As well as flowing through the cities of Dresden and Hamburg, the River Elbe meanders through stunning natural and cultural landscapes boasting pristine wetlands, white sandy beaches and wooded hills.
The UNESCO Elbe Riverside Biosphere Reserve has four zones stretching from Saxony-Anhalt to Schleswig-Holstein. There's the broad glacial valley with inland dunes and steeply sloping banks in the south and the Elbe Valley wetlands with gnarled trees and vast wooded areas in the north. The wildlife in the area is just as varied – cranes, wild geese, white-tailed eagles and beavers are in their element here. Holidaymakers can best explore the natural river landscape from the water on a boat trip or canoe adventure. Back on dry land, there are plenty of cycle routes and footpaths, including the 840-kilometre Elbe Cycle Route between Bad Schandau and Cuxhaven.