wooden cabins in the garden (15e) so I stayed in one of these. Really excellent.

Stage 8 Wittenberg- Kemberg ( km) + 4 to Lubast

After Wittenberg we cross the river Elbe and we pass the Bergwitzsee: formerly a huge brown coal pit, which is now a lake. I reckon it is quite popular in summertime. Bergwitz has all facilities.

Kemberg has all facilities, no pilgrim accommodation but several other accommodation options in and around town. I stayed in the Heide Hotel in Lubast (4km after Kemberg), which was fine but rather overpriced.

Accomodation in and around Kemberg: https://www.stadt-kemberg.de/tourismus/unterkuenfte.html

Stage 9 Lubast - Bad Duben (23 km)

Lovely walk through the nature reserve Dubener Heide, mainly walking on forest paths. No facilities, so take something to eat and drink. Half way we pass the Luther stone, where Maarten Luther once met with his students to discuss all matters Reformation related.

Bad Duben is a nice little town with all facilities. I stayed in the Pilgerhaus: an old building in the centre of town, bought and renovated by a former pilgrim and turned it into a pilgrim oasis. It is rather pricey (32 e.) but it is worth it. As it started raining heavily and I liked the Herberg, I had a rest day here. The local retired carpenter came to visit and proudly told me all about the place.

Accomodation in Bad Duben (but really, the Herberg is perfect) : https://www.bad-dueben.de/tourismus-freizeit/unterkuenfte-und-gastronomie/

Stage 10 Bad Duben - Krostitz (21 km)

The day started with light rain, which soon turned into heavy rain. To be honest, I was fighting with the elements so I do not remember too much about this stage, apart from the landscape being mostly open and flat.

Krostitz has a supermarket and pilgrim accommodation: a couch in the local vicarage. However, as I couldn't reach the vocar by telephone and as it was pouring down with rain, I decided to take a bus to Leipzig.

There are some other accommodation options around Krostitz: https://tourismus.meinestadt.de/krostitz

Stage 11 Krostitz - Leipzig (21 km)

Back in the day I was rather fundamentalistic about walking every bit of a camino. Now I took the bus. I couldn't see much as it rained heavily, but a lot of this stage goes through the suburbs of Leipzig. Leipzig of course is well worth a visit, but as I had been there before I did not stay there this time.

As said, the Via Imperii continues south of Leipzig. It is also possible to continue walking west on the Via Regia, where pilgrim infrastructure is excellent and you may even have a chance to see another pilgrim !
 
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In September I walked the Jakobsweg from Berlin to Leipzig, also known as Via Imperii. As there isn’t much information in English about this route, I hope this short report may be usefull for some.

The Via Imperii is the collection of imperial roads of the Roman Empire. The Jakobusgesellschaft Brandenburg has a done a great jobs waymarking and researching these roads in Brandenburg. For more information, check their website (partly in English): https://www.brandenburger-jakobswege.de/unsere-wege/berlin-leipzig

I walked from Berlin to Leipzig (220 km), but one can also start in Frankfurt a/d Oder or Stettin (check the very informative thread by @florrod elsewhere on the forum) and walk to Berlin from there. After Leipzig the VI continues south. However I can’t tell much about it, as I did not research it.

There is a German guide book on the Berlin-Leipzig section. It is available here: https://www.verlag-dr-barthel.de/info1.php?wahl=236

Waymarking is really good. After Wittenberg, the VI coincides with the Lutherweg. In fact, we are very much walking through the land of Maarten Luther, passing many places connected to the Reformation and the life and times of Luther. We are walking through a flat landscape, mostly forests and rural fields, not passing through any bigger towns - except for Wittenberg. During most stages, you’d better take food, as facilities and shops are limitedly available on the German countryside.

Pilgrim accommodation is limited. An overview can be found here: https://www.brandenburger-jakobswege.de/rund-ums-pilgern/pilgerherbergen

As always in Germany, phone the Herberg in advance so they know you are coming and you can arrange something to get the key. Please note this overview is not sufficient - unless you want to walk some 40km stages - so you will probably have to use some other private accommodation during some stages.

In this respect (and amongst other reasons) you may want to forget about booking.com. It mentions only a fraction of the accommodation available and it tends to focus on hotels. The nicer places (i.m.o.), such as small family run guest houses and b & b’s, are often not listed. When in Germany, I always check the websites of a local towns/municipality - or I visit the local tourist information office, especially in smaller towns I find these to be very helpful. I mostly managed to find a room in the 30-40 euro region, often including the use of a fully equipped kitchen, although sometimes 5-10 km off the VI.

