Otterndorf Travel Guide

  • Otterndorf
    by Kathrin_E
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by Kathrin_E
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by Kathrin_E

Otterndorf Things to Do

  • Protestant Church, Interior

    The parish church of Otterndorf is decorated in abundance like the other churches in land Hadeln, and it is the one with the highest quality of arts and crafts. Being a Lutheran church images are permitted, and the paintings, reliefs and statues and the inscriptions of biblical verses match the lore of Lutheran theology. I am sparing you the...

  • Protestant Church of St Severi

    The parish church with its mighty roof and steeple sits over the roofs of Otterndorf like a hen assembling her chickens. It is by far the largest building in town. The church occupies the highest spot on the Wurt that hosts the old town. Its origins date back to the second half of the 12th century, the era when the marsh was colonized and the...

  • Gate tower of the former Ducal Palace

    The park in the northwest of the town used to be the site of the ducal palace. It is impossible to miss: follow the noise of the hundreds of crows who have their nests in the large trees. The Dukes of Sachsen-Lauenburg stayed here during their occasional visits to Hadeln. The late medieval palace is gone. Only the former gate tower is preserved....

  • Norderwall Promenade and Ostertor

    The ramparts along the southern and northern side of the town have been turned into promenade walks around 1750 after they lost their fortificatory value. They were planted with linden trees about 250 years ago and became the Otterndorfers’ favourite promenade walks. While the moat along Süderwall has disappeared, along the northern side it is...

  • The Lock

    In the marsh you have the choice: either drown in seawater coming in, or drown in the freshwater from landside. The locks and pumps in the dyke have a double function: to keep the sea water out at high tide, and to let the freshwater out at low tide. Otterndorf’s locks are placed at the meeting point of the Medem, a natural tidal stream, and...

  • Monument to the Dyke Builders

    The bronze monument close to the Medem lock recalls the early times of dyke building. It shows three men pushing and pulling a wheelbarrow full of soil up the slope. Without machines this was tough, backbreaking work – but essential for survival on the coast. Everyone had the duty to participate: each real estate owner was responsible for the...

  • The Dyke

    The highest elevation within Otterndorf’s boundaries is the dyke on the Elbe shore. After refurbishments in the 1980s it now has a height of 8.30 metres. In the flat marshland this is almost alpine… The tidal hub is around 3-4 metres in the mouth of the Elbe under normal circumstances. Then add northwestern gales pressing the water into the...

  • Puppenstube – Doll Museum

    Big and small children;-) will enjoy a visit to the “doll house” and its collection of dolls from the 19th and 20th century, plush animals, doll houses and shops and similar toys. It is based upon a private collection which was given to the town in 2000. A group of volunteers takes care of the collection and runs the museum. Website: ...

  • Views of Medem River

    Medem is Otterndorf’s “house river”. It leads along the western side of the old town and then does some curves before it enters the Elbe. In former times it was navigable for small ships and boats that transported goods and people. The wooden crane on the bank by the main bridge tells of those times. There also used to be a small shipyard or rather...

  • Ship Spotting

    Watching the ships passing by is a favourite pastime during a walk by the sea shore or sitting on the dyke or the beach. The mouth of the Elbe is one of the busiest ship routes in the world. All vessels entering and leaving the port of Hamburg will pass here as well as all entering or leaving Nord-Ostsee-Kanal (named Kiel Canal to the English...

  • Lighthouse

    The lighthouse of Otterndorf is a modern structure. It looks rather like a mast with a cone-shaped structure on top, painted red and white. It is placed just outside the dyke and one in a long row of similar structures that mark the left Elbe bank. The shapes and colour patterns all differ so that sailors on the ships can distinguish them and...

  • Beach

    Otterndorf’s beach is what they call a “green” beach, in other words, a meadow outside the dyke. Paved paths for pedestrians and cyclists lead to the shore. Stairs lead down to the sea bottom over a paved slope. On the far end there is also a short sandy stretch that looks like a real beach. At low tide you can do a bit of tideland walking. At high...

  • Süderwall Promenade Walk and Garden...

    The ramparts along the southern and northern side of the town have been turned into promenade walks in the 19th century after they lost their fortificatory value. They were planted with linden trees about 250 years ago and became the Otterndorfers’ favourite promenade walks. Süderwall, the southern promenade, has preserved most of its 19th century...

  • Utröper Monument

    The Utröper – in high German Ausrufer – was the bell man who, in times before the internet and mass media, served as the town’s “living newspaper”. He would walk the streets, ring his bell and announce all important news: weddings and deaths, the arrival of ships, the decisions of the town council, governmental orders, and anything people...

  • Town Hall and Tourist Information

    The town hall was built in 1583 upon order of the ruling Duke of Saxony-Lauenburg. The double staircase leads up to the main floor which now hosts the tourist information office on the right, and the hall for the town council. The cellar below is a restaurant.The tourist information office provides all kinds of information a visitor might need,...

