Without the Calluna Vulgaris, little would happen in the Lüneburg Heath. The so-called broom heather is by far the most common heather plant in the region and attracts visitors from all over Germany during the flowering season. It can be narrowed down in time: Annually in the period from 8.8. to 9.9. the purple blossom in the Lüneburg Heath is usually most beautiful, so it is said in the vernacular. Information about where exactly this fascinating spectacle can best be observed is provided by the so-called Flower barometer. And perhaps the topographical location of what actually belongs to the Lüneburg Heath would also be quite helpful: The heart of the Lüneburg Heath Nature Park is the 23,440-hectare Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve, which is car-free except for a few access roads and where the largest contiguous heath areas in Central Europe are located. The entire area stretches from Buchholz i. d. Nordheide in the north to Soltau in the south, from Schneverdingen in the west to the borders of the Hanseatic city of Lüneburg in the east.
With a population of 75,000, Lüneburg is not a small city in principle - and yet in many places it seems to its visitors more like an idyllic museum village. This is mainly due to Lüneburg's wonderfully preserved medieval old town, which is characterized by numerous Gothic gabled brick houses. Actually, fixed destinations and addresses are not necessary when exploring Lüneburg, because the whole city seems like a movie set. (Which, however, would deserve more than the ARD telenovela "Red Roses," which is already filming its 18th season in Lüneburg). Who nevertheless needs popular points of contact: At Stintmarkt in the water quarter of Lüneburg there are many pubs and restaurants, especially in summer with romantic outdoor seating. Our tip: In the Mälzer Brewery and Table House you get to know Lüneburg hospitality in a romantic-rustic way.
More info about Lüneburg is available here.
By train comfortably and without traffic jams to Lüneburg: Plan arrival.
Admittedly, the name doesn't really sound inviting, but this picturesque valley in the middle of the Lüneburg Heath nature reserve is one of the most beautiful places in the entire Heath. The fairytale-mystical blooming valley basin in August may not be entered, but also the numerous Hiking trails above the ground of the dead offer more than one attractive photo spot - supposedly the Totengrund is one of the most popular photo motifs at all. The fact that it still exists at all is thanks to a pastor and conservationist: Around 1900, the area was actually supposed to be destroyed and built on, but the so-called Heidepastor Wilhelm Bode bought it and made it available for nature conservation.
More info about the Totengrund is available here.
"High on the yellow wagon" is a particularly frequent and good way to get around in the Lüneburg Heath. This does not necessarily have to do with the fact that tourists in this region, of all places, tend to be comfortable. The special thing about many fascinating spots in the Lüneburg Heath is that they are closed to car traffic. So if you don't want to travel on foot - the area is quite large, after all! - can book their excursion with the popular "Heidekutschen" instead. Bonus: The coachmen are well-trained guides who know all about the origins of the heath and its many plant and animal species.
More info about heath carriage rides there is here.
It is called the craziest estate in all of northern Germany. It houses an artificial volcano, the (also officially) largest collection of beer bottles in the world, a giant ark - and a few more bizarre things that have only one thing in common: They don't really fit together. That doesn't bother the owner and "visionary" Uwe Schulz-Ebschbach, who bought the hunting lodge "Iserhatsche" in 1986, built up various collections - crown corks, plungers! - and opened it all to the public together with the extensive grounds in 2003. For an entrance fee of 12 euros, of course. But in return, visitors to the "Iserhatsche" in the heart of the Lüneburg Heath also get a lot on offer: an incredible cabinet of curiosities that obeys no strict concept, but only Schulz-Ebschbach's preferences. Ergo: a fantastic one-off.
More info about the Iserhatsche is available here.
What do people associate with the Lüneburg Heath? Of course, Hermann Löns, the local poet. In his honor, a memorial was erected in Walsrode, very close to the Heidemuseum Rischmannshof even a Statue which shows him with dog and rifle. "On the Lüneburg Heath in the beautiful country I went up and down all sorts of things along the way I found" he once wrote in his hunting lodge in the Westenholzer Bruch, where he spent many a month. The well-known Heimatfilm "Grün ist die Heide" (Green is the Heath) was also produced based on motifs from him.
Only inaugurated in 2012, the Heidschnuckenweg is already one of the most beautiful and popular long-distance hiking trails in Germany. It leads 223 kilometers from Hamburg-Fischbek through the Lüneburg Heath Nature Park to the royal seat of Celle, crossing more than 30 heath areas in the northern and southern heaths in 13 stages. It almost goes without saying that the Heidschnuckenweg has already been officially designated a "quality trail" by the German Hiking Association.
More info about the Heidschnuckenweg is available at here.
When asked about the most beautiful, the most picturesque, the most idyllic place in the Lüneburg Heath, the name Wilsede comes up again and again - along with Lüneburg itself. The village is located in the middle of a nature reserve and is car-free, which means that it can only be reached on foot, by bicycle or on one of the horse-drawn carriage rides that are so popular in the Heath. Wilsede, with only 40 inhabitants, seems like a museum village, although the historic half-timbered houses are inhabited normally. If you want to delve even deeper into the history of the village, you can "Dat Ole Huus"A museum of local history with a sheep barn exhibition. Or one returns directly in the Milk hall the chic rest house with beer garden, where you can dine rustic-regional.
More info about Wilsede is available here.
A train station as a landmark? Sounds strange, but in the case of the Uelzen train station it is justified: The station was redesigned by Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser in the course of Expo 2000. If you're familiar with Hundertwasser's work, you'll already have an idea of what's on display in Uelzen: art, ecology and modern painting combine here to create a fabulously colorful gesamtkunstwerk that has many a visitor exclaiming in admiration, "The most beautiful train station in the world!" (Unfortunately, the trains don't arrive here any more punctually ...) Those who would like to get to know it and learn a bit more about Hundertwasser and his work: The Hanseatic City of Uelzen organizes public tours under the headings "Hundertwasser Day" with a guided tour and lunch for 19 euros per person or alternatively "Hundertwasser Impressions with a guided tour of the train station and Uelzen's historic city center" as well as the film "Hundertwasser - Portrait of an Artist" for 23.50 euros per person.
More info about Uelzen train station is available here, keyword: Hundertwasser
If you hike through the heath all day, you might want to stretch your feet into a natural body of water to cool off in between? The Meißendorf ponds are perfect for this. Although they are definitely more than just a few small ponds. In some places, one feels rather reminded of the Mecklenburg Lake District. The hiking trail around the Hüttensee alone is over eight kilometers long and opens up views of a white sandy beach, two fishing lakes and a picturesque biotope. However, a visit to the Meißendorf ponds and the neighboring Bannetzer Moor should also be attractive for another reason: birds! Over 130 species of birds live here, including such melodious species as the osprey, bittern and garganey.
More information about the Meißendorf ponds can be found at here.
Cover photo: At the beginning of the 19th century, large parts of northern Germany looked so beautiful! Today, the extensive pastures can almost only be found in the Lüneburg Heath © shutterstock.com/Thorsten Link
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