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Dove Elbe—Lonesome Bays and Urban River Bathing

We set out to explore Dove Elbe, the river’s largest tributary in Hamburg.

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Dove Elbe

Car 30 min.
Hamburg city centre 21 km
Hamburg Edition p. 168

We start our car behind Hamburg Central Station and head eastwards: Today’s destination is Dove Elbe—a tributary of Elbe River, 18 km southeast of Hamburg, not far from Geesthacht. Dove Elbe flows into the Norderelbe near Moorfleet.

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After a 30-minute drive, we arrive at the car park at Eichbaumsee. This expansive lake is known for its fine sandy beach, which runs parallel to the tributary. Unfortunately, swimming isn’t currently permitted in the lake’s waters. Nevertheless, the sight of glittering waves and pale sand evoke the joys of summer. Eichbaumsee borders on a string of far-reaching meadows that are beginning to bloom. Snack bars disguised as grassy hills melt into the surrounding landscape perfectly.

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Heading south along the path, we catch a glimpse of the river in the distance: A series of piers, currently only utilised by flocks of ducks, leads from the grassy riverbank into the flowing waters. As the weather gets warmer, these banks will once again begin to come alive with bustling sun-seekers, paddlers and bathers. Despite its popularity, however, it never feels overcrowded here. The soft chitter-chatter of city dwellers blends perfectly with the calm breeze that regularly sweeps through the trees. Experience urban relaxation and river bathing at their finest on Dove Elbe’s banks.

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Die Reit Nature Reserve

Hamburg Edition p. 168

Before bathing season lures us back into the water, we’re eager to take advantage of some of the sunny spring days to explore new trails away from our beloved bathing spots. After walking in a large loop just south of the Moorfleeter dike, we continue a little further, past a series of crooked, old houses to reach Dove Elbe’s southern side. This is where Die Reit Nature Reserve begins (you may have noticed it previously from the bathing spot on the northern side). Due to the high density of amphibians that occupy this area, from 1 February onwards, the path is closed to motor vehicles. We use the opportunity to take in the views from the elevated part of the dike as we approach woodland on foot.

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At first glance, the forest may appear somewhat inconspicuous. Upon entering into its embrace, the landscape quickly develops into a maze of narrow paths that criss-cross through the marshes, mossy underground and stunted trees, creating a string of miniature ecosystems. We recommend really taking the time to explore this pristine woodland.

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Tatenberger Bucht

Hamburg Edition p. 168

Having gathered a boatload of impressions on our day trip, we’re eager to treat ourselves to a well-deserved end-of-day picnic. We hop back into the car and drive the short distance to Tatenberger Bucht—the views of Dove Elbe from this bay are simply too beautiful to resist. Standing on the old dike, the shoreline stretches before our feet and extends into a lush, green lawn. A series of islands and peninsulas add a unique touch of character to these stunning waters. The river’s scenic bay almost fools us into believing we’ve arrived on the shore of a Scandinavian lake. 

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We spread out our blanket and can’t believe the only ones we have to share this view with are a family of geese at the other end of the bay. 


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