5-Star Campsite In Germany: A Review Of Südsee Camp, Soltau
In the burning European hot-streak. The summer of 2018, we went to a campsite in Germany called Südsee camp, very near Heide Park.
This review is a reflection of our stay at the 5-star campsite, but also a second-hand review from my sister and her family, who went there just a few weeks after us. This review must be one of the rare ones in English, we had to do our research in German in advance.
Read on as I will get into the different experiences both our family, and my sisters family have had on the trip. They went with slightly bigger kids than we did, and in a different weather situation.
Is Südsee Camp a Family Friendly Destination?
Yes, Südsee Camp is a family-friendly destination. It is a 5-star campsite designed for families, and intended to house families visiting in tents, RV's, motorhomes, caravans and in small cottages.
There is a big (85 acres) beautiful beach, a carefully constructed "Südsee-lake", designed with a shallow child-friendly bay but also big enough to go swimming or paddling around in a small inflatable boat.
You can go for new activities every day with the family, and kids love to go out and do something, seldom they just want to relax and eat nice food (which I enjoy).
One very big reason the Sudsee Camp is Family Friendly Destination
The lake is perfect in great weather. The lake in itself would be enough for many families to keep kids occupied, and for the parents to relax at the same time.
I'll tell you more about the lake, later in this post, so keep reading and you will find a list of 9 family-friendly activities to do at the campsite or very near it.
Two very different experiences of Südsee Campsite
So my sister, her husband and 3 kids also went on a trip to the Südsee Campsite, just a few weeks time after we did, and they did not really enjoy themselves as much as we did.
They stayed at "Chalet" as we did, actually a bigger one, but as a family of 5, this was very little room. They went there with a small baby, a 3- and a 6-year old.
As you might imagine, a 3- and a 6-year old wants to go do stuff all the time, but the baby needs to take naps, relax, eat, changing diapers and all sorts of stuff.
They relied on the lake to keep the two bigger kids occupied, and for them to have a great time, but their "Chalet" was about half a mile away from the lake, and the weather was not really that great.
After they went to Heide Park, a Zoo and went to the Indoor Pool, more than a few times, they ended up going a home day early.
NOTE: We actually ended up going home a day earlier as well, but it was because of the massive heat, my girlfriend was pregnant and I am not that good with heat when you are not able to get time off, like staying at an Airconditioned hotel or something.
But we had a really great time, and my Sister ended up going on another summer vacation because they wanted nice pool-weather and sunshine, which they were neglected in Südsee, even though we had the hottest summer in Denmark for more than 50 years or so.
What can you learn from this?
You should make sure that your accommodation fits your family's needs, and you can not control the weather.
At this picture you will see the actual home they stayed at, we walked by it to send them a photo, so that they knew what to look for when they arrived.
9 Family-Friendly Activities, Near Südsee Camp
This list might contain too many animal parks for your family, but at the time we were at Südsee Camp, our son just loved this, and actually, while I am writing this, he still does.
Going to these parks was also some of the best time we had as adults, they were great and it was the first time, for me at least, to see a bear in real life, my girlfriend wasn't impressed because she has slept in a tent, amongst bears in Canada
But I have listed the stuff we tried and loved, the worst thing we tried and some of the stuff we didn't do because of the heat because my girlfriend was pregnant or because my son wasn't old enough.
#1 Wild Park Lüneburger Heide (Best)
We have a million pictures from this place, I don't know which ones to show you.
This park is great in every way, we had no expectations going in, it was after we already visited the Serengeti-park, which you will hear about later.
The first thing you meet is a gigantic outdoor playground. That playground alone was worth the admittance fee, the design was perfect in the shade and for adults to be able to sit around and drink coffee, beer or eat ice cream while the kids play.
And afterward, you enter the wild park, which is one big walking route, perfectly designed to see and enjoy the animals. You also get to pet animals once in a while, and at this park, I got to see live bears for the first time.
Definitely a place worth visiting. It was also way too cheap!
#2 The Lake
The lake must be the main reason to go visit the Südsee Campsite. We used it quite a lot, and we finally convinced our son, that it was worth trying, he loved it.
In Denmark, where we come from, the oceans are somewhat dangerous, with raging strong currents and cold cold water, this was the complete opposite.
No jellyfish, and crabs either. Just a fun, artificially made lake to go swim in. And even though I am a horrible, bad, no good swimmer, I was able to swim across -on the shortest end though-.
