Travel: Five of the best day trips to take in Lower Saxony

Travel: Five of the best day trips to take in Lower Saxony
People go for a stroll along the Kiessee in Göttingen. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Swen Pförtner
Lower Saxony is not usually listed as one of the top tourist destinations in Germany, but it has a lot more to offer than you might think.

Known as Niedersachsen in German, the northwestern state is Germany’s second largest in area and fourth largest in population, leaving a lot to explore.

Hanover, the state capital, is the third largest city in northern Germany and is home to some impressive royal architecture. The Hanoverian kings ruled over not just the northwestern region, but also the United Kingdom and Ireland at various points in the 17th-20th centuries. 

READ ALSO: Weekend Wanderlust: 10 unique reasons Hanover is worth visiting

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Steinhuder Meer

 
 
 
 
 
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Only 30km northwest of Hanover, Steinhuder Meer is Lower Saxony’s largest lake. A 35 km cycle path encircles the lake, so it’s perfect for a scenic bike ride. On warm summer days, you can cool off with a swim in the water and activities like sailing, paddle-boarding and canoeing are possible all year round. 

The sunsets over Steinhuder Meer are really not to be missed and are best seen from the lakeside town of Wunsdorf, where you can also find a number of cafés and restaurants. 

Herrenhäuser Gardens

 
 
 
 
 
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The lawns of Hanover’s Herrenhausen Palace, designed in the style of English flower gardens, are some of the most distinguished Baroque gardens you can find in Europe.

The impressive Großer Garten (Great Garden), owing its aesthetics to Sophia of Hanover, comprises 120 acres of lawn and dwarfs the relatively modest palace. Outdoor concerts and exhibitions are usually held here throughout the summer. 

You will need to pay a small entrance fee for the main gardens, but the neighbouring Georgen Gardens are completely open to the public and are a great spot for summer picnics. 

Hamelin

 
 
 
 
 
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Here is your chance to follow the Pied Piper through the streets of Hamelin (Hameln in German). The fairytale is firmly rooted in the town, so expect to see sculptures and paintings of the Piper throughout its historic centre. The architecture of the small town is beautifully preserved, and some buildings date back to the 13th century. 

Göttingen 

 
 
 
 
 
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The romantic university city of Göttingen sits in the very south of the region and is well worth a visit. Though the city is small, it boasts some beautiful scenery. 

Take a stroll through the historic squares in the centre, explore the university’s botanical garden, and finish off with a drink or picnic on the banks of the river Leine. This is the perfect city for a slow-paced day trip. 

Harz Mountains

 
 
 
 
 
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You don’t need to be a lover of hiking to find an excuse to visit the Harz Mountains, located in the southeast corner of Lower Saxony. The highland area is home to medieval towns, castles and fortresses that look like they were plucked straight from a fairytale. 

The mountainside medieval town of Goslar is a UNESCO World Heritage SIte and was home to Roman Emperors for hundreds of years. 

There is also plenty of opportunity for nature lovers, as the mountains boast some of Germany’s most unusual wildlife – look out for wild boar and lynxes as you explore the National Park.

Harz’s highest mountain, Mount Brocken, is engulfed by mist for around 300 days of the year, meaning you can experience the strange sensation of seeing your shadow projected onto the fog if you make it to the top. This unique experience is definitely worth the climb. 


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