  • Otter Fountain

    The cute otter fountain with two life-size bronze representants of the town’s namesake is located in front of the town hall. The otter is Otterndorf’s symbolic animal and also depicted in the town’s coat of arms. At first I saw it ‘dry’ but at the end of my stay they had turned the water on.

  • Johann Heinrich Voss Monument

    A bronze bust of the author and teacher Johann Heinrich Voss has been put up behind the church. The bust appears rather new, it was made after his painted portrait which is on display inside the museum. The monument stands on a path that he must have walked at least twice per day during the four years from 1778 to 1782 when he worked in Otterndorf...

  • Johann Heinrich Voss House and Museum

    The teacher, philologist and poet Johann Heinrich Voss (1751-1826) lived and worked in Otterndorf from 1778 and 1782. In addition to his work as headmaster of the Latin School he translated Homer’s Odyssey into German. Together with his wife Ernestine he inhabited the half-timbered house right opposite the steeple of the church.The upper floor of...

  • Himmelreich

    Himmelreich translates to “Kingdom of Heaven” – this is the name of the street behind the church, where the parsonage houses are located. The parsons are obviously happy about their address, and the church community use the street name in their “PR”.The street does a semicircle south of the church. It leads slightly downhill past the Latin School,...

  • Schoolhouse of the Latin School

    Otterndorf had its own Latin School, i.e. high school which prepared for university studies, in the early modern area - quite unusual for a town this small. Not only the citizens of the town but also the wealthy peasants of the villages in Hadeln were ambitious. Their old privileges guaranteed them a high grade of self-administration, and to deal...

  • Kranichhaus Museum

    The museum Kranichhaus consists of the historical rooms in the front wing of the house. It is not very big and can be seen in half an hour. A couple of rooms are furnitured in Biedermeyer style of the early 19th century. They give an idea how a wealthy family in Otterndorf lived some 200 years ago. A small exhibition is dedicated to silversmiths’...


Otterndorf Hotels

  • Hotel Am Medemufer

    Goethestrasse 15, Otterndorf, 21762, de

    Satisfaction: Terrible

    Good for: Business

    Hotel Class 3.5 out of 5 stars

  • Gaestehaus Meeresbrandung

    Scholienstrasse 11, Otterndorf, Lower Saxony, 21762, Germany

Otterndorf Transportation

  • Metronom Train

    Metronom is a private train company that operates a handful of routes in Lower Saxony. They have the monopoly on the railway line between Hamburg and Cuxhaven that goes via Otterndorf. They name their trains after the “metronome” as in music, because their trains travel in a regular rhythm. In their logo a metronome is depicted. Trains depart once...

  • Cycling

    The bike is the best means of transport for short to medium distances (depending on your fitness level). The ground is mostly flat; the most troublesome ascents are those up the dyke ;-) The land is covered in a dense network of bike trails, some accompany roads, others are separate. The finest bike tour is probably along the Elbe bank outside the...

  • Otterndorf Hotels

    2 Hotels in Otterndorf

Otterndorf Off The Beaten Path

  • Church of St Nicolai in Nordleda

    The church in Nordleda has a picturesque setting on a Wurt, an artificial hill, behind a stream, or rather artificial drainage canal, that has to be crossed on a little bridge. The rest of the Wurt is occupied by the cemetery with some old tombstones. The former parsonage, a large farm with pretty half-timbered buildings, is located behind the...

  • Church of St Wilhadi in Ihlienworth

    The church of Ihlienworth, the central village in Sietland, is located on the highest Wurt in the village to protect it from the frequent floods. The church has its own boat landing on the bank of Medem river – the boat used to be the preferred means of transport in Sietland.The church is smaller than those in the rich villages of the Hochland....

  • Don't Forget Insurance

    If your current health insurance doesn't cover you while your abroad, you should consider getting international travel insurance just in case something should go wrong.

Otterndorf Favorites

  • Sietland – the Poor South of Hadeln

    The southern part of Hadeln is known as Sietland, or as the Five Parishes. The five villages are: Ihlienworth as the leading village, which was divided into Wester-Ihlienworth and Oster-Ihlienworth and hence counted as two, Odisheim, Steinau and Wanna. Most of the land is cultivated moor, large parts are located below sea level. Sietland has always...

  • Kopfweiden - Pollard Willows

    The term Kopfweide, pollard willow, does not describe a species but a particular shape of willow trees that can often be seen in the countryside of Hadeln. Willows grow well in the wet soil of the marshland. Young willows are “beheaded” at a height of about two metres. They then sprout many thin new twigs from the cut which are harvested at...

  • Wildlife Spotting

    A wide variety of wildlife can be spotted without much effort. The coast is home to many specieses of water birds that can be watched on the shore. The tidelands of the Wadden Sea are a resting point for millions of migrating birds every spring and autumn, so in those seasons there will be even more. Seagulls and crows are omnipresent further...


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