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The Old Country is blossoming: magical atmosphere on the Elbe | > – Guide – Travel

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The Old Country is blossoming: magical atmosphere on the Elbe |  > – Guide – Travel

As of: April 16, 2024 11:08 a.m

A walk or a bike ride through the Altes Land is currently a special experience. The apple trees in the region south of the Elbe are in full bloom much earlier than usual this year.

Every spring, a delicate pink and white veil covers the region when first the cherry trees and a little later the apple trees bloom. The area with its magnificent half-timbered houses, rivers and canals is similarly atmospheric at harvest time in autumn. Then the branches of the apple trees bend under the weight of the crunchy fruit.

Fruit tree blossom from April

Beautiful old half-timbered houses, dikes and fruit trees characterize the Altes Land.

The exact date of fruit blossom varies each year and is difficult to predict. Just a few sunny and warm days like this spring can be enough to make the trees bloom. The cherry trees bloom first, followed by the apple trees about ten days later. The Altes Land Tourism Association offers a flower ticker that provides information about the current status of the flowers. The region celebrates the natural spectacle at the beginning of May with the Altländer Blossom Festival in Jork. In addition to a market with handicrafts and regional specialties, the coronation of the flower queen is also on the program every year.

Apples, cherries, pears: Huge fruit-growing area

The Altes Land is the largest contiguous fruit-growing region in Germany. More than ten million apple, cherry, pear and plum trees grow there. Almost every third German apple comes from the region, which, in addition to the Hamburg districts of Neuenfelde, Cranz and Francop, includes several communities in Lower Saxony. Anyone interested can use the fruit barometer to find out when the various fruits are ripe and when they are harvested.

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Windmills and drawbridges

The beautiful old half-timbered houses are typical of the Altes Land.

A good starting point for walks or bike tours is the pretty town of Jork in the heart of the Altes Land with many pretty half-timbered houses and the representative Gräfenhof from the 17th century. Just a stone’s throw away is the Borstel windmill “Aurora” from 1856. Today it is a restaurant. Visitors can climb the gallery, which offers a beautiful view of the region from the top.

Another historical windmill is the “Venti Amica” mill in Hollern-Twielenfleth. It was built around 1850 and is still in operation. The Latin name, carved into a beam in the mill’s superstructure, means “girlfriend of the wind.” The legacy of the Dutch settlers can still be seen today in the windmills and the drawbridge between the small towns of Steinkirchen and Mittelkirchen. Hundreds of years ago, they built the first dikes, built drainage channels through the swampland and made the land arable.

Richly decorated half-timbered structure

The fertile soil and the mild climate brought prosperity to the farmers, which can still be seen today in the beautiful old half-timbered houses. The entrance doors decorated with colorful ornaments and the richly decorated gables are remarkable. The half-timbering shines brilliantly white, and the bricks often form beautiful patterns. They were intended to protect against lightning strikes or the evil eye.

Fruit route: Cycling in the Altes Land

The small streets along the dike are ideal for cycling.

A nice route to explore the Altes Land by bike is the so-called fruit route. It leads in two loops of around 40 kilometers each through the fruit-growing areas to Stade and Buxtehude. The flat terrain is also suitable for the untrained. If you don’t have your own bike, you can rent one in many places. A route logo with a green apple and red cherry shows the way. The tourism association has put together further tour suggestions. The Elbe cycle tour bus is practical for getting there. During the warmer months it commutes between Altes Land and the mouth of the Elbe on weekends and stops at numerous places.

Guided tours by boat or bus

If you don’t want to explore the Altes Land on your own, you can join a guided tour. A trip on the “Tidenkieker”, a flat-bottomed boat that goes on tours on the Elbe and Lühe from the Lühe pier in Grünendeich, offers unusual perspectives. There are also various bus tours, for example from Jork.

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Visit to the fruit farm: apple specialties and guided tours

Regional apple specialties can be purchased and tasted in the numerous farm shops. In addition to liqueur, jam and apple cake, this includes the Altländer Diekpedder – fresh apple juice with a dash of fruit cider, which is drunk both cold and hot.

The crisp red fruits hang on the apple trees in the Altes Land in autumn.

In autumn you can pick apples yourself in many places. Some fruit farms also offer guided tours of the plantations, sometimes by horse-drawn carriage. Particularly passionate apple fans can sponsor an apple tree and harvest and keep the apples from a specific tree themselves. At harvest time, the sponsor receives enough notice to visit “his” tree.

Detour to the old Hanseatic city of Stade

If you have a little more time, you can follow your visit to the Altes Land with a trip to Stade. As a Hanseatic and port city, Stade was once more important than Hamburg. Until the 1960s, ships were loaded and unloaded in the three harbor basins. The old harbor basins and the numerous half-timbered houses characterize the picturesque old town.

Further information

ARD media library

While other rural regions across the country are becoming deserted, the Altes Land at the gates of Hamburg is booming. Video

1 Min

The orchards along the Elbe are blooming – due to the weather, apple trees and cherry trees are blooming at the same time. 1 min

2 Min

The Altes Land is Europe’s largest fruit-growing region. Part of it is in Hamburg. Four facts about the rural gem. 2 mins

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ARD media library

High season in the Altes Land: The apple harvest is approaching and with it the most stressful time for two energetic sisters from Jork. Video

This topic in the program:

Hello Lower Saxony | April 14, 2024 | 19:30 o’clock

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