From fairytale Bavarian Castles rising out of a canopy of greenery to the dramatic vineyards in the Rhine Valley, and from the legendary Black Forest’s evergreen and architecture to following the celebrated writer, Goethe’s, footsteps on his famous Trail, Germany is awash with spectacular hiking routes and bewitching scenery straight out of a Gothic novel. Here are four great locations for a walking holiday in Germany.
South of Munich, lovers of hiking will thrive in the Bavarian region of Germany, a land of rolling hills brimming with history, heritage and rural delights. Choose King Ludwig’s Way for a lengthy adventure through sleepy villages and Alpine foothills, onwards to the castles of the Allgäu region and the legendary UNESCO World Heritage site Kirche in der Wies. Choose to follow the Pollat ravine, an uphill walk, and you’ll be rewarded with the utopian royal castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. With one in three millennials prepared to spend as much as £5k or more on a summer vacation, luxury hotels and exotic spas are certainly a big draw when it comes to travel, but there’s nothing quite like experiencing the majesty of the great outdoors and all the jewels it holds.
Bordering France in southwest Germany, the whimsical Black Forest is emblazoned with stories from the Brothers Grimm and is a land that was made for hiking. In fact, it’s claimed that Phillip Bessemer invented the term ‘hiking for pleasure’ back here in 1864. There are over 20,000 kilometres of signposted walking trails taking you through Belle Époque architecture, neverending pine trees, ethereal vineyards and reflecting lakes. And what if the walking gets too much? Head to the infamous spa town of Baden-Baden and pamper yourself in one of its many therapeutic thermal baths.
The Rhine Valley
From wine-growing villages to magnificent fortresses, the Rhine Valley takes you on serpentine footpaths through Assmanshausen, Loreley-Rock, the Filsener Lay and Koblenz. For those that love historic castle ruins, opt for the Middle Rhine Valley route and the signposted Rhine Castle Trail which takes you on a spectacular 130-mile trail through evergreen forests, rapeseed farms and the iconic bridge at Remagen. Find yourself following old donkey trails and ancient Roman roads where you’re rewarded with the breathtaking views of medieval roofs, epic mountain peaks and jade coloured vineyard terraces.
The Goethe Trail
The Goethe Trail connects all the important markers associated with celebrated German writer- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and extends 20 kilometres long. Starting at Ilmenau and finishing in Stützerbach, it takes about seven hours to complete and journeys through cemeteries and hunting lodges, museums and historic taverns. An alluring combination of nature and literature, you’ll see the places where Goethe wrote and drew, including the hunting cabin where he penned his most iconic poem, Wanderer’s Nightsong. You’ll climb the 107 steps of the Kickelhahn tower, be privy to astonishing views over the Thüringer Wald Mountains and visit rooms in the Goethe Museum where he stayed on his many visits to Stützerbach.
Germany is a land of wonders- a land that gave birth to numerous artists, poets, writers and legendary people. Walking tours of Germany will not only help you explore the beauty but will also give you a chance to imbibe all that this country has to offer.