In May 2023 I spontaneously went on the river Schwentine in Holstein Switzerland , northern Germany, and paddled 17 km / 10 mi from Plön to Preetz. The weather forecast has predicted 40 kph / 25 mph wind, but in addition to windy lakes with decent waves, there were also quiet, idyllic river arms to discover.
Paddling the Schwentine
There are a few things to keep in mind when paddling the Schwentine:
- no motorboats (not even those with e-motors).
- do not enter islands
- enter the shore only at designated places
- navigable passages and arms of the river are marked with green buoys
- do not enter:
- oxbow lakes
- areas closed off with buoys
- western part of Lanker See: nature reserve Halbinseln und Buchten im Lanker See
- islands in the Großer Plöner See: nature reserve Inseln im Großen Plöner See und Halbinsel Störland
The Schwentine is in places (see pictures below) very very shallow, at my tour the shallowest point was about 20 cm / 8 in deep. Overall, the water level was generally about 20 cm / 8 in lower than usual, you could see the residue of earlier water levels on the shore. The lakes in between are of course deeper, but I could still see the bottom or water plants in some places. With wind (according to the weather forecast up to 40 kph / 25 mph) a lake crossing can be choppy and exhausting.
Further information (German only):
Tour & Equipment
Due to the calm waters, many easy tours can be planned. You don’t need much equipment, but when crossing the lakes you should bring endurance and pay attention to the wind.
From Plön I crossed the lake Großer Plöner See, went through the passage Prinzeninsel into the Mühlensee in further to the Kleiner Plöner See. In Wittmoldt I took a break and then continued via the lakes Kronsee, Fuhlensee and Lanker See to Preetz, where my tour ended at the Kirchsee.
Altogether the route was 17 km / 10 mi long, lasted pretty much exactly 5 hours and I had to transfer the boat once (before the Mühlensee at the B 430 road). The lakes in between were quite exhausting, because the wind came from the east/northeast, but the passages and river arms were very idyllic, quiet and had some current.Show complete map
Since it was only a day trip, I only brought a few things:
- my packraft MRS Nomad S1, paddle, life vest
- a change of clothes
- camera, cell phone, etc.
- food, drink
Start in Plön
The train station in Plön is conveniently located right next to a wonderful little slipway. I set up my packraft there and left at 9:15 a.m. The facility belongs – as far as I know – not to the neighboring sailing club, at least I have not seen any signs and no one complained that I set up my boat there.
Großer Plöner See and Kleiner Plöner See
From there, you have the choice of paddling across Großer Plöner See (Great Plön Lake) in the direction of Prinzeninsel or taking the Stadt-Schwentine through Plön. I opted for the tour across the lake, where after a short time there were already decent waves.
The transition into Kleiner Plöner See then goes either around the peninsula of Prinzeninsel or through the shortcut Durchstich Prinzeninsel, which I took. Past the nature campsite Spitzenort I then came to the first transfer point, which was the only one for me.
Through the Mühlensee and two other idyllic passages, I then entered the lake Kleiner Plöner See. Here I had strong crosswinds from the beginning and accordingly waves from the side. Since I sit relatively low in my packraft, deeper than, for example, in a canoe, a wave sloshed into the boat after a short time. So pants and jacket were directly soaked. Why I did not have my spray skirt with me? Well …
After that I had tail wind and the feeling to surf a bit on larger waves. After that, until the next section of the river towards Kronsee, it was pretty calm and I could paddle relaxed.
In the village Wittmoldt there is a jetty and a swimming spot including a rest area, where I took my first break after 7.5 km / 4.5 mi at 11:15. Unfortunately, there are only two relatively high jetties, which were too high for me (and probably the same for kayaks), so two other kayakers paddled directly on. Fortunately, the embankment next to it is not overgrown, so I could moor there. I was then able to take a break in the hut and eat something.
Passages at Kronsee & Fuhlensee
The passage to Kronsee was one of the most beautiful sections of the tour. Very calm, protected from the wind and with a good current, one could comfortably drift and observe the water plants through the crystal clear water. Again, the river was relatively shallow, but there was no place with less than 40 cm / 16 in depth. Before the mouth into the Kronsee, there was even a small mangrove-like wetland to admire, which of course you are not allowed to navigate.
Kronsee, the passage into Fuhlensee and the Fuhlensee itself were also nice, but not very spectacular. At the northern end of Lake Fuhlensee is a private jetty owned by Fischer Bock. As far as I have read, however, you can launch your boat there for a fee. If you want to buy/eat something, it should be no problem to moor there.
The passage from the Fuhlensee into the Lanker See leads past the beautiful mansion Gut Wahlstorf, which you can take a look at from the water.
The Lanker See was again a stressful part because I had at first some and from the second half complete headwind. Even though the lake is not huge, some larger waves could still form whose crests were already breaking. Individual waves reached quite 40 cm / 16 in height, but for the most part “only” up to 30 cm / 12 in. In any case, splashing water regularly sloshed into the boat and now and then into my face.
Once I stopped paddling, I almost immediately stood still and the wind pushed me back. Accordingly, I rarely looked at my map and promptly lost my way near the island Appelwarder, which you can see nicely see on the map above .
I came thereby also past the swimming spot Lanker See and the sailing club Preetz. I do not know if it’s allowed to moore there.
End in Preetz
The entrance to Preetz was then a little more sheltered from the wind and busier. There are several jetties in the Kirchsee lake:
- Near the street An der Bergbrauerei: relatively high jetty, which is only accessible on foot.
- Kanucenter Preetz Plön (only for customers) at the “Bootshaus” cafe: With a floating dock, which is also suitable for low vehicles.
- At the street Brunnenweg (the location I have used): Nice slipway and picnic site.
- At the northern end of the Kirchsee near the Scheilhorner Straße is another jetty.
Overall a very nice tour. In places the wind was annoying and the paddling really exhausting, so you have to be careful with the larger lakes. But the river arms were a nice opportunity to take a break and admire the nature slowly passing by.
However, it’s a bit of a shame that you’re only allowed on the moore at certain points. In less windy weather, the paddling distances between the official moorings are very doable.
So I can definitely recommend the tour Plön → Preetz!