800 years ago the town of Lauenburg (Elbe) was just a small fishing village in the southern most part of Schleswig-Holstein (and once belonged to King George of Great Britain). If you stand on the banks of the River Elbe and look south, what you’ll actually see is northern Lower Saxony.
Actually, for the most amazing view it’s worth the effort to climb up to the old Lauenburger Schloss. The view of the town, the river, and the surrounding region will render you completely speechless. If it doesn’t, you’re one tough cookie. ;-)
The castle today acts as a city administration building but, the oldest part of the Schloss (including its tower) dates back to around 1477.
Another oldie but goodie is the Prince Garden & Grotto. The garden part was created back in 1590 by Duke Franz II and changed to a Baroque style with exotic plants in 1656 by a guy named Duke Julius. This park is just so amazingly pretty, you gotta hand it the guy — he had really good taste.
Follow the Elbestraße to the most historical part of town, as well. You’ll pass many half timbered buildings that date from the 16th through 19th centuries; including the oldest house in all of Lauenburg. Mensing House officially dates to 1573, but there’s a date of 1513 carved on a beam over the front door.
Also on the Elbestraße is the Elbschiffahrtsmuseum; a museum totally dedicated to the town’s sailing and navigation history. Which might also explain the symbolic “Rufer” on the Ruferplatz. Once a fortnight (from May to September) the 100 year old steamship Emperor Wilhelm takes a ride out on the river. Consider yourself mighty lucky if you get a chance to take a ride out on the ship.
Still, nothing in Lauenburg is as old as the Maria Magdalenen Church. Although it might have been built back in 1227, most of the church’s artwork comes from the 17th century.
As if walking around town on the Elbestraße isn’t enough, follow the Elbwanderweg for a 4 km trek around the River Elbe. The view here is certainly impressive as well; just like the entire town itself.
Now you’re quite happy that I’m not speechless, aren’t you? ;-)