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Lower Saxony, Hamburg & Bremen Travel Guide

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Illuminated Statue of Roland in Bremen (© interlight - iStockphoto.com)
Illuminated Statue of Roland in Bremen.

Introduction

The modern state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen in German) was formed out of the historic Kingdom of Hanover, Grand Duchy of Oldenburg, Duchy of Brunswick and Principality of Schaumburg-Lippe. It is second largest and fourth most populous of the sixteen states of Germany. It is also the least densely populated state in West Germany.

The city states of Hamburg and Bremen, in contrast, are the two smallest states. Bremen is by far the least populous, with only 547,000 inhabitants, a bit more than Luxembourg. Hamburg, Germany's second biggest city after Berlin, has 1.8 million people. Hamburg and Bremen are respectively the two richest German Länder in terms of GDP per capita.

Altogether, Lower Saxony, Hamburg and Bremen have a population of 10,260,000 (similar to Belgium or the Czech Republic) and a land area of 48,700,000 km² (comparable to Slovakia).

Famous people from Lower Saxony include (chronologically): the astronomer William Herschel, the poet Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel, the mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss, the chemist Robert Bunsen, the inventor and industrialist Werner von Siemens, the caricaturist and painter Wilhelm Busch, the entrepreneur Dr. August Oetker, and the model and actress Diane Kruger.

Famous people from Hamburg include: the composer Felix Mendelssohn, the composer Johannes Brahms, the physicist Heinrich Hertz, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Gustav Ludwig Hertz, the physicist and inventor Manfred von Ardenne, Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, the fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, and Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Attractions

Attractions are listed geographically, from west to east (left to right) and north to south (top to bottom).

West

Wadden Sea National Park
Wadden Sea National Park (© karstenjeltsch - Fotolia.com)
outstanding Stretching from Denmark to the Netherlands, Wadden Sea is Germany's largest national park. It is divided in five administrative sections, including three in Germany: Lower Saxony, Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein. They cover respectively ...Read more



Bremerhaven
Bremerhaven (© PFB24.de - Fotolia.com)
good Located at the mouth of the River Weser, Bremerhaven is Bremen's seaport. It is Europe's fourth largest container port. The viewing platform is a perfect place to watch the hustle-bustle of ships being loaded and the impressive industrial ...Read more
Bremen
Town hall, Bremen (© interlight - iStockphoto.com)
outstanding Germany's smallest state and 10th largest city, Bremen is a little visited medieval jewel endowed with one of Germany's prettiest market square. Beck's Brewery, producing some of the best-selling German beers, is based in Bremen. The city ...Read more
Oldenburg
Oldenburg (© mattknust - Fotolia.com)
good 50 km west of Bremen, Oldenburg is the historical seat of the duchy of the same name. The House of Oldenburg gradually ascended the thrones of Schleswig-Holstein, Scandinavia, Russia, Greece and the United Kingdom, making it one of ...Read more
Osnabrück
Schloss Osnabrück (© suedwind1 - Fotolia.com)
very good Founded by Charlemagne, Osnabrück became the seat of the Prince-Bishopric until being absorbed by Hanover in 1803. The Peace of Westphalia ending the Thirty Years' War (16181648) was signed here, inside the Renaissance...Read more



Bückeburg Palace
Bückeburg Palace (photo by Franzfoto - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)
must-see Schloss Bückeburg is the ancestral seat of the Princes of Schaumburg-Lippe and is still inhabited today. The medieval castle left place to a four-winged Renaissance, erected between 1601 and 1622 by the first prince. Following a fire...Read more

Central

Hamburg
Hamburg (© Andreas Douvitsas - Fotolia.com)
outstanding Always busy making money, Hamburg is Europe's second largest port and its fifth wealthiest city in terms of GDP per capita. Be it its splendid neo-Renaissance Rathaus, its fine museums and art galleries, or office buildings designed like ...Read more
Celle
Ducal castle, Celle (© ABildPix.de - Fotolia.com)
must-see With some 500 well-maintained half-timber houses, Celle is easily one of the prettiest town in North Germany. Its delightful Baroque palace was the residence of the Dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg, including the one who would later ascend ...Read more
Hanover
City Hall, Hannover (© dai fotografie - Fotolia.com)
very good Hanover is the capital of Lower Saxony, and the former seat of the Electorate then Kingdom of Hannover. Most of the historical centre was razed by Allied bombings in WWII and the number of sights is limited. Most prominent of all is the ...Read more



