Lower Saxony's nature is diverse: In the north, the seemingly endless Wadden Sea, in the south, the Harz Mountains with their untouched forests, in between enchanted moors and gently rolling meadows. Just as varied as the nature are your possibilities to explore it. Whether by train, on foot, by bike or during an overnight stay in the middle of nature: We have selected the most beautiful nature experiences for you.
Table of Contents:
1. sustainable overnight stay in the biosphere reserve river landscape Elbe
2. chugging through the Emsland moor by train
3. hiking high up in the treetops
4. barefoot walking in the Wadden Sea National Park of Lower Saxony
5. decelerate on the pilgrimage path Loccum-Volkenroda
6. enjoy royal views of the Weserbergland region
7. sporty on the road in the ADFC RadReiseRegion Uelzen
The Elbe is Germany's third longest river and one of the last largely natural rivers in Central Europe. The diversity of the various habitats along the river and the adjacent marshes, tributary lowlands and geest areas is impressive. They are home to countless animal and plant species - and are therefore particularly worthy of protection. The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Elbe River Landscape extends over 400 kilometers of the Middle Elbe River - from Lutherstadt Wittenberg in Saxony-Anhalt to Lauenburg in Schleswig-Holstein. In Lower Saxony, the Elbe Valley Floodplainswhich are also a biosphere area, are part of the UNESCO biosphere reserve. They are characterized by the alternation of flooding and dry season. With a little luck, you will see beavers, otters and white storks here on a hike, bike ride or canoe trip.
In Hitzacker and thus in the middle of this unique landscape is a wonderful place to stay for those who can't get enough of nature: The WERKHAUS destinature village. Here you will stay in wooden Tiny Houses, which can be dismantled without leaving any residues and are insulated with sheep's wool, thus protecting the environment. With three outdoor saunas, an open-air shower, a relaxation room with comfortable loungers and a heated hot tub, the destinature village even offers wellness facilities. And thanks to large windows, you always have a wide view of the biosphere reserve while relaxing.
By train and bus comfortably to Hitzacker: Plan arrival.
Once lay in the present Emsland region the most extensive raised bog Central Europe, the Bourtanger Moor. The last ice age left behind wide expanses of water, sandy soils and sparse vegetation in the North German lowlands. There, the huge bog gradually formed. Today, only a little of it remains. For centuries, farmers went to great lengths to dig so-called fuel peat out of the moor or to drain it in order to grow vegetables. But fortunately, biologists recognized the unique value of this landscape and gradually the Emsland moorlands are being renaturalized and placed under nature conservation.
The Emsland Moor Museum in Geest tells the story of this special habitat. In the modern, barrier-free building made of glass and stone, the settlement of the Emsland moor, the difficult living conditions and peat cutting are the subject of a large permanent exhibition. If you walk through the building, you will reach the extensive museum grounds. Here, in the International Nature Park Moor-Veenland on the German-Dutch border, you can explore the moor on foot along grass and plank paths. Or let the black moor train take you around in a relaxed way.
In the heart of Germany, in the very southeast of Lower Saxony, the humid climate creates a unique and species-rich mountain wilderness, which is protected in one of the largest national parks in Germany. The Harz National Park consists almost entirely of forest, most of which is simply left to its own devices. A thick carpet of moss grows on the ground, muffling your steps, and bizarre-looking lichens and mushrooms hang from the trees. Fallen trees are not cleared away, but are the habitat of many insects and beetles - so the forest has its very own cycle. If you are lucky, on a hike through this unique nature you can see two animals that have reestablished themselves here thanks to the tranquility: the lynx and the capercaillie.
More about the inhabitants of the Harz National Park, about its special climate and vegetation on the first page. Lower Saxony treetop path in Bad Harzburg. Here you can experience the treetops of the northernmost low mountain range from a completely new perspective and learn interesting facts about the nature and culture of the region on 18 platforms and at over 50 adventure stations at heights of up to 30 meters. Special highlights are the glass walkway at the crown of the tree top walk and the adventure bridge with wobbly elements and beams to balance on. This makes the tree top walk an experience for the whole family.
