Soltau is a modest town on the Lüneburg Heath in North Germany that has gained national prominence largely as a result of the attractions such as the Soltau Therme thermal baths and the Heide Park, one of Germany's biggest amusement parks. The large lake of Südsee is also popular with caravanners, campers and day visitors alike.
The parish of Soltau was founded around 830 and was initially occupied by a few farmers, and the first wooden church was built around this time.
Between 1383 and 1388 the village was established, in order to protect against robber barons; this is now the town centre. The castle there was demolished under terms of a treaty. By way of compensation Soltau was given town rights; however, by 1511 the whole town was completely destroyed by a fire.
The town hall was moved in 1533 and established in an old chapel in Marktstrasse. However, by 1567, another fire wiped out the majority of buildings within the town. Much of Soltau was destroyed over the years, especially in the Thirty Years' War, after which all that was left was ruined landscape.
By 1914 Soltau held the largest prisoner of war camp in Germany during the First World War. This was the same year that the mining of potassium salts began at Heinrichssegen Shaft, but work was then halted due to the war after having reached a depth of just 6 meters.
Again by April 1945 much of Soltau was destroyed by air raids in which many civilians were killed. Soltau become a British Garrison in 1949 during the Cold War and was home of Headquarters 7th Armoured Brigade. This was handed back in 1993 and is now used for doctors' surgeries and a business centre.
Situated in the heart of the Lüneburg Heath, Soltau is an officially recognized health resort. Here, active hikers and cyclists will find more than 875 miles of well sign-posted trails leading through romantic heath land, peaceful villages, and river valleys.
Take exit 44 Soltau-Ost on the A7, then merge onto the B209/B71 towards Soltau. Continue along the B209/B71 until you reach Soltau town centre. Soltau is also accessible via two nation highways (B3, B71) and a regional throughway (L 71).
- Hamburg International Airport, in Hamburg, is north of Soltau and about is about 100km away (roughly one hour's drive). The airport is approximately 8 kilometres north of Hamburg's city centre and is the fifth busiest airport in Germany. To reach Soltau take the B433, then turn left onto the B432 until you can merge onto the A7. Take exit 44 (Soltau Ost) and carry along the B209/B71 until you hit the centre of Soltau.
- Hanover Airport, in Hanover, is about 70km south of Soltau (roughly 45 minutes' drive). The airport is situated in Langenhagen which is 11 kilometres to the north of Hanover centre and has easy access to the autobahn. To get to Soltau from the airport head towards the A352, this will merge onto the A7. Take exit 45 (Soltau Sud) for the B3 towards Soltau, this will take you towards the centre.
There is only one train station in Soltau itself and it is situated close to the centre of town which offers Regionalbahn (RB) trains. Trains run from Soltau from roughly 5:00-22:00. It is possible to get to Soltau from Hanover, Bremen and Hamburg. It passes through Bad Fallingbostel, Walsrode, Schwarmstedt, Bennemühlen, and Langenhagen.
All major cities offer bus transfers to Soltau such as Berlin, Bremen, Cuxhaven. The buses leave every Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs and Sat, prices may vary between €22-€66.Berlin Bus
Soltau's station, which is still called Soltau (Hannover) (abbreviated to Soltau [Han]) by the Deutsche Bahn belongs to the Hanover Railway Division and lies on the America Line (KBS 116) from Bremen to Uelzen and on the Heath Railway (Heidebahn) (KBS 123) from Buchholz (Nordheide) to Bennemühlen(-Hanover). There are two other stops - Soltau Nord and Wolterdingen - on the Heath Railway.
The long distance cycle paths RFW 4 (Leine-Heath Cycle Path) and RFW 15 (Heath Cycle Path or Heide-Radweg) on the Lower Saxon long distance cycle network intersect in Soltau. In 2003 a cycle path concept was developed and implemented. Majority of hotels within Soltau offer bike hire however.
There are a number of taxi companies in town, and there are always taxis outside the railway station willing to pick up fares. Alternatively go to the taxi rank at Drögenheide 4, tel. 05191 14084.
There are a number of car parks within Soltau with the majority of them being free. There is a car park on the way into Soltau next to the shopping complex with C&A. There are two free car parks next to Soltau Therme which is just on the edge of the town.