You can't see it, in the picture below, but at the child-friendly part of the lake, there is a big pirate ship, a gigantic playground in the sand, a beach bar, great toilet, and changing facilities and a very long water slide from the top of the sand and down into the lake.
Kids will love it if you are blessed with great weather as we were.
TIP: Make sure to stay near the lake!
#3 The indoor pool
A small indoor pool, with an even smaller kids-section. I guess it would have been great for some bigger kids. My sister and her 3- and 6-year old did enjoy this very much.
It wasn't really suited for 2-year olds, and you have to know that in Germany, you are not instructed to shower before venturing into an indoor pool.
As a result, the water was nasty and everything smelled like a sweaty old German man, I personally had to leave after 20 minutes, because I could not bear the smell of sweat and gentlemen's toilet.
#4 High-Ropes Course
I am not kidding about this, I did not know that this was a thing while we were there. This might be added after the summer of 2018, I am not sure.
But at the website, there is a section about High-ropes course and climbing. It looks like fun.
#5 Mini Golf and Horseback riding
As a part of the Südsee Camp, you can go play some mini-golf right next to the horrible dining experience you'll have if you eat at the Pier One restaurant.
I don't think it needs much explanation.
We saw in the flyers and folders, that horseback riding also was possible, but it was at the other end of the campsite, and not something we really enjoy doing.
#6 Creative Studio
All the kids were running around with stuff they made in this creative studio all the time. It is a part of the Südsee Campsite, and works as entertainment for the kids, but also babysitting for bigger kids.
We did not use it, because we don't like other people to take care of our son yet, our son is very shy, and then the big one.
NOTE: The crew only spoke German, be aware of that if your kids don't feel comfortable with it.
#7 Serengetti Wild Park
Great and very huge animal park. It is divided into two sections. The first part you drive around in your own car and look at the animals through your windows.
As you might have learned by now, we visited Germany during a massive heatwave, and of course, our old little car (we had at that time), had no functional air conditioning.
We made the best out of the situation, but the drive was about 3 hours, not because it was very long, but because it was very slow. It was like driving in one big queue to see the animals.
It was very great though, the worst parts were when driving past the lions and tigers, where we had to roll up our windows for security reasons. That was very very hot.
The second part of the park was an animal amusement park, it was a bit old and we were backed by the heatwave, but my son really enjoyed it.
It was of great value to visit this park if you are visiting with bigger kids and might be a bit milder weather, and an air conditioned car, then this is a perfect visit.
Make sure to have enough water in the car, we hadn't and we weren't expecting the 3-hour warm car ride.
He also got to see some dinosaurs in the park. He loves dinosaurs.
#8 Heide Park
Sadly we did not go to Heide Park, but without getting into much detail, Heide Park is a 0.33 square mile or 850.000 square meters gigantic theme park in Soltau, which makes it the largest amusement park in northern Germany.
The park is owned and operated by Merlin, which operates both Legoland in Denmark, Gardaland (Italy's largest theme park), Alton Towers (the biggest in the UK) and more than 100 other theme parks in Europe.
I have only heard great things about Heide Park, but since my girlfriend was pregnant at the time, my son was only 2,5 years old and it was unbearably hot, we decided not to go, because it is quite expensive to visit Heide Park, if you can't go try some of the rides.
I am definitely going to Heide Park at some point.
#9 Wildpark Müden (Worst)
Never ever, have I had such poor animal park experience as this. We were the only guests at the park, besides a school class of children.
It was in the middle of the summer season, but the park was empty and for good reasons.
The park was boring, and you had to walk, what felt like miles, between seeing animals, then you would think, that the animals had great big cages, but no, not really the reason.
Do not bother going here, especially when there are two other animal parks, which are both a great visit. Luckily we got to pet some goats, which my son loves, but this was not worth the trip or admittance fee.
Horrible Food Experience on the Campsite
This is the general reputation that just sticks to this campsite. Germany is not a country known for great food experiences, and neither should you expect by the Südsee Campsite.
I must say, that our expectations were very, very low, but even then we got shocked by the awful quality of the food on the campsite.
Everyone staying in tents and Recreational Vehicles was barbecuing their own food and cooking by themselves, but when we are going on a vacation, we usually use a great deal of the budget on dining in restaurants
We really enjoy going to restaurants when we are on our travels because it is so expensive in Denmark to be eating out, compared to almost every country we visit.
The worst restaurants on the campsite by far is the Pier One and the Camper's inn, and the Bootsmann in the Swedish-inspired part of the city is better but still bad.
Seriously, I can't remember eating as bad, as on the pier one restaurant. Insel Restaurant was also better, but not great.
