In 1299 Duke Otto the Strong built his moated castle over earlier earthworks at Winsen (Luhe). Although the original castle was destroyed in 1371, some of the original medieval beams can still be seen. Part of the gallery of a Renaissance chateau built in the middle of the 16th century can still be seen in the courtyard.
A “must see” in Winsen an der Luhe is the castle chapel with its vaulted ribs, a square choir and choir windows to the east. The richly painted Renaissance decorations, combined with one that is decidedly Lutheran, are so evocative of the era that it is easy to believe that over 300 years have gone by since the chapel was painted.
Walking around Winsen you will see many buildings dating from the time when the House of Hanover ruled the area. In the 19th century the Prussians took over, but buildings from every era blend in with the modern buildings so well that sometimes you are unsure of the age of the street.
If you are visiting in the spring or summer be sure to go and see the botanical gardens. They are a riot of color from tulip time on. A fitting addition to that tour is a visit to an original windmill. It is so comfortable in its surroundings that you feel as though it has always been there.
If you are staying in Winsen you will find a lot of opportunities for outdoor activities. Horseback riding, swimming, hiking are all possibilities. You may want to try some of them out if you are planning on eating a lot of pastries with that coffee in the town center!
Winsen is a wonderful place to visit if you have a day or more to spare when traveling in the Hamburg/Lüneburg area. Check it out, and… The town center is a good place to sit and drink coffee and talk to the residents. ;-)