The Griese area stretches roughly between the small town of Hagenow in the north and Dömitz in the south in the Mecklenburg countryside. You will be amazed at what this area has to offer: From harsh nature with barren soils to lush moorland and lush floodplains to monuments of ducal history. "Gries", meaning gray, is guaranteed not to happen here, but colorful and multifaceted.

Country Experiences

The Elbe Valley in Mecklenburg is characterized by wide floodplains and numerous small tributaries
The Elbe valley in Mecklenburg is characterized by wide floodplains and numerous small tributaries © Sonja Biwer- Trägerverbund Burg Lenzen e.V.

Between Boizenburg and Dömitz stretches the river landscape of the Elbe in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Since 1997, it has been part of the transnational UNESCO biosphere reserve. On foot or by bike, you can immerse yourself in the unspoiled Elbe valley with its numerous tributaries, steep banks and varied vegetation. Meadows, pine forests, moors and dunes characterize the picture. The terrain is largely flat and you can cycle or hike almost effortlessly.

Renate Colell is a ranger in the Elbe River Landscape UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and herself regularly out and about by bike in "her" region - for example, on the edge of the Elbe Valley: "My favorite thing to do is go cycling in the protected field copses and forests - and ride along the many mighty, gnarled old oaks through the open cultivated landscape from Pritzier to Melkhof." A detour to Schwechow is also worthwhile: "I can also recommend a visit to the imposing, legendary "court oak" near Schwechow. In times past, people held their "courts" there. In the meantime, the tree, which is around 500 years old, is a remarkable natural monument."

The inland dune Klein Schmölen is one of the few natural elevations in the Elbe valley floodplains
The inland dune Klein Schmölen is one of the few natural elevations in the Elbe floodplains © Biosphärenreservatsamt Schaalsee-Elbe_F_Nessler

The special charm of the landscape are also characterized by their contrasts: Not far from the green river meadows are dry inland dunes - for example, near Klein Schmölen. There, the dunes rise to a height of around 42 meters and offer impressive views through the lowlands all the way back to the Elbe. If you hike through the dunes on one of the designated trails, you will not only discover an extremely diverse plant life and an important habitat for rare species of birds and insects. You can also boast of having explored the largest inland walking dune in Europe! If you want to learn even more about the geological features, join one of the guided tours.

Are you out and about on a warm day? Then a hike through the Bekow landscape conservation area, which borders Hagenow's old town to the north, is recommended. The small Schmaar River flows through this varied stretch of land, which is pleasantly shady and cool with its mixed deciduous forests and wet meadows. And Hagenow's natural swimming pool is an additional invitation to cool off.

For children and teenagers, who want to spend a carefree, sporty and active time in the biosphere reserve, the Griese area near Lübtheen has a special place in store: Beaver "Jesse" Tours offers a modern youth hotel with all kinds of facilities for sports and fun and the opportunity to explore nature on canoe or bike tours, for example. There are also vacation camps with pedagogical supervision here.

City Discoveries

Embedded in the fascinating nature of the Griesen area lies not only Ludwigslust with the famous baroque castle, but also some pretty towns with their very own characters.

The small town of Hagenow is considered a prime example of a Mecklenburg country town. During a leisurely stroll through the streets and alleys, new perspectives of lovingly restored half-timbered houses, courtyards and gardens will open up to you. The market place with its fountain is the central meeting point and puts you in the middle of Mecklenburg country life. If you want to learn more about how people lived and worked in Hagenow, you can trace the history of the town in the Museum for Everyday Culture of the Griesen Region at the foot of the town church. By the way: Hagenow is also the starting point and destination of a 70-kilometer-long themed cycle route that leads to interesting sacral and church buildings in the Griesen Gegend.

