With a maximum length of 14 kilometers and a surface area of 38 km², the Plauer See is the third-largest in the federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. It is located in the northeastern section of the district. The area has a number of campgrounds available and there is a bike trail circling the entire lake. The northern shore is a protected habitat which is home to a great number of animals, various bats being among them, and also covers marshlands, bayous and another, smaller lake. An observation tower near the road affords a good view of the habitat.
Plau am See (literally: “Plau at the Lake”) is the center of the tourism region here, located at the western shore. The town stretches over eight small sections and borders another protected habitat, the “Plauer Stadtwald” forest. Plau’s history dates back to a settlement founded in the 10th century. There are several historic buildings in the city, the oldest being the St. Marien church from the 13th century. Other sights include Burg Plau, the ruins of a castle on a peninsula in the lake. The castle was constructed in 1287 and used by local regents over four centuries.
Many visitors are drawn to the promenade that stretches along the water channel that leads to the lake. The promenade is seamed by restaurants and shops and there are a number of boats here which offer excursion tours. Walking that stretch leads to an observation tower (center photo) which affords a great view of the lake, the boathouses at the channel and the town. Another sight worth seeing is a vertical-lift bridge in the center of town which was put in use in 1916. The rather long time it takes until the bridge is lifted up so that ships can pass beneath and the stoic calm with which those in wait are watching the procedure gives a good impression of what the atmosphere in Plau is about.
Stuer is a tiny settlement at the southern tip of Plauer See. The village is located near the ruins of a 13th century water castle. The main attraction here is a protective center for bears liberated from a life in captivity called “Bärenwald” (bear forest), that’s run by an animal rights group. Visitors can walk through the bears’ habitat, where the animals have the opportunity to act and live in a near-natural setting.