Canoeists on Great Plön Lake photographed from the water
Canoeing ©S. Koschinski
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Holstein Switzerland Nature Park – active pursuits in the great outdoors

In the eastern part of Schleswig-Holstein, you can enjoy the hilly lakeland scenery on foot, by bike, by boat or on horseback – and then unwind in the picturesque towns and villages.

The nature park centre in Plön provides information on the unspoilt natural areas in the region. The rich and varied landscape of the Holstein Switzerland Nature Park was formed during the ice age. Many of the lakes here are certified conservation areas and important breeding and resting places for numerous waterfowl such as great crested grebes and coots. A circular tour through the Heidmoor conservation area near Seedorf can provide a fascinating insight into the world of the corncrake and other grassland birds. The best place to encounter Germany's national bird, the white-tailed eagle, is Rathjensdorf, where a manned bird-watching station is open to the public from March to July. At the heart of Bad Segeberg is Kalkberg hill, whose rocky crags serve as an impressive backdrop for the Karl May Festival. The cave system underneath the hill is home to over 20,000 bats. If you want to learn more about their fascinating underground existence, you can pay a visit to the cave and the Noctalis bat centre.

The Schwentine is the longest river in the Holstein Switzerland Nature Park. It wends its way through the countryside for 63km from its source at Bungsberg hill to Kiel. From Eutin you can explore the river in a canoe. A succession of lakes and sections of the river offer plenty of variety here. The palatial residences in Plön and Eutin can also be accessed from the water. If you prefer to walk or cycle, you'll find a network of signposted trails.

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