Steinhuder Meer -
The lake (formed by glaciation) is at the heart of a large nature reserve and any commercialism is usually modest and largely unobtrusive. The main attractions are the views of the lake itself (at 32 square kilometres the largest in northern Germany), the surrounding woodland and countryside, the 22 kilometre cycle path around the lake, the wildlife (amazing numbers of waterfowl etc), the tiny beaches, the outdoor activities (mainly sailing, hiking and camping), the ferries serving the lake, the man-made Wilhelmstein island and the nearby cultural and historic attractions. The lake is also justifiably popular with artists and photographers, even when frozen over. The north shore has a small number of hotels and restaurants dotted along it, with several small camp sites, beaches, and sailing schools and clubs in between. The south-western shore is home to the village of Steinhuder, once a fishing community but now a modest holiday resort with its own man-made beach island (the Badeinsel). The north-western corner is home to the smaller village of Mardorf, and my favourite hotel - the Seehotel. At the North-east corner is the Auld Moor Hut restaurant, which is great fun.
The area is famed for its fish cuisine, including smoked eel. Try a fish bun in Stenhuider.
The town of Neustadt is 20 minutes away from Mardorf by car, perhaps half an hour on the occasional bus service, while the city of Hannover is about 45-50 minutes away by car.
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