Welcome to Lauenburg
Colourful timer-framed houses, historic steam boats and stunning views over the river Elbe are awaiting you in the so-called Schifferstadt Lauenburg.
The southernmost town in Schleswig-Holstein is situated in the border triangle region of the German states of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein.
One historic timber-framed house after the other, line the Elbestraße along the river banks and slopes. With its many lovingly restored buildings, the old town of Lauenburg is the largest heritage-protected ensemble throughout Schleswig-Holstein.
Feel history come to life walking along the old cobblestone streets in the Schifferstadt. Numerous small alleys and steps connect the old town with the upper town. Situated therein, the castle with its tower and the royal garden Fürstengarten is reminiscent of the time of the Ascanian Dukes.
The river Elbe has shaped the history of the town. And navigation itself can still be experienced in Lauenburg. Both, modern passenger ships and historic steamships invite you to take a boat trip on the river Elbe, the Elbe-Lübeck Canal or the Elbe side canal. Not far from the waterways, the long distance cycling routes „Elberadweg“, „Alte Salzstraße“, „Hamburg-Rügen“ and the „Iron Curtain Trail“ cross each other’s way providing a fantastic way to explore the region by bicycle.
What to do in Lauenburg!
Elbe navigation museum “Elbschifffahrtsmuseum”
Why is it that nudists used to swim in the Elbe? Can you drink “butt cheek broth”? And what is a “Treckbüdel” doing on an Elbe ship? Find the answers in the exhibition of the Museum Elbschifffahrtsmuseum Lauenburg/Elbe.
“Man-model-machine” – this is the slogan of the interactive exhibition at the museum of Elbe navigation, the “Elbschifffahrtsmuseum”. In the exhibition, the people who invented, built and operated the engines and different ships are the focal point. Learn about how the hard working and living conditions in shipbuilding and navigation have evolved over the past 1,000 years.
Listen to people on life-size 3D screens telling us about their history. Meet important personalities such as Kaiser Wilhelm II. and the shipowner Basedow as well as former inhabitants of Lauenburg, such as raftsmen, deck hands and so-called Smutjes, the ship’s cooks. Furthermore, you can try out things for yourself at different models and experimental stations.
Enjoy the walk-in worlds of experiments designated to important topics. Thus, in the exhibition, you can walk on the Elbe riverbed at low tide or slide across the ice floats that form on the Elbe in winter. To go with each topic, there are short films providing you with a “golden thread” through the exhibition. However, don’t forget to use our interactive archive stations to find some interesting facts yourself. The museum has a unique collection of information about ship types, engines, crew and models. Thanks to intensive research that has been carried out, you will find an amazing depth of information. You have access to a large part of this material in the museum.
The numerous ship models of the museum are housed in new large display cases with sophisticated effect lighting, highlighting the details and special features of each type of ship. Use our interactive screens to watch photos of the ships that use our river and port, and call up further technical information.
Our treasure room of engines and propellers
A special attraction is the “Schatzkammer der Schiffsantriebe”, our treasure room of engines and propellers, in the vaulted cellar of the museum. Here, you can marvel at many different types of steam and diesel engines. This collection is unique in Germany. Nowhere else can you find such an exhibition of continuous mechanical development of shipping. As part of our guided tour, we show you engines in motion.
Paddle steamer “Kaiser Wilhelm”
However, the largest “exhibit” of the Elbschifffahrtsmuseum cannot be found in the museum itself. It is the historic paddle steamer “Kaiser Wilhelm”. On this well preserved paddle steamer, built in Dresden in 1900, you can experience navigation as it was over 100 years ago. If you want, you are welcome to grab a coal shovel and support the stoker in his hard work. The steamer is moored approximately 250 meters from the museum just outside the historic town of Lauenburg. Every second weekend from the end of April to the end of September, the association „Verein zu Förderung des Lauenburger Elbschiffahrtsmuseums e.V.“ and the volunteer crew offer trips on the Elbe. For the current timetable please click here.
Adult: 5 €
Concessions*: 4 €
Children under the age of 6: free
Children 6 – 16 years and Students: 3 €
School classes (per pupil and companion): 1 €
Groups of over 10 people, per person: 4 €
Family **: 11 €
March to October:
Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday, public holidays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
November to February
daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
1 Jan., 24 -26 Dec. and 31 Dec. closed
Shipping is still alive in Lauenburg today. A wide range of tours, from modern passenger ships to historic steamships invite you to tour the river Elbe, Elbe-Lübeck Canal or Elbe-Seiten Canal.
- A walk through the Elbstraße with its colourful half-timbered houses is like travelling back in time. Artisans, galleries and cosy restaurants overlooking the Elbe are happy to welcome you.
