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The Elbe and its surrounding meadows form an extensive and varied riverscape all the way from the river's source in the Czech Republic to where it flows into the North Sea. The Lower Saxony Elbe Valley Biosphere Reserve and the Elbhöhen-Wendland Nature Park provide protection for an extraordinary biotope.
Here, where for decades the river separated East and West Germany, nature flourished within the seclusion of the former border zone. Today, this mix of richly diverse nature and recent history creates an unforgettable travel experience. Criss-crossed by the Elbe’s tributaries, these marshland areas with their natural embankments and cut-off river branches form natural flood plains that protect the surrounding towns and villages. The ancient forests and heathland are home to species that are only found here, including the Elbe cocklebur plant, the Elbe true grass and the Elbe beaver.
Eco-education for the whole family
With the help of a nature guide, kids have the chance to see storks in their nests, watch fish under the water and catch a glimpse of a beaver in its lodge. For a more hands-on activity, ‘art in nature’ invites children to create biodegradable artworks, such as faces in tree stumps or elaborate patterns made using natural materials like leaves, fruits and grasses. The eco-educational programme ‘nature for the senses’ provides a multi-sensory experience, in which you feel plants and other natural materials with your hands and feet, listen out for the sounds of the countryside, discover natural objects through smell and observe closely with your eyes.
Wendland: land of horses
Man and horse at one with nature. Riding is a great way to get to know the region and its people – whether with the kids at the pony centre or taking a lesson in jumping, western or dressage. Go trekking or enjoy a leisurely ride in a covered wagon, and stop at various places en route to enjoy mouthwatering dishes made using local ingredients.
Where customs live on
Hardly a week goes by in the region without a huge celebration of some kind. There are the markets for the major religious holidays, the Heather Festival on Nemitz Heath, ‘asparagus Sunday’ in Lüchow, the solstice festival and the dragonboat festival in Gartow or the Vörgodendeelsdag in Schnega, a historical rye harvest festival.
A spring of culture in the Wendland region
Between April and June, more than 600 artists and artisans showcase their work as part of the ‘Wunde.r.punkte’ season. Paintings and sculptures in former farmhouses, theatre and live music in disused barns, arts and crafts and organic food in old farmyards. Often you can see the artists at work: watch as sculptors carve out wood and blacksmiths hammer red-hot iron into shape. A former cowshed even provides the catwalk for a special fashion show.