Lake Muritz, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

Lake Locations:

Germany - Mecklenburg-Vorpommern -

Also known as:  Muritzsee

The jewel of Germany’s Mecklenburg Lake District, Muritz is the largest inland lake entirely within the country. The 29,000-acre lake was formed at the same time as the other hundreds of lakes in the area; the last glacier gouged out the many depressions in the flat landscape that became the famed ‘Lake District’. Lake Muritz, also known as Muritzsee, formed along the River Elde which both fills and drains the massive lake. The asymmetrical shoreline is made up of many bays and channel-like arms. The lake itself contains several basins, some of which are connected to the main water body only by a narrow neck of water. And some of the basins also give access to other lakes, either by natural channel or man-made canal. For much of Germany’s history, the waterways thus formed were used as transportation highways for goods and people. Now, the channels and bays provide many hours of boating and sailing adventure to Lakelubbers from around the world.

Muritz is a favorite among yachting enthusiasts; an entire village has been built and devoted to landlocked seafarers on the southeastern shore. Hafendorf-Muritz has taken advantage of the desire for a water-based resort area and provides over 350 boat slips and all services for boaters. Houseboats can be rented here for those who wish several days to explore the many bays with all the comforts of home. Visitors can also rent canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and powered cruisers.

The small resort area has a waterski course and a sailing school, and also offers lessons in waterskiing and windsurfing. An excellent sandy beach and swimming pier provide plenty of water fun for young and old alike. The harbor area is surrounded with holiday houses and apartments; other forms of lodging also exist in the area. Fishing charters and touring cruises can be arranged here. Pike, carp, burbot, bass, zander and perch are caught in Lake Muritz, while the incoming rivers and streams are noted for excellent fishing for eel and trout. The River Elde is a popular boating waterway and is navigable via a system of locks once the captain leaves Lake Muritz. The Muritz-Elde Waterway is managed by the Lauenburg Waterway and Shipping Authority, as is Lake Muritz.

Lake Muritz attracts a variety of visitors, not all of whom are here to enjoy the big lake’s clear waters. Bordering the eastern shoreline, the Muritz National Park encompasses both part of the lake and nearly 80,000 acres of forest, wetlands and natural vistas. A bird-watching paradise, the park holds white-tailed eagle, osprey, crane, great bittern, reed warbler, redshank, greenshank, black stork, teal, garganey and little stint. Camping is allowed within the park in designated areas only.

Muritz National Park holds about 130 small water bodies such as lakes, ponds, and brooks, making it ideal wildlife habitat. Over 400 miles of hiking and biking trails in the park offer plenty of opportunity to enjoy the natural setting. Some of the most popular biking excursions include circling the Muritzsee. The 66-mile Muritz-Radrundweg is the park’s most popular bike trail. The trail begins in Waren and passes through Boek, stopping near two of the park’s tallest watchtowers. Other recommended trails include the Gelber Vogel (Yellow Bird) near Grunow, the Violette Blume (Purple Flower) south of Waren, and the comprehensive 99-mile Radrundweg Blaues Muritzband. The Havel River that runs through the park is popular for canoeing, kayaking and rowing. Boats and bikes are rented locally within the park.

Towns along the shore of Lake Muritz offer a variety of interesting activities to catch visitors’ attention. The small city of Waren on the northern end of Lake Muritz holds a number of festivals and sporting events annually which attract athletes to the region. The Muritz triathlon and duathlon have been a regular event for many years. Many also come to take part in the Muritz Run in August, over 75 kilometers for ultra runners and hand cycles, or the shorter route of 26.5 kilometers along the western shore of the Muritz for individual runners.

There are also boat races, canoe races, parades, water ski shows, dragon boat races, music and dance exhibitions. Two of the most popular festivals are the Muritz Sail in May and the Maritime Festival in Waren and surrounding areas. When there isn’t a festival or race going on, the Nature Discovery Center is an educational way to spend a day. This multimedia-based center contains aquariums, exhibits of bird life and forests, and an exhibit of the evolution of the local landscape. A Children’s Museum produces nature study events and offers playgrounds and fun activities for the little ones. Information on the Muritz National Park can be obtained here. Waren also holds a fisheries museum, a military maritime museum, and a city history museum.

The entire Mecklenburg Lake District was originally one huge lake that split into several smaller lakes linked to one another when sea levels fell. The water level of Lake Muritz has changed several times over the centuries, primarily due to human engineering. In the 12th century the surface of the lake was still 198 feet above sea level. By 1737 the lake surface had risen to 211 feet as a result of the waterway being impounded to drive mills along the River Elde downstream. The current water level of 203 feet was reached in 1836.

Muritzsee is crossed by the River Elde from south to north and links to the Kolpinsee in the west via the Reeck Canal. The lake also feeds the River Havel to the east via the Mirow Canal, part of the Muritz-Havel Waterway, and the Bolter Canal via the chains of adjoining lakes. This interconnected waterway offers miles of scenic canals for boating and is one of the most popular holiday areas in Germany. Plenty of guest houses, holiday apartments, and condos offer a choice of lodgings to suit every taste. Some of the resort areas even offer real estate for holiday homes. So whether your passion is sailing or caravanning or a spa getaway, Lake Muritz is the perfect place to spend your next Mecklenburg Lake District vacation. Hope to see you there soon!

Things to do at Lake Muritz

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Park
  • Museum
  • Playground

Fish species found at Lake Muritz

  • Bass
  • Burbot
  • Carp
  • Eel
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Trout
  • Zander

Lake Muritz Photo Gallery

Lake Muritz Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Lauenburg Waterway and Shipping Authority

Surface Area: 28,911 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 203 feet

Average Depth: 20 feet

Maximum Depth: 102 feet

Completion Year: 1836

Water Residence Time: 15

Drainage Area: 256 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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