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  • Writer's pictureGreen Traveller

Activities in Germany

Our part of our Green Traveller's Guide to Germany, we select some of the best walks, long distance hikes and adventure activities in this beautiful country

The possibility of adventure lies around every corner. Whether it's hiking up mountains or hurtling down them on skis, peddling through nature reserves or paddling across turquoise lakes in a canoe, the diverse mix of landscapes – from mountains and forest to coast and country – make Germany one of the most exciting places for outdoor activities.

But not all activities are high octane and adreneline fuelled: we've selected some gentler pursuits which allow you to absorb the natural habitat and landscapes at a quieter pace. There are horse-drawn carriage rides across mudflats to the wildlife-rich Hallig islands, donkey walking in nature reserves, punting on the river Spree, and electric bikes to hire in the fairytale Black Forest.

Google map: shows the location and details of all the places to stay, local food and drink, nearby visitor attractions and activities in our Green Traveller's Guide to Germany:

Green = Places to stay Blue = Local food & drink Yellow = Attractions Purple = Activities

Activities in Germany

Walking in Germany - Meanders of the Moselle

Follow the Moselsteig long-distance trail on this self-guided walking holiday from hotel to hotel through the steep vineyards and half-timbered villages of the Moselle Valley, delving into Germany's Roman past - and tasting its world-famous wines.

Hiking in Bliesgau Biosphere Reserve, Saarland, Germany

Bliesgau is the westernmost biosphere in Germany, a rolling, verdant patchwork of orchards, beech woodland, orchid-rich meadows and pastures. The river Blies flows through the landscape, offering twitchers lots of opportunity for bird-watching. The area is also a sanctuary for rare plants and wildlife – species such as little owl, red kite and lizard orchid flourish in this quiet, green region, whilst the Roman and Celtic remains offer a fascinating insight into the region's cultural past. The reserve is best discovered on foot – the area is easily explored via the myriad paths and trails which criss-cross the landscape, such as the well-marked routes that were once used by the St James pilgrims, as well as numerous other trails that follow some of the region's historic walking paths.

Hiking the Märkischer Landweg Trail, Uckermark, Germany

This 220-kilometre walking trail starts in the lake-dotted landscape of the Feldberg Nature Reserve, passing through the area's fjord-like scenery where vast expanses of crystal clear water sit against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. This is a region that time forgot: pass shepherds tending their sheep, tiny villages and crumbling monasteries – the monastery at Himmelpfort in particular, once a refuge for wayward monks, is well worth a stop-off if you can make the detour. The second half of the route passes through the Lower Oder Valley National Park, a pristine river meadow and a haven for waterfowl – if you're here in September you'll be sharing the landscape with thousands of pairs of cranes who flock here at the end of summer.

Cycling in Germany - Bavarian Castles & Villages

Discover the picturesque landscapes of southern Bavaria as you follow part of the Romantic Strasse, passing fairytale castles, traditional villages and idyllic rolling countryside on a self-guided cycle, whilst staying in three high quality hotels.

Cycling in the Swabian Alb Biosphere Reserve

Bumping over the trails in the Swabian Alb Biosphere Reserve on two wheels is pure joy. There's a fantastic well-marked network of cycle routes in the region and plenty of scope to forge your own cycling itinerary if you want to keep off the main paths. Those after a good day's cycle should follow the 60-kilometre Marbach bike trail linking the three historic stud farms of Gomadingen-Marbech, Gomadingen-Offenhausen and St Johann-Würtingen, passing through numerous horse pastures and beautiful studland. The Ermstal Fruit Cycle Route traces an undulating path through orchards and vineyards – full of blossom in spring and summer, with plenty of places to stop off for a well-earned apple juice en route.

Electric bikes in the Black Forest, Germany

The Black Forest, in Germany's southwestern corner, is a large forested mountain range, knitted together by a network by rivers (nine pass through the area), and dotted with castles, waterfalls, intriguing cities and chocolate box villages giving visitors an insight into traditional village life. Pedalling around on an e-bike is one of the best ways to explore the region: you can cover large distances (and at 150km from north to south, the Black Forest is a fairly substantial area), and tackling those mountains routes is a breeze. In fact, the Black Forest is home to Germany's largest e-bike charging station network – there's an impressive 170 charging stations in and around the area.

Horse-drawn carriage rides to Hallig Island, Germany

The flat Hallig islands, which jut out into the North Sea just off Germany's northwest coast, are a fascinating mini archipelago to explore – there are just five islands in total. Incredibly, the whole cluster is submerged up to thirty times a year. Not surprisingly, they are sparsely populated. Local flora and fauna flourish here – the sand dunes, mudflats and long sandy beaches are quiet nesting grounds for some rare wildlife, many species of which you won't find anywhere else. You can travel to the islands by boat, and, at low tide, you can even walk across from the mainland. Or how about travelling across by horse-drawn carriage? You can pick up carriages from Ockholm throughout the year – just make sure you don't get stranded on the other side!

Rafting on the River Peene, Germany

The River Peene is often referred to as the Amazon of the North due to its pristine, wild landscape, little impacted by humans and industry and flourishing with animal and plantlife. It snakes through the Peene Valley for nearly 200 km via some of north Germany's wildest, remotest landscape. Visitors can walk or cycle the riverside paths, but the best way to soak up this landscape is, of course, from the river itself. Gliding silently through the water, you'll spot wildlife and rare flowers – the swampy landscape is a haven for some of Europe's more uncommon species.

Punting on the River Spree, Germany

In the Spreewald Biosphere Reserve, punting has been the traditional way of getting around the centuries. Local residents still rely heavily on boats to travel around 'Pusch', as it's affectionately known, and visitors can take traditional boats to see the area for themselves. There are numerous punting stations throughout the region running a variety of themed trips: visit in winter and glide through the water with a warming glass of hot punch, join the nature lover's tour and spot rare birds, or take a history tour and learn about the local culture and tradition of the Spreewald reserve.

Snowshoeing in the Bavarian Forest, Germany

If you really want to make the most of Germany's magical mountains then strap on your snowshoes and find solitude amongst the snow-covered meadows, forests and frozen lakes of one of the most protected and untouched forested regions in Germany. Follow animal tracks in fresh snow, climb steep ascents for awesome views, glide silently through newly fallen snow.

Canoeing in the Middle Elbe Biosphere Reserve

Gliding silently through the Middle Elbe Biosphere Reserve by canoe has to be one of the loveliest ways to see the region. The biosphere is one of the largest water meadow areas in Europe and provides refuge for many rare or endangered creatures, including bees, dragonflies and other winged insects, as well as otters, beavers and white-tailed eagles. In summer it's a profusion of colour – the perfect time to visit for plant lovers. Canoeing allows you to get up close to this wonderful flora and fauna. Great fun for all the family.

Cross-country skiing in The Green Belt, Germany

Come wintertime, there's only one way to fully appreciate the magic and mystery of the mountains and that's to don your skis and get out and explore the tracks, trails and pathways that make up this fascinating corner of Germany. The popular, well-marked routes are a joy to follow; wide tracks weave their way through some of the region's most pristine forest, with the chance to spot wildlife along the way. You can team up with a guide or make your own way through this white wildnerness.


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