Nearly one third of this district is protected landscape or nature reserve. It stretches 37 km from north to south from the glacial valley of the Elbe deep into the Lüneburg Heath nature reserve. Although its name suggests otherwise, the former town of Harburg ceased to be part of the administrative district in 1938. Since then, Harburg has been an urban district of Hamburg. The district capital today is Winsen (Luhe) and the largest town is Buchholz in der Nordheide.
An attractive symbiosis between scenic recreation areas and a strong local economy takes place in this rural district. About 244,000 people populate its two towns, four municipalities and six combined municipalities. Broad stretches of forest give way to rolling heathland, peat moor, river valleys and hills. For anyone seeking rest and relaxation but not wanting to go without the big city cultural and leisure opportunities of nearby Hamburg, Harburg district offers the best of both worlds.