A man takes a header into a lake in the Duchy of Lauenburg

Four Tips for Water Fun in the Duchy of Lauenburg

Susanne Jung-Klotz

Schleswig-Holstein is known as the land between the seas. Yet, it has so much more to offer. In the southeastern part of the country, right on the outskirts of Hamburg, lies the Duchy of Lauenburg. This rural region with a royal name is worth a visit not just because of its idyllic nature! It’s also home to over 40 lakes and smaller bodies of water that are perfect for taking a dip or a little sail. Here are four tips for water fun in the Duchy of Lauenburg!

Canoeing in the Footsteps of the White-Tailed Eagle

Gracefully, the white-tailed eagle soars over the lakes of Lauenburg. As for us, we can only observe it from the water while it circles in the sky. The best way to do this is from a canoe. The journey starts on the Wakenitz river, passing through the Ratzeburg Lake, Küchensee, and the Schaalseekanal. Eventually, you’ll reach the Salemer Lake and Pipersee. Feeling tired? Accommodation is available for water wanderers at the Wakenitz-Camp in Rothenhusen and the Schaalsee-Camp. Canoes are also available for rent at these camps! Alternatively, there’s a rental station at Salemer Lake. By the way, the small blue boathouse with its picturesque reed roof is perfect for a quick photo stop!

Two people canoeing on Lake Salem in the Duchy of Lauenburg

Sailing Around the Island City of Ratzeburg

White sails billow in the wind, with a majestic church tower on a background island. What might sound like a Mediterranean vacation spot is none other than the cathedral city of Ratzeburg in Schleswig-Holstein. Surrounded by four lakes – Großer and Kleiner Küchensee, Domsee, and Ratzeburg Lake – it’s connected to the mainland only by causeways. The last two lakes are particularly popular among avid sailors. But it’s not just sailboats that are often seen here and welcomed! The Ratzeburg Rowing Academy also uses the lake as a training ground.

Three people learn how to reef the sail on a sailboat.

More of a leisure captain than a rowing pro? At several rental points, you can hire paddle boats, water bikes, or even electric boats in order to enjoy the picturesque lakes without any water sports experience. If you prefer a more relaxed experience, take a ride on “Heinrich the Lion.” This excursion boat starts in Ratzeburg and ends after a mini cruise in beautiful Lübeck!

Two people ride a pedal boat on a lake
Markus Tiemann

Forest Bathing or Perhaps Bathing Literally in the Forest?

“Shinrin Yoku” is the Japanese term for forest bathing, which means consciously experiencing the forest and nature. The aim is to switch off, immerse yourself, and learn more about yourself in the process. Essentially, this works in any forest.

A man and a woman bathing in a lake in the forest

However, here in the Duchy of Lauenburg, you can also bathe in the forest, literally. There are plenty of romantic forest lakes here. For example, there’s the picturesque Pinnsee, where the surrounding deciduous forest reflects like a mirror. A visit to Lütauer Lake is also worthwhile. With its small but fine sandy beach, it invites you to relax. Or, how about a detour to Pipersee near Sterley? This almost natural oasis allows camping enthusiasts to pitch their tents and stay a little longer!

Nature’s Delights Along the Möllner Chain of Lakes

The medieval town of Mölln is not only the home of the legendary fool Till Eulenspiegel. It’s also a dream come true for water sports aficionados. Mölln is situated on a chain of lakes. At the feet of the historic town lie the Stadtsee (City Lake) to the east and Schulsee to the west. Möllners have been swimming in the picturesque Louisenbad at the Stadtsee for 100 years. The historic bathing area has a diving tower, a water slide, and a football field. Stadtsee is perfect for boating. For instance, you can take the “MS Till,” a canal boat, which carries visitors across the lakes or towards the Elbe-Lübeck Canal. If you prefer to be at the helm yourself, you can rent a conventional boat, a canoe, or even an electric boat.

Three sailboats sailing on a lake in the Duchy of Lauenburg
Kristin Weber

By the way: A visit to Mölln also includes tracing the footsteps of Till Eulenspiegel. There’s the Eulenspiegel Museum, the Eulenspiegel Fountain, and the Eulenspiegel Linden tree, among others. A special highlight is the amusing performances by professional actors, which honor the fool!

Water Map with Plenty of Tips

To get an overview, including all boat rentals, bathing spots, and restaurants, it’s best to visit the official website of the Duchy of Lauenburg. On the “Water Map,” everyone can find their favorite spot!