Hildesheim
Hildesheim (© anweber - Fotolia.com)
very good Hildesheim is at the same time one of North Germany's oldest and newest town. Pictures of the superb traditional timber-framed buildings on its market square hints at a well preserved historical centre. Yet Hildesheim was razed to the ground ...Read more
Hamelin (Hameln)
Pied Piper of Hamelin (© Martina Berg - Fotolia.com)
outstanding A major stop on the Fairy-Tale Road, Hamelin (Hameln in German) is forever associated with the medieval story of Pied Piper of Hamelin. Popularised by the the Brothers Grimm in the 19th century, the legend tells how a piper...Read more
Schloss Hämelschenburg
Schloss Hämelschenburg (© acanthurus666 - Fotolia.com)<
outstanding Located between Hamelin and Bad Pyrmont, Schloss Hämelschenburg is a superb Renaissance castle built in Weser sandstone between 1588 and 1612. The characteristic façades are endowed with 24 elaborately decorated gabled dormers...Read more

Other attractions

outstanding Fair-Tale Road
    very good Bad Karlshafen
    very good Bodenwerder
    outstanding

East

Lüneburg
Lüneburg (© broker - Fotolia.com)
outstanding A former Hanseatic city that grew rich on salt mining, beer brewing and trade, Lüneburg is today a quiet and handsome historic town with stepped gable and timber-framed façades. Its leaning buildings, dislocated by centuries of mining, ...Read more
Wolfsburg
Schloss Wolfsburg (© fotobeam.de - Fotolia.com)
very good Aptly nicknamed "Golfsburg", Wolfsburg is home to the global headquarters of Volkswagen and the world's largest car factory. The city actually grew around the first VW factory, established in 1938, and originally went by the clumsy ...Read more
Braunschweig
Brunswick Palace, Braunschweig (© fotobeam.de - Fotolia.com)
very good Braunschweig (or Brunswick in English) emerged in the 12th century as the capital of Saxony, under the rule of Henry the Lion. Concentrated on Burgplatz (Castle Square) are the Romanesque St. Blasius' Cathedral, the Burg ...Read more
Wolfenbüttel
Schloss Wolfenbüttel (photo by Brunswyk - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)
must see Located 10 km south of Braunschweig, Wolfenbüttel is a relaxed historical town filled with half-timbered houses. Wolfenbüttel Palace, former residence of the Dukes of Braunschweig-Lüneburg, has remarkable Baroque state apartments...Read more
Goslar
Goslar (©  Rainer Schmittchen - Fotolia.com)
must-see Goslar is the tourist capital of the Harz mountains. This beautiful town of timber-framed houses grew rich on silver, copper and lead mining for nearly 1000 years. The Old Town of Goslar and the Mines of Rammelsberg are UNESCO ...Read more



Göttingen
Göttingen (photo by Daniel Schwen - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license)
very good Göttingen is a city that revolves around its university, a sort of German Cambridge or Oxford. Founded in 1734 by George II, King of Great Britain and Elector of Hanover, the University of Göttingen quickly became one of the most ...Read more

Other attractions

outstanding Harz Mountains
    good Bad Harzburg
    good Braunlage
    good Clausthal-Zellerfeld
    very good Hahnenklee
    good St. Andreasberg

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Cities, towns, villages & historic buildings

  • : Moderately interesting - nice for a quick stop
  • : Recommended - to visit if you have time
  • : Outstanding place - really deserves to be seen
  • : Best of the country - shouldn't be missed
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Natural attractions

  • : Moderately interesting
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  • : Highly recommended
  • : World-class natural attraction
  • ※ : UNESCO World Heritage site

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