The many-sided panorama of the Elbe valley with its rich diversity of animal and plant life provides the ideal basis for a nature-lover’s holiday. This is ‘green tourism’ at its best, and the best way to enjoy it is on foot, by bicycle or on horseback.
In order to exploit the potential of tourism as an economic factor in the biosphere reserve there is a need to improve the relevant infrastructure. This includes not only the provision of sufficient accommodation and space for campers, but also an attractive range of leisure pursuits accompanied by good quality restaurants, cafés etc.
Activities such as angling, swimming, riding, canoeing, birdwatching and boating all affect the most sensitive areas of the reserve which are in need of most protection. For this reason, the biosphere reserve administration takes part in the process of drafting plans to achieve the kind of tourism which respects and sustains the countryside and its inhabitants.
The visible signs of these efforts are to be found in the official information centres, with a main office in the ‘ElbSchloss’ (‘Elbe Castle’) in Bleckede and four branch offices in Neuhaus, Preten, Dannenberg and Gartow. These information bureaux play important roles in communicating the aims of sustainable tourism. Visitors can avail themselves of the wide range of tours and trips led by qualified guides who are uniquely able to reveal the region’s special characteristics and qualities.
The range of leisure activities has been extended and improved through various publicly funded development projects. These include the Elbe Cycleway, which has gained the status of being Germany’s most popular long-distance cycleway.
The state funded programmes ‘Natur erleben’ (‘Experience Nature’) and ‘Nachhaltige Entwicklung’ (‘Sustainable Development’) have made it possible to establish pioneering green tourism projects such as the German Stork Route ("Deutsche Storchenstrasse”), the White-Tailed Eagle Project near Gartow, various nature trails, the ‘Traditional Fruit Varieties Way’, the construction of observation towers around Bleckede and of rafts for guided nature observation trips on the Elbe.
The Elbe valley provides the ideal basis for a nature-lover's holiday on horseback.