Top 6 nature and sightseeing spots to visit while in Grafschaft Bentheim

The Grafschaft Bentheim region has a long history, dating back to the Holy Roman Empire, flourishing ever since, through the middle ages and the early modern period to our days, always managing to somehow overcome history. The people from this region are independent, free-spirited and courageous. The entire place emanates mythos and stories, no wonder the Brothers Grimm got inspired by the eerie, dense forests and the marshlands, writing such fairytales as Hansel and Gretel and Sleeping Beauty. There is something about this area that simply switches our imaginations on and whispers about lights in the bogs you shouldn’t follow, castles older than time itself and forests so dense that they tell their own stories.

Step into the fairytale and visit the region, because experiencing it from both the Dutch and German side the story becomes whole again:

1. Bentheim Castle (GER) – History awaits, you simply have to unlock it

The origins of the castle aren’t very well documented, but that’s nothing new considering the Middle Ages weren’t the most reliable of times when it comes to facts and dates. What we do know is that the castle received an early mention in 1020, with Count Otto of Northeim being named as the owner. It is a magnificent place to visit if you are into history and well-preserved parts of our past. The monumental stone structure stands upon a hill, overlooking the region and spinning stories about counts and secrets yet to be unlocked. You can visit from March to October, daily from 10 am to 6 pm (last admissions at 5:15). The best part is, that not only you are able to gather your entire family for a historical and educational tour, but pets are also allowed!

2. Gildehauser Venn (GER) – Nature at its best

The Gildehauser Venn Nature Reserve is located to the south of Gildehaus and it calls out with a variety of sceneries, from lush forests to bogs and dune ridges. It has everything a nature lover enjoys, with hidden varieties of wildlife and flora, but if you decide to take a hike you will also have the chance to experience a little piece of civilization, the kind that eases into the landscape seamlessly, almost completing it: the Ostmühle, a Dutch windmill from 1749 majestically stands here, contrasting nature with its sandstone walls. Take a walk in the area and learn what this very special place has to offer, teaching you how to dream and enjoy the underrated treasures of Lower Saxony. The reservation can be easily accessed from the Grafschaft Bentheim holiday park (only 50 minutes by car), the perfect backdrop to get totally into that fresh aired, nature centric lifestyle.

3. Engbertsdijksvenen Natural Reserve (NL) – Bucolic and natural

Located in Overijssel Netherland near the German border, it has an impressive area of 1000 hectares. Originally, this natural park has been used for grazing sheep and other traditional usages of land, keeping it in a bucolic state right up until the late 19th century. After 1850, the ever-changing touch of human civilization arrived here as well, with canals sprouting up and changing the lay of the land, but not taking away of its beauty at all. See the rarest of birds, spot animals which have been inhabiting the land for generations before human interventions and if left to their own devices, they will do so for the foreseeable future, claiming the fields and keeping it as it should be: to be viewed but never disturbed. Deciding to take a hike here will mean giving up your ego, connecting with nature and trusting the calm silence waiting for you and your family.

4. De Vijvertuinen van Ada Hofman (NL) – The lady of the lake

Ponds, rivers and generally bodies of water all have an elemental force which have a pull on our imaginations, reeling us in softly and making us stop and wonder about the beauty of life. Ada Hofman, - a specialist in creating natural ponds and maintaining them in the same way these would evolve in nature, with eco auto cleaning systems based on natural plants and animals, - has created a true wonderland of these small ecosystems, waiting for you to discover their secrets. Visit the unbelievable garden of this artist of nature, complete with 50 ponds filled with the largest variety of flowers, small critters, frogs and butterflies. What sets this wonderland apart is the beauty of how life takes over after just a simple push, giving back beauty and wonder as a thank you. Walk these gardens and see what a true fairytale looks like, enjoying the gifts of the land.

5. Giethoorn – The Dutch Venice

This beautiful little treasure of a location is the perfect mix between the canals of Venice and farmhouses mixed with greenery, reeling you in with the promise of a day meant to be made into a postcard. Giethoorn is a pedestrian precinct, getting around will only work on foot or using boats. Its magic lies in the simplicity of its beauty, giving you a taste of another world, where carefree living mixes with gorgeously arranged houses and parks. The guided canal tours give you plenty of opportunity to take in the vista and catch your breath in this idyllic village. Stop for a snack, taste a beer in one of the bars or restaurants built over the water and enjoy the perfect carefree day. It is well worth the 1-hour drive from the Grafschaft Bentheim vacation park, adding a much-needed dose of awe-inspiring adventure to your perfect little vacation in the midst of nature.

6. Tierpark Nordhorn – The secret life of animals

Visit an absolutely welcoming and beautifully arranged Zoo, with a long history, dating back to 1949. With a large selection of animals, all happily living on huge areas of land, you and your family will be taking a virtual walk from continent to continent, seeing exotic animals in their natural state, undisturbed and content. The perfect day for families, Tierpark Nordhorn offers you fun, education and fresh air, with just a hop skip and a jump away from Grafschaft Bentheim holiday park.

Plan a visit and enjoy this double faceted region in its true form: as a free-spirited place close to nature, offering you the best options, with a little bit of excitement for everyone. Grafschaft Bentheim vacation park is located in a strategic place, easily accessed both from the Dutch and German sides. It also offers a variety of options regarding accommodation, ranging from houses for 3 guests up to comfortable bungalows of 12 people. The park is full to the brim with green acres, trees and fresh air, the ideal place to kickstart your holiday and see everything in its vicinity.

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