Plön in der Holsteinischen Schweiz, Schleswig-Holstein, Northern Germany. The Holsteinische Schweiz is a hilly area in an otherwise flat landscape with a patchwork of lakes and forest. It’s a designated nature park and a popular tourist destination situated between the cities of Kiel and Lübeck. The area falls within the districts of Ostholstein and Plön and extends to the Ostsee (Baltic Sea) coast. The charm of the region is its ever-changing landscape of the Young Drift moraines of the uplands, formed during the last ice age. Small woods alternate rapidly with arable fields. The terrain is characterized by its many lakes nestling amongst low hills. Rivers and water meadows abound. The highest elevation is the Bungsberg with the only ski lift in the state.
The name goes back to the 19th century when holidays to Switzerland were particularly popular amongst the well-to-do. In 1885 Johannes Janus opened the Hotel Holsteinische Schweiz on the Kellersee which enjoyed enormous popularity. The name was then transferred to Holsteinische Schweiz station and, later, to the whole region. In the Middle Ages, local towns developed into centers of commerce and the local feudal lords (Landadel) expanded their fortified manor houses. In the more recent era, these manorial seats formed the basis of aristocratic estates (Adelsgüter), which dominated the landscape and the economy from 1500 to the 20th century. From the 16th century Plön and Eutin became residences of various branches of the House of Oldenburg. These estates had a thriving cultural scene which, for example, led to Eutin being described at the turn of the 19th century as the “Weimar of the North”. Until the mid 19th century the area was dominated by Denmark. In 1867, the area was transferred to Prussia as part of Holstein. After WW1, some of the traditional estates were broken up; after WW2, tourism has played a leading role in the economy. The rural landscape today is characterized by large, aristocratic estates and historic forms of farming that are mainly tied into large farm estates and their associated manor houses. Several of the castles may be visited; many of the estate farms are open to the public during the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival and other events. For hikers, the Naturparkweg trail links 5 nature parks. There’s an extensive network of cycle paths. Some of the large lakes feature pleasure boats; canoeing, kayaking, and other water sports. There are several seaside resorts closeby on the Ostsee. Ostsee tag here.