From the Harz Mountains to the North Sea - Lower Saxony has a wide variety of natural areas and landscapes. Each is special in its own way and a source of relaxation from everyday life. Whether hiking, cycling, winter or water sports, the possibilities are great in northern Germany. We introduce you to seven landscapes in Lower Saxony:
Valleys, mountains, meadows and forests: The Harz mountain ranges begin in Lower Saxony. Deciduous forests of beech and oak dominate here, and the landscape was shaped by mining in many places for centuries. The Wurmberg, at around 971 meters above sea level, is the highest mountain in Lower Saxony and the second highest in the Harz. The ski area there has various cable cars and lifts as well as ski huts with rustic inns. A paradise for winter sports enthusiasts! Bad Harzburg also has a tree top walk. Much of Lower Saxony's Harz Mountains is part of the Harz National Park, which was established together with Saxony-Anhalt. The nature park is focused on restoring the original wilderness.
Originated from the ice age: The Geest, a sandy and not particularly fertile soil, offers an authentic northern German landscape - green, wide and varied. Plants and animals cope very well with the barren conditions. In the north and west, the Geest is rather flat and characterized by moors. Further south and east, the Geest becomes hillier and drier. Pine forests and heath characterize the nature. In addition to grain, potatoes and asparagus are cultivated in the fields. The Lower Saxon nature parks Wildeshauser Geest and Hümmling are protected areas. Here you can find the typical Geest landscape with its alternation of forest, heath, moor and agricultural land. You can discover the nature of northern Germany on numerous developed and signposted cycling and hiking trails.
The two largest inland lakes in Lower Saxony, the Steinhuder Meer and the Dümmer, are remnants of the last ice age. Some bogs have formed near the lakes. The waters provide an optimal habitat for amphibians and fish as well as resting and breeding places for birds. In the nature parks Steinhuder Meer and Dümmer you can go hiking, cycling or enjoy the summer while swimming. Camping sites and vacation homes are available at both bodies of water. With the Elbe, Weser and Ems, three large rivers run through Lower Saxony before they flow into the North Sea. The varied nature along the river courses can be ideally explored by bicycle. All three rivers are lined with long-distance cycle paths.
In late summer, heather unfolds its purple-white splendor: Bees fly from flower to flower, birds chirp and the moorland sheep graze under the sun. Shepherding and beekeeping are important components of nature conservation here. The slightly hilly, spacious landscapes are interspersed with small juniper groves or single birch trees. In the nature parks Lüneburger Heide, Südheide and Elbhöhen-Wendland it is wonderful to switch off from everyday life and live in the here and now. In these sandy Geest landscapes, you can hike along paths and trails through the heath, surrounded by large, sparse pine and mixed forests.
The Wadden Sea is full of life and offers countless animals and plants a home. Particularly important for the ecosystem are lugworm, cockle, shore crab, wadden snail and North Sea shrimp. They are all an important food source for millions of migratory birds that visit the Wadden Sea every year to breed or rest. Seven East Frisian Islands with sandy beaches and dunes worth seeing also belong to Lower Saxony. The salt marshes of these islands are repeatedly flooded by the sea, so only plants that can cope with the high salt content in the water and soil grow here. In order to preserve this unique nature, the Lower Saxony Wadden Sea was designated a national park in 1986. And it is part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Three Wadden Sea visitor centers, fourteen national park houses and a national park experience station inform you about the Wadden Sea at the coast and on the islands.
Around Hanover, Hildesheim and Braunschweig it is particularly green in the landscape of the Börden. Due to the deposition of loess after the ice age, very fertile soils have formed here. And agriculture has long known how to take advantage of the conditions on the wide fields. Between the cultivated areas there are often avenues of trees and small forests. In many places, old manors bear witness to the prosperity created by agriculture. In the Elm-Lappwald Nature Park east of Braunschweig, you can discover a total of 500 kilometers of hiking trails; for example, the challenging Eulenspiegel hiking trail starting at the Eulenspiegel Museum in Schöppenstedt or the surrounding area of the historic university town of Helmstedt - whether you are on foot or by bike.
When swathes of mist drift through the moor in the morning, there is a mysterious atmosphere. It is cool and quiet. At the latest when the fog lifts and the sun unfolds its full power, you can see the whole beauty of a moor. Lower Saxony has the highest density of moors of all German states and these landscapes are important for the protection of species because rare animal and plant species live there. Species such as sphagnum moss, sundew and cotton grass are perfectly adapted to the acidic soils. The golden plover, which is almost extinct in Central Europe, finds in the upland moors of Lower Saxony the last breeding grounds in Germany. You can discover the moors of Lower Saxony for yourself on signposted hiking trails and quiet paths.
Cover image: In front of Norddeich stretches the mudflats © Tourismus-Service Norden-Norddeich - Angelika Erdmann
For your Vacation in Lower Saxony there are plenty of good reasons. From the North Sea with the wide beaches and the partly car free islands to the Harz Mountains, in between, among others, the Lüneburg Heath, the Old land, exciting Large and small cities and great Amusement parks, zoos and animal parks and exhibitions.
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