Hiking in Germany
Enlarge image Hiking in Jasmund National Park (© dpa / picture-alliance) Hiking is in. Around 34 million Germans go hiking in their free time. And that is no coincidence, because Germany has an excellent infrastructure for hiking with just less than 200,000 km of fully-developed paths leading through many kinds of landscapes, some of them quite spectacular. The north of the country features broad plains, mudflats, and heath lands, which slowly rise to give way to thickly wooded low mountain ranges. Further south, the mountain ranges rise even higher, culminating 2962 metres above sea-level in the Alps with the majestic summit of the Zugspitze.
Ideas for hikes in Germany are as varied as its landscapes. Those looking for relaxation should choose one of the many paths through unspoiled deciduous and birch forests. (Forests cover 30 percent of Germany’s surface area.) The culturally inclined walk along the Rhine, with its many castles, or follow the footsteps of the Brothers Grimm along the Fairy Tale Route armed with a book of German fairy tales and poetry. Or how about something a little more athletic? The Mecklenburg Lake District north of Berlin offers canoe tours. In Saxon Switzerland east of Dresden or in the Alps, hiking and rock climbing can be easily combined. Amateur painters might be drawn to the impressionistic atmosphere of the Lüneburg Heath or the mudflats of the North Sea coast. Those interested in geology take trips to the Volcanic Eifel and numerous thematic hiking paths can be found throughout the country.
Enlarge image Grapevine (© dpa / picture-alliance) The wine trails are a special highlight, attracting hikers with gourmet tastes from all over the world, especially in autumn at harvest time. When nature is at its most colourful, the vineyards and castles in the south-western part of the country open their gates inviting all to participate, learn, and enjoy. Around 100,000 hectares are used for viticulture in Germany. That is spread across 13 wine-growing areas, whose geological and climatic diversity produce a total of 2658 different wines. Because the climate is becoming warmer, more and more excellent quality wines come from the area between the Rhine and the Oder. Come see for yourself.
© AA - Tobias Silva Makel