A region can be discovered particularly intensively and close to nature on a bike. While the sun shines in your face, the rural backdrop is framed by birdsong and the delicate scent of ripe strawberries - heavenly. Here we introduce you to the versatile Oldenburg Münsterland:
23 cities and municipalities, including Vechta and Cloppenburg, make up the Oldenburger Münsterland. It is divided into five recreational areas: the densely wooded Dammer Berge, the river landscape of the Hasetal, extensive moorland in the northern district of Vechta, the Thülsfelder Talsperre archipelago zone rich in fish and birds, and the Barßel-Saterland water territory.
The regions can be wonderfully explored and connected with each other on the bike paths - on the 339 kilometer long Pit stop route for example, the 3 Lakes Route, or completely individually according to the node system.
Cycling by numbers
The nodes are a special feature adopted from the Netherlands. Where one or more bike paths cross, there is a node with a number between 1 and 99. With the interactive map of Fietsknoop, the route can be planned quickly: Simply select the destinations on the map and write down the displayed numbers in the correct order or download them as GPS. A great planning aid is also the Leisure map. Everything from the farm store to the e-bike charging station is displayed in your vicinity.
The best thing about a bike tour through the Oldenburg Münsterland is that you don't have to worry about food. The region is dominated by agriculture and is home to numerous Farm cafés, Fresh and strawberry farmswhere you can get tasty and fresh food.
Our tip: Visit the region between April and July. Then it's asparagus and strawberry season - both real specialties in Oldenburger Münsterland.
The likelihood of eating an asparagus from Lower Saxony in Germany is high. Every fifth asparagus is harvested here - in 2019, the total was 28,000 tons. To put this into perspective: If you were to lay all of Lower Saxony's asparagus end to end at the equator, you could almost put the asparagus chain around the earth twice (about 10,000 kilometers are missing, but we don't want to be petty).
Although the Romans are said to have already carried the popular vegetable across the Alps, it has only been cultivated in large quantities in Germany since the 19th century. Since then, the characteristic asparagus fields have spread like nets across Germany and today define the Lower Saxon landscape.
Asparagus grows in sandy, loose soil, which is heaped up to form so-called asparagus ridges. It has the white color because it grows under the ground. Shortly before harvesting at the end of April, the long asparagus fields are covered with foil to keep the heat in the soil and protect the asparagus tips, which now often peek out of the ground, from the sun. The green asparagus variety is also grown in earthen dams. However, these are shallower, and the asparagus is allowed to grow into daylight. Pricking (white asparagus) or cutting (green asparagus) takes place from the end of April until June 24, St. John's Day. After that, the perennial plants are allowed to recover until next year.
Anyone who cycles through the Oldenburg Münsterland for the sake of asparagus is on the Lower Saxony Asparagus Route in good hands. It leads through the central and southern part of the region, past Vechta, Cloppenburg, Lastrup and Molbergen.
Here you can not only eat the excellent asparagus, but also experience it: on markets, festivals or the traditional Oldenburg Münsterland asparagus dinner. This has been held for over 25 years on the Friday before Mother's Day, the second Sunday in May. In normal years, up to 4,000 guests gather at participating fresh farms and restaurants to enjoy a variety of asparagus dishes. In 2021, the meal is available to-go, as an RV dinner or, if possible, in the restaurant.
How asparagus is enjoyed in Oldenburg Münsterland? In the classic version with rolled ham, hollandaise sauce and young potatoes tossed in butter. But also as a salad, soup, with spinach and poached egg ... . The asparagus dishes of the region are as diverse as the Oldenburger Münsterland itself.
Germans love strawberries! They eat up to three kilograms on average per year. Like asparagus, a large amount of German strawberries come from Lower Saxony. The Oldenburger Münsterland region is Lower Saxony's largest strawberry producer and one of the largest contiguous strawberry-growing areas in the republic. If you are cycling around Vechta in June and July, the sweet red fruits flash enticingly between dense greenery.
Fortunately, there are numerous strawberry farms here. On many of them you can harvest the fruit yourself. If you like it more relaxed, you can buy them in the farm stores and cafés; freshly harvested, as jam or processed into delicious dishes.
Anyone traveling in the Oldenburg Münsterland region on the third weekend in July should stop by Langförden. There, every year, at the peak of the strawberry season, the election of the Strawberry King or also the strawberry queen takes place. The first election was held in 2006 as a small event, but it has since become a real crowd-puller and is celebrated with keg beer tapping, stage moderation and dance interludes. Those who apply should be aware of the responsibility that comes with it. The strawberry loyalty takes over the office of a Lower Saxony brand ambassador for one year.
If you already see yourself in a red robe and waving in front of a large crowd, we probably have to disappoint you. Only those who live in the Oldenburg Münsterland region can become Strawberry King.
Cover photo: The early bird ... is rewarded with a great light atmosphere and a wonderful peace © OM-Tourismus
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