© Gerald Hänel / GARP

Inland Schleswig-Holstein

Nature in the Schleswig-Holstein inland takes many forms. River landscapes, swamps and moors shape the Eider-Treene-Sorge region in the north-west and the Holstein Auenland in the south. In between, you will find nature parks with forests, hills and lakes.

If you take the time to explore these landscapes, you will discover the beauty and diversity of nature in the true north. The best way to do this is on foot or by bicycle – for example on the 245 km Ochsenweg route. The well signposted long-distance cycle route leads you from Wedel on the River Elbe to Flensburg, past the Kiel Canal in Rendsburg and the 100-year-old railway bridge. In the museum of the Viking Settlement Haithabu, you can immerse yourself for several hours in the world of the Norsemen, who engaged in crafts and trade here 1,000 years ago. In the walk-in Globe House at Gottorf Castle, visitors can come close to the stars – this is happiness.

Experience the inland Schleswig-Holstein!

First time between the seas?

© Holstein Tourismus / Photocompany

A country outing in the footsteps of knights, merchants and Vikings

The Hüttener Mountains (in german) in the interior of Schleswig-Holstein rise up in grass green, lime green and pine green. If you want to try and name every shade of green, you will soon reach your limits here. Rays of sunshine and the fragrance of warm grass tickle your nose. At the side of the road, there is a bench made from raw tree trunks – the perfect place for a short rest. A picnic has rarely tasted as good the sandwich you brought along, made from farmers’ bread with Holtseer cheese, that you eat on the bench in the Hüttener mountains. In the distance, the Bistensee lake glows in a shade of blue even the cloudless sky cannot compete with.

Highlights in the interior of Schleswig-Holstein

  • The nature in the interior of Schleswig-Holstein can best be explored by bike – for example on the Ochsenweg (in german). The long-distance cycle route leads in Germany from Wedel to Flensburg, and in Demark under the name “Haervejen” further to Viborg. Farmers, knights, merchants and pilgrims used this route 200 years ago. It is worth planning breaks during you trip and to look around in the locations that lead off the path – for example in the Rosarium Uetersen (in german), where hundreds of different rose species show off their blossoms and fragrances.
  • Holidaymakers will discover living history in and around Schleswig in the museum of the old Viking settlement Haithabu. The museum and the archaeological park provide information on the history of the Vikings and the German-Danish War of 1864, a milestone in the regional history of Schleswig-Holstein. The museum Schloss Gottorf in Schleswig  (in german) shows art and archaeological findings from several centuries.
  • In Rendsburg (in german) at the Kiel Canal, the Ochsenweg leads past the 100-year-old railway bridge, beneath which the transporter bridge brings its passengers from one bank of the canal to the other.  
© Holstein Tourismus / Photocompany

Where the sow goes through the hedge

With its forests, heath and moor landscapes, the inland nature is full of secrets. On hiking or cycling tours through the nature parks in the heart of Schleswig-Holstein, you will be able to uncover them. In the centre of the region, the nature parks Hüttener Berge (in german), Westensee (in german) and Aukrug are lined up beside each other. Here, the glaciers from the last Ice Age pushed up end moraines to create a landscape of hills, inland dunes and lakes. In good weather, you can enjoy a panoramic view from the 98-metre-high Aschberg all the way to the Kiel Canal, the Eckernförde Bay and to Kiel.
 
In addition to the diverse inland landscape, active holidaymakers also love the mild climate. In midsummer, sunshine is plentiful and the sun only sets in the late evening. Temperatures only rarely climb up to 30 degrees – warm enough for a jump in the lake, but not too hot for cycling, hiking or paddling.

Wildlife and cultural landscape are close together in the true north.
They meet up at the so-called ‘Knicks’, living fences with which farmers traditionally demarcate their plots. Across 46,000 kilometres, these meter-wide hedgerows stretch across the countryside. Planted with sloes, hazel and white beech trees, they protect the fields from erosion. Thorny bushes such as blackberries and wild roses keep game and pasture animals away and at the same time offer habitats for thousands of animal species. The term ‘Knick’ (German for fold) originates from the development history: to get the hedges to grow dense quickly, farmers folded over the overhanging branches. This scenic characteristic is also anchored in the language of the Northerners: to indicate that things are hotting up, in Schleswig-Holstein they say: “The sow is going through the hedge”.

© Gerald Hänel

Fischers Fritze and the Wild West

Early in the morning, when the mist still hangs over the lakes of Schleswig-Holstein, the fishermen ready their boats. On the Schlei, on Wittensee lake, on the Kiel Canal and on the river Elbe, they then sail out with their nets and fish traps to catch perch and cod and other popular fish.

Holidaymakers travelling in the inland can get to know the tasty aspects of country life: On the fruit farms, you can pick strawberries, cherries and raspberries during the summer. The farm shops offer freshly-harvested vegetables, home-made marmalade and specialities from the dairies and smokehouses of the region. In the farm cafés, there are home-made cakes and farm ice-cream – good reasons for taking extended breaks when out and about in the land of a thousand shades of green and blue.

Culture and industrial history are blossoming in the cities of the interior region. With its 100-year-old railway bridge and transporter bridge, the garrison town of Rendsburg boasts a technical monument to engineering. Visitors to the Museum Tuch und Technick in Neumünster can get insights into an age-old craft.

Regional events and customs

And what does the inland taste like?

