The lake offers a number of recreational opportunities, including boating, swimming and diving. There are seasonal boat services on the lake, both cruise tours and scheduled connections. The sights at the lakeshore include the Belvedere on the northwestern shore, a former residential building commissioned by Princess Marie of Hesse-Kassel in 1823 in the design of a Greek temple. The grounds of the Belvedere offer a good view of the lake.
Neubrandenburg on the northern shore of the lake is the most important town and tourist center of the region. With a population of more than 63.000, it is also the third-largest city of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The city was founded in 1248 on grounds where an abbey had previously been built with the purpose of converting the resident Slavic population to christianity. Only a few decades later, work on the town fortification began. The remnants of this construction are the main attractions in town to this day. In a length of more than 2000 meters, large parts of the town wall including specific, integrated defense buildings can still be found and also all four original town gates still exist. A number of additional historic buildings are scattered throughout the town, including the Schauspielhaus, one of the oldest theater buildings in Northern Germany, and the former St. Mary’s church, originally built in the 13th century and converted into a concert hall with more than 1000 seats in the 1990s.
Near the city, on a hill called “Behmshöhe”, there is an observation tower with a height of 34 meters, from which a great view of the Tollensesee can be had. The tower, which is open from April through mid-November, can be accessed via a combined hike and bike trail. Surrounding the tower, there is a vast forest area which is also crossed by a network of trails, which are color-marked according to their difficulty. The hilly terrain consists of both deciduous trees and conifers and is also home to various wild flowers.
Between the inner city and the beach at the northern shore of the Tollensesee, a recreation area named “Kulturpark Neubrandenburg” has been created in the 1960s and 70s. With an old tree population, a large number of planted flowers, lawns, a number of sculptures and playgrounds, the former wetland area has been converted into a popular location for hikes and picnics and serves as a soft transition from the city area to the lake.
Alt Rehse, in administrative regards a part of the city of Penzlin, is a village on the western shore of the Tollensesee that used to belong to the Broda abbey. Today, the small town has become a popular day trip destination thanks to its collection of historic thatched-roof houses.
Burg Stargard is a small town with a population of some 5000 people, located about eight kilometers southeast of Neubrandenburg off the lake. The town is also popular for excursions. It has a historic core town and most notably, a Gothic castle on a hill overlooking the town. The castle with its eleven individual structures is the oldest building of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern as it had been constructed in the 12th century. From March through October, guided tours are available, but visiting the castle on one’s own account is possible throughout the year. There is a museum on the history of Burg Stargard in the former stables.