The heart of Germany's northwest: A vacation trip through the Oldenburg Münsterland offers guests special places of tranquility - and spectacular bike tours past lakes, castles and half-timbered houses.

Early in the morning it goes out of the feathers. What a morning, the weather forecast promises a wonderful day! From the overnight accommodation in Damme, it's only a few minutes by bike to Lake Dümmer. At this time of day, the lake is still covered in morning fog, the shore is almost unreal in the diffuse light of the first rays of sunlight, and an old wooden footbridge stretches out over the water as if painted. One should let the curiosity win and overcome: And follow the footbridge into the fog, on wobbly planks to the top, to pause for a bit. There, in the middle of nowhere, time is quickly forgotten, in the middle of the lake all thoughts become peaceful.

Morning mood at lake Dümmer
It's worth getting up a little earlier for this - morning atmosphere at Lake Dümmer © Wolfgang Stelljes

The Oldenburg Münsterland, nestled in the area south of Oldenburg and north of Osnabrück, offers many opportunities to conquer inner peace with its 23 communities and five adventure regions. Anyone who goes on a discovery tour here, travels the countryside and gets involved with the friendly people, will soon be rewarded with a nice feeling - that "grounding yourself" and "moving" are not necessarily contradictory.

The countryside conveys a pleasant originality that may have been lost to many a city dweller. High in the north of the Oldenburg Münsterland, in the recreation area Barßel & Saterland, there is even still a language of its own: There the rare "Sater Frisian" is spoken, this mini patch is considered the smallest language island in Europe - "hatelk wilkemen in Seelterlound"!

Of course, the heart of Germany's northwest can be easily explored by car or motor home - but the most beautiful way is by bike: On more than 2200 kilometers of bike paths, mostly nice and wide and without car traffic straight ahead to the horizon, it really only goes up and down in the forests of the Dammer Berge. The sights of the region are linked on many bike routes: "Experience noble residences" is the name of the tour around Vechta, for example, while the "Moor & Moos Route" can be tackled in the neighboring district of Cloppenburg.

The 260-kilometer "3 Lakes Route" offers spectacularly beautiful views. It goes from the Zwischenahner Meer over the Thülsfelder Talsperre, where with a little luck you can see a flock of sheep on the dike, down to the south of the Oldenburger Münsterland and also to the Dümmer See, that body of water with the grandiose-idyllic morning atmosphere on the jetty.

But if you like, you can turn off beforehand in the direction of Holland into the Hasetal and take it easy for a change. Here, visitors can book a ride on a historic steam train - or prove their muscle power themselves and explore the beautiful landscape by trolley on a disused railroad line.

The river Hase in the Hase meadows
Charming river landscape - the Hase Valley with its namesake river in the Oldenburg Münsterland © om-tourismus

The Museum Village in Cloppenburg, one of the oldest open-air museums in Germany, is also steeped in history. Around a quarter of a million visitors come every year to marvel at the rural architecture from 300 years ago. Anyone wandering through the extensive parkland will discover a windmill, old agricultural implements and admire the mighty historic "Arkenstede manor house" of a large farmer. Apparently, it was possible to live quite well in the Oldenburg Münsterland in the past.

Cover photo: Evening atmosphere in the moor - the three-kilometer-long "Dausenmoor nature trail" also leads through the "Molberger Dose" nature reserve, which covers more than 600 hectares © om-tourismus