From cabbage tours to the Northern lights – the German Cabbage Route

The 130km German Cabbage Route in Dithmarschen – a region in northern Germany bounded by the North Sea, the Eider and Elbe estuaries and the Kiel Canal – is a welcome addition to Germany's food and wine-themed discovery routes.

The route, peppered with interesting stopping points, weaves its way like a bright green ribbon through the North Sea landscape of Dithmarschen, the largest single stretch of cabbage-growing land in Europe. Approximately 80 million cabbages are harvested here every year, with white cabbages, red cabbages, savoy cabbages, sweetheart cabbages and cauliflowers all to be found in the region's large, open fields. In September every year the traditional Dithmarschen Cabbage Festival takes place, and locals come together to enjoy hearty cabbage dishes and a host of events based on this healthy, versatile vegetable, which is something of a national dish in many countries around the world. Germans may well be famous for their love of cabbage and for their sauerkraut exports, but cabbage is a truly international plant, one of the most cultivated vegetables in the world. But the German North Sea coast has much more on offer besides cabbage. Why not visit the Wadden Sea National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, whose inhabitants have shaped their lives around the ebb and flow of the tides, or the coastal health resort of Büsum with its museum harbour and new Sturmflutenwelt Blanker Hans interactive visitor attraction, retelling the story of the famous North Sea storm and floods of 1962? Other delights include the seal centre at Friedrichskoog and the district capital of Heide, which boasts the largest undeveloped market square in Germany. Art history enthusiasts will find Meldorf Cathedral of interest, whilst those of a more technical bent will appreciate the locks and sluices in Brunsbüttel, where the Kiel Canal meets the Elbe.

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