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Nature & Leisure

Let the sea be your roll model: keep moving! After all, active holidays are a big part of coastal life. Whether you explore the different natural surroundings by bike, on foot or from the water, take a giddy spin through the adventure parks or observe the maritime animal kingdom in the zoos and breeding stations: you will discover the north at every turn!


Our Star: Baltic Coast Cycle Route

The Baltic Sea coast between Travemünde and Usedom is an exuberant and diverse feast for the eyes. The thundering waves and the wide horizon accompany cyclists through proud Hanse cities and upmarket coastal resorts, slumbering fishing villages and expansive woodlands. The section winding around the Fischland-Darß-Zingst peninsula with its lagoon coastlines is particularly beautiful to explore by bicycle. It offers an endless view across the lagoons and the traditional zeesenboats sailing there between Althagen and Wieck. It is also a great place to watch the storks circling the skies in spring and autumn. A tour from Laboe to the beach at Schönberg is also highly recommended. Cyclists follow the path of the ships, always hugging the coast. The California and Brazil sections of the beach follow directly after the stone grave in Stein and the museum harbour in the Wendtorf marina.

Our Star: Exploring Hamburg by Bicycle

The Hanse city has plenty of attractions for people looking for a more active style of leisure. How about a bike tour down the river Elbe and through the Port of Hamburg, right out to Alte Land, where in spring thousands of cherry trees blossom, transforming the landscape into a white sea of flowers? The centre also has safe cycle paths leading to green oases such as the Municipal Park, the Niendorfer Gehege or the park complexes all round the Außen and Innenalster

Our Star: Hagenbeck Zoo, Hamburg

Almost half of Hamburg's urban sprawl consists of forests, waterways and parks. Some claim that Hagenbeck Zoo is the most beautiful of them all. 2500 animals are certain to light a sparkle in children's eyes. Visitors are even allowed to feed the Asian elephants and the giraffes, while the tropical aquarium shows exotic fish in their natural environment. And no one should forget to drop in on the pen with the Sumatra orang utans or the elephant house. Right next door young adventurers can set off on an expedition through Africa and Asia in the Lindner Park Hotel Hagenbeck. The hotel offers great overnight deals for the whole family.

Our Star: Hamburg-Bremen Long-Distance Cycle Route

Far from the busy roads, the 150 km long-distance cycle route between Hamburg and Bremen connects north Germany's most celebrated Hanse cities, leading you through the countryside between the rivers Elbe and Weser, the North Sea and the heath. You cycle toward Hamburg or Bremen on old trade routes, side paths or along tranquil woodland tracks. Stopovers along the route include the artists' village Fischerhude, the Museum Zeven Monastery, the Harburg mountains, the open air museum in Kiekeberg and the game park at Schwarze Berge.

Our Star: Hansa Park, Sierksdorf, Baltic Sea

Eleven lovingly staged theme worlds and over 125 attractions invite visitors to hop on, join in and be amazed in Germany's only seaside leisure park. Water is the most important element in HANSA-PARK. Zippy and swooshing boat trips, unique ship models and plenty of maritime exhibits are dotted throughout this huge interactive world.

Our Star: High Coastal Trail to the Chalk Cliffs of Rügen

The 8 km high coastal trail leads to the chalk cliffs in the Jasmund National Park on Rügen, where countless breath-taking views of the sea stretch out all around. For instance of the picturesque "Wissower Klinken", which Caspar David Friedrich immortalised on canvas. Or from the Viktoria vantage point looking out on the gleaming white of the chalk cliffs of Königsstuhl. The twittering of the innumerable house martins nesting in the rock is all around. Fresh streams sparkle in the dense beechwood forest of Stubnitz. Some of them emerge as waterfalls plummeting down the up to 118 metre rocks.

Our Star: Hiking around Großer Plöner See

The Großer Plöner region is situated at the heart of the Holstein Switzerland National Park. Numerous lakes, expansive fields, meadows and shadowy woodlands around the Plön lake district make this area a popular destination for excursions and an ideal "backdrop". Covering almost 3000 ha of water dropping to depths of 64 metres, the Große Plöner See is the largest and also the deepest lake in Schleswig-Holstein. Everywhere you go along the banks there are natural beaches and places to swim in good, regularly monitored water quality. The hiking trail "around the lake" measures approx. 37 km.

