Sprawling across the northeast of Lower Saxony, the Lüneburg Heath is an extensive region of heath and farmland that forms part of a culturally rich landscape. Its heathland is typical of that which blanketed much of North Germany until the early 19th century, having been formed as a result of overgrazing during the Neolithic period. Today its remaining areas are kept cleared through grazing of Heidschnucke, a North German breed of moorland sheep.

The Lüneburg Heath is named after the town of Lüneburg, which features a beau-tifully preserved 13th-century Town Hall and the German Salt Museum. But the region is dotted with picturesque villages that are clustered with thatched-roof Low Saxon farmhouses.

Explore one of the many scenic walking trails that traverse the heathlands, including to the area’s highest hill, the Wilseder Berg, that rises to a mere 169 me-ters. Soak up the panoramic views all the way to Hamburg or embark on one of the more extensive cycling trails that weave through the region.

For a taste of Africa in the heart of Germany, head to the Serengeti Park near Bad Fallingbostel, which is the largest safari park in Europe. Get up close to giraffe, blue wildebeest and lions, as well as 20 different species of primates at Monkey World, then cool off with the rides and attractions of Water World. If birds are more your interest, be sure to visit the Walsrode World Bird Park, which is the largest of its kind in the world and home to more than 600 species from every continent. The Lüneburg Heath is also home to the Snow Dome Bispingen, an indoor venue that houses a 300-meter-long ski slope and snowboard park that’s open year round.