Camping may also be an option. I came across campings in Buchholz, Wittenberg and Bergwitz. There may be even more (I did not fully research it), so - if you like camping - it is worth doing some more research on this.

All in all, I very much enjoyed my walk. Please be aware that this is not a crowded camino though. I met no other pilgrims. My hosts in Saarmund and Kropstadt told me that the Via Imperii is becoming more and more popular in recent years. However, compared to Spain this is all relative as they host ca 50 pilgrims per year, most of them in the summertime during the German holiday season.

In my next post I will give some more details about my stages.
Thanks for the outstanding tip at just the right time. I just finished walking the Munich Jacob's way, and I'm looking for something else to do in Germany. Don't think I'm going to look any further. Have a great day. Larry
 
In September I walked the Jakobsweg from Berlin to Leipzig, also known as Via Imperii. As there isn’t much information in English about this route, I hope this short report may be usefull for some.

The Via Imperii is the collection of imperial roads of the Roman Empire. The Jakobusgesellschaft Brandenburg has a done a great jobs waymarking and researching these roads in Brandenburg. For more information, check their website (partly in English): https://www.brandenburger-jakobswege.de/unsere-wege/berlin-leipzig

I walked from Berlin to Leipzig (220 km), but one can also start in Frankfurt a/d Oder or Stettin (check the very informative thread by @florrod elsewhere on the forum) and walk to Berlin from there. After Leipzig the VI continues south. However I can’t tell much about it, as I did not research it.

There is a German guide book on the Berlin-Leipzig section. It is available here: https://www.verlag-dr-barthel.de/info1.php?wahl=236

Waymarking is really good. After Wittenberg, the VI coincides with the Lutherweg. In fact, we are very much walking through the land of Maarten Luther, passing many places connected to the Reformation and the life and times of Luther. We are walking through a flat landscape, mostly forests and rural fields, not passing through any bigger towns - except for Wittenberg. During most stages, you’d better take food, as facilities and shops are limitedly available on the German countryside.

Pilgrim accommodation is limited. An overview can be found here: https://www.brandenburger-jakobswege.de/rund-ums-pilgern/pilgerherbergen

As always in Germany, phone the Herberg in advance so they know you are coming and you can arrange something to get the key. Please note this overview is not sufficient - unless you want to walk some 40km stages - so you will probably have to use some other private accommodation during some stages.

In this respect (and amongst other reasons) you may want to forget about booking.com. It mentions only a fraction of the accommodation available and it tends to focus on hotels. The nicer places (i.m.o.), such as small family run guest houses and b & b’s, are often not listed. When in Germany, I always check the websites of a local towns/municipality - or I visit the local tourist information office, especially in smaller towns I find these to be very helpful. I mostly managed to find a room in the 30-40 euro region, often including the use of a fully equipped kitchen, although sometimes 5-10 km off the VI.

Camping may also be an option. I came across campings in Buchholz, Wittenberg and Bergwitz. There may be even more (I did not fully research it), so - if you like camping - it is worth doing some more research on this.

All in all, I very much enjoyed my walk. Please be aware that this is not a crowded camino though. I met no other pilgrims. My hosts in Saarmund and Kropstadt told me that the Via Imperii is becoming more and more popular in recent years. However, compared to Spain this is all relative as they host ca 50 pilgrims per year, most of them in the summertime during the German holiday season.

In my next post I will give some more details about my stages.
 
Could you provide more information on my booking.com is not reliable? And it sounds like you had to actually enter a town while the tourist office was open in order to find reasonable accommodations. Is this understanding correct? Larry
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Could you provide more information on my booking.com is not reliable? And it sounds like you had to actually enter a town while the tourist office was open in order to find reasonable accommodations. Is this understanding correct? Larry

I found out by trying to reserve places in specific towns through booking.com, finding only few (or no) options, and then finding many more options (that do not appear at booking.com) when visiting the websites of these specific towns. Again, I am not claiming this applies to all countries and regions of the world, but I found this to be true for this part of Germany (and also to other parts of Germany, speaking from past experience).

My strategy for finding accomodation was that I had printed out all listings from local tourist boards beforehand (I am one of those rare people travelling without a smartphone...) and phone to an accomodation one day in advance. (In fact some of the places I stayed could only reached by phone). Once I also just went to the tourist information office and asked advice there. I have done this on previous walks in Germany regularly, and it always worked, but I admit this can be a bit stressful sometimes.

I must also add that I speak fluent German, so making phone calls is is easy for me. Many Germans speak good English of course, but one can not take this for granted - especially in the former East, especially people over 50.
 
In September I walked the Jakobsweg from Berlin to Leipzig, also known as Via Imperii. As there isn’t much information in English about this route, I hope this short report may be usefull for some.