Our Star: Lüneburg Heath and Heath Villages

Lüneburg Heath is one of Europe's most famed regions, and the blossoming heather in August/September is its highlight. The Lüneburg Heath Nature Park was the first of its kind to be established in Germany. Central Europe's largest unbroken heath, the over 1000 km² Lüneburg Heath Nature Park is also home to moors and woodlands. Not only do the innumerable hiking trails and cycle paths stretching through Lüneburg Heath take its visitors past beautiful natural settings, there are also plenty of cultural offering in the heath villages and the thatched farm complexes. Most of them farm the typical heath sheep known as Heidschnucken. The animals are something of a trademark on Lüneburg Heath, and their grazing automatically helps look after the land.

Our Star: Phänomenta Flensburg

Visitors to the Phänomenta can try out the experiments at the over 150 attractive stations to discover fascinating contexts, and perhaps to acquire the odd new insight. A wide range of phenomena from the natural sciences and engineering are waiting to be discovered and given a spin in the special ambience of a restored merchant's house and in the expansive new rooms. Visitors team up to find out how easy it is to lift their own weight with a pulley, or that you can build a stable wooden bridge even without nails and screws. Phänomenta is the perfect destination for a special trip with the family.

Our Star: Sylt

Sylt is actually no more than a huge sandbank out at sea. But there are good reasons why it is the Germans' favourite island. After all, it is as sparkling and varied as the North Sea waters that surround it. Heavy surf on the western side, calm Wadden Sea in the east. Unspoilt dunes and green dykes, blossoming heathland and majestic cliffs, bustle and calm, alongside over 200 restaurants and eateries. You are certain to find ways to spend plenty of holidays on Sylt. It is no wonder that Sylt is so beloved of its many fans.

Our Star: The Adventure Zoo in Hannover

The Hannover Adventure Zoo is among the most exciting animal parks in Europe. The zoo is home to 3000 animals in seven theme worlds. What's more, up to 31 animal shows and show feeding times with commentaries every day, interactive gastronomy with an in-house ice manufactory, entertaining scout tours, toboggan runs, climbing trails, gold prospecting and large adventure playgrounds make for perfect entertainment.

Our Star: The Alster in Hamburg

The 160 ha lake at the heart of the city is a paradise for sailors, rowers or paddlers, although it is never deeper than 2.50 metres. The lush meadows lining the banks provide plenty of opportunity to enjoy time down by the water, right in the centre of the city. Switching off while lounging on a blanket or on a deck chair, jogging "once round the Alster", going for a stroll, playing frisbee or boule – there are countless ways of enjoying the magnificently green oasis on land. Naturally there are cafés and restaurants dotted all round the Alster, where visitors can gaze out over the water while enjoying a meal or a refreshing drink.

Our Star: The Chalk Cliffs of Rügen and their Famous Painter

The white chalk cliffs of Rügen that gleam in the sunlight rise up to 18 metres high above the turquoise waters of the sea below. This makes the island's landmark in the Jasmund National Park the highest steep coastline along the southern Baltic Sea. Even the famous painter Caspar David Friedrich hiked along the lofty coastal trail to paint his famous picture of the chalk cliffs. Many of his romantic landscape pictures are exhibited in the Pomeranian State Museum.

Our Star: The Elbe Cycle Route in Lower Saxony

Repeated surveys conducted by ADFC have seen the Elbe Cycle Route voted Germany's most popular long-distance cycle path. And that is down to its immensely varied character, which is also easy to negotiate. The Elbe Cycle Route winds its way along 840 km in Germany alone, passing vibrant cities and through lovely landscapes. In Lower Saxony, the Elbe Cycle Route extends 340 km between Cuxhaven and Brunsbüttel. The brisk maritime air accompanies cyclists through the national park and the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site Wadden Sea as they travel across the maritime landscape of the Lower Elbe, past small and large harbours, cosy towns, rustic farmyards and fruit meadows laid out as far as the eye can see.

Our Star: The Harzer Hexenstieg in the Harz Region

The Harzer Hexenstieg was awarded the seal of quality "Qualitätsweg Wanderbares Deutschland". It is therefore among the "Top Trails of Germany". There are 94 kilometres between its start in Osterode in Lower Saxony and the destination in Thale, Saxony Anhalt, during which hikers will experience the endless variety of the Germany's most northerly woodland mountains. Historical ore and silver mining in all their facets – the Upper Harz Water Regale was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2010; the mythical mountain wilderness of the Harz National Park; the former Iron Curtain along what was once the inner-German border, today a green habitat for rare plants and animals; and of course the Brocken mountain – at 1141 metres quite literally the high point of the tour.