  • A small pickled herring is characteristic of the tradition of the Schleswig-Holstein eating culture: the Matjes. Smoked to a golden colour, marinated in red wine or prepared according to traditional home-made style with onions and apple slices in a cream sauce, the salty herring melts on your tongue. As a traditional bastion of herring fishing, Glückstadt on the Elbe dedicates a festival to the silverling.
  • A bit further east in the Elbmarschen, you will find Schleswig-Holstein’s fruit garden with orchards of apple, cherry and plum trees. Over a period of centuries, floods have made the soil in this river landscape especially fertile. The fruits taste best when picked yourself or fresh from the farm shop.
© Holstein Tourismus / Photocompany

At the birds of prey and the Vikings

You can get to know 100 indigenous animals in the Wildpark Eekholt at Segeberger Forst, and try out and experience a lot of other things while you are there – for example, how to extract honey or build a tepee. You can also discover age-old crafts in the old Viking settlement Haithabu at the Schlei. Here, visitors are given a vivid insight into Viking life. More than 1,000 years ago, Haithabu was an important trade centre of explorers and pioneers from the north. Today, you can stroll through reconstructed houses, look over the shoulders of new Vikings while shipbuilding, and marvel at archaeological findings.

Between the seas

Cruise ships travel right across the country in Schleswig-Holstein. Through the Kiel Canal, over 100 ships cross from the North Sea to the Baltic Sea and back every day. Holidaymakers can experience the trip between meadows and fields on a sailing boat or a pleasure boat, and let the towering cruise liners sail past.

Visitors to festivals in the true north can experience music ranging from Joseph Haydn’s oratorios to Devil Driver’s heavy metal. With its classical and jazz concerts, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and the Wacken Open Air Festival for fans of head-banging are among the largest and most popular events. But the cultural landscape has even more to offer: ranging from music from all genres, film, theatre, literature and contemporary art to rarities such as the Festival of Frog Choirs (in german).

Discover history and culture by bike and canoe

If you wish to explore the inland by bike, you have the choice of several cycle routes. The Ochsenweg (in german) leads along an historic north-south arterial road. The Wikinger-Friesen-Weg links St. Peter Ording at the North Sea with Kappeln at the Schlei, and on the Mönchsweg you can get from Glückstadt all the way to Fehmarn.

Canoeing tours through the river landscapes offers training for your arm muscles and recuperation for your soul. In the western inland, moors and marshes stretch out between the rivers Eider, Treene and Sorge (in german). If you take a trip with a canoe through this original three-river region, you will experience the genuine Schleswig-Holstein with its thatch-rooved houses, black-colourful cows and storks’ nests. Experienced canoeists will have lots of fun in the Holsteiner Auenland (in german). The river Stör and its tributaries flow along numerous curves through a Nordic jungle landscape. If you cross it, you have not only seen the nature of the true north, but experienced it up close and personal

Short and sweet, what else is there to do?

  • Experience Karl May classics live: Attend the Karl May Festival at the open-air theatre Bad Segeberg
  • On the safari ship on the Lower Elbe: a trip on the Tidenkieker
  • Shopping at the designer outlet Neumünster
© TA.SH / Jan-Christoph Schultchen

The Land of the Ice Age and a Bridge to Denmark

A holiday in Schleswig-Holstein? For most people, this conjures up lighthouses and the Wadden Sea, beach life and regattas. But the largest area of the holiday region in the true north lies between the North Sea and Baltic Sea – and offers a fascinating diversity. Beech forests and glacial valleys, Elbe marshes and cultural landscapes characterise the inland area of Schleswig-Holstein. It was shaped largely by the Weichsel Ice Age 20,000 years ago, when up to 600-metre-high glaciers pushed across the land. Parts of the former hill country disappeared along with the melt water; what remained are the flat and the High Geest, intersected by glacial valleys.

That’s interesting!

  • The Kiel Canal leads across the region, linking the two coasts of Schleswig-Holstein. On this canal, which is approx. 100 kilometres long, you can sail from Kiel directly to Brunsbüttel at the Elbe estuary. Some 100 cruise ships sail across the country this way every year. The canal was built 120 years ago under the reign of the German Emperors William I and William II.
  • If you travel around Schleswig-Holstein today, you will occasionally hear the Danish language being spoken, in addition to Low German and Frisian. Up until the 15th century, the Counts of Schauenburg governed the Danish principality of Schleswig and the German county of Holstein by mutual agreement. In the mid-18th century, Schleswig-Holstein became a Prussian province. Today’s country border between Germany and Denmark can be traced back to the results of a referendum at the end of the First World War. Today, approx. 50,000 Danes live in Schleswig-Holstein.
  • Many game animals live in the forests, meadows and fields of the north – including white storks and their rare relatives, the black storks. The kingfisher is at home in the river and lake landscapes. There are around 200 breeding pairs of the blue-orange feathered animals in the true north. If you are in a forest clearing or a courtyard at dusk and look towards the sky, there is a good chance you might be able to observe bats. The ultrasound air acrobats sweep silently on the hunt for mosquitoes, so quickly, that you can hardly keep track of them. 23 bat species are known in Germany; 15 of them live in Schleswig-Holstein. The Common noctule and its relatives hibernate in the Kalkberg caves in Bad Segeberg and the towers of the Levensau High Bridge at the Kiel Canal.

Discover the inland!

© TA.SH


Mittelholstein

Find out more
© Holstein-Tourismus e.V.


Holstein (in german)

Find out more
© TA.SH


Grünes Binnenland (in german)

Find out more
© Binnenland Tourismus


Neumünster (in german)

Find out more

Your local contact for requests

You have questions on the inland of Schleswig-Holstein? Contact our colleagues at 

+49 (0) 48 21 - 148 19 73