North of Magdeburg, the Elbe flows into the secluded and gently rolling Altmark region where little disturbs the peace and seemingly hasn’t for centuries, with all its most significant towns beautifully preserved medieval gems. The most atmospheric and interesting are the small fortified towns of Tangermünde on the banks of the Elbe and, 40km downstream at its confluence with the Havel, Havelberg.

The region is only lightly visited, with few services and little going on. The exception to this is Havelberg’s Pferdemarkt on the first weekend in September, one of eastern Germany’s largest festivals, with thousands of visitors descending on the town for the one-time horse market that’s since become a flea market and giant fair with beer tents, fairground rides and handicrafts.

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