Our Star: The Harz Region

People have been enchanted by the Harz region for millennia, and to the present day it has lost nothing of its magic. Even Goethe and Heine felt drawn to the deep forests, the windswept heights and the rough-hewn boulders of the Harz region. Witches and goblins reign supreme in the northernmost inland mountain range in Germany. Families set off together to track down magicians, while climbers happen across mystical places deep in the forests of the Harz. Others take a tour with the National Park Rangers to follow the tracks through the exciting wilderness of the mountains. The snow-laden landscape is a popular destination for winter sport enthusiasts during the colder months.

Our Star: The Heide-Park Resort in Soltau

Offering over 40 attractions and shows, the Heide-Park in Soltau is north Germany's largest family and leisure park. Spread over 850.000 m², it is even one of Germany's biggest recreation and theme parks. The Colossos, the world's fifth tallest wooden rollercoaster, is among the park's main attractions. The holiday home complex in the Holiday Camp, the Bulli Camp and the Heide-Park Adventure Hotel also belong to the complex.

Our Star: The North Sea Cycle Route

The North Sea Cycle Route, one of Europe's longest cycle trails, extends over 6000 kilometres and leads through six countries bordering the North Sea. The section along the North Sea coast of Lower Saxony, which winds its away through a lively seaside landscape, is as interesting as it is adventurous. In front of it is the sanctuary of the Lower Saxony Tidelands National Park, which is part of the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site Wadden Sea.

Our Star: The Phaeno in Wolfsburg

Visitors to the Science Center phæno in Wolfsburg will experience over 350 phenomena to touch and try out. Tornadoes, anti-gravity, magnetic levitation trains and fluorescent gases make scientific and technical topics come to life. The architect Zaha Hadid, winner of the Pritzker Prize, designed the impressive building that is numbered among the 12 most important Modernist structures worldwide.

Our Star: The Seven East Frisian Islands

The East Frisian islands of Borkum, Juist, Norderney, Baltrum, Langeoog, Spiekeroog and Wangerooge line up like a string of pearls between the expansive mudflats and coastal waters of the North Sea, next to them the four uninhabited islets of Lütje Hörn, Memmert, Minsener Oog and Mellum. The unique tide lands emerge at low tide, inviting visitors on fabulous strolls. The best way is accompanied by a mudflat guide who explains the natural surroundings and their rich wealth of species along with plenty of anecdotes.

Our Star: The Weser Cycle Route

The Weser Cycle Route runs through a region that is almost unrivalled in its diversity. Visitors travelling its 500 km of well-developed paths from the Weser Uplands to the North Sea will find out why the Weser Cycle Route has been among Germany's most popular bicycle trails for many years now. And whether they prefer a more leisurely or adventurous pace, the Weser Cycle Route is sure to score points with its varied terrain for recreational cycling or tours lasting several days. Most of the Weser Cycle Route is far from the main roads, and runs parallel to the river through peaceful fields, rural roads, cycling paths and tracks down by the riverside.

Our Star: Wandering the mudflats in the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site Wadden Sea

A hike across the mudflats of the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site Wadden Sea accompanied by a professional guide is a must for anyone keen to learn about and experience this unique habitat. Mudflat hikes to the East Frisian islands are considered classic routes. Hikes across the mudflats, or tours in a horse-drawn carriage, to the island of Neuwerk are equally popular.

Our Star: World Natural Heritage Site Wadden Sea

Wadden Sea is one of the world's largest and most important tidal wetland habitats; it is of global significance as a stopover for migratory birds. The mammals that inhabit Wadden Sea include common seals, grey seals and porpoises. The mud is teeming with mussels and crabs, nematodes and planarians. The tidal flats are spawning grounds for numerous species of fish such as plaice and sole. The large reserves of food found here make the Wadden Sea essential as a stopover for migrating birds.

Little Stars

Our Little Star: Arche Warder

The Arche Wader, Europe's largest animal park for rare pets and almost extinct farmyard animals, is located between Wardersee and Brahmsee. Roughly 800 animals from 70 different, once common species live here on the 40 hectare grounds. Races such as saddleback pigs, Telemark cattle, Old Oldenburg horses, curly-breasted Sebastopol or Westfälische Totleger are preserved here.

Our Little Star: botanika - The Green Science Center in Bremen

Take a journey of discovery through the Asian continent in the heart of Bremen. botanika – the Green Science Center in Bremen's Rhododendronpark invites visitors to take an exciting trip through exotic regions all year round. Explore the home countries of the rhododendron and experience nature right up close.

Our Little Star: Bremerhaven Zoo by the Sea

The topical zoo with its unique focus on northern and maritime species has been numbered among Europe's most state-of-the-art facilities since 2014. Its location right by the dyke forges a unique bond between the large, authentic complex and the natural maritime setting. Nine seawater aquariums with a total capacity of over 200,000 litres and plenty of North Sea inhabitants round off the experience at the Zoo by the sea.

