Into this recent road trip through northern Germany we have included many of those parts of the country that we wanted to visit while we are still living around here. One of these places were also the lakes on Mecklenburg lake plateau in on of the lesser developed German states called Mecklenburg – Vorpommern. I know, I know, again lots of weird names but this is how it is. The fact is that this part of the country, which used to be a part of Eastern Germany, is somehow less known amongst international tourists and it is even difficult to find useful information in English on the internet. Which was a very good sign for us actually, because this meant we are probably entering a zone with great hidden spots. And so it was. While kayaking, taking long walks, driving offroad and relaxing in hammocks reading books, we found piece and serenity in beautiful unspoilt nature. Just before our 3-night stop here we visited the city of Potsdam and later on we continued to island Usedom and drove all the way up to Denmark along the coast. Read this post to find out more about what we saw and did on and around the lakes around here.
THE LAND OF THE THOUSANDS LAKES | massive water system in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Mecklenburg lake plateau is THE LARGEST SYSTEM OF RIVERS, LAKES, CHANNELS, AND SWAMPS IN THE WHOLE GERMANY. The land of the thousand lakes, as it is often referred to, is situated somewhere between Berlin, Hamburg and the Baltic coast, in the south of the German state Mecklenburg – Vorpommern. One of the more interesting things to do here is to rent a HOUSEBOAT with which you can drive along lakes and sleep on it at the same time. So if you are a bunch of people, this is awesome (it was too expensive for just the 2 of us). You can also travel around on BICYCLES – the famous cycling path between Berlin and Copenhagen runs here through, or with KAYAKS. There are many shorter or longer group expeditions where you take everything with you, paddle for hundreds of kilometres and sleep in camp sites along the way. You can of course do this on your own as well.
On many of the lakes there are lovely CAMPSITES, all that we´ve seen were tucked in pine forests but still set by the lake shore. For those who prefer being without clothes, there is a surprisingly large number of FKK CAMPINGS as well. Of course there are also a couple of interesting smaller towns and besides kayaking and cycling you can also try out different water sports such as SUP, windsurfing and even diving. One thing is for sure, you will not be bored and I truly recommend this area for every nature lover seeking for remote places but still not feeling like being totally lost. There is often no mobile signal though and you should bring more cash as they don´t accept cards everywhere. So, let´s see what we´ve been up to there.
WAREN (MÜRITZ) | the town of Waren at the largest lake, Müritzsee
Waren is one of the most important towns in the area and it is located at the largest lake on the Mecklenburg lake plateau, MÜRITZSEE. Because we had rather moody weather the first day of our visit we used it to drive a larger circle around PLAUERSEE and MÜRITZSEE lakes and see some towns and castles on the way. In Waren we also had lunch in the MARINA which was a very pretty part of the town, together with the PEDESTRIAN ZONE in the OLD CITY CENTRE. Lots of nice shops, restaurants and cafes. You can walk around and see the most of it oin a couple of hours so it´s a nice stop along the way.
Another thing well-worth visiting over here is the so-called „NaturErlebnisZentrum“ MÜRITZEUM, where you can find out more about the national park Müritz. You can also take a ride on the lake on the deck on one of the bigger boats. If you are more for kayaking I suggest you do that on smaller lakes, they are more interesting for such slow travel and there will be less or none motorized boats also.
PLAU AM SEE, ALT SCHWERIN, NEUSTRELITZ, MIROW | other interesting towns at the lakes
We were focusing more on the nature this time and spent most of our time around lakes, forests and on remote roads rather than in the cities, but if you have less luck with the weather it might be a good idea to check out WAREN town which I mentioned above, PLAU AM SEE (located at the second largest lake in the area), ALT SCHWERIN (on the other side of Plauer lake), NEUSTRELITZ (close to one of the Müritz national park´s parts), MIROW (with its nice castle) and some others. Speaking of CASTLES – there are soooo many around here. For example GROßHERZOGLICHES SCHLOSS NEUSTRELITZ, HERRENHAUS MALLIN, RETZOW, DROSEDOW, FÜRSTENBERG, STARGARD, ROTHENMOOR, MOLTZOW and many others.
