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Looking to Get More Active? These are the Best Outdoor Activities to Try in Northern Germany

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about Southern Germany, it’s charming cities and the Black Forest region, but what about Northern Germany? Well, the VIVA GLAM team ventured out to Northern Germany to see the fresh landscapes, picturesque cities, and awe-inspiring history that it holds. And we couldn’t be more excited to share our experiences with you. While Northern Germany still holds that charm and style of Southern Germany, complete with charming little homes with those extremely triangular roofs and the beautifully classic city centers, there’s also a lot of natural charm to Northern Germany that cannot be ignored. From the natural park at the Lüneburg Heath to the city center of Bremen, we’re here to tell you all about the best outdoor activities to try in Northern Germany.

Shopping the Schnoor Quarter in Bremen

Your fairy-tale shopping dreams will most certainly come true as you head down into the Schnoor Quarter in Bremen to both shop and take in the ambiance. Down every nook and cranny of this tiny, twisting corridor of stores and buildings, you’ll find welcoming windows presented by family-owned businesses and craftsman, traditionally Germany buildings with steep pointed roofs, beautifully painted signs, and tons of people smiling at you. In the 1950s, this whole quarter became protected as a historical area, and the oldest home in the Schnoor District is from 1402. So, people do live, work, and specialize in creating and selling their crafts here.

For instance, if someone owns a teddy bear store, they spend their life work creating the bears and also repairing them, so they stay good for your lifetime. It’s all specialized, quality work. There are art galleries, interior design stores, paper models stores, umbrella stores, and traditional local cuisine. There’s something so magical about exploring family-owned shops and locations and even more magical about buying an item crafted with love from a local specialist. And you may just get to see and explore some of the tiniest streets and alleyways you’ve ever seen in your life! For me, that’s a perk, too.

Bremen Old Town City Center

Perhaps, my favorite thing to experience about most German cities are their old town city centers located in the heart of most major cities. There’s generally a church, a famous statue or two, a political building, and many houses and shops with very traditional German architecture. And, of course, Bremen is no different! In fact, the row of old traditional houses lining up along one side of the square may just be the most picturesque thing I’ve seen in Germany. It’s charming, beautiful, and exceptionally fairy-tale-like. St. Peter’s Cathedral, is, of course, awe inspiring, and there are fun nods all around the city to The Town Musicians of Bremen, a Brother’s Grimm tale that gives nod to this city.

There’s a statue of the four musicians (which are animals) stacked on each other that supposedly brings you good luck if you grab the legs of the donkey on the bottom and make a wish. There’s a small manhole that’s actually a sound box that you can give a coin to, and it makes animal noises at you (a nod to the musicians, of course). So, if for no other reason than to get a nice walk in and take in all the charm and beauty, you should definitely make a visit to Bremen’s Old Town City Center.

Urban Gardening in Bremen

The old industrial harbor area of Bremen is slowly being transformed into modern, hip accommodations and areas welcomed to everyone. And in the parking lot of the old Kellogg’s building, you’ll find an urban gardening project like no other. As you walk into the project’s space, you’ll see plants and greenhouses, but then unexpectedly, you’ll see a graffiti-covered school bus complete with plants inside. It’s a modern, artistic spot to come pick up local produce. It’s done more for the people and less for large-scale orders, and it’s a fantastic example of how sustainable, eco-friendly, and locally driven Germany is becoming.

What makes Gemüsewerft, this project, so exceptionally special is that the owner works with handicapped people to get them involved in society and to help them interact with everyday people. He runs the only urban agricultural company that works to pay the staff through the social welfare system. He says it creates a place for people to hang around the city, bringing people back into the city and bringing people with disabilities into the mix with everyone else.

Today, big cities across the world are trying to bring agriculture inside of their city centers for sustainability reasons, and this is a prime example of that in motion in the best possible way.

Lüneburg Heath

If you’re looking for a wild, elemental adventure, think about spending a day walking the paths of the Lüneburg Heath, most of which is a nature preserve up in Northern Germany. The area includes 234 square kilometres (90 square miles) of land, roughly 20% of which is heath and 58% is woods and trees. Nineteen family and leisure parks can be found on its property, making it a perfect destination for families. If you’re looking for a good day trip adventure, Lüneburg Heide Nature Park has 82 trails (19 of which are for walking) spanning out both short and extremely long journeys, and they’re in AllTrails so you can pre-plan and figure out which may be the best for you on your journey.

There are many neighboring small towns you can visit on your daily walking adventure, so you can have your own real elemental journey across the Germanic country. For instance, you can stop in the small picturesque countryside town of Wilsede for lunch or the official website lists many small towns you can visit across your journey:  This is definitely something I highly recommend for those who love adventure, days spent in national parks, and discovering new places.

Make Friends with the Local Sheep

Having sheep around the heath is actually crucial for the landscaping of the natural environment. The sheep gnaw on small trees and prevent their spreading across the heath-land, and they take care of the heather plants, too, keeping them at an ideal length. So, sheep are actually essential to maintaining the heath, so you’ll find many shepherds roaming the land with their sheep. And if you’re lucky enough, perhaps you’ll get swarmed with some fun, fluffy friends.

All in all, Northern Germany is an exceptional destination for outdoor activities. With travel back at 77% of what it was prior to the pandemic, I hope you’ll get inspired to go see the world, head out into nature, and have the adventure of a lifetime sooner rather than later.

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