Our Little Star: Fairytales and Myths in the Weser Uplands

The Weser Uplands Route, an accredited quality trail, stretches 225 kilometres and spirits its hikers away into a long-forgotten age of fairytales and myths, the world of Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, the Pied Piper of Hamlin or Baron Munchhausen. It is a unique route along the Weser Uplands from Hann. The reason for this is the large number of historical cities, also the romantic castles and palaces, between Münden and Hamlin.

Our Little Star: Hiking in Mecklenburg Switzerland

The way to Basedow leads through Hainholz, a small beech tree forest just outside Malchin. Hikers command a stunning view across the undulating panorama of Mecklenburg Switzerland wherever the forest opens up. The Alpine countryside shows a snippet of its Mediterranean side just a stone's throw away. An alley of pyramid-shaped poplars accompanies the visitors as they travel the marvellous route to the palace grounds of Basedow. They were designed by the world famous landscape designer Peter Joseph Lenné. Guests can view its magnificently ornate, shining red pediments mirrored in the perfectly smooth ponds all around. And its tower makes us believe in the fairytale of Rapunzel. The Alte Schafstall and Café Schmiede are great places to linger on the way back.

Our Little Star: Mecklenburg Lakes

The Mecklenburg Lakes make up the largest uninterrupted lake district in central Europe. Müritz, Germany's largest inland lake (112 km²), is situated right at the heart of this watery paradise. Holidaying in the Mecklenburg Lakes offers something for everyone, whether travelling the unique watery landscape by houseboat or canoe, or biking past the yellow rape fields and through the Müritz National Park and Nature Parks. North German Gothic red-brick architecture, lovingly reconstructed town centres, Baroque parks and beautiful churches are delightful places to linger.

Our Little Star: Mercedes Benz in Bremen

Accept the challenge and test your driving skills on the SUV course "The Rock!" by Mercedes-Benz! Here you can experience action, great fun driving and off-road power all round Bremen's third largest hill: with 70% upward and 80% downward gradients. Take adventure to a new level – along the 963 metre course. You will even get the chance to take to the wheel and prove your driving skills following thorough induction from a scout.

Our Little Star: Multimar Wattforum

How big is a sperm whale, how small a mud snail? Are lumpfish a bit like chicken, because they lay eggs? Do male seahorses become pregnant? The National Park Centre Multimar Wattforum in Tönning finds answers to the most exciting questions relating to the National Park Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea, whisking visitors away to the fascinating underwater world of the North Sea. Large aquariums show animals found in the Wadden Sea, including over 250 species of fish, crab, mussel and snail.

Our Little Star: Müritzeum Waren (Müritz)

This adds an entirely new dimension to experiencing Germany's most watery landscape. The largest aquarium for freshwater fish in Germany is at the heart of the exhibition. The House of the Thousand Lakes is also well worth a visit.

Our Little Star: National Park of Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft

The long coastline of the Baltic Sea with its many sandbanks, islands and lagoons is a unique paradise for nature and birds. Here you will find peace and relaxation in the expansive meadows and the untouched woodlands like Darß Forest.

Our Little Star: Nature and Environment Park Güstrow

Naturally wild and simply terrific! This is how big and small nature friends will experience the NUP. There is a predators' pen for indigenous wild animals, which features exciting climbing trails, towers, a stockade yard, earth and wolf caves, colonnades and root tunnels. Visitors will experience bears, wolves, lynx and wildcats, take a look at a bog mummy, wander through AQUA Tunnel to see the local underwater world or watch the zippy little red-haired, woodland creatures in the squirrels' drey.

Our Little Star: Orchard Route through the Alte Land Fruit Garden

A sea of white and pink blossoms enchant the eye in spring, while a vast expanse of fruit are irresistible in summer and autumn. Cherry and apple trees, richly decorated semi-timbered houses in the style of the Alte Land, also quaint churches with precious organs, are what one will see when travelling the Orchard Route through Alte Land. The cycling trail describes two circuits through the orchards just outside Hamburg, returning time and again to the water and the dyke, and branching off into the cities of Stade and Buxtehude. There are numerous farmyard shops offering fresh fruit, guided tours, fruit sampling and group activities.

Our Little Star: Rostock Heath

Once a hunting district and a source of timber to build houses and ships, Rostock Heath today is a unique leisure area with 87 km of cycling and hiking tracks and 60 km of riding trails. The Baltic Sea spa of Graal-Müritz, the forestry and charburner estate in Wiethagen with its tar smoulder museum and sculpture trail, also the Gelbensande hunting lodge, are popular destinations for hikes through the beech and pine tree countryside dotted with marshes and lakes. The traditional restaurant and hotel Schnatermann is easy to reach on foot or by bicycle. Visitors can take the passenger ship MS Schnatermann back to Warnemünde.

