In 2014, the Heidschnuckenweg trail through Lüneburg Heath was voted the most beautiful hiking trail in Germany by readers of Wandermagazin – a great honour for this route through northern Germany's thrilling landscape.
Heidschnuckenweg, such a funny name! But what is a Heidschnucke? It is a robust breed of sheep. The meat is delicious and the wool can be used to make carpets. But most importantly, the Heidschnucke is the animal hikers are most likely to meet on this trail through Lüneburg Heath. These sheep have even featured in a film.
When Germans think of Lüneburg Heath, most of them think of one of the most successful films in the history of German cinematography: "The Heath is Green". Filmed in 1951, 16 million people have seen this blockbuster. Although the title is a little misleading: the heath isn't actually green. Very often when the Erica heather blooms, the heath transforms into a sea of lilac. And what makes hiking through the heath so great? Quite simply because walking through this open expanse with no hills to climb is great fun. Fresh air, sandy paths and expansive views – you hike with such elation on the Heidschnuckenweg Trail that it makes your heart leap for joy. Meandering streams can guide you along the route and you can stay overnight in half-timbered villages. This route isn't completely flat, as the most beautiful hiking route on Lüneburg Heath also crosses the Höllenschlucht gorge. All in all, this path is an idyllic hiking sensation.
Manuel Andrack, editor, presenter, author and hiking blogger:
"I recommend the stage from Undeloh to Niederhaverbeck (14 km) for your hike. It goes through spectacular heath valleys and up the Wilseder Berg hill (169 m), the Mount Everest of Lüneburg Heath. Time seems to have stood still in the car-free village of Wilsede."
At a glance: Heidschnuckenweg
Length: 223 km
Number of stages: 13
Altitude variation: lowest point 24 m, highest point 168 m
Terrain: 50% unmade, 18% asphalt, 32% other, e.g. farm tracks
Certified quality hiking trail