An otherwise small and modest northern German town, Soltau owes its rise to prominence largely to the massively popular attractions it features–especially the Heide Park Resort and the local thermal baths. Easy transportation options between here and Lower Saxony’s major cities means Soltau enjoys an excellent regional infrastructure and access to some of the country’s biggest draws. The town is also an important in its own right as a center for metalworking and industry, and provides visitors an excellent jumping off point from which to explore thousands of years of human history or to simply escape into nature.
Location: Bounded by the Lush Green Heath
Soltau sits along the river Böhme in Lower Saxony, near the center of Germany’s sprawling Lüneburg Heath area, and roughly equidistant from the major cities of Hamburg, Hanover, and Bremen. Road and rail connections provide easy access to the country’s transportation network–and for travelers on two wheels, Lower Saxony’s long-distance cycling trails also service the area.
Business: An Important Center for Trade and Manufacturing
Soltau is a major hub for metalworking and mechanical engineering, hosting a number of large firms specializing in tool making, cutting/milling, injection molding, and power services–as well as a wind farm operated by Greenpeace energy eG. Trade is a prominent focus here as well, with many products prepared for export and the local SLC Container Terminal supporting 250,000 shipping containers bound for Hamburg Harbor.
Culture: Historic Charm and Heritage
Though Soltau itself was likely first founded in the early 9th century, the general area has hosted small-scale human settlement for thousands of years. Follow along with the town’s development at the Soltau Museum, tracing regional history as far as 200,000 years back. Many medieval churches remain intact today, providing an outdoor museum of sorts for religious architecture throughout the centuries. At the center of town, the Soltau Toy Museum displays several centuries’ worth of dolls, teddy bears, model railways, and more.
Activities: Amusement at Your Own Pace
Any family’s visit to Soltau should include a trip to Heide Park Resort–a vast amusement park (one of Germany’s biggest) with thrilling roller coasters, water-based rides, and shows by birds, sea lions, and dolphins. The Soltau Golf Club provides a quieter escape, as does pampering at the thermal baths Soltau Therme.