Land of A Thousand Lakes
With literally hundreds of lakes packed into an area of unspoiled nature reserves and charming country towns, the Mecklenburg Lake District is a fantastic holiday destination for those seeking tranquillity in nature or more adventurous activities on the water. For those wanting to stay ashore, there are plenty of palaces, museums, cafes and beaches to enjoy, as well as restaurants serving up fresh fish and other local specialities.
While the Mecklenburg Lake District is becoming more popular with German tourists, this sparsely populated area of lakes, canals, forests, and meadows is still an oasis of calm and untouched nature in the former East Germany. Wildlife such as otters and beavers can be seen in the water throughout the region and bird spotters are likely to encounter sea eagles, ospreys, cranes, and kingfishers to name but a few.
Unspoiled Nature Within Easy Reach
Known as the Land of a Thousand Lakes, the Mecklenburg Lake District is home to the largest network of lakes, canals, marshlands, and rivers in all of Germany. Despite its quiet location and relatively small population, the area can easily be reached from Berlin or Hamburg by train, car, or bus within a few hours.
Travelling within the Lake District is part of the adventure. While the area is well served by road and train networks, one of the best ways to explore the area is by boat.
Life on the Water
Renting a houseboat is a fantastic way to explore the seemingly endless lakes and waterways at a leisurely pace. No previous boating experience or boating license is necessary, with rental companies offering help to novices in getting started. Plenty of ports, marinas, and docks throughout the area offer amenities such as gas, electricity, water, showers and toilets making it easy to explore some of the area’s charming towns and onshore attractions.
Accommodation to Suit all Budgets
For those who prefer to sleep on dry land, there is a wide variety of accommodation options in the villages, towns, and forests around the lakes. From campsites to apartments, upscale resorts to family-friendly holiday parks, spa hotels to simple country inns, there is a wide choice to suit all budgets and requirements.
For those staying on shore, canoeing is a great way to get out on the water and experience the natural beauty of the lakes no matter what one’s level of experience. Beginners will find that the calm waters, easy access to the shore, and the presence of “Canoe Taxis” which provide transport to more remote areas, make for an easy introduction to paddling. Meanwhile, more experienced canoers can embark on week-long canoe tours travelling more than a hundred kilometres of waterways and lakes.
Explore the Lakes on Two Wheels
Another great way to see all that the Mecklenburg Lake District has to offer is by bicycle. The long distance Berlin to Copenhagen European cycle route passes through the region and is mostly comprised of its own paved off-road path, with some quiet country roads. In addition, the route is specially designed to accommodate electric bicycles with over 50 charging stations located along the route. As part of the European cycle network, amenities for cyclists are outstanding and make for an easy introduction to cycling holidays for those who are new to it. As well as the availability of e-bikes, first class cycle paths and accommodation, the flat terrain of the region makes for easy cycling, allowing cyclists to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
Fun in the Water
In addition to simply taking in the beautiful scenery and enjoying the tranquillity of nature, there are, of course, many watersports and activities to enjoy. There are plenty of swimming beaches along the lakeshore catering for all levels of swimmers and all types of tourists including families, nudists, and dogs! It’s even possible to enrol in courses to learn how to swim. And, if the weather is less than perfect, there are thermal baths and indoor swimming pools to enjoy. One of the best is the Müritz Therme in Röbel. With a pool, waterslides, lazy river, jacuzzis, poolside bar and children’s pool in addition to a bowling alley, spa and wellness centre. At the Müritz Therme, there really is something for everyone to enjoy.
But it’s not just the surface of the lakes that can be explored on a visit to the Land of A Thousand Lakes. The area is popular with scuba divers due to the crystal clear visibility and the abundance of fish in the lakes. In particular, Lake Plau, the Feldberg lake district, and Lake Tollense are popular locations for diving.
Other adventurous activities in the lakes include waterskiing, windsurfing, and paddle boarding with Lake Müritz, in particular, offering many water based activities.
On Shore Activities
Lake District’s attractions are not only on the water, however. On shore, there are many activities and sites to enjoy and it is well worth spending some time in a few of the charming and historic lakeside towns.
Neustrelitz is a worth a visit to admire the beautiful baroque market square at the heart of the town. Although the town’s baroque palace was destroyed in 1945, the beautiful palace gardens remain and include the 18th-century Orangerie and the palace church built in the English Neo-Gothic style of architecture. There is a small beach within the gardens where swimming is possible in summer and a lakeside restaurant to enjoy local food while taking in the beautiful views.
Also worth visiting is the historic spa town of Waren, which is situated on the shores of Lake Müritz, the largest lake lying entirely within Germany. Apart from the charming medieval town centre, Waren also boasts the Müritzeum, a fantastic multi-media nature centre which includes Germany’s largest freshwater aquarium, showcasing many species of fish, crustaceans, and turtles. Other exhibits feature native flora and fauna and the grounds of the Müritzeum include an adventure playground and gardens. Dogs on leads are welcome and guided tours can be arranged.
Northern Germany’s Most Impressive Renaissance Palace
Perhaps the most important renaissance palace in the North of Germany, Güstrow Palace along with its beautiful gardens and museum is a highlight of any visit to the area. The imposing palace includes influences from Italian, French and German architectural styles and has a southern European sensibility. The gardens too, are impressive with beds of fragrant lavender and herbs, flowers and exotic fruits. In addition, the palace is home to one of the most outstanding collections of medieval artefacts in northern Germany and includes weapons, sculptures, furniture, altarpieces, and paintings.
Visit Rescued Bears in A Natural Habitat
Located just outside the village of Stuer and near Lake Plau is Western Europe’s largest bear sanctuary. The Bärenwald Müritz Bear Sanctuary provides abandoned or mistreated bears with 16 hectares of forest, grassland, streams, and ponds that closely resemble the natural habitat of the bears. Visitors follow a route through the forest which allows for many opportunities to view these magnificent animals in a natural environment. The sanctuary also has a playground, restaurant and gift shop.