GOBENOWSEE CAMPING | camping at one of the best smaller lakes around here
I admit it, when we were packing for this very spontaneous road trip I was slightly confused about finding accommodation in this area. There are simly soooo many lakes and so many camp grounds and we had zero direct recommendations from people we know so we just randomly called a couple (okay a dozen) of camp sites and went with the first one that was free. It was the second half of July which is the highest season in Germany and due to the current Covid-19 situation most of the Germans are spending their holidays at home also. Finding a free spot just a few days before departure was a tough one, but in the end we felt like winners. GOBENOWSEE CAMPING was awesome! We spent 3 nights here and honestly, we couldn´t have picked a better location for the things we wanted to do around here.
We paid 65€ for 3 nights, including the taxes and hot showers. The plots have numbers and are all in the shade of pine trees, at the lake where swimming is absolutely obligatory on a hot sunny day. Very refreshing but not too cold. There are several wooden piers to tie the kayaks or jump in the water from, a mini market for all the essential things, friendly owners, possibility of renting the kayaks and clean toilets. Overall a great place with (this time) no international tourists at all.
KAYAKING | 20km long circle kayaking trip over Gobenowsee, Rätzsee, Zirtowsee, Vilzsee and Labussee lakes
And of course, despite some relaxing hours when we did absolutely nothing but breathe in the fresh air, we were also pretty active. And we just had to do a DAY KAYAKING TOUR, which turned out to be the highlight of this visit, as expected. But not only this, it was actually one of the highlights on this whole road trip through northern Germany.
We RENTED A KAYAK FOR 2 PERSONS in our campsite which was very convenient, we paid 28€ in total for the whole day. Since we got up fairly early that day we opt for the longer tour which took us to 5 LAKES, many channels and at the end of the day we counted around 20km of paddling. We were quite tired in the evening, each with a couple of blisters on our hands, but it was more than worth it. We packed a rice salad for lunch, water, our phones, a bit of cash, sunsreen and beach towels into our waterproof bag which is great to have on such trips. You can of course start this tour wherever you want on the way and paddle in both directions. Here´s how it looked like.
GOBENOWSEE | our starting point
Gobenowsee is about 3,5km long and 1,2km wide and just like most of the other lakes around here, surrounded by lush pine forests. It is connected to KLENZSEE, TIETENSEE, LABUSSEE and RÄTZSEE with water channels – we took the beautiful DROSEDOWER BEK channel and passed an interesting wooden bridge before arriving to Rätzsee lake.
We still had loads of energy here so we have lots of pictures from the beginning of this trip haha. But the truth is also, the landscape was amazing and there were moments when we felt more like in Australia rather than Germany. Only the crocodiles were missing. Because it was still relatively early in the morning we didn´t meet many other fellow kayak enthusiasts on this leg of the trip. If you are about to do this I strongly suggest taking off early, especially on a weekend.
ZIRTOWSEE | hidden smaller lake north of Rätzsee lake
As I already mentioned, the Drosedower Bek water channel took us to the big lake called RÄTZSEE, but before paddling the whole length down this one, we made a detour to a very small lake, ZIRTOWSEE, which we were told is difficult to find but therefore very beautiful and lonely. All of it is true. First we passed a FKK campsite and continued along the shore where we hardly found our way through the high swamp grass and paddled down the green mysterious passage until we reached the lake.
And then it was really a “wow moment”, the lake was stunning, there were birds everywhere and no people around. As we didn´t have breakfast, we decided it´s time for a little brunch, so we paddled around for a while in search of a proper spot to tie the kayak, which was easier said than done but we made it. Such peace and tranquillity. This were the moments why I wanted to visit this part of Germany in the first place and I was happy we made this decision of coming here.
RÄTZSEE | the longest lake on this kayaking trip
From ZIRTOWSEE lake we returned via the secret narrow bushy passage back to RÄTZSEE lake which was a tough one to cross. I guess it was more of a mind trick as the lake is fairly long and also wide, it was noon and the sun was burning so there were moments where we felt as if we are stuck at the same point.