- Lauenburg’s position on a hillside favoured the emergence of an upper and a lower town. Numerous alleys and stairways connect both parts of town and offer great views and panoramas.
- El Dorado for bikers:The Elbe long-distance cycle path, Old Salt Road and Hamburg-Rügen, as well the Iron Curtain Trail cross paths in Lauenburg. The Technology Tour
is a 40 km-long day round trip under the banner of the Elbe’s shipping history.
Places of interest
The most important sights in Lauenburg are best discovered walking. Stroll along through the historic cobblestone streets, climb one of the steep stairs and enjoy the impressive panoramic view over the river Elbe. Learn about the importance of the buildings, squares and streets you will be passing on your walk.
The eight-ton Paddlewheel of the Czech barge ‘Slapy’ was elaborately restored in 2013 and now adorns the town of Lauenburg/Elbe at the loading and unloading area.
As early as the Middle Ages, the Stecknitz-Delvenau-Canal was a water way between the Elbe and Lübeck. At the time, this canal was a worldwide famous piece of engineering. The Palm Lock is one of the few surviving early chamber locks in Europe.
Come “below deck” into our treasure room of engines and propellers and discover innovative engine technology in a unique setting.
The Elbstraße in the centre of the historic old town is Lauenburg’s oldest road. Picturesque timber-framed houses from the 16th – 19th century bear witness to the then thriving business life. The Elbe navigation museum “Elbschifffahrtsmuseum” and the old merchant’s house “Altes Kaufmannhaus” are situated in Elbstraße.
The Hitzler shipyard is the only shipyard in Lauenburg still active today. With the introduction of steam ships in 1861, the old Schifferstadt on the Elbe needed repair facilities. And so, in 1885, the brothers Burmester together with Johann Georg Hitzler built a shipyard on the north bank of the harbour. Only one year later, they started to build new ships.
High water level plaques “Hochwasserpegel” Lauenburg/Elbe
With the artistic high water level plaques in Lauenburg, pottery artist Karin Scherling has perpetuated historic and current water level records.
A shipbuilding exhibition at the first external location of the Elbe navigation museum “Elbschifffahrtsmuseum” at the Hitzler-Shipyard. From log-boat to modern inland ship. The history of ship building is a very old one.
Guided city tours
Take a guided city tour and learn something interesting and entertaining about the Schifferstadt Lauenburg. In addition to the classic city tours to the most important tourist attractions of Lauenburg, there are also many guided tours of special interest. It is also possible to combine several guided tours or topics with each other.
Dates of the public guided tours in Lauenburg can be found in the events calendar.
Tourist information Lauenburg/Elbe
Let our city guide in her historic robe guide you through Lauenburg.
A city guide in a historic robe will show you the most beautiful late middle-age buildings of our historic town. From an18th century perspective, she will entertain you with funny and exciting stories about what royal and civil life was like in the more than 800 year old town of Lauenburg/Elbe. She will reveal the mystery of the haunting Duke and tell you about the murder involving poison and a Lauenburg chemist.
Maximum: 25 participants
Duration: approx. 90 minutes
per tour and city guide
Learn all about the secrets of the Elbe navigation from our museum experts. Why is it that nudists used to swim in the Elbe? Can you drink “butt cheek broth”? And what is a “Treckbüdel” doing on an Elbe ship? Find the answers in the exhibition of the Museum Elbschifffahrtsmuseum Lauenburg/Elbe. In the museum, the people who invented, built and operated the engines and different ships are the focal point. Learn about how the hard working and living conditions in shipbuilding and navigation have evolved over the past 1,000 years.
Our museum experts will share their expertise about navigation on the Elbe with you. During a guided tour, you will learn, for example, why there was once a 700-metre long chain lying at the bottom of the river Elbe, what the boatmen were doing after work, and why no rings were allowed to be worn on board.
The vaulted cellar of the museum is a treasure room of engines and propellers, the “Schatzkammer der Schiffsantriebe”. Our museum guides can actually set the historic steam and diesel engines in motion for you.
Our guides are very flexible. If you have a particular aspect that interests you, please specify this at the time of booking and we will be glad to accommodate your wishes.
60-minute guided tour: 40 € per group (max. 20 persons) plus entry fee to the museum
90-minute guided tour: 50 € per group (max. 20 persons) plus entry fee to the museum
Learn more about the fascinating forest habitat during an informative walk in the forest. Forests radiate calmness and beauty, are habitat for many animals and plants, and have always fascinated people.
During your walk through the nature reserve Hohes Elbufer you will be accompanied by Traute Tockhorn-Kruckow – a trained forest pedagogue and forester. You will learn a lot about animals and plants in the forest, about forestry, hunting and timber, and get to know the forest in all its diversity.
from 8 €
Groups from 10 persons: 12 euros
from 15 persons: 8 euros