Colour play and glow worm dancing
The sky shimmers in pink and violet, the sun glows a deep orange like a lampion suspended in the dusk above the trees. The colour play in the sky is repeated in the reflection of the Schaalsee lake in the east of the Duchy. The branching waters with its bays and wooded islands connects Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Animals that are otherwise rarely found live here: cranes and sea eagles draw their circles across the lake landscape, and at night, screech owls go hunting in the forests. On June nights, you can observe a natural spectacle with special effects: the glow worms, small insects, which glow in the dark thanks to a special enzyme. The Schaalsee lake was created by the forces of the Weichsel Ice Age, when melting glaciers collapsed and formed a new landscape. The body of water covers 24 square kilometres. At its deepest level, it reaches 72 metres to the bottom.
Not only the deepest lake, but also the largest forest of Schleswig-Holstein lies in the Duchy of Lauenburg (in german). The Sachsenwald forest covers 70 square kilometres from Hamburg. Different hiking trails lead hikers through game reserves, the nature conservation area Billetal and to the Fürst Bismarck Spring.
The Wakenitz (in german), one of the most beautiful river landscapes in Schleswig-Holstein, runs along the former inner-German border. Otters and kingfishers reside in the Erlenbruch forests, The Wakenitz rises at the northern end of the Ratzeburg Lake and snakes along lots of curves across 15 kilometres towards Lübeck. In the northern part, the small river was regularly dammed from the Middle Ages to power water mills: this has resulted in a lake landscape. For paddlers, the Wakenitz is a popular excursion destination. Jungle-like shorelines, bathing spots and restaurants with jetties offer everything needed for a varied boat tour. The Wakenitz can also be explored on foot or by bike. The signposted Drägerweg trail leads close to the river bank from Rothenhusen to Lübeck.
In the mild climate of southern Schleswig-Holstein, hiking, cycling and paddling is lots of fun. Here, the wind blows less strongly than at the coasts, and it is warm in summer, but seldom hot. And even if the temperature should rise to 30 degrees, it is easy to cool down: In the land of 40 lakes, you are never far from a good spot to jump into the water.