- Böhme Park (next to the Soltau Therme). This park has the river Böhme running straight through it. There is a lovely café in the park where you can enjoy coffee and cake whilst you take in the scenery.
- Breidings Garten, Breidingsgarten 5, ☎ . This garden is situated on the outskirts of town and is based along English and has 27 acres. The complex includes moorland just as decorative ponds, orchards and giant rhododendrons, an imposing villa garden as an artificial ruin. The garden is owned by a charitable foundation, and always open to the public. Free guided visits will be held monthly.
- Municipal Mill (Ratsmühle). This listed building has been around since 1384 and is situated on the river Böhme and was owned by the city until 1817 which is why it was known as the Ratsmühle. The mill was eventually shut down in 1963 and has been empty ever since; however, they wish to turn it into a museum.
- HeideWitzka, Gottfried-von-Cramm-Straße 1, ☎ . Mon-Fri 14:00-19:00 Sat-Sun 10:00-19:00. This is 2,000 square feet of fun for big and small children, with trampolines, a go-kart track, climbing the volcano and many more attractions. The indoor bistro offers a delicious variety of food for the all family. Children under 2 are free, Children over 2 €6.90, Adult €4.90.
- Toy Museum, Poststraße 7, ☎ . Mon-Sun 10:00-18:00. The museum exhibits toys from over four centuries. There are many different toys to see from doll's houses, railways, wooden toys and a wide range of teddy bears and stuffed toys. You may also get the chance to play with some of the toys. A good day out for all the family. Adult €4 Child €2.
- Holy Spirit Church in Wolterdingen (Heilig-Geist-Kirche). Daily Apr-Oct 10:00-18:00. Outside these hours you can get the key from a nearby rectory. A small Gothic church (built originally in 1396) constructed of brick with a detached wooden bell tower with very old bells (the oldest one dates back to 1350). In 1925 another Art Nouveau aisle was added to the church. The church was reconstructed between 1998 and 2001.
- Heide Park, Heidepark 1, ☎ . Mon-Sun 10:00-18:00. The Heide Park is the largest theme park in northern Germany with over 50 attractions. This park holds the record for the tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster in Europe complete with a 61° drop. Offers a great day out for all the family. Adults €37 Children (4-11) €30 under 4's are free, €5 parking.
Sport and wellness
- Soltau Therme, Mühlenweg 17, ☎ . Mon 10:00-22:00 Tues-Sun 10:00-22:00. is fun for all ages from babies through to OAP, there is something for everyone. There are three pools, one for children, salt water and an outside pool. There is plenty of space to relax next to the pools or treat yourself to a massage in the wellness centre. There is an onsite restaurant where you can indulge in a snack. There is plenty of free parking close to the Therme itself. Ranges from adult €4-€16 Child €1.50-€11.
- Südsee Camp, Südsee camp 1, Wietzendorf (Along A7, exit 45 Soltau Sud, towards Celle for 4km, past the 2nd bridge turn right, at the top turn right, go straight for about 4km.), ☎ . Daily 08:00-22:00. A five star campsite where you can pitch your tent or even rent a Swedish cottage, modern chalet or premium caravan. There is plenty to do from swimming in the outside lake or the indoor pool to jungle golf and entertainment for all the family. If you are feeling hungry there are many restaurants on site. Also great for a day trip out. Variety of prices for camping and swimming.
- Soltau Golf Club (Golfanlage Hof Loh), Hof Loh 7, ☎ . 50 Minute training session for two €45.
- Soltau Bowling Centre (Bowling-Center Soltau), Lüneburger Straße 103, ☎ . Tues- Fri 17:00-24:00 Sat 15:00-24:00 Sun 15:00-22:00. The bowling centre has 12 modern and fully automatic lanes with computer supported screens which show all the results. When you have finished bowling there is an opportunity to play pool, darts or table football or why not have a tasty meal in the onsite bistro where you can watch the action of the game. Experience moonlight-bowling every Friday from 2200-2400 with lights, music and bowling all fused together.
- Sports & Friends, Bergstraße 2, ☎ . Mon-Fri 09:00-22:00 Sat 13:00-18:00 Sun 10:00-15:00. There is a variety of different classes that are available or try some cardio training in the fitness suite. If you don’t fancy training why not treat yourself in the wellness centre. €19.99-€99.
