© Ebelt / HLMS

Lakes, Parks and Conservation areas

In the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea, you can experience nature in its true form. Hike through narrow paths or vast hilly landscapes, cycle past lakes and through forests, and picnic at the side of the road – in Schleswig-Holstein, six nature parks invite you on a discovery tour and a time out in nature.

The Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea (in german) on the North Sea coast is a national park and – together with the Halligen – forms a UNESCO Natural Heritage Site of Humanity and biosphere reserve. Covering an area of 4,400 km2, it is the largest national park between the North Cape and Sicily, and is protected by special regulations. Expert guides provide an introduction to the unique flora and fauna of the Wadden Sea, a very special experience!

Approx. 40 lakes lie hidden like shimmering precious stones between forests, fields and hills. The Nature Park Lauenburgische Seen (in german) is the heart of the Duchy of Lauenburg. It stretches from the gates of Lübeck to Büchen, from Mölln to Schaalsee lake, and provides the last remaining habitats to many rare and endangered animal and plant species in Schleswig-Holstein. Throughout the year, the nature park offers very special spectacles. For example, it displays blossoming bocage landscapes, blankets of white anemone, and blue frogs. The latter can be found in the Salemer Moor near Ratzeburg or in the Grundloser Kolk lake in Mölln. In the summer, the numerous lakes invite you to cool off in the beautifully clear water, to take a canoe trip or just to go for a walk with a lake view on the shady banks. In the autumn, the colourful woods are reflected in the blue of the lakes and bring the “Indian summer” to Schleswig-Holstein.

Further north, the nature park Holstein Switzerland (in german) is the largest park in the state, covering an area of 750 km². The diverse landscape close to the Baltic Sea can be explored on foot or by bike: well-signposted cycle paths snake past stately manor estates and grand castles, and thatch-roofed houses, mills and a curiosity or two can be discovered in the hidden villages. Some 200 small and large lakes invite you to sail or paddle, swim or picnic.

In Mittelholstein, west of Neumünster, lies the nature park Aukrug (in german). On an area of 380 km², you can hike through woods, or discover ponds, heathlands, meadows and hedgerows. A visit to the local history museum “Dat ole Hus”, the Aukrug watermill or a walk to the burial mounds is always worthwhile. Between Kiel, Rendsburg and Bordesholm, the Westensee lake in the Westensee nature park offers a range of water sports such as swimming, fishing, canoeing, sailing and stand-up paddling, among the moors, meadows, forests and the hedgerows typical of the region.

Further north, in the Hütten Hills national park (in german) in the city triangle of Schleswig, Rendsburg and Eckernförde, cyclists and hikers will find well-signposted routes for a relaxing exploration of nature. Overnight stays and excellent food can be found in the Globetrotter Lounge with panoramic views of the Hütten Hills.

The Schlei nature park (in german) is the most northern nature park in Schleswig-Holstein. The heart of the nature park is the Schlei with its attractive surroundings and particular natural beauty. As the lifeline of the region and the city of Schleswig, the location of legendary battles and the most beautiful estuary of the Baltic Sea, the Schlei extends more than 40 kilometres inland. Rolling hills, lush green forests, idyllic bocage landscapes, rape and wheat fields, sandy beaches and romantic bathing bays – this can all be discovered in the Schlei region.