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Nationalpark Müritz, Bild: Ina Meer Sommer / shutterstock

The Mecklenburg Lake District offers nature and culture in abundance

The Mecklenburg Lake District with its approximately 1,000 bodies of water extends over an area of more than 6,000 km² over the federal states of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Brandenburg and has long been one of the most popular German holiday regions due to its enchanting landscapes with authentic and almost untouched nature in many places.

The Lake District was already settled by hunters and fishermen about 12,000 years ago. About 6,000 years ago, the first permanently settled villages and hamlets were built, whose rural inhabitants left behind the megalithic tombs that are much visited today. There are dozens of Neolithic megalithic tombs only in the Mecklenburg Lake District district, among the best known are the graves near Basedow, Torgelow am See (Heistersteine) and Mollenstorf (Rillenstein).

In 4. and Germanic settlers from the region migrated south in the 5th century and were replaced from the 7th century onwards by Western Slavs or Wends, who mixed with the regional population. Many place names ending in “ow” also date from this time. From the 12th century onwards, German influence increased again. Stone testimonies to this era are above all the numerous well-preserved and impressive fieldstone churches, such as in Poppentin (Göhren-Lebbin), Grünow-Triepkendorf, Bellin, Mechow, Zehna, Lichtenberg as well as Federow and Cantnitz.

Fauna, flora, art, culture, literature and big festivals are at home at the lakes

The constant human settlement of the region about 12,000 years ago was of course only possible through the geological formation of the Mecklenburg Lake District from the meltwater and glacial valleys as well as sand arms after the last ice age in Europe. Interesting insights into the geology as well as fauna and flora of the area can be gained during visits to the 2,300 m² nature experience centre “Müritzeum” in the well-known spa town of Waren (Müritz).

Malchow Monastery Church, Mecklenburg Lake District
View of the monastery church in Malchow, Image: Bjoern Wylezich / shutterstock

Other regional museums worth seeing on the history, art and culture of the Mecklenburg Lake District are the Demmin Regional Museum, the Slavic village of Passentin, which is particularly popular with families with children, the castle museum with witches’ dungeon in Penzlin and the Mecklenburg Organ Museum with 12 time-honoured church organs in Malchow. The latter institution is housed in a former Magdalene convent from the 13th century on the southern shore of Lake Malchow in Alt Malchow. The touristy climatic health resort is known nationwide as an “island town” and attracts many visitors, especially every year at the beginning of July, when the folk festival, which has even been declared an intangible UNESCO cultural heritage, is celebrated there as the oldest homeland festival in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

The picturesque nature of the Mecklenburg Lake District has also inspired and inspired artists and writers at an early stage. Information about the creative work of famous authors, some of whom also lived in the beautiful region for a long time, can be found at the Brigitte Reimann Literature House in Gartenstraße in Neubrandenburg, the Hans Fallada House in the resort of Carwitz (Feldberger Seenlandschaft municipality) and the Fritz Reuter Literature Museum in his birthplace in Stavenhagen as well as the Marie Hager House in Stargard Castle.

A paradise for water and hiking enthusiasts with many animals and ancient trees

The biggest attraction and most important crowd puller in the Mecklenburg Lake District, however, are the national and nature parks, which are often used by sporty active holidaymakers for unforgettable excursions with boats and canoes as well as extensive cycling tours and hikes almost all year round.

The Müritz National Park near Neustrelitz and Waren measures an area of 318 km² and is completely developed by observation towers and rest areas as well as cycling and hiking trails. A mysterious primeval forest is the UNESCO World Heritage protected Serrahner Beech Forest near Carpin. White-tailed eagles and ospreys can be admired from the observation stands Binnenmüritz, Hofsee as well as Specker and Rederangsee.

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In the Schwarzenhof National Park Information Centre, a permanent exhibition on majestic white-tailed eagles beckons. Popular and recommended hiking destinations in the national park are also the 55-metre-high Käflingsberg tower near the hamlet of Speck, the observation platform at Lake Priesterbäker and the observation tower at Lake Zotzensee. The 340 km² Feldberg Lake District Nature Park around the municipality of the same name and the towns of Carpin, Grünow, Godendorf, Wokuhl-Dabelow, Woldegk and Neustrelitz is home to many rare animals such as ospreys, lesser spotted eagles, white-tailed eagles and otters. For hikes, we recommend waters such as the Breite and Schmale Luzin, Carwitzer and Große Fürstenseer See as well as Feldberger Haussee. A hiking trail also leads through the 67-hectare Heilige Hallen nature reserve with the up to approx. 350-year-old and thus oldest beech forest in Germany.

Discover the Mecklenburg Lake District through the life of a queen

Plau am See, Mecklenburg Lake District
Plau am See, Image: Bjoern Wylezich / shutterstock

Centuries-old trees such as primarily oaks and castles, manor houses and parks also characterise the 673 km² Mecklenburg Switzerland and Kummerow Lake Nature Park in the north of the Mecklenburg Lake District around Lake Malchin, Lake Kummerow and Lake Teterow.

In the nature park, which is known as a resting and breeding area for Nordic ducks, you can hike particularly well in its nature reserves Barschmoor, Binsenbrink, Gruber Forst, Hellgrund, Peenetal and Teterower Heidberge. In the west of the Mecklenburg Lake District between the towns of Goldberg, Krakow am See, Malchow and Plau am See lies the 355 km² Nossentiner/Schwinzer Heide Nature Park.

Many large moors and heaths as well as 60 different lakes characterize the landscape of the nature park. In its nature reserves Brantensee, Damerower Werder, Drewitzer and Gültzsee as well as Nebelseen and Paschensee, there are isolated white-tailed eagles, peregrine falcons and otters as well as specially settled bison.