- Skate Park, Vor dem Weiherbusch. Why not test out your skills on your skates or skate board at the park where jumps and ramps are provided.
- Railcar 'Anteater', Soltau Train station, platform 5, ☎ . Every Sunday from July to September 10:00. Provides tourist trips on a railcar from 1937 through Luneburg Heide, from Soltau - Luhegrund - Bispingen - Döhle and back again. There is a three hour stop over in Döhle for people to get off and stretch their legs whilst looking around. Adult €14, Child €7, Bicycle €3.
- Schützenfest, Mühlenweg 17, ☎ . Four days between June/July. This takes place once a year and is a four day festival with plenty of drink and Bratwurst stands to enjoy.
- Backofenfest, Breidingsgarten. Takes place in July and August for two days. This festival allows different regional gastronomic specialties that are served directly from a stone oven. This is a very social event with a folklore programme.
- Soltauer Sommer, Hagen 6, ☎ . August. This takes place throughout August and offers a series of cultural open-air events such as Poetry reading, series of lectures, great small-scale performing arts and concerts.
There are a wide variety of shops from clothes, pets, electronics and homeware. Although the town is only small there is something for everyone. Majority of the shops are half-timbered and it is quite enjoyable to sit and watch the world go by in the town square. The shops are open Mon-Fri until 18:00, Sat until roughly 17:00 and they are all closed on Sun.
Just on the outskirts of Soltau is an industrial estate where you can find electrical shops, there is also a small shopping centre with a few shops that include furniture, clothes, pets and a food shop. In the centre of Soltau is another small shopping complex with a C&A and shoe shop.
- Soltau Farmers Market, Georges-Lemoine-Platz. This takes place every Saturday and sells fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers.
- Tee in Soltau, Hagen 18, ☎ . Mon-Fri 09:00-18:00 Sat 09:00-13:00. This small shop sells a number of different types of tea and liquor. There is also the chance to purchase different types of mugs and candles. Price varies.
- Cheese and Wine - H.D Beddies, Burg 8, ☎ . Daily 09:00-18:00 Sat 07:30-13:30. This small shop specialises in different cheeses around Europe. There is also the opportunity to purchase different wines as well as cognac and whiskey. There is also a little bistro on site where you can enjoy some of the delights that are sold. Price varies.
- Designer Outlet Soltau, Rahrsberg 7, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mo-Sa 10:00-20:00. Open in 2012, over 60 designer brands at 13.500m2. Special features include half-timbered houses with thatched roofs.
Soltau is within the Luneburg Heide region where the Heideschnucke (moorland sheep) is bred on the moors where they feast on heather and birch tree shoots. It is often found on many of the restaurant menus and has a gamey flavour to it, it is often compared to venison.
- Café Chocolat, Bornemann Str. 7, ☎ . 24 hours. This modern café is situated on the outskirts of Böhme park, it is has a wide variety of chocolate and coffee drinks on offer with the opportunity to enjoy a quick snack or cake. Low.
- Miss Peppers, Am Hanfberg 7 - Wietzendorf (exit 45 on the A7), ☎ . 24 hours. Authentic American cuisine set in a 50's style diner. Popular truckers' stop. low.
- Ninis Café, Poststraße 8, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Daily from 09:00-18:00. This is a small modern café with a wide variety of different teas, coffees and hot chocolates. Why not try one of their homemade cakes or pies from black forest cake, chocolate cream, marzipan cake or fresh fruit cake. A delicious breakfast buffet is very popular and is available daily from 9:00 to 13:00 clock which includes fresh bread, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, cheese, salmon and ham, homemade fruit salad and cottage cheese, jams, cereals, cheese and yogurt. Breakfast from €7-€9.
- Pascha-imbiß III, Georges-Lemoine-Platz 13, ☎ . Nov-Mar Mon-Sat 11:00-22:00, Apr-Oct Mon-Sat 10:30-22:00. There is a choice of different kebab meat that you can enjoy with salad and sauces or if you don’t fancy a kebab why don’t you have a curry-wurst and chips which is equally as nice.
- Stadt Cafe, Georges-Lemoine-Platz 5, ☎ . Daily 09:00-18:00. This friendly café can be found in the centre of Soltau. Why not try one their cakes or a snack from their menu. €3-€8.