Where the great Elbe and the small river Elde meet, lies the fortified town of Dömitz. Like a bulwark, the brick fortress overlooks the surrounding area from the right bank of the Elbe. It is laid out in a pentagonal shape with impressive bastions and casemates. The arsenal, main guardhouse and commandant's house provide a fascinating insight into the architecture of the historic defensive fortifications. Here you can marvel at a gate with a real drawbridge, visit the information center of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve River Landscape Elbe Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania as well as changing exhibitions. If you want to explore the pretty old town of Dömitz, you can join a city tour - or get into a paddle boat and discover the town from the water.

The largest collection of flour sacks in the world awaits you in the MehlWelten Wittenburg
The largest collection of flour sacks in the world awaits you at MehlWelten Wittenburg © TVMSN

Those who love winter sports, is at the right address in Wittenburg: Yes, even in the North German Plain you can experience a piece of the mountain world - thanks to the Alpine Center Hamburg-Wittenburg. The snow park offers slopes of all levels of difficulty all year round, plus restaurants and a hotel. But if you only visit the indoor ski center, you're missing out: because the town of Wittenburg, with its historic town hall, fortifications, a Dutch windmill worth seeing and the church of St. Bartholomew, is also definitely worth a visit. The carefully restored district court building houses an exhibition that is unique and informative worldwide: In the FlourWorlds, everything revolves around one of the most important staple foods of mankind.

Almost still an insider tip are the city of Lübtheen and its surroundings: In the "Lindenstadt" there are pretty old manor houses and town houses to see; in the sexton's house, built in 1812, there is the museum of local history with numerous exhibits on the history of the place and its influence through mining and agriculture, which have been put together with much love and care. Nature lovers are drawn to the Probst Jesar forest baths, located east of town, where the large bathing lake with diving tower, sports lanes and non-swimmer area offers fun for big and small water fans.

The Ludwigslust Castle Park is certainly one of the most beautiful green spaces in the whole of northern Germany. Between flower gardens and enchanting water features, you can visit two mausoleums, a neo-Gothic church, various monuments and, of course, the baroque castle itself. To accompany the tour, there is a free app with an audio guide that also includes audio stories for children.

Animal encounters

Would you like a bit of adventure? How about encounters of the animal kind that are not exactly everyday? You can be sure: There's hardly any activity that makes it as easy to switch off and relax as spending time with animals. Which four-legged friends you can get close to in the Griesen area, you can find out here.

Aurochs in the Mecklenburg landscape? Yes, they do exist - and during a visit to the Vielanker Brauhaus you can even see these impressive animals up close. The brewery's own herd of almost 200 animals lives here on a pasture all year round; as part of the one-hour aurochs safari, you can learn a lot about the animals and meet them directly in the pasture.

The Birkenkamp farm has a heart for alpacas between Hagenow and Ludwigslust. The strong-character animals find a safe and species-appropriate home in the local herd - and you can look forward to very special, perhaps also a little headstrong company for a hike through the surrounding heath landscape after registration. In addition to the guided walks, there is another highlight: between May and September, the hosts invite you once a month to tea time with alpacas. Then there is traditional British Afternoon Tea on the farm between the free-ranging animals. A farm store and a creative workshop are also part of Birkenkamp Farm.

The state stud farm in Redefin is very popular with horse fans. is known throughout Germany and offers equestrian sports and breeding at the highest level. As a visitor, you will gain unique insights here. Even those who have had little contact with the proud four-legged friends cannot escape the fascination of horses at events such as the stallion parades or the Redefiner Pferdetage (Redefin Horse Days) against a beautiful backdrop.

Recreational riders can enjoy their hobby The Texas MV vacation and wellness resort also offers a wide range of activities, including riding lessons, which are just one of countless leisure activities on offer. The spacious resort with apartments, vacation homes and mobile home sites is especially popular with families. Whether wellness in sauna and swimming pool, beach enjoyment at the lake with pedal boat rental or sporty moments with beach volleyball, on the bike or archery: If you like it active and sociable, you will certainly find your personal vacation happiness here in the middle of one of the most beautiful landscapes of Mecklenburg.

Cover photo: Heathlands, meadows, pine forests and sandy soils characterize the Griese area © Tourismusverband Mecklenburg-Schwerin

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