Photos: Lüneburger Heide 2014 (with bonus crazy house)

Here in Northwest Germany, one of the most popular destinations for holidays and short trips is the Lüneburger Heide, a nature preserve with a unique heath landscape that’s great for hiking, biking and horseback riding. It’s particularly beautiful in late summer and early autumn when the heath is in bloom, turning whole swathes of the landscape pink.

I already posted some photos of the Lüneburg heath in 2012, but those photos were taken when the heather bloom was almost over, so the heath looks brown rather than pink. This year, we went to visit the Lüneburger Heide earlier in the year, so I managed to catch the heath in full bloom.

The Lüneburg heath is actually divided into two nature parks, the Lüneburger Heide proper and the Südheide (Southern heath). We initially drove to the Lüneburger Heide nature park where the 2012 photos were taken, only to find every single parking lot literally overrun by tourists (for some reason they were also wearing the most garish parkas imaginable). They’ve also installed parking ticket machines in the meantime. So we said, “Screw all that!” and decided to try the Südheide instead. Cause I’ve been to Südheide before and found it just as pretty as the Lüneburger Heide nature park and a lot quieter.

We finally ended up in an area called Heide am Schillohsberg between the villages of Hermannsburg and Unterlüß. The Heide am Schillohsberg was not just quieter than the massively travelled area between Over- and Niederhaverbeck, we literally didn’t see another human being there. The area was also wilder and a bit less manicured than the Over-/Niederhaverbeck area.

So let’s have some photos:

Südheide am Schillohsberg

Step into the heath. The path leading to the Heide am Schillohsberg is so narrow you can barely see it from the road.

Südheide am Schillohsberg

Heide path with the branches of an oak tree.

Südheide am Schillohsberg

Here the heather plants are intermingled with young pine trees.

Südheide am Schillohsberg

The heath is dotted with juniper bushes. At the edge, you can see a woodland area with pine trees.

üdheide am Schillohsberg

Heath with juniper bushes

Südheide am Schillohsberg

A hunter’s seat overlooks the heath.

Südheide am Schillohsberg

A path across the heath, bordered by pine trees.

Heather plant

A heather plant grows in the middle of the path. Note the sandy ground, a relic of the Saalian ice age, which made the Lüneburg heath possible.

Südheide information display

An information display showing a crosssection of soil from the area. The Lüneburg heath is the result of sandy deposits left behind the the retreating glaciers of the Saalian ice age.

Südheide am Schillohsberg

Heide path viewed through the low hanging branches of pine trees.

Südheide am Schillohsberg

Heather growing at the edge of a pine tree forest.

Südheide am Schillohsberg

Heath panorama

Südheide am Schillohsberg

Heath dotted with juniper bushes and birch trees.

Südheide am Schillohsberg

A dead birch tree towering above the heath

Südheide am Schillohsberg

Heath path with overhanging branches

Südheide am Schillohsberg

Heath in bloom

Südheide am Schillohsberg

A fork in the road.

Heather

A close-up look at a heather plant

Blackberries

Heather is not the only plant in the heath. Here is a blackberry bramble.

Plant

This bush grows little red berries.

Beehives

Beehives. Beekeeping is common in the Lüneburger Heide, cause Heide honey has a unique taste and is much sought after.

Dung beetle

More Heide fauna. These horse droppings have attracted a dung beetle (half hidden underneath the blades of grass).

The unique landscape is the main attraction of the Lüneburger Heide. However, the area also contains a myriad of flashier tourist attractions appealing to younger children and their parents. What is more, the Lüneburger Heide may seem remote and secluded, but it actually lies smack dab in the centre of the Hannover-Hamburg-Bremen triangle with a combined population of almost three million people. That’s a lot of potential candidates for a day trip or a weekend break. As a result, the Lüneburger Heide area contains no less than seven theme parks to serve the people of Hamburg, Hannover and Bremen. They’re popular destinations for school trips and I think I’ve visited all of them at one point.

There are also plenty of smaller tourist attractions and several of them are clustered around the highway A7 at the exit Bispingen halfway between Hamburg and Hannover. There is a go-cart racing track, an archery range (archery has become popular of late with kids emulating Katniss, Hawkeye, Green Arrow or Merida from Brave), a couple of fastfood franchises and two rather strange structures.

Ski dome Bispingen

When you cross the highway bridge at Bispingen, you suddenly see this rising from the morning mist. At first, I thought it was a particularly expansive highway bridge, but it’s really an indoor skiing arena.

Here is the official website, in English even.

Crazy house, Bispingen

This structure, called the Crazy House, is an upside down house. Note Spider-man climbing along the side of the crazy house, probably wondering which villain is to blame for this.

Crazy House Bispingen

Another look at the crazy house. The staircase at the lower lefthand corner allows visitors to access the house.

The official website of the Bispingen Crazy House shows that the entire interior including furnishings is upside down as well, allowing for lots of bizarre photo ops. Though not bizarre enough for the 5 EUR ticket price IMO.

Apparently, there is a whole Crazy House franchise with three crazy houses all over Germany.

And how do you get a house to stand upside down anyway? This video explains all.

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4 Responses to Photos: Lüneburger Heide 2014 (with bonus crazy house)

  1. Sherwood Smith says:

    I have to say, the pix of the people at the Crazy House are a crackup. And the site is cute, too, but phew, that’s expensive!

    Now to go over to Googlemaps and explore Unterlüß . . .

    • Cora says:

      Yes, the prices for the Crazy House sure are crazy (plus, you have to pay to use the parking lot, too), especially considering the target audience are families with children. Though it’s still a bargain compared to what the various theme parks in the area charge (from 15 EUR to a whopping 43 EUR per day and adult). And they’re not even particularly impressive theme parks or at least they weren’t when I was a kid. But then I had already seen Disney World and local offerings kind of paled against that.

      The Heide landscape is much more interesting than faux tropical oasises and faux African savannas and fiberglass dinosaurs anyway and mostly free. But then children usually aren’t that much into hiking and biking (I enjoy hiking a lot more as an adult than I did as a kid), so their parents are captive audiences.

      Unterlüß and Hermannsburg are both very pretty villages. Neighbouring Eschede is quite pretty as well, but in Germany the name of that village will forever be linked to the worst train disaster in German history with 101 dead.

  2. Kathy says:

    Hi Cora,
    Kathy from California here.
    I love your spider man on the upside down house. I would like to use the image in a mailer I am doing here in california. May I have permission to use it- noting the source of course.

    • Cora says:

      Hi Kathy,

      thanks for the message and sorry for the somewhat belated reply, but your comment landed in the spam folder. Glad you like my photo of the Bispingen Crazy House, complete with Spidey. Feel free to use it for your project.

      Best wishes,
      Cora

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