The Elbe's river landscape is described as a true natural paradise. However, the wonderful river scenery witnessed history's dark side, too. For a long time, the Elbe was part of the inhumane inner-German border. However, river don't just divide, they connect, too. That's why the Borderland tour guides you through three states: Brandenburg, Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt.
You start your journey in Wittenberge on the Elberadweg heading West to Cumlosen. Right on the embankment near the village there is an sign informing you that this is one of the 23 “Haltepunkte Natur” (nature stop). Here, where the Elbe takes a wide winding turn towards the former inner-German border, you will find the gallery forest Cumlosen. A gangplank smoothes the way into primival forest-like surroundings. A couple of kilometres further you reach Lütkenwisch. This place fell victim to the demarcation due to its close location to the Elbe. Thus, the village ended up being in the especially well guarded, 500 metres border strip which could only be entered by pass holders. Many inhabitants left their homes because of this and their houses were demolished. Today, the village shines like new, and a cozy little café with homemade cakes invites you to take a break before it sounds, “Ferryman!”
The ferry takes you to the Lower-Saxony side of the river, to Schnackenburg. The smallest town in the state lies where rivers Aland and Elbe meet, and—during Germany's division—was the fleck of earth of the FRG that stuck out furthest into the GDR with an important customs port. Today, the borderland museum tells this (hi-)story. Alternatively, you can go high up: the harbour tower is one of the highest towers of the region, and from its top observation deck you have a beautiful panoramic view of the riverscape and the trijunction. From Schnackenburg you cycle on top of the Aland's embankment and enjoy an impressive view over the Aland-Elbe-flood plains. Along this part of the route, the path crosses the former “Grüne Grenze” (green border) of Germany's division, which you can recognize by the remaining GDR border column.
You're now in Saxony-Anhalt und cycle towards a special place which only exists as a landmark: Stresow, the village that had to give way to the demarcation. After the citizens have been driven out and away for decades, the village and its 15 farms and one restaurant was evicted in one final, dramatic sweep before the buildings were levelled. Today, informational boards remember the village's moving history. On your way to Stresow, enjoy the wide landscape: from the observation deck on the embankment the view shows the Wrechow polder with its great variety of water birds. The picturesque location of the quarry pond on the opposite side draws an idyllic image of the kind of place Stresow used to be. Follow the Aland upstream on the embankment and cross the Seege-Aland-bridge works, which were built for flood defence, and you arrive in Wanzer. Even from far away, the silhouette of the restored and functioning post pill catches the eye. Comfortable resting areas invite you to take a break and relax.
Mill - flour - baking … thought the millers and built a bakehouse with a big historical wood-fired oven in the open space in front of the church a few years ago. On many sundays and holidays from May till October, they bake bread and cake and sell it straight from the oven. The Aland embankment leads you further through the village and then along the river through the beautiful landscape all the way to Pollitz. You only pass this place on your way to the newly constructed Aland bridge which rises with an elegant bow high above the river. Enjoy the impressions of the riverscape before you make your way to the Elbe.
You reach the river in the Elbe and stork village Wahrenberg. Indulge in a walk around the village and marvel at the numerous stork nests and great old farms of the once—due to the ferry deck—important village. Your walk leads you to the Elbe enbankment. Definitely pay a visit to the old ferryman's house which now holds an idyllic café.
Follow the Elbe enbankment upstream until you get to Eickerhöfe (a district of Losenrade) where you cycle the cobblestone path towards the Elbe bridge. During GDR times, Trabants where queuing here to alternately cross the bridge on trains to get to the Brandenburg side of the Elbe. Crossing the bridge, you first pass the flood plains which allows the river room during floods, and otherwise creates a beautiful picture with many little puddles and grasslands. After passing the Elbe, you return to the starting point of the tour where you can enjoy the rest of the day with a nice dinner in one of the restaurants along the Elbe promenade in Wittenberge. The diverse industrial culture of the Elbe town, which invites you to explore it further, catches the eye before you even cross the river.