Set within the glacial landscapes to the northwest of Hanover, the Steinhuder Meer is a picturesque lake and recreational hub that’s named after the nearby village of Steinhude. While it’s the largest lake in northwest Germany, it only drops to around three meters in depth and is surrounded by the rolling landscapes of the Hanoverian Moor Geest.

Follow one of the walking paths that weave through the Steinhuder Meer Nature Park, with a 32-kilometer-long loop following the lake’s perimeter. Alternatively, explore the lake’s natural surrounds on two wheels or hit the waters to test your skills at kitesurfing. Numerous boats offer scheduled trips across the lake, visiting its two manmade islands of Wilhelmstein and Badeinsel Steinhude.

Wilhelmstein was built in the 1760s and transformed into a military fortress by William, Count of Schaumburg-Lippe before being used as a state prison from 1777 to 1867. The island of Badeinsel Steinhude was created more recently in 1975 using sand sourced from the lake and its beach is a popular spot to while away a summer’s afternoon.

On the southern shores of the Steinhuder Meer is the picturesque village of Steinhude while Mardorf nestles to the north. They are both peaceful places to wander, with charming boutiques and traditional restaurants and cafes where you can grab a bite to eat. Another highlight of the region is the Scheunenviertel art barns on the outskirts of Steinhude that were built in 1756 and today host a fresh produce and handicraft market each Saturday.