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Mecklenburg Lake District: Canoeing on the Peenekanal

You don’t have to drive all the way to the sea for a vacation on the water! The Mecklenburg Lake District, with its protected areas, covers nearly 700 square kilometres. Discover the beauty of this district on a canoe trip.

by Corinna Schlun

Dragon boat © Malchiner Kanu-Club e.V.
Dragon boat . © Malchiner Kanu-Club e.V.

State: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Ideal destination for students in: Greifswald and Rostock
Ticket: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern-Ticket or weekend-ticket

About the region

The Mecklenburg Lake District extends over large parts of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and is home to a great diversity of plant and wildlife. Compared to the Baltic Sea resorts, this region is still a best-kept secret for tourists, and many of its rural areas are under environmental protection. In particular, so-called Mecklenburg Switzerland, an area located in the central part of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, stands out for its beautiful landscapes, lakes and traditional villages. At the northern edge of the Lake District, you find the town of Malchin, which is situated along the Peenekanal between Lake Kummerow and Lake Malchin. 

Getting there

From Greifswald, it takes about 2.5 hours to get to Malchin. Start by taking the Regionalbahn train heading toward Berlin. After about an hour’s train ride, you’ll reach Pasewalk, where you’ll have to transfer to the Regionalbahn train bound for Lübeck Hauptbahnhof, which will take you directly to Malchin.

St. Johanniskirche in Malchin © Schlun/DAAD
St. Johanniskirche in Malchin . © Schlun/DAAD

From Rostock, it also takes about 2.5 hours to get to Malchin. Start by taking the S2 train bound for Güstrow. At the terminal stop, transfer to the Regionalbahn train heading for Szczecin Glowny, which will take you directly to Malchin.

Mecklenburg Switzerland - idyllic and tranquil

Tucked away in a picturesque natural setting, the town of Malchin has a historic town centre featuring old brick buildings from the Gothic era, such as the town hall and the Sankt Johanniskirche church. The old defence walls and the Fangenturm tower have also been preserved.

After having a look around town, you can start your canoe trip to Lake Kummerow. Rafts and canoes can be rented at very affordable prices from the town’s canoe association, the Malchiner Kanu-Club. To get to the association from the town centre, head to Fangenturm. From there, you’ll be able to see the canoe association, and the Peenekanal, just across the street. Canoes can be rented out by a minimum of two people. Of course, the more people that go, the merrier! The association staff will provide a brief introduction, explaining how to paddle and steer.

Lake Kumerow © Schlun/DAAD
Lake Kumerow . © Schlun/DAAD

If you’ve never been in a canoe, you might be wobbling a bit at first! But you and your mate(s) will soon figure out how to synchronize your movements and glide right along. Wearing comfortable clothing is recommended, and bringing a change of clothes never hurts! Make sure to use plenty of sunscreen, because sunburns can happen very quickly with the sun reflecting off the water. Wear a cap or a head scarf for additional protection.

From the point of departure on the Peenekanal, beginner canoeists can reach Lake Kummerow within two hours. The route is easy to follow, with no junctions along the way. While paddling, enjoy the scenery on the shores, where deer and wild boar can often be spotted. Once you’ve reached the lake, the town of Kummerow lies to the east, on your right. At this point, you’ll probably want to paddle to shore and take a well-deserved break. The lake has many tranquil spots and open grassy areas. You can take a swim, or if you miss boating already, you can even rent a paddle boat and head back out on the water.

My opinion

I study in Greifswald and I love going to the Mecklenburg Lake District. It has a calm and tranquil atmosphere—great for unwinding from the daily grind of school and student life. Bringing a book you can relax at the beach and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere!

There’s no need to pack a lunch. A snack bar right on the shore offers local freshwater fish, such as eel and pike, as well as fish from the ocean. The simple Fischbrötchen (fish sandwich) is an absolute must-try and costs just three euros.

Once you’re refreshed and revitalised, you can embark on your return journey to Malchin. Plan ahead to make sure you arrive in Malchin before the sun goes down. Ideally, you should discuss the return of your canoe with the canoe association before your departure. For an extra fee, they will also pick up your canoe at the lake shore.

“At first, I wasn’t that excited about a canoe ride on a river, but it turned out to be really great. We saw some beautiful scenery that we would have missed on the bus. And if the weather is nice, you can even get a tan!” said Maria, an exchange student from Moscow, after her first canoe trip on the Peenekanal. “I definitely want to come back, that’s for sure.”

Other options

You can also consider going by bike. There are no bicycle rentals available, so you’ll have to bring your own. The route is only about ten kilometres long and takes about 40 minutes. Green signs show the way. For a long stretch of the route, you’ll be cycling along the Peenekanal. Later, you’ll be riding mostly through open grassy areas, interspersed with trees on both sides of the path.

Bicycle track at the Peenekanal © Schlun/DAAD
Bicycle track at the Peenekanal . © Schlun/DAAD

Conclusion

The Mecklenburg Lake District is the next-best thing to the seaside and is well worth the trip!

Important tips

To take your bicycle on the train, you’ll need to pay an additional fee!

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