Lower Saxony – adventure, discovery and relaxation between the Harz mountains and the North Sea
Lower Saxony, a region that is home to diverse natural scenery and must-visit towns and cities, is located directly between the Ems and Elbe Rivers. Lower Saxony is the only German state with both sea and mountains, and it boasts one of the country's most beautiful seashores with the North Sea coast and the seven East Frisian islands.
The part of the German Wadden Sea National Park in Lower Saxony is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, putting it on a par with other natural wonders of the world like the Grand Canyon in the USA and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Visitors can head off on a tour of the mudflats and admire the awe-inspiring fauna and the unique ebb and flow of the tides. It doesn't get better than this!
The Harz mountains in the south of the region are Germany's northernmost highlands. The Harz Witches' Trail offers up splendid views and there is a chance to glide through the white snowy countryside on skis in the winter or set off on an adrenaline-fuelled mountain bike ride across some 3,000 kilometres of land. But it's not all go, go, go in the Harz region, which is also home to an incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site (we will come back to that later).
Distinctive local areas include the Weser Upland hills, Lüneburg Heath, Emsland and East Frisia. The holiday options here are endless. There is an impressive range of water sports on offer, with top locations including the large inland lakes in Lower Saxony, such as Steinhuder Meer and Zwischenahner Meer, and the rivers, 6,500 kilometres of which can be used for canoeing, for instance. Relaxation and vitality are also high on the agenda, with wellness breaks on offer at the certified health spas and spa towns.
Bikes at the ready! The cycle paths in the region cover 13,000 kilometres so cyclists can head along the embankments between sheep and cows on the North Sea Cycle Path or go cross-country alongside Germany's second-longest river on the Weser Cycle Path. And keen hikers, horse riders and golfers will be in their element in Lower Saxony too.
The towns and cities of Lower Saxony are primed to take foodies on a culinary journey back in time. Historical places such as Celle and Goslar are oozing with tradition and charm thanks to their half-timbered buildings, whilst the regional capital of Hanover and the university city of Osnabrück are buzzing with the hustle and bustle of modern-day life. Lüneburg, Stade and other Hanseatic cities boast plenty of maritime charm – as do the seaside resorts on the coast in Lower Saxony.
The region is home to three World Heritage Sites in close proximity: St. Mary's Cathedral and St. Michael's Church showcasing Romanesque architecture in Hildesheim, the Medieval Historic Town of Goslar, the completely one-off Rammelsberg Mine nearby and the Upper Harz Water Management System in the Harz National Park, and the Bauhaus-style Fagus Factory to the south of Hildesheim.
Visitors are invited to explore a fairytale world and admire regal relics at the castles and palaces in Lower Saxony, such as Marienburg Castle near Hanover. They can also follow in the footsteps of the Pied Piper of Hamelin on a journey of discovery and enjoy the stunning view of the Weser Valley from the ruins of Polle Castle, the adopted home of Cinderella.
The theme parks in Lower Saxony are not to be missed. Heide-Park Soltau is ideal for thrill seekers as the home to the largest wooden rollercoaster in the world and there are exotic birds galore at Walsrode Bird Park. The Autostadt automotive centre and phaeno experimentation centre are located in Wolfsburg and both are worth a visit for a fascinating hands-on experience with a focus on technology. Anyone still looking for more excitement can head to Hanover for the world's biggest shooting competition or the International Fireworks Competition. It's well worth a visit! There's certainly no chance of being disappointed by a holiday in Lower Saxony!
© TourismusMarketing Niedersachsen GmbH (TMN)