Hitzacker is a charming riverside town of 5,000 peoole (2020) in Lüchow-Dannenberg district in the Lüneburg Heath region of North Germany. It lies on the River Elbe, about 45 km east of Lüneburg on the a tourist route, the German Timber-Frame Road.
Augustus the Younger, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, founded a famous library here, which was moved to Wolfenbüttel in 1643.
Hitzacker lies at the confluence of the River Jeetzel with the mighty Elbe. Immediately northwest are the Elbe Heights (Elbhöhen, also Klötzie), a range of low hills along the Elbe river and a favourite walking area. The lowland areas of the old town are par of the Elbe valley water meadows (Elbtalaue).
Whilst the riverbanks lie just 11 metres above sea level, Hitzacker's local hill, the Weinberg reaches a modest 83 metres. A little way down the Elbe, the Kniepenberg hill (86 m) has great views over the Elbe basin.
The earliest known settlements date to around 3000 BC at the lake of Hitzackersee and the region has been continuously settled since. On the Weinberg next to the old town (Altstadt) there are traces of an eighth-century Slavic castle that turned Hitzacker into an important trading post. It was granted town rights in 1258, whereupon the castle lost its significance and fell into ruins.
In 1548, a fire reduced the village of Hitzacker to ashes apart from the church and one house and there was another serious fire in 1668. In the Polabian or Wendish language of the region, that died out in the 18th century, Hitzacker was known as Ljauci (Lgautztgi).
The borough of Hitzacker was formed in 1972 from ten independent parishes.
From Lüneburg, take the B 216 east towards Dannenberg and turn left at Metzingen toward Hitzacker. From Dannenberg, take the B 216 west towards Lüneburg and, just outside the town, turn right at Streetz towards Hitzacker.
Hitzacker is small enough to walk around the old town, riverside and Weinberg.
- Weinberg - Hitzacker's local hill from which there are great views over the town and the River Elbe.
- Old Town - with its quaint timber-framed houses and histories of individual houses and families on each one.
- Deer Park - fallow deer enclosure.
- The Old Customs House Museum (Das Alte Zollhaus Hitzacker (Elbe) Museum), Zollstr. 2, ☏ . Apr to Nov: Tu–Su 10:00–17:00; in winter by appointment.
- Hitzacker Archaeological Centre (Archäologisches Zentrum Hitzacker), Elbuferstraße, ☏ . May – Sep: daily 10:00–18:00; Apr & Oct: M-F 10:00–16:00, Sa Su holidays 10:00–18:00.
- High Ropes Course, Teampark Hitzacker, ☏ .
- Elbe Cycleway (Elberadweg). Explore the local sections of Elbe Cycleway - part of an 860-km-long route through 7 of Germany's states and the most popular cycling route in the country
- Cafe Dierks Restaurant, Kranplatz 2, ☏ . The restaurant for the Hotel Hafen Hitzacker. Good service and reasonable menu. The restaurant looks out over the harbour. mid-price.
- Die Bürgerstube, Marschtorstr. 5, ☏ , (Mobile). Serves typical local cuisine including asparagus dishes, game, Grünkohl and fish (perch, trout, pike, carp and char) caught in the Elbe and Jeetzel rivers.
- Restaurant Drawehnertor Schenke, Drawehnertorstr. 7, ☏ . Quaint cafe-restaurant on the banks of the river. Traditional German menu including fish and game dishes. moderately priced.
- Parkhotel, Am Kurpark 3 (heading into Hitzacker on the L 231 (Lüneburger Str.), turn L onto the K 36, Gelderländer Str., take the first R into Schützenweg. Hotel is 2nd L), ☏ . Four star hotel on the heights above the Elbe just outside the main town. 90 rooms, sport and recreation facilities. Double rooms: €44-65 per person.
- Hotel-Restaurant Scholz, Prof.-Borchling-Str. 2, ☏ . Two star, family-run hotel in the spa area of Hitzacker, 300 m from the Kurhaus and on the edge of the forest. Restaurant, cafe, terrace, sauna and bicycle hire. The hotel are happy to arrange dancing evenings, horse-and-cart rides, BBQs, cycle tours, boat rides, nature trips and more. €49 pppn for two people. €44 pppn for 7 nights.
- Gasthof Bürgerstube, Contact address only: Elbtalaue-Wendland Touristik GmbH, Rundling Lübeln 2, 29482 Küsten, ☏ . Modest guest house in a central, but quiet location in the historic town centre of Hitzacker. Sport boat harbour and pier nearby. Restaurant serves traditional fare. €33 pppn for two people staying.
- Hotel Hafen Hitzacker (Elbe), Am Weinberg 2, ☏ . Modern, four star hotel overlooking the little harbour in Hitzacker. Within walking distance of all the main sites. Double rooms: €85-110.
There is an Internet café in the Löwen-Play Casino, Lüneburger Str. 27, open M–Sa 07:00-00:00, Su 10:00-00:00
- Take the Hitzacker (Elbe) - Bitter Ferry across the Elbe and explore the former East German state of Saxony-Anhalt. Open daily from 09:00 - 18:00. Duration: ca. 4 minutes. Cost: adult €1.50, child (4-12) €0.80. Bikes extra. ☏
- Explore the Elbhöhen-Wendland Nature Park, on the many footpaths and cycleways through its forests and low morainic hills on the southwestern side of the Elbe.
- Lüneburg with its striking medieval, brick architecture on the old Salt Road is about 50 minutes drive away.
- Uelzen to the southwest is 40 minutes drive away.