The Via Imperii is the collection of imperial roads of the Roman Empire. The Jakobusgesellschaft Brandenburg has a done a great jobs waymarking and researching these roads in Brandenburg. For more information, check their website (partly in English): https://www.brandenburger-jakobswege.de/unsere-wege/berlin-leipzig

I walked from Berlin to Leipzig (220 km), but one can also start in Frankfurt a/d Oder or Stettin (check the very informative thread by @florrod elsewhere on the forum) and walk to Berlin from there. After Leipzig the VI continues south. However I can’t tell much about it, as I did not research it.

There is a German guide book on the Berlin-Leipzig section. It is available here: https://www.verlag-dr-barthel.de/info1.php?wahl=236

Waymarking is really good. After Wittenberg, the VI coincides with the Lutherweg. In fact, we are very much walking through the land of Maarten Luther, passing many places connected to the Reformation and the life and times of Luther. We are walking through a flat landscape, mostly forests and rural fields, not passing through any bigger towns - except for Wittenberg. During most stages, you’d better take food, as facilities and shops are limitedly available on the German countryside.

Pilgrim accommodation is limited. An overview can be found here: https://www.brandenburger-jakobswege.de/rund-ums-pilgern/pilgerherbergen

As always in Germany, phone the Herberg in advance so they know you are coming and you can arrange something to get the key. Please note this overview is not sufficient - unless you want to walk some 40km stages - so you will probably have to use some other private accommodation during some stages.

In this respect (and amongst other reasons) you may want to forget about booking.com. It mentions only a fraction of the accommodation available and it tends to focus on hotels. The nicer places (i.m.o.), such as small family run guest houses and b & b’s, are often not listed. When in Germany, I always check the websites of a local towns/municipality - or I visit the local tourist information office, especially in smaller towns I find these to be very helpful. I mostly managed to find a room in the 30-40 euro region, often including the use of a fully equipped kitchen, although sometimes 5-10 km off the VI.

Camping may also be an option. I came across campings in Buchholz, Wittenberg and Bergwitz. There may be even more (I did not fully research it), so - if you like camping - it is worth doing some more research on this.

All in all, I very much enjoyed my walk. Please be aware that this is not a crowded camino though. I met no other pilgrims. My hosts in Saarmund and Kropstadt told me that the Via Imperii is becoming more and more popular in recent years. However, compared to Spain this is all relative as they host ca 50 pilgrims per year, most of them in the summertime during the German holiday season.

In my next post I will give some more details about my stages.
I look forward to reading this next report.
 
Thank you @Marc S. Loved reading your report ( as I always do ).

Gosh, I really should brush up my German and do a try-out on a Pilgerweg , just to get a feel of the surroundings/ experience.
I second your appreciation of tourism info centres in Germany : very customerfriendly !
 
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I found out by trying to reserve places in specific towns through booking.com, finding only few (or no) options, and then finding many more options (that do not appear at booking.com) when visiting the websites of these specific towns. Again, I am not claiming this applies to all countries and regions of the world, but I found this to be true for this part of Germany (and also to other parts of Germany, speaking from past experience).

My strategy for finding accomodation was that I had printed out all listings from local tourist boards beforehand (I am one of those rare people travelling without a smartphone...) and phone to an accomodation one day in advance. (In fact some of the places I stayed could only reached by phone). Once I also just went to the tourist information office and asked advice there. I have done this on previous walks in Germany regularly, and it always worked, but I admit this can be a bit stressful sometimes.

I must also add that I speak fluent German, so making phone calls is is easy for me. Many Germans speak good English of course, but one can not take this for granted - especially in the former East, especially people over 50.
Vielen dank. Ich spreche Deutsch ein bissen. Aber ich wird mehr studieren.
 
walked from Berlin to Leipzig (220 km), but one can also start in Frankfurt a/d Oder or Stettin (check the very informative thread by @florrod elsewhere on the forum) and walk to Berlin from there. After Leipzig the VI continues south. However I can’t tell much about it, as I did not research it.

Thanks for this info, Marc, and great to hear the way marking has improved so much. Having started this route in Slobice, Poland, I would have been lost often on the way to Berlin without the help of the Jacobsweg download that let’s you follow it step by step through the countryside.
And yes, Leipzig is a great city to visit. I spent a day of rain there - fabulous museums, sites, and churches.
My walk (with many east/west deviations) took me almost to Hof, so like you I stayed on the East German side. My high school German was so helpful in the former East German villages and came back noticeably as I walked. People were congenial.
Your info and references are much appreciated, and bring back some memorable winter days during 700 Km in this interesting part of the world some seven years ago.
 

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