Germany » Elbe River | Germany

Elbe – a very moody river…

Elbe River | Germany: Characteristics & Overview

Rating of waterway

Length of waterway: 700 km
Number of locks: 2
Degree of difficulty: Demanding
Requirements: Boating license essential
Character of waterway: no rating
Profile of waterway: Commercial traffic and tourism
Facilities groundside: Good

Weitere Informationen

Waterway has access to:

Elbe Seitenkanal | Germany
Elbe-Lübeck-Kanal & Trave River | Germany
Mittellandkanal | Germany
Saale and Unstrut River | Germany
North Sea

Elbe – a very moody river…

from Hamburg to the Czech border. After the Elbe has left Hamburg and its suburbs behind, it crosses the plains of northern Germany. Farmland and pastures as far as the eye can see, occasionally broken by villages that are nearly hidden behind the Elbe dikes. The first major city is Magdeburg, with its endless harbour and industrial sites. From Schönbeck on, the areas and the river are enjoyable once again. After Wittenberg there is a rather dull section, but after Meissen the valley becomes more and more magnificent right to the border.

It has its source in the Czech Siebengebirge and a length of 1091 km. At km 727 it crosses the border to Germany. The river is rather capricious; it often has low water for long periods, changing into floods which are unequalled in the rest of Europe. Navigation upstream from Magdeburg is therefore often uncertain.

Since the Czech industry has great interest in navigation into its inland, they plan to build two additional barrages. There are vehement battles against these plans by the Czech Environment Ministry and environmental organizations in Germany. They also fear that this project would support the big scheme of Elbe-Donau-Oder.

The River itself and its beautiful areas invite for a stay already. On top, it passes famous places like Wittenberge, Wittenberg (Lutherstadt), Torgau (Renaissance-City), Meissen, Dresden, Bad Schandau etc. Therefore lovers of boating and nature as well as those of cultural interests will enjoy a holiday on this river.