Gray silt as far as the eye can see. What sounds uninviting at first is a highly fascinating habitat and healthy for humans to boot. The largest tidal flat system on earth stretches from Den Heldern in the Netherlands to the Skallingen peninsula in Denmark - a coastal strip some 500 kilometers long in which much is in dynamic motion. In the Lower Saxony Wadden Sea National Park more than 10,000 animal and plant species have already been discovered. Man is only a guest here - at low tide, you can venture into this mysterious habitat on foot for a few hours, ideally under expert guidance. This is possible for example from the Mudflat Hiking Center East Frisia in the North Sea spa Carolinensiel-Harlesiel. You will be accompanied by a national park guide and learn a lot about the inhabitants of the mudflats - lugworms, cockles and beach crabs, for example - and why it is even healthy to rub yourself with the mud.
Pilgrimage is a very special form of walking. It's not about the number of kilometers covered or who reaches the finish line first. It's about slowing down, taking a look and feeling inside yourself. On the 579 kilometer long Pilgrimage route Loccum-Volkenroda you can do just that. It starts at the Cistercian monastery of Loccum in Rehburg-Loccum and ends at another Cistercian monastery in Volkenroda in Thuringia. For the first 300 kilometers, the trail follows the Weser River in a varied natural setting, crossing the Weser Mountains, the Vogler, the Solling and through the Eichsfeld. Although the pilgrimage trail was only officially opened in 2005, its traces go much further back in time.
In 1163 the monastery of Loccum was founded as a daughter of the Volkenroda monastery. Since the two monasteries always remained in contact, the Cistercians living here made the journey between the monasteries at least once a year. That is why the path is still signposted throughout by the Cistercian cross.
By train and bus comfortably to Rehburg-Loccum: Plan arrival.
Dense forests alternate with ancient upland moors, evergreen valleys and bizarre rock and stone formations. In between, there are numerous stately castles and palaces as well as small half-timbered villages along the quietly flowing Weser River. They give you an insight into the life of princes and counts. One of the most beautiful castles is the Renaissance castle Bückeburgwhich has been owned by the House of Schaumburg-Lippe for over 700 years. Particularly worth seeing are the magnificent halls from four centuries and the palace park. It is also home to Germany's only surviving court riding school.
Equally unique is Bad Pyrmont Castle. The fortress complex with residential buildings and the adjacent castle was built in the Weser Renaissance style by the counts of Spielberg in the 16th century. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was severely damaged and later rebuilt by Count Anton Ulrich of Waldeck and Pyrmont. The combination of fortification and baroque castle make the complex unique to this day.
A castle of a very different kind you will find in Emmerthal: The Moated castle Hämelschenburg is considered the showpiece of the Weser Renaissance and is completely preserved to this day. The church belonging to the complex was built in 1563 and is one of the first free-standing church buildings erected in the Evangelical Lutheran faith after the Reformation. What exactly constitutes the Weser Renaissance and how the noble family of the Guelphs lived here, you will learn during guided tours of the castle.
Past half-timbered houses, rivers, lakes, heaths and floodplains: The General German Bicycle Club certified the RadReiseRegion Uelzen - among other things because of the diverse landscape in the east of the Lüneburg Heath and the approximately 1,000 kilometers of signposted bike trails. Newcomers and cycling professionals alike can choose from 36 day-long circular tours that vary in length from 17 to 69 kilometers and the three long-distance cycle paths Weser-Harz-Heide Cycle Path, Leine-Heide Cycle Path and Ilmenau Cycle Path, which connects to the Elbe Cycle Path. So you can cycle relaxed or sporty through extensive forests, nature reserves and villages. There are separate e-bike routes in the RadReiseRegion Uelzen and special training routes for racing cyclists. These include the Stoppomat, unique in northern Germany, a ten-kilometer circuit with permanently installed timing equipment in Suderburg in the Lüneburg Heath.
By train comfortably and without traffic jams to Uelzen: Plan arrival.
Cover photo: Hiking, camping, slowing down : The landscape of Lower Saxony can be explored in many ways © TMN Photos AlexKMedia
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