Behaviour in the Biosphere Reserve

Wanderer in einem Naturschutzgebiet welches mit einem Schild Naturschutzgebiet gekennzeichnet ist. © E. Dornblut

We look forward to welcoming you to the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Schaalsee. 150 km of marked hiking and cycling trails invite you to engage in outdoor activities. There are designated bathing spots at the numerous lakes in the Biosphere Reserve. In order to preserve the beauty and the ecological value of the Schaalsee landscape, a high degree of consideration is required. Intact nature is the asset of the Schaalsee region.

Please observe the rules and actively support the protection of plants and animals at the Schaalsee!


© E. Dornblut
Dawn at the Schaalsee.

Due to its valuable environmental features, large parts of the Schaalsee and the adjoining chain of lakes are designated as nature reserves.
Individual boat traffic is therefore restricted to a limited number of registered watercrafts. The use of non-local and non-registered boats as well as model boats is prohibited on all lakes of the Schaalsee UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Furthermore, surfing, stand up paddling and diving with compressed air equipment are not permitted.

There is a boat rental service in Zarrentin where you can rent footboats, canoes and even sailboats. 

Alternativer Text © S. Hoffmeister
Common Cranes

The Schaalsee is designated as a European bird sanctuary. In the winter season, it is an important resting place for cranes and northern geese. In summer, it is an important breeding ground for numerous duck species and greylag geese. Out of consideration for the cranes and the aquatic birds, both the number of boats and the navigation time on the Schaalsee are restricted.

The Schaalsee may only be navigated by boats registered for the Schaalsee from 1 April to 31 August from 6:00 to 21:00 and during the rest of the year from 8:00 to 18:00. Lake Woezer may not be navigated during the breeding season, from 15 March to 15 July.

© TMV_Kirchgessner
At the Schaalsee

The following areas are closed to all boat traffic and to floating bodies of any kind:

  • a protected area of 20 m parallel to the reed zone
  • the area of the Zarrentin beach bathing area
  • parts of the lake designated as nature reserves. These parts of the lake are marked with yellow buoys. These areas are off-limits for boating and fishing.
  • All running waters in the Schaalsee biosphere reserve.

Docking outside of existing public piers or boat docks is prohibited.

Bathing and Fishing

Strandbad Zarrentin am Schaalsee, eine von vielen Bademöglichkeiten © E. Dornblut
Strandbad Zarrentin am Schaalsee


In addition to the Schaalsee, there are numerous other lakes in the biosphere reserve. Please swim only at the official bathing spots. You will find a beach bath with the appropriate infrastructure and a nice playground in Zarrentin. Please be considerate of other bathers and avoid loud music and noise.


Please observe the basic regulations of the state fishing laws. In addition, it is necessary to purchase a fishing permit from the authorised fishery.

Photography and Drones

Drohne in der Luft © E. Dornblut
The use of drones is generally prohibited in the Biosphere Reserve Schaalsee.

It is best to always photograph and film from the path, and in the Biosphere Reserve's core and care zones only from the path and without disturbing animals or plant life. Nature AND people benefit from these golden rules.

If the photo and film projects go beyond individual personal projects within this framework, permission is required. All that is required is an informal request with a description of the project by email to:  The biosphere reserve office will then check whether nature conservation and the film project are compatible.

In principle, the biosphere reserve is not a setting for feature films, music or commercials, and filming may only be carried out in the biosphere reserve's core and care zones if it is not possible to do so elsewhere and if it relates to the nature conservation issue. Here, too, the first priority is to avoid disturbing the fauna and flora.



In order to give all animals in the biosphere reserve the necessary rest and to preserve the last retreat possibilities, the use of flying objects, such as drones, paragliders, model aircraft or other aircraft over a large part of the protected area is prohibited. This is regulated by the Act on the Biosphere Reserve.

Animals are not familiar with these foreign objects in the sky. Many species flee, exhaust important energy reserves or abandon their breeding grounds.

Further information on the use of drones can be found in the "Clear rules for the operation of drones" on the website of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.

Aufsteigende Feuerwerkskörper mit gleichzeitigen Licht- und Schalleffekten können zu Störungen von Vögeln führen. © D. Foitlänger
Aufsteigende Feuerwerkskörper mit gleichzeitigen Licht- und Schalleffekten.


Fireworks not only enjoy great popularity at New Year' s Eve, but are also increasingly carried out during the year on private occasions or at major events.
The performance of fireworks can be associated with significant adverse effects on bird life. The Schaalsee-Elbe Biosphere Reserve Office, as the lower nature conservation authority, must ensure that European bird species are not significantly disturbed during the breeding, rearing, moulting, wintering and migration periods.
To ensure that planned fireworks are compatible with the requirements of nature conservation law, applications for fireworks that are not planned for New Year's Eve must be submitted to the Landesamt für Gesundheit und Soziales. This then involves the relevant nature conservation authority, in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Elbe River Landscape M-V which is the Biosphere Reserve Office Schaalsee-Elbe.

The following rules apply throughout the Biosphere Reserve

Only park in designated parking spaces! Overnight parking is not permitted in parking lots unless they are explicitly designated as camper parking spaces.

Do not leave the pathways in nature conservation areas. 

Behave quietly and considerately.

Your chance of observing animals will increase!

Please keep your dog on a leash !
Even the most loyal four-legged friend sometimes feels queasy when faced with a hare, fox or deer. Spare the wild animals the dangerous chase and your dog the danger of disappearing into the forest.

Do not litter!
Litter is not only an unpleasant sight. Drink cans or plastic strings can become a deadly trap for wildlife. Take back all the things you have brought with you.

Do not take anything from nature! Plants and animals are subject to special protection in the Biosphere Reserve.

Picking mushrooms and berries for personal use is permitted in small quantities as long as the species are not specially protected.

Lighting a fire is not permitted!

Not even at the designated bathing spots!

Stand Up Paddling is not allowed on the lakes of the Biosphere Reserve!

Diving with compressed air equipment is not permitted in the lakes of the Biosphere Reserve.

Only camp on designated camping sites! Camping in the wilderness is not permitted.

Caution! Nature also means danger!
In the biosphere reserve's core and care zones, falling trees and branches must be expected at all times. Enter at your own risk (§ 28 Entering the Forest, Forest Act M-V).

Do not use drones.
Air sovereignty in the biosphere reserve belongs to the birds. It is forbidden to let drones take off and land in the biosphere reserve's maintenance and core zones. Birds and other animals perceive them as a threat.