At the end of it, we had to find a channel called OBERBEK which took us to the CAMPING BEI MOTTE campsite. Here we had to carry our kayak over the FLEETHER MÜHLE road as there was a dam and no other way to cross over. I must say they are quite heavy to carry, these kayaks. This seemed to be a popular STARTING POINT for many doing loops with their kayaks as the place had a smaller parking and a Biergarten place which we gladly took advantage of and rested our arms while sipping a cold refreshing glass of beer.
VILZSEE | Oberbek channel and a popular lake for motor boats
This was kind of half way for us so there was no other option than to complete the loop. But now we were full with new energy and ready to continue. Down the OBERBEK CHANNEL and pass a village called FLEETH, where we saw lots of houseboats, water garages for boats and lovely romantic floating terraces, we reached VILZSEE.
On VILZSEE lake it is allowed to drive motor boats, which means there will be lots of them, especially during weekends. This might not be the best if you are kayaking, but you can still avoid closer contact by paddling alongside shores. And it can also be interesting to be hones, because some of the boats are quite luxurious and bigger yachts are no exception. From here, you can continue to ZOTZENSEE lake and further to MIROWERSEE via a water channel. At Mirowsee you can see the castle as well, but for us this would mean additional 15km so we skipped it and stuck to our original plan. That meant paddling towards LABUSSEE for us.
LABUSSEE | Diemitz Schleuse floodgate
Between VILZSEE and LABUSSEE lakes we had to experience another great thing – between the lakes there is a floodgate called SCHLEUSE DIEMITZ, so you need to wait in line in order to go in (boats first, kayaks at the back) and then the water starts to descend (in our case for about 3m) or ascend, depends on from which side you are coming. Because we did have to wait for a while to go down there were more people coming together at this point, but soon after we were on Labussee lake everybody went different directions and it was back to peaceful paddling.
The only thing left now was to cross Labussee lake and find DOLLBEK channel at the other end of it, before reaching our “home base” at GOBENOWSEE lake. At Labussee lake there are several campsites and they looked very nice also, we´ve also seen apartments in CANOW for those who don´t like cmaping. From here you can also paddle further to CANOWERSEE and continue even more far away. The best thing about here is really that all the lakes are somehow connected and you can paddle for hundreds of kilometres, if you have the strenght and the time.
NATIONAL PARK MÜRITZ | beautiful protected area at Müritz lake and around Neustrelizt town
One part of MECKLENBURG LAKE PLATEAU is also turned into a NATIONAL PARK. The park actually has 2 parts, the larger one is set along Müritz lake (I have mentioned above that you can visit MÜRITZEUM in Waren for more info about it) and the smaller part is to be found near NEUSTRELITZ town. Due to this constellation there are many entrances to the park which might be a bit confusing but I guess it doesn´t matter much which one you take. The park itself mostly consists of FORESTS, SWAMPS and LAKES, where you can also spot many different animals, from DEER TO BIRDS – we didn´t have our binoculars but this was a place we could definitely use it.
AROUND GOBENOWSEE | forests, nature and off the beaten track roads
One last great thing about this part of Mecklenburg – Vorpommern has to be these amazing forests and endless offroad paths which are in lots of cases not privately owned so you can drive around as much as you want. Except the fact that you will not have a mobile phone signal, there are no other dangers and you can “get lost” between the woods without worrying. At the time of our visit the blueberries were in full bloom as well, so we took enough time to pick as many as we wanted.
Skratka, večino časa mi res ni bilo jasno, kako da ta del Nemčije ni tako poznan, obiskan in prepoznaven, pa čeprav je tu toliko fajn stvari za počet in toliko lepega za videt. Pa nič ne de, morda je res malce bolj odročno, razen za tiste iz Berlina, naravi pa tudi ne škodi, če je manj glomaznih hotelov in ostale turistične infrastrukture. Kar nama je bilo tudi všeč je veliko število res naravnih kampov, takšnih bolj za šotoriste, kar je sicer v Nemčiji bolj redkost, saj jih večina kampira z avtodomi. Če boste kdaj potovali po tem delu Nemčije torej, se tule res splača ustavi za par dni. Čisti odklop v naravi. Midva sva si vsekakor zapominla par koordinat za naslednjič ko se bomo potepali po teh koncih.