From lake to lake

On the trail of the white-tailed eagle: bird watching in the national park

Mecklenburg Lake District: A bike trip around the Muritz is a special pleasure

With the bicycle at the Muritz, in the background the city Waren

With the bicycle at the Muritz, in the background the city Waren. Photo: rie

Dreamy river with houseboats in Plau am See

Dreamy river with houseboats in Plau am See. Photo: rie

If you decide to travel to the Mecklenburg Lake District by train, you should do so during the week if possible. At least, if the trip goes via Berlin. On Friday afternoon in the train from the main station in the direction of the Baltic Sea, squeezed in between annoyed commuters and weekenders – at the most, oil sardines are happy about this.

It's a good thing we didn't take our own bikes with us. That is not necessary at all. The region around Muritz and Co is one of the most popular cycling destinations in Germany and can be found in the catalogs of many relevant tour operators (see info box). Alternatively, vacationers can make use of numerous bicycle rental companies on site, which provide more than enough bikes of all categories even at peak season times.

And so we begin our round trip in the tranquil vacation resort of Rechlin at the southern tip of this huge lake, which is actually more like a sea. This is strategically favorable in two senses: First of all, you are in the middle of the Muritz National Park in no time, and the harbor is one of the most popular starting points for houseboat tours. But more on that later.

Now we go at a leisurely pace into the green oasis of forest, lakes and marshland. The hiking and biking trails are well developed and not overly crowded. And in between there are always lookout towers and bird watching points to spot with a good pair of binoculars and a bit of luck even a white-tailed eagle.

Not only Waren is beautiful

The next highlight is reached in the afternoon at the latest, if the cyclists take their time in the national park: Waren an der Muritz. The state-recognized spa with a pretty historic center and numerous sailing yachts in the town harbor is something like the capital of the region. Waren is a tourist magnet mainly because of its good location at the northern tip of the lake, but also because the town is an ideal starting point for cycling trips, for example to the city forest or to the photogenic Klink Castle on the western shore of the Muritz.

Leaving the big lake to the west, other places worth seeing also appear on the scene. A day's ride away, for example, is the small town of Malchow, not far from Lake Fleesensee, which is best known for its cute old town on an island or the striking monastery church on the shore opposite. And again one lake further we enjoy the dreamy atmosphere at the small river Elde or at the old boathouses at the harbor in Plau am See.

Onward on the water

The Mecklenburg lakes are not always on designated bike paths, which also applies to the somewhat longer tour from Plau back to the Muritz. This does not detract from the relaxed cycling, however, because there is little to no traffic on the small country roads and farm roads. When we reach the Muritz town of Robel before the end of our one-week tour, we don't yet know that we won't be staying there just once.

Because we come back the next day – but this time on the waterway. It is a good idea to combine a cycling vacation around the Muritz with a means of transport that is actually even more obvious in this area: the houseboat.

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