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The state capital of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has it all. Forests, castles and above all: lots of water! Here are 10 places you should definitely visit on your trip to Schwerin - whether you prefer to go on foot, by bike or by kayak..


Built close to the water - exploring Schwerin's lakes

The jetty at Lake Neumühl promises tranquility © Timm Allrich
Autumn atmosphere at Lake Neumühl - the elongated body of water is located in the west of the Schwerin city area © Timm Allrich

Schwerin is also called the city of seven lakes and forests. In fact, there are twelve lakes surrounding the state capital. If you don't feel like walking through the city on foot, you can easily explore Schwerin from the water and get to know the bay-rich lake landscape at the same time. Adventurous people go on vacation on a raft and race with sailboats. From the water, you not only have a view of Schwerin's sights, but also experience nature up close: past protected shore regions, the path leads across the water to almost untouched islands. By the way, Schwerin's water landscape is a bird sanctuary. If you are lucky, you can see rare birds, such as the white-tailed eagle, which also breeds there. By the way, a rafting vacation is much more comfortable than in the rafting days. Up to six people can sit comfortably under the roof, and sun worshippers can spread out their towel on the expansive deck. 

Instead of the raft, paddling enthusiasts can also make their way across the lake landscape by canoe or kayak. Marked water routes lead in a two- to three-day tour from Banzkow over the Stör with its idyllic shore to Schwerin Lake, incidentally the fourth largest inland body of water in Germany. Those who prefer it short and crisp can get a stand-up paddling board and use it to explore the widely ramified water veins. 


Solitude on Schwerin's headland Adebors Näs

Especially when rain clouds are gathering, the view of Schwerin's Inner Lake from Adebörs Näs is reminiscent of paintings by the German Romantics © Tobias Tro
Especially when rain clouds are gathering, the view of Schwerin's Inner Lake from Adebors Näs is reminiscent of paintings by the German Romantics © Tobias Tro

The Adebors Näs headland on Franzosenweg is a real gem. The disused Storchenschnabel bathing area, as the headland is called in high German, is no longer frequented by guests. Instead of towels laid close together, a long wooden footbridge leads in an L-shape to the shallow shore of Schwerin's inner lake. In the distance, you can see Schwerin Castle and the cathedral. Otherwise, water as far as the eye can see.

Incidentally, there is no record of why the headland was christened Storchenschnabel. Possibly the feeding place for storks, which is located on the opposite island Kaninchenwerder, is the name giver for the headland. Perhaps the headland is also reminiscent of the shape of a stork's beak. However, this requires a lot of imagination. At least it can be given free rein at this secluded spot.


Strolling along the French Way

On the way on the Franzosenweg, Schwerin's most beautiful street © Stadtmarketing GmbH Schwerin, Catharina Groth

The thought of asphalt roads rarely evokes vacation cheer. This is not the case with the Franzosenweg, which is rightly considered the most beautiful road in Schwerin. The Franzosenweg is only four kilometers long, but it still has plenty of highlights. It begins at the rowing house with a view of Schwerin's inner lake and the small castle island, which lies between Schwerin's old town and the district of Ostorf, through which the Franzosenweg winds in large curves. The Grand Ducal Kitchen Garden is located opposite the Rowing House - southern fruits are said to have grown here even in ducal times. The Schlossbucht Café invites you to take a first break, with homemade cakes made from regional products. Before Zippendorf with its sandy beach and promenade finally awaits at the eastern end, things get metropolitan: noble city villas line the southern shore of Schwerin Lake. Those who prefer to be close to nature can listen to the gentle waves of Lake Karausche or rest on the long wooden jetty that juts out from the headland of Adebors Näs to the shore of Schwerin's inner lake. By the way, Schwerin's flagship street is called Franzosenweg because in 1870/71 French prisoners had to build the section of path from the Kalkwerder baths to Schloßgartenallee along the shore path.


Hiking on the island of Kaninchenwerder

Not seeing the forest for the trees: On Kaninchenwerder, the vegetation is sometimes so dense that you can't see the observation tower until you're standing right in front of it © Luca Jaenichen
Not seeing the forest for the trees: On Kaninchenwerder, the vegetation is sometimes so dense that you can't see the observation tower until you're standing right in front of it © Luca Jaenichen

Small but mighty is Kaninchenwerder, an island in Schwerin's inner lake, where things are pristine. After all, the island is a nature reserve and bird sanctuary that is not used for forestry. The forests are untouched, and crossing them is sometimes impassable. If you are lucky, you will find traces of long-gone civilization on your hike through dense vegetation. At the very least, finds such as arrowheads and the stool tomb bear witness to prehistoric settlement on the island. Today, things are rather quiet on Kaninchenwerder. All the more undisturbed feel animals such as rare otters, which you can watch from time to time while bathing. If you want to spend more than one day on Kaninchenwerder, just bring your own tent and spend the night on the campground not far from the shore. 


Get a taste of the countryside at the Medewege organic farm

In the former horse stable of the organic farm Medewege cozy vacation apartments are waiting for you © Hof Medewege

It must have looked like this, or something similar, in Astrid Lindgren's imagination when she wrote her popular book The Children of Büllerbü. On the outskirts of Schwerin near Lake Medewege lies the quiet organic farm Medewege, which is open to visitors. The farm attracts visitors not only with its idyllic location, but also with tasty treats and lots of interesting information about organic farming methods. The local farms produce everything from cheese to honey themselves. You should definitely try the home-baked organic bread in the mill bakery. Those interested can also learn how the finished flour is ground from grain in the mill. Those who want to learn more about the organic farming of the farm after a snack can take part in guided tours of the farm. 

