The whole town is a place of interest. The old Hanseatic city was pronounced as a World Heritage Site in 1987. In the Old town - which is surrounded by water - you will find narrow alleys and more than 1800 listed buildings. From Lubeck you will cycle on southwards to a beautiful lake. There you can visit the lovely town of Ratzeburg, which is located on a little island. The town is full of charm and character and because it has not been destroyed in World War II, you will find many interesting sights, like the cathedral.
Then you follow a pearly string of crystal-clear waters up to the deepest lake of Northern Germany. It gave its name to the UNESCO biosphere reserve. It seems as if the sparkling gem wants to protect itself from all too curious spectators. Dense reed beds allow one to get only a vague idea of its size. Among wooded hills, the Schaal Lake extends far from the north to the south, repeatedly interrupted by small islands and promontories. A lively host of birds, frogs and fish rule this fabulous realm.
The route leads through the former no man's land between east and west. In the isolation of the iron curtain remained a landscape which could not be more original and peaceful. No barrier blocks the way through forests and meadows, along avenues of fruit trees and country lanes. The ravishingly beautiful villages and small towns are today open to everyone again. In the museum courtyard in Valluhn small reed-covered cottages and barns whisper of long-past times. The Cistercian monastery in Zarrentin is still older. It nestles romantically into the steep south bank of the unfathomable Schaal Lake.
Soon you reach Boizenburg - a town of timbered houses. The hills of the Elbe River rise here to heavenly lookout platforms, while the eye is caught primarily by a church tower in the lowlands around Neuhaus. The unrestrained river Elbe pays no attention to frontiers. It meanders in majestic calm sometimes through Mecklenburg, sometimes through Lower Saxony. The natural impressions are also boundless. Storks clack and cranes breed; beavers and otters are once more at home here, and sea-eagles and grey herons float over the labyrinth of oxbow arms, lowland forests and backwaters.
In the hinterland, flower meadows, deciduous forests and moats form a green-blue mosaic. To stand on the shifting sand dunes near Klein Schmolen or on the imposing Dömitz, fortress is to have one of the most beautiful river valleys of Europe at one's feet. The Griese area offers a delightful contrast. Pinewoods, peat bogs and heathland give it a harsh aspect. Ludwigslust in the middle of the Mecklenburgian sand is home to a terrific baroque castle and a fabulous park. The fairy-tale castle and the unique architectural highlights of Schwerin mark the end of our journey.
1st Day Arrival. Next to Hamburg airport and the subway station Fuhlsbüttel Nord (easily accessible from the train station), you will find your first hotel.
2nd Day 68 km - 43 miles From Hamburg to Lubeck
Nearby the hotel, the Alster cycle path leads you out of the city, remote from traffic and street noise. You will cycle along little villages, nature reserves and lakes and through Europe’s longest fruit nature trail, where more than 1000 year old fruit breeds are cultivated again. Finally you will reach the 800 year old town of Bad Oldesloe, where we chose a cosy café for lunch. Passing through several little villages, you will arrive in Lübeck in the evening. Your hotel is near the city centre and has been renovated lately. You can have dinner in a historic restaurant nearby.
3rd Day 50 km - 31 miles. From Lubeck to Zarrentin
In the morning you will have the opportunity to go on a guided tour through the city. The old town is surrounded by water and you can visit the many sights easily by foot. At lunchtime you will cycle on and leave Lübeck southwards. Riding on the cycle path besides the highway, you will soon reach Lake Ratzeburg and enjoy the nature on the car free cycle path by the lakeside. There will be enough time to visit the little town of Ratzeburg which is located on a small island. You can stroll along the narrow alleys and the promenade and have lunch in one of the lovely cafes. Your lately renovated hotel is located directly by Lake Schaalsee and you can try fresh fish from the lake in the cosy hotel restaurant.
4th Day 57 km - 36 miles From Zarrentin to Boizenburg
In the morning you can visit the historic farmhouse Valluhn. You will cycle on through little villages and beautiful forests to Boizenburg, famous for its picturesque tiling and half-timbered houses. After lunch, our guide will pick you up for a guided tour through the town and to the Elbe meadows. In the evening you can relax in the hotel sauna or - if you are looking for more sports challenges – you can go bowling.
5th Day 43 km - 27 miles. From Boizenburg into the Nature Reserve Area Elbe Valley
After a wonderful breakfast you can visit the beautiful old framework town Boizenburg and its tiles museum. Then we leave the road and follow splendidly constructed bicycle lanes on the dike along the river Elbe. The river Elbe was here the border between East and West up to the German unification and you see the old East German border watchtowers. Then you take the ferry and cross the river to the little town of Bleckede with its castle. From the castle tower you have beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. In the museum of the castle you will find out a great deal about the Elbe reserve.
After lunch you follow the dike path through the unique natural environment of the Elbe river landscape. Amidst this biosphere reserve with it biological diversity of flora and fauna you will spend the night in a comfortable hotel - an old restored homestead from the 18th century.
6th day 58 km - 36 miles. From the Elbe Valley to Vielank
After a frog concert alarm call we are cycling to the near dike villages Konau and Popelau. Konau is the only completely maintained dike village on the river Elbe with numerous officially listed farmhouses and barns. In a little museum in a barn you can see, how the people lived in a village within the border area in the period of Socialism. Then you cross the reserve, in which around 1300 plant species have their habitat (400 of them are endangered). 150 different bird species like stork, crane, and white-tailed eagle breed in this area. Soon you will reach the shifting sand dune near Stixe with an area of 9.5 hectares. In the middle of the forest you can have lunch. Then you come back to the Elbe River and will be cycling to an inn in a little village in the forest. Those who wish can also visit two old Mecklenburgian villages in the forest, one of them has a pottery with wonderful ceramics. you will spend the night in the hotel of the inn.
7th Day 70 km - 44 miles. From Vielank via the Domitz Castle to Ludwigslust
After breakfast you will be cycling back to the river Elbe and will be visiting the "Village republic Rüterberg". From 1967-1989 Rüterberg was completely enclosed by wire fences.
Only one gate allowed villagers access to their homes. At night it was closed. Visitors couldn't come into the village. Now it is again a pretty little village and you can enjoy the view from a look-out over the gorgeous Elbe valley and the newly built bridge between East and West. Rüterberg is now a part of the small town of Dömitz, where you can visit one of the few well maintained lowland castles of the 16th century in Northern Germany and its museum. Not far from it you will reach again a shifting sand dune - a relic of the ice-age.
After lunch in Dömitz you will be cycling along side roads to the town of Ludwigslust, which offers interesting residential and commercial areas. You will spend the night in a comfortable hotel.
8th Day 59 km - 37 miles From Ludwigslust to Schwerin
Your journey leads to the castle via the magnificent Schlossstrasse and through the biggest and most beautiful park of Northern Germany. In Neustadt-Glewe you can visit Mecklenburg’s oldest and best preserved fortified castle. Afterwards you will reach Friedrichsmoor Castle, a former hunting lodge. Soon you will cycle through vast plains and enjoy the changing light of the lowlands. You will pass great fish ponds and paddocks. In the early afternoon you will arrive in Schwerin. There you will have plenty of time for a walk through the city, which is known as one of the most beautiful cities in Northern Germany. Especially the wonderful castle is well-worth seeing.
9th Day Departure. After breakfast in our hotel in the city centre you can reach the train station in a couple of minutes.
- 7 cycling days, 8 nights, 405 km - 253 miles
- Self-led tours can be started in the evening (arrival) of every Sun, Mon, Wed.
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Europe Germany Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring Cultural Journey
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