Our Little Star: Stork Information Centre

Each year in spring and autumn up to 8000 storks congregate in front of the coastline of the Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park. The best time to observe the impressive, large birds in the biggest of all European gathering points is in the autumn. You can visit the exhibition on the life of storks and receive tips on where best to observe them in the information centre in Groß Mohrdorf.

Our Little Star: The Alte Land

Fruit trees as far as the eye can see, interspersed with dykes, ditches, streams, canals and pretty little villages with magnificent semi-timbered houses. Alte Land is quite rightly known as Germany's orchard. There are over 10,000 hectares of fruit plantations, mainly apples, in the region just outside Hamburg. All the same, its cherries, pears, plums and berries also find their way to the fruit shops of Germany.

Our Little Star: The Brodtener Ufer, Travemünde

A hiding place for beach pirates that used beacons to entice ships to land. Now the 4 km, often towering cliffs above the steep banks are a refuge for sand martins and rare plants. To this day the wind and the waves eat away at the so-called active cliffs, carving up to 1m away from the slope, before washing the debris up again several hundred metres further down.

Our Little Star: The Ems Cycle Route in Lower Saxony

The Ems Cycle Route stretches 375 kilometres from the source of the river Ems between the pastures of Hövelhof to its North Sea estuary by Emden. The cycle path frequently returns to the riverside, before branching off to the historical cities and idyllic landscape to the left and the right of the river Ems.

Our Little Star: The German-Danish Border Route

The 130 km border route allows cyclists to immerse themselves in the cultural history of the border region between Germany and Denmark. Thirteen times the route crosses the former border that for 80 years shaped the landscape between the North Sea dyke and the Flensburg Fjord. Idyllic paths now wind their way through a varied countryside. As they travel, visitors will also learn about the traditional ethnic minorities and the five languages in the region. Low German, Low Danish and Frisian contribute to the diversity of languages alongside German and Danish.

Our Little Star: The Halligen, North Sea

Theodor Storm described them as dreams afloat: the unique Halligen. Tiny islands, formed into small marshy islands out at sea during high and low tide, and especially during storm surges. The inhabitants of today's 10 Halligen now live on man-made hills with stilt houses, the so-called Warfts. They have a tradition of hospitality, and are happy to share their Hallig landscape with visitors from the mainland

Our Little Star: The Heidschnucke Trail in Lüneburg Heath

The Heidschnucke Trail connects the most delightful heath landscapes and is among the "Top Trails of Germany". It winds its way right across Lüneburg Heath from the Harburg Mountains just down from Hamburg in the north to the Lüneburg Heath Nature reserve and the southern heath around the city of Celle. The path is lined by mythical cultural sites and idyllic heath villages in the midst of around 30 heather-covered landscapes. The Heidschnucke Trail is 223 km long, and is divided into 13 daily routes of between 7 km and 27 km.

Our Little Star: Universum, Bremen

The ScienceCenter, a building that seems reminiscent of a silver whale or a mussel, is home to plenty of interactive exhibits on the themes of human beings, the nature and technology. The EntdeckerPark area outside has even more stops dealing with the topic of movement.

Our Little Star: Visiting the Town Musicians of Bremen by Bike

It appears sensible to travel by bicycle in a city in which the highest elevation (Domberg) is just 13 metres. Guests in the Hanse city can visit all the important sights along any of the four cycle routes. The first stop is the UNESCO World Heritage Site ensemble of the Town Hall and the Roland, one of Germany's most delightful market squares. The Town Musicians and the magnificent town houses are also stunning.

Our Little Star: Weltvogelpark in Walsrode

Weltvogelpark Walsrode is located on Lüneburg Heath; caring for 4000 birds from 650 different species it is the largest and most varied bird park, also one of the world's ten most species-rich zoos. Fascinating theme houses, exotic tropical halls, species-rich aviaries and much more are found in the 240,000 square metre, picturesque park landscape. 5000 square metres of roofed space next to the outside pens invite visitors to set out on a journey of discovery.

Our Little Star: Zoo Rostock

The largest zoo along the German Baltic coast is home to 4,500 animals in 320 species from all over the world. Over 50 animal species in the two exhibition areas of the Darwineum vividly show the biological diversity of life over the course of evolution. The modern tropical house is home to the gorillas and orang utans.

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