Think of Germany and you may think of beer-swilling, lederhosen-wearing locals, but Germans are actually very health conscious and known for their love of walking, especially within their own country.
Over three million Germans spend their time Nordic walking along the country’s 200,000 kilometres of walking trails, whether its trekking through the silent valleys, exploring fairytale castles or meandering through alpine forests.
Germany is drenched in history and culture, and offers some incredible sights, and there is plenty of nature in Germany to discover. There’s no better way to experience this amazing scenery than to get up close and personal and explore the country by foot. If you're thinking of trekking in Germany, I've compiled a quick list together with my solo female community, of our favourite places.
For City Lovers
Hiking in Berlin & Munich
If you're not much of a trekker and it’s just a city sightseeing walk that you’re after, a good place to start is in the country’s capital, Berlin. Sightseeing walking tours are a great way to learn about the city; the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate and Hitler’s bunker. You can learn more about the country's history whilst you walk.
Walking tours around bustling Munich can give you an insight into the capital of the Bavaria state. City walks can last anything from an hour and can take in Hitler’s Munich, the Dachau memorial, Neuschwanstein Castle and old Nazi haunts.
Hiking in Dusseldorf
As well as being home to fine arts, Dusseldorf is teeming with vegetation and its suburban sprawl of forests and meadows are ideal for hiking. If you decide to stay within the city itself, the Konigsallee boulevard and old town are great places for sightseeing. But with the city being so close to the mountains, a trip to the Eifel and the Ardennes are worth a visit.
From Dusseldorf, districts such as Mettmann, Remscheild and Solingen offer pleasant walks through German villages, churches and nature. The Rhine Ruhr region also has excellent transport connections to get you back into the city.
For The Romantics
The Rhine Gorge
The region around Rhine and Moselle are perfect for romantics. The Rhine Gorge is known for its dramatic scenery of steep vineyards and craggy edges. Trails in this area take you through enchanting landscapes, past the beautiful Mosel valley, hillside castles and idyllic villages, witnessing places of historical interest on the way.
But if it’s a romantic fairytale that you’re looking for, look no further than the Bavarian Tyrol; one of Germany’s most beloved regions that begins just outside of Munich. Experience an eight day hike of spectacular beauty, sparkling lakes and rugged mountains and meet folkloric characters in villages along the way. This region also gives you the chance to try traditional Bavarian meals and German beers all whilst looking at spectacular views of the Alps.
For The Adventurous
Or for something a bit more demanding, the Rheinsteig path is no easy walk. Narrow rock paths over hilly countryside make for a challenging route of 320 km but the sensational views of the River Rhine are definitely worth it. The trail starts from Rudesheim, a historic city of winegrowers, where you’re elevated by chair to the beginning of the walk.
Want to go a little higher? Then take a mountain lift to one of Oberammergau’s walks. This region is one of Germany’s most picturesque, with turquoise lakes and green rolling hills and is the ideal place to base yourself for a week of demanding alpine walks and exhilarating trekking.
For The Believers
If you fancy something a bit more meaningful, the Westerwald-Steig trail will take you on a discovery tour to experience the historical and religious side of Germany. With eight different regions, each with their own natural environments, this trail will take you past castles and monasteries to indulge in some spiritualism along the way.
More into witches and broomsticks? Then the Harz Witches trail will take you on a journey of myth and legend, through the mystical Harz mountains where witches meet on the highest peak of Mount Brocken to celebrate Walpurgis, the goddess of spring. Over a thousand years of mining is also evident within this area, with its high granite rocks and sparse forests. This trail passes ancient woodland and caves and ends in the grand canyon of the Harz; the Bode valley.
Take a pilgrimage on a six day walking tour of the Priest’s Way via the pilgrimage church and Baroque Church architecture. This quiet walk is ideal if you're looking to get away from it and reflect on life.
Germany has it all. Whether you’re looking for a romantic walk, sightseeing walk, picturesque walk or just ‘want to walk’ walk, there’s plenty of places to indulge in some walking wanderlust.
Where's your favourite place for hiking in Germany?