- Brauhaus Joh. Albrecht, Winsener Straße 34d, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Open daily from 12:00. The Brauhaus is located in the old 7th Armoured Brigade Officers Mess with a warm atmosphere. They serve traditional German food and serve a wonderful brunch on a Sunday. Mains €5-€19 Sunday Brunch €15.50.
- Campo Grande, Am Alten Stadtgraben 1, ☎ . Daily 12:00-15:00 17:00-23:00. This restaurant specialises in South American cuisine where you can find ribs, salads, steaks and some vegetarian options. Why not try the Rodizio where you can enjoy different types of meat cooked slowly on skewers over a fire, then enjoy having the meat cut at your table directly onto your plate. Mains €3-€19, Rodizio €19.50.
- Dolce Vita, Burg 1, ☎ . Mon-Sun 11:00-15:00 + 18:00-23:00. A lovely Italian restaurant with an outside eating area where you can watch the rest of the world go by in the square of Soltau. Mains €5-€18.
- La Mamma, Unter den Linden 15, ☎ . Daily 11:30-14:30 17:30-23:00. Italian restaurant serving great food! Mains €5-€19.
- Landhaus Eden, An der Bundesstraße 4, ☎ . Daily 12:00-22:00. This is a typical German restaurant that sells trout as a delicacy that is bred from the pond behind the hotel. You can also try the XXL challenge whereby you have to eat 1000g of meat as well as chips in an hour and a half, the meat consist of Schnitzel, currywurst and a 30cm burger. If you manage to eat all of the food in the time given you will get your meal for free. Mains €4-€13, XL€10-€17 XXL €17-€20.
- Im Rehwinkel, Woltem 2, Soltau-Woltem (10 km west), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Sa 17:00+, Su 12:00+. Local dishes with moorland sheep (Heidschnucke) and venison. €12.50 for mains.
- Amadeus, Soltauer Hof, Winsener St. 109, ☎ . This is a formal restaurant that serves many local dishes as well as a variety of fish and meat dishes. Mains between €10-€25.
- Buffalo Steakhouse, Mühlenweg 7, ☎ . Daily 12:00-23:00. There is an indoor and outdoor area and serves a variety of different steaks as well as other dishes. Mains €3-€28.
- Arko Café, Marktstraße 8, ☎ . Mon-Fri 09:00-18:00 Sat 09:00-13:00. This is a small confectionary shop where you can purchase hot drinks. There is an outside seating area where you sit and enjoy your surroundings. There is a large selection of sweets and chocolate available for purchase.
- City Café, Marktstraße 17. Daily 8:00-18:00 Sat 7:00-14:00. This is a modern cafe where you can enjoy different types of coffee, chocolate and tea. There is also the chance to try one of their cakes or made to order rolls. There is an outside seating area where you can enjoy your beveridge. Price Varies.
- Alexanders, Wilhelmstraße 2. Is a small bistro and bar in the centre of Soltau that stocks a variety drinks.
- Brauhaus Joh. Albrecht, Winsener Straße 34d, ☎ . There is the chance to see the home brewed beers being produced right in the centre of the room, they serve a number of home brews such as The Malty dark and the hoppy bitterness. The staff are quite happy to show you how the beer is brewed.
- Café Babylon, Lüneburger Straße 39, ☎ . Is a small cocktail bar situated on the outskirts of Soltau
- Calouba, Wilhelmstraße 25, ☎ . Shisha Happy hour 13:00-15:00 Happy hour 18:00-21:00. This is a fairly small bar with a large selection of drinks available. There is also the opportunity to try shisha (water pipes).
- Bierhaus Milljö, Georges-Lemoine-Platz 1, ☎ . Open daily from 16:00 Sat from 11:00. Is a small German bar selling a selection of beer, hot drinks and fruit juices. There is a small area to sit outside and enjoy your drink.
- Herz der Heide, Ernst-August-Str. 7-9, ☎ , fax: +49 5191 17765. Quiet bed and breakfast in a residential area. Each room has a distinctive character. The B&B offers golf, cycle hire, a sauna and a solarium. Pets permitted.
- Hotel am Böhmepark, Bornemannstr. 3, ☎ . The hotel is situated in the centre of the Böhme park and all rooms have just been updated with a modern and comfortable finish. €39-€42.