To the northwest is the 540 km² Sternberg Lakeland Nature Park with its numerous natural and cultural monuments such as the breakthrough valley of the Warnow and the reconstruction of a Slavic temple castle in the archaeological open-air museum Groß Raden near Sternberg . A popular and frequent holiday route through the Mecklenburg Lake District area is the 220-kilometre-long “Queen Luise Route”. In their cities and stations Hohenzieritz, Mirow, Neustrelitz and Paretz, places of residence as well as memorials and places of work of the former Duchess of Mecklenburg and later Queen of Prussia can be visited.

The most beautiful nature parks in the Mecklenburg Lake District

The Mecklenburg Lake District is one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in all of Germany. Several beautiful nature parks extend over their territory: The Feldberg Lake District Nature Park, the Sternberg Lake District Nature Park, the Ivenacker Oaks, the Nossentiner and Schwinzer Heide Nature Park as well as the Mecklenburg Switzerland and Kummerow Lake Nature Park. In addition, there is the versatile Müritz National Park, one of three national parks in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, which is characterized by numerous lakes, forests, moors and pastures. In all of the above-mentioned nature parks, tourism in the form of holidays on and around the water plays a not insignificant role as an important source of income for the local population.

Feldberg Lake District Nature Park

Feldberg Lake District Nature Park
Feldberg Lake District Nature Park, Image: Traveller Martin / shutterstock

In this 360 km² nature park, extensive forests alternate with crystal-clear lakes and lush meadows. In between, one or the other hill rises up. The area, which covers a total of 1,100 square kilometres and was shaped by the Vistula Ice Age, is home to many natural beauties. The hilly terminal moraine landscapes are striking. Wind drifts created mighty inland dunes. However, the many lakes are characteristic. Near Feldberg , the Breiten Luzin, which has a depth of up to 58 metres, stretches out. It is even the second deepest lake in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. White-tailed eagles and ospreys swim their laps in the air, while otters cavort in the waters. Although nature clearly has the upper hand, the Feldberg Lake District has always been and still is an adopted home for creative minds and attracts sculptors, poets and musicians. Especially in the summer months, many concerts take place in the open air, be it in the local village churches or in the parks of mansions. Sculptors exhibit their works of art in numerous galleries.

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Sternberg Lakeland Nature Park

The Sternberg Lakeland Nature Park is known as the land of breakthrough valleys, fishermen and Slavic castles. Around the crystal-clear lakes, a number of fishing families still live today. The nature park not only inspires with extensive forests and picturesque hills, but also offers some historical highlights. These include the Archaeological Open-Air Museum Groß Raden, but also several megalithic graves. The entire landscape with its deep forests, quiet lakes and gentle hills almost seems a bit enchanted. With a little luck, you can even observe beavers and kingfishers. The best way to roam the nature park is on various hiking trails, but you can also take a varied bike tour. With rangers who know the area, there are forays to get even closer to the animals that live there. A completely different perspective arises from the water side, for example as part of an exciting canoe tour on the Warnow and Mildenitz rivers. In summer, the lakes also invite you to swim and fish.

Ivenacker Eichen National Nature Monument

The oaks in Ivenack
The oaks in Ivenack, Image: Ruediger Jahnke / shutterstock

These striking oaks rise into the sky not far from the Reuter town of Stavenhagen and have a special symbolic power for the region. The more than 1000-year-old oaks have gained supra-regional importance and are located in an FFH area, which also functions as a zoo and game reserve. The area was once used by the Slavs living there as a forest pasture or pasture forest. Today, the game living there shows little fear of curious visitors. In addition to fallow deer, there are even some wild horses living on site. The game reserve was created as early as 1710. In the middle of the park, a beautiful baroque pavilion blends harmoniously into the surroundings. In it, an interactive exhibition informs guests about the life cycle of the local oaks. Visitors have the best panoramic view of the unusual giant trees, some of which have a circumference of over 10 metres and a height of more than 30 metres, from a 620-metre-long treetop walk and a viewing platform at a height of 40 metres. Guided tours to the over 100-year-old giant trees are also on offer.

Nossentiner and Schwinzer Heide Nature Park

This nature park covers an area of 355 km² and is characterized by wide, flat land, extensive pine forests and extensive water areas. But beech and mixed forests also characterise parts of the nature park. The 60 lakes of the nature park are wonderful for swimming and fishing. Many restaurants and hotels serve freshly caught fish from the surrounding waters. No less fascinating is the flora and fauna in the Mecklenburg Switzerland Nature Park and Lake Kummerow. White-tailed eagles and cranes circle above the amphibious landscape, which of course is home to just as many waterfowl. In the forests, on the other hand, the roaring of the deer echoes. Despite some nature conservation regulations, almost all areas of the park invite you to observe and experience the fascinating nature. Only a few exclusion zones are inaccessible to visitors.

Mecklenburg Switzerland Nature Park and Lake Kummerow

This nature park combines a unique cultural landscape with a great diversity of species. The landscape was formed during the last ice age and impresses with a strikingly large variety of striking landscapes. Along the Peene, a leisurely flowing meadow river, many protected animal species such as the beaver live. Lake Kummerow is even the fourth largest lake in all of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, which is also ideal for water sports.
A variety of leisure activities on water and on land, such as canoeing, rowing, sailing, horseback riding, cycling or hiking, will not let you get bored during a holiday in Mecklenburg Switzerland. But it is also the land of castles and palaces. Kummerow Castle and Liepen Castle, for example, are worth a visit. An attraction for many visitors is also the Dargun monastery and castle complex, which is surrounded by mighty walls. A magnificent view over this lovely landscape with scattered villages opens up from the Röthelberg near Karsdorf, among other places. This lookout hill is located northwest of Lake Malchin near Schlitz Castle.