Prepare to slowly spread your wings like a migratory bird and find a peaceful spot where you can relax at the Elbe Riverside Biosphere Reserve between Hamburg and Berlin. Geese, whooper swans, cranes and other migratory birds are known to stop off in the region for a rest, making it a Mecca for birdwatchers. Did you know, for example, that it boasts the highest population of white storks in Germany during the summer months?
And who can blame the storks for returning to the vast natural stretches at the Elbe Riverside Biosphere Reserve every spring and spending the summer by the river? The area also welcomes swathes of tourists who join the keen birdwatchers keeping a lookout in the floodplain forests, marshes, sandy river banks and inland dunes. They come to explore the vast open landscape, dotted with old castles and palaces, and marvel at the cultural diversity on show in the local area. The region is a popular destination all year round. Although we can see why the storks love it here – the long summer evenings are truly spectacular.
Travel to the biosphere reserve in true comfort by hopping on board a Deutsche Bahn train coming via Berlin and Wittenberge or Hamburg and Boizenburg (Elbe). If you're travelling from the south of Germany, you'll probably find it easiest to arrive via Lüneburg and Hitzacker (Elbe).
You can find the best train route here or on the DB Navigator app.
Top tip: Make sure you enter your exact starting and finishing points when searching for a route.
For example: Stephensonstrasse 1, Frankfurt am Main to Othmar-Weis-Strasse 1, 82487 Oberammergau .
You can also find international super saver fares on the Deutsche Bahn website.
Getting around the local area
You can explore the area surrounding the Elbe River with ease by bike or on foot thanks to the excellent network of cycle paths. Exceptional cycling tours are a great way of getting close to nature along the banks of the Elbe River and in the small local communities. Buses run from the train stations to a range of destinations within the biosphere reserve (some of the buses only run when you call to request them).
Black Forest National Park and
The two nature parks in the Black Forest promise unforgettable experiences surrounded by nature and a stunning cultural landscape. The national park is a little bit on the wilder side, with perfectly intact habitats that provide undisrupted homes for native flora and fauna.
Thuringian Forest Biosphere Reserve and
The oldest and best-known hiking trail in Germany, the Rennsteig, covers almost 170 km through the region in the centre of Germany, linking the Thuringian Forest Nature Parks and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It sure does pay to be well connected!