- Hotel MyLord, Mühlenweg 7, ☎ . Check-in: 15:00-22:00, check-out: 7:30-11:00. This family run hotel is situated next to the River Bohme and Soltau Therme and is just a 5 minute walk to the centre of Soltau town. The hotel is located next to the Buffalo steakhouse where you can enjoy the meat comes from the hotels own farm. €50-€75.
- Wolterdinger Hof, In der Reith 5, ☎ . Check-in: 15:00-00:00, check-out: 8:00-10:30. This 3 star hotel is located in Lüneburger Heide, there is a chance to relax next to the swimming pool or sauna. There is an onsite restaurant where you can enjoy typical German food. €37-€130.
- Gasthaus & Pension Heidehof, Brock 8a, Brock (6 km south from the city center, very close to the A7 motorway), ☎ . Check-in: 13:00-22:00, check-out: 7:00-10:00. This 3 star hotel is set in a large park and has direct access to the Europa-Wanderweg hiking route. The hotel is family run and each of the rooms are brightly decorated. €62-€124.
- Heidehotel Soltauer Hof, Winsener Straße 109, ☎ . Check-in: 15:00-20:00, check-out: 7:00-11:00. This hotel is within close proximity of Heide park, or you could just stay within the hotel and enjoy the sunbathing area or the bowling alley. Why not try a meal in the restaurant before going to bed or enjoy a drink the hotels bar where there is an extensive wine menu. €55-€145.
- Hotel Park Soltau, Winsener Straße 111, ☎ . Check-in: 15:00-22:30, check-out: 7:00-11:30. This modern hotel is located into the centre of Soltau and offers a wide range of leisure activities swimming pool, sauna, biosauna solarium or even try out the bowling alley located in the recreational area. There is an onsite restaurant where you can enjoy a quick snack or try something from the a la carte menu. €69-€100.
- Hotel Port Royal, Dittmern. Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 10:00. Designed with pirates in mind, it is a family-orientated hotel and was inspired by the Port Royal Caribbean fortress. The hotel is situated right next to Heide Park. Around €158 for a basic room.
- Camping Mühlenbach, Wietzendorfer Straße 2, ☎ . Check-in: Summer 8:00-13:00 15:00-21:00 Winter 8:00-10:00 15:00-18:00. Perfect for a short break or a long holiday, they have 80 pitches available to park your tent. There are laundry houses within the immediate vicinity of the pitches containing showers, toilets, washing machines and dryers. There is an onsite shop for you to get you groceries if you run out of food or washing up liquid or even try the restaurant onsite. Pitch €6.50-€7.50 per night,Each adult €4-€4.25 per night,Child €3 per night,Dog is €2 per night.
- Ferienpark Moränasee, Dittmern 9, ☎ . Pitch €6.50-€7.50 per night, Each adult €3.50-€4.50 per night, Child €2.50-3.50 per night, Dog is €2-€3 per night.
- Röders Park, Ebsmoor 8, ☎ . Check-in: 7:00-13:00 15:00-22:00. The park is situated on the edge of Ebsmoors, there is an ornamental pond that runs through the entire camp site with trees and hedges. There are 120 pitches to camp on and 2 sanitary blocks, warm water for showers is included in the price. Pitch €12.50 per night, Each adult €6.50 per night, Child €4 per night, Dog is €2 per night.
- Camping Scandinavia, An der Bundesstraße 25, ☎ . This campsite has 400 pitches available with sanitary blocks available nearby. There is also an indoor swimming pool, sauna and fitness room for you to enjoy. If you ever need any supplies you can always run down to the onsite shop for convenience. Pitch €6-€12.50 per night, Each adult €3-€4 per night, Child €2.50-€3.50 per night, Dog is €2 per night.
- Internet café Webspace, Bahnhofstr. 18, ☎ .
- Walsrode is a medium sized town with a large selection of shops to enjoy. There are many places to visit within Walsrode and on the outskirts, Serengeti Park is worth a visit it is a good day out for all the family.
- Bad Fallingbostel is a small town with a number of little shops and a large selection of restaurants. There is a large park in the centre of the town where you can relax by the stream running through.
- Verden an der Aller is a large town about 40 minutes away from Soltau. There is a large Cathedral in the centre of the town which was built in the Gothic style and is an interesting sight to visit.