Germany is blessed with some truly magnificent natural beauty that is the stuff of fairytales. From sacred lakes to the enchanted black forests, from the coastal trails that wrap around the Baltic Sea to the otherworldly peaks reaching for the sky, here are some of the best spots for outdoor enthusiasts to come and revel in a little slice of nature’s paradise in Germany.
Situated close to Dresden, the beauty of Sächsische Schweiz (Saxon Switzerland) is of mythical proportions. Ancient, fingerlike rock formations make it the perfect location for climbing and hiking. The huge national park is known for its sandstone formations and splendid valleys and waterfalls. Best spots for hiking and climbing in the park are the Schrammsteine, a long and jagged group of rocks, and the highly distinctive Lilienstein mountain.
Germany’s iconic Black Forest has been the inspiration for the famous Brothers Grimm fairytales and other German myths and legends. Located in the southwest in the state of Baden-Württemberg, it’s one of the most popular hiking and trekking locations for outdoor pilgrims. The area is packed with mountainous terrain, miles of breathtaking forest dotted in between with charming little villages. There are three main long-distance hiking routes; the Westweg trail in the west, the Mittelweg trail in the central forest, and the Ostweg trail in the east.
The lake Constance region encompasses four different countries, and are connected through a network of trails, mountains, gorges, and waterways in the heart of nature. Those wishing to take the challenge of a week-long trek around the lake will be rewarded with natural spendor that transcends cultural boundaries. In Germany this lake in known as the Bodensee, but those wishing to go higher can opt for an Allgäu Alps, a classic hiking trail in southern Germany.
This little town located in the Bavarian Alps is a hiker’s dream in any season, being a prominent destination for skiing, hiking, and even ice-skating. The town lies near the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak. Other summit attractions include the Alpspitze mountain, with its pyramidal peak that has come to symbolize the town Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
The Baltic Sea in the north of Germany offers hikers over 250 miles (400km) of coastal trails with periodic views of seaside living all the way from Lübeck to Ahlbeck. Hikers can take in the smell of the sea air, the splendor of the pine forests, and the yellow rapeseed fields characteristic of the trails. Whenever you feel, swap your hiking gear for your swimming suit and take a dip in the Baltic waters.
This mountainous landscape in Bavaria is referred to as the Eagles Nest. It has a network of trails for both newbie and experienced trekkers. The 7.5-mile (12km) trail from the Hintersee National Park information point to Bindalm ensures a day well spent in the mountains, through forests and valleys. The national park is known for its impressive wildlife—especially wonderful sightings include the golden eagle and red deer. A hike to the magnificent Königssee is also recommended.
What could be better than hiking in the serene sunshine of Germany’s southwest? Not only is this the biggest forest area in the country, it is also wine country, where hikers are treated to the beautiful hilly vineyards and epic scenery. That’s not all though, because the trails also weave past eight ruin sites from the Trifels Castle, where Richard the Lionheart was captured. There are hundreds of trails to choose from, so grab your hiking boots and pick your own adventure.