The manor house, built in 1829, is reminiscent of the old days when maids and farmhands worked the fields in the service of the estate family. Today, in addition to organic farmers, it attracts artists in particular, who display their art on the farm. To enjoy the farm feeling to the fullest, an overnight stay at the organic farm is worthwhile.


Bike tour to Wiligrad Castle

Surrounded by forest and not far from Lake Schwerin lies Wiligrad Palace © State Palaces, Gardens and Art Collections
Surrounded by forest and not far from Lake Schwerin lies Wiligrad Palace © State Palaces, Gardens and Art Collections

Explore the Schwerin lake landscape on foot or by bike. For example, on the Blue Eight bike tour, which covers a total of 65 kilometers around Schwerin's outer and inner lakes. If you run out of breath in between, you can refresh yourself at the numerous bathing spots on Schwerin's lakes. Fresh fish is available at the Fischereihof Prignitz, and from the Schwedenschanze you can enjoy the view over lakes and forests. A special highlight: Wiligrad Castle, built in the neo-Renaissance style at the end of the 19th century. The castle on the steep shore of Lake Schwerin is a popular destination for hikers and walkers. The path leads over hills and through dense forest, which eventually merges into the castle's park. Homemade cakes are served in the café of the court nursery, which is also popular with locals. From there, it's back to Schwerin via bike paths and hiking trails.


Folklore with a difference

Feel the past on a tour through the open-air museum Mueß © Luftbildcrew Hamburg
Feel the past on a tour through the open-air museum Mueß © Luftbildcrew Hamburg

Butter churning, scything, flachsening - if you go to the Open Air Museum of Folklore, you will get up close and personal with the past of the rural population of Mecklenburg. The museum is located on the southern shore of Lake Schwerin in the historic village center of Mueß, which was once home mainly to fishermen and farmers. The tour through the village leads through old farmhouses and handicraft houses, which are a true treasure trove of Mecklenburg folk culture: In addition to traditional costumes and jewelry, old household and handicraft items are on display here. An architectural feature is the farmhouse from the 17th century. Next to it are the old village school and the historic Büdnerei, a small rural property where man and farm animals typically lived under one roof. Have you ever wanted to know how cheese is traditionally made? Or how the effects of ancient medicinal herbs unfold? The exhibitions in the museum-like buildings invite especially children and young people to participate and try. Those who prefer a more cultural experience can watch a theater performance - in Low German, of course! From the village center, the route continues to the surrounding orchard meadows, which nicely embed the Mueß Village Museum. Since the bee trail was laid out around the sheep pasture, twelve bee colonies have made their home there. On the tour, interested visitors learn about the history of beekeeping in Mecklenburg, which is a true cultural asset.


Castle and castle garden

At sunrise, the fountain in Schlossgarten is particularly beautiful © Rex Schober
At sunrise, the fountain in the castle garden is particularly beautiful © Rex Schober

Cross canal, greenhouse garden and sculptures of Greek gods - art meets nature in the palace and castle gardens around Schwerin Castle. The palace, which was transformed from a castle into an imposing Renaissance palace in the 16th century, is an eye-catcher even without its park, but a walk through the gardens is not to be missed. 

Cascades of lawns and pergolas are an invitation to take a stroll. Hungry visitors will find dishes from Mediterranean cuisine in the castle pavilion. From the palace garden, which was built on the French model, the tour continues to the castle garden, which was laid out as an English country garden. Cultivated gardens and the Greenhouse Garden extend to the lakeshore area. Just in time for high tea, there are home-baked cakes in the Orangery, where citrus trees bloom even in winter. Another highlight: the grotto on the lakeshore. If you'd rather be on it than in it, climb up to the artificial rock formation and look out over the lake from there. 


Bathing on the peninsula Reppin

Bathing fun below the Reppin castle © Rex Schober
Bathing fun below the Reppin castle © Rex Schober

City, country, castle: If the bathing area on the outskirts of Zippendorf is too crowded for you, you can hike or bike from there to the unspoiled bathing beach on the Reppin peninsula. The approximately ten-kilometer route leads along the Zippendorf promenade along forest paths along the lakeshore to rural Mueß. The bathing area lies at the foot of Reppin Castle, an artificial castle ruin built at the beginning of the last century as a lookout point. Kitschy? Maybe, but the view of Lake Schwerin and the islands Kaninchenwerder and Ziegelwerder is worth it anyway! The ice cream from the Mueß ice cream factory tastes good not only in summer temperatures. If you prefer something heartier, stop by the Mueßer Hof, whose menu includes local fish and other regional dishes. 


Historical grinding mill

Grinding mill with historical water wheel © Stadtgeschichts- und Museumsverein Schwerin
Grinding mill with historical water wheel © Stadtgeschichts- und Museumsverein Schwerin

The lazy lake between Ostorf and Gartenstadt bears its name with good reason. After all, the wheel of the grinding mill has been turning on its shore for three hundred years. Its history can be relived in the museum-like mill, where the water wheel tirelessly cuts and grinds natural stones for demonstration purposes. The mill museum tells about the history of the origin of the place, which is part of the residence ensemble. When the mill opens its chutes and the gears start grinding, you can hear it groaning and rattling in its woodwork. This is how the craftsmen must have heard it, who in ducal times made jewelry out of iron and elaborately crafted floors out of stone. By the way: The name "Fauler See" (lazy lake) goes back to the word "Füllen" (foal, young horse) and refers to the former horse breeding on the shores of the lake.

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