The Havel-Elbe water hiking region lies in the west of Brandenburg and incorporates the entire area surrounding the Lower Havel, i.e. the Potsdam and Brandenburg Havel Lakes as well as the Havel Lowlands Riverscape. The region also encompasses the Elbe-Brandenburg Riverscape, a biosphere reserve, and the Stepenitz which is an Elbe tributary. Those travelling with a charter permit enjoy their water journeys quasi without boundaries here, as the Potsdam Havel Lake as well as the Lower Havel Canal (from Brandenburg on the Havel River to Quitzöbel) are navigable without a licence.

The inland waterways of the Potsdam and Brandenburg Havel Lakes are unique throughout Europe and offer houseboaters a great variety of trip opportunities. On a stretch of some 180 km the Lower Havel River flows through Potsdam and Brandenburg on to Rathenow with countless cultural historic landmarks, pristine landscapes and more than 40 lakes characterising the scenery. This area is also ideal for sailboat hiking, as there are no locks and only a few bridges that interrupt the cruise because the mast has to be lowered. Templin Lake offers good conditions for sailing and so do Schwielow Lake, Beetz Lake and the Western Havel Lake District near Brandenburg on the Havel River. In this region canoeists also find what their hearts desire: Being inaccessible for motor boats, the Wublitz and Emster offer paddlers protected and quiet waters.

Going north from Brandenburg, water sports enthusiasts will find their Eldorado in the Havel Lowlands Riverscape. On a stretch of 90 km the Havel River meanders through a richly structured landscape all the way to Havelberg, where ramified streams and countless lakes generously expand the area that is open to motor boats and canoes alike. As the area is a part of the Elbe Riverscape biosphere reserve, chances are good that you will be able to catch a glimpse of rare animal species such as the white-tailed sea eagle, beaver or fish otter.

The Havel River ends in Havelberg. However, if desired, the trip can be continued, as the Havel joins the Elbe River, thus opening up new sailing grounds. On a length of 70 km, Europe’s second longest river meanders through the historical Prignitz region. Together with its abandoned meanders, extensive flood plains, moors, riverine forests, meadows and pastures it constitutes the “Elbe-Brandenburg Riverscape” UNESCO biosphere reserve.

The region is especially noted for its abundance of bird species and is an important stopover and resting place for migratory birds such as cranes, wild geese and lapwings. It is also home to the largest population of white storks in Germany and provides a habitat for the native Eurasian beaver who has resettled here. If you feel like touching ground and relaxing, you will enjoy exploring the romantic villages of the Prignitz region with their traditional brick and half-timbered houses. Back on water, or more precisely the Stepenitz River, canoeists will float on cloud nine: It forks off at the town of Wittenburg to continue its course towards Meyenburg for another 84 km.

The Stepenitz is considered one of the cleanest rivers in Germany. It is lined with unspoilt banks, beech and alder forests and numerous cultural-historical sites. The town of Dömitz in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is the place where the Müritz-Elde Canal meets the Elbe River and, continuing in this vein, they flow into the Mecklenburg Lake District.


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