With 16 national parks, countless stunning lakes and a whole swathe of alpine trails to explore, both on foot and by bike, Germany is the perfect natural escape …
Think Germany and you can’t help but think Berlin – with its fascinating history and urban cool – or the legendary annual gathering that is Munich’s Oktoberfest. Yet, for anyone looking for a natural escape, there are few better destinations.
From the coastal mudflats of Hamburg to the Black Forest of the south-west, to the alpine ridges of Bavaria, Germany is a country packed full of dramatic and diverse landscapes just waiting to be explored.
Across the country, a vast network of cycle routes and walking trails slice their way through ancient woodland, up onto mountain passes and around glistening lakes. Whether exploring on two wheels or on foot, the sight of Germany’s serrated peaks is a rallying cry to anyone in search of a picturesque outing.
Then there’s the many nature reserves, biospheres and national parks that scatter the land. And keep your eyes peeled as the country is home to wildlife such as mountain ibex and wild boar. Get ready to take a leap into the wild …
Bavaria – traditionally different and unique
Beyond its fairy-tale castles and beer halls, Bavaria is a land of old traditions, wild forests, snow-crested peaks and some of the most beautiful scenery in Germany …
The Free State of Bavaria is a region steeped in ancient customs. From pop-up village bars (zoiglstubes) fed by ‘community breweries’ to seasonal cattle drives (almabtrieb) stretching from Alpine pastures high in the mountains to the lush valleys