It wasn't because, it was just horrible junk food, but more because the quality of it, was so poor. Microwave dinners and McDonald's are connoisseur meals compared to this.
If you go visit their website or read the brochure, you will also be introduced to the beach bar or the Kontiki-bar as restaurants, they are located under "Gastronomy", but they are just bars with great beers and horrible ice-creams.
The only restaurant we didn't try, mostly because we gave up, was Mr. Ed, but also because it was on the other end of the campsite, which is quite a big campsite.
Luckily, my son loves horrible food.
TIP: Cooking yourself or driving outside the camping finding other restaurants will save you time and money.
A Great Dining Experience in Soltau
To make up for the bad food experiences at the Campsite, and at the parks we visited, we had to go use the smartphones, even though I have banned the use of smartphones while on vacation.
We had to search for better food experiences, we have had such great food in Flensburg, and I have eaten great food in Berlin, so there are some Germans who can cook, somewhere.
We ended up trying a restaurant in the nearby city called Soltau.
Brauhaus Joh. Albrecht Soltau
What could be more German than a beer brewery, turned restaurant?
The food was great, the experience was great, the service was great and there was even a playground for my son to shorten the wait time, which wasn't long either
I can't tell if I am doing this review objectively, because since we have almost only been eaten very bad food, everything else, just seems like heaven.
But honestly, the food and service were recommendable to anyone.
Beers at the campsite, but eat anywhere else!
What I recommend if you want to go to restaurants while staying at Südsee Camp is that you just save yourself the horrible experience of eating at the campsite, go for Soltau or any other nearby city, and find some great food.
Then you can instead go back and enjoy some beers or drinks, in walking distance from your accommodation, overlooking the lake, in the campsite.
I spent one evening by myself, as my girlfriend and son went to bed early one night. I drank 3 beers, and spent $8 while enjoying this view.
How about visiting, as a non-german speaking tourist?
If you know some things about traveling in Germany, you have probably heard about Germans only speak German. And this is very close to the truth at the campsite as well.
It baffles me, how and why would employ bartenders and waiters who do not understand basic English, but I think they just don't care.
There are about 100 million people speaking German in Europe, and Südsee camp really caters the German-speaking population, and don't really care about everyone else.
NOTE: If you do not know basic German, like how to order and such, you might encounter some problems.
My girlfriend is quite good at German, and I am really not, so when I, one night, ventured out for some beers by myself, I had to insist on ordering in English.
The fact is, I have tried this in Berlin as well, the service staff usually do know some English, but they just insist on replying in German and speaking German to you.
PERSONAL TIP: My tactic is to just lift up the shoulders and raise both palms, with a wallet in one hand. At some point they realize they need to switch to English, to earn some of your money, and that usually works, it did here and it did in Berlin.
Be prepared to get scoffed at, and get rolling eyes, when you speak English to a German, that's just normal, I have tried that at least dozen times now.
Overall Review of Südsee Camp, Wietzendorf
We had a great time there, my girlfriend was quite pregnant and with average temperatures ranging from 32 to 35 degrees Celcius ( 90 - 95 Fahrenheit ), sleeping in a metal bucket was not quite the best experience.
But, who are we to complain about the great weather. We had a great time, and the 5-star Südsee Campsite was of very great value.
An inexpensive family holiday.
This is our second holiday staying in Germany as a family, and we have learned now, that Germany is a very cheap place to go have a family vacation.
Especially when you are staying far away from the bigger cities as we have had each time, if you venture near Berlin or Hamburg it's quite expensive, but out in the country-site of Südsee, Soltau and in Rügen Germany, the cost of everything just drops down.
My recommendation if you visit Südsee Camp is:
Either you should stay in a camper/trailer (they call it a Chalet), and then pick one very near the lake, we stayed so close to the lake, that we did not even bring towels, wallets and all of our stuff.
It was so nice, because it was so, so hot outside, so even in the evening, we could just go down for a 5-minute swim to cool down. This would not be something you would do if you stayed further away from the lake.
Or you should go for a bigger cottage in the Swedish-inspired premium part of the campsite. They are more secluded, and in a separate part of the campsite than the lake is, so you will have a half mile walk or so, for the lake, but you will stay in a less crowded and space, have better accommodations, and be near the best restaurant on site.
There is a whole bunch of activities for kids to do, so definitely a great place to visit with kids. If I were to star it, out of 5 stars, I would give it 3.5 or 4 stars, the horrible food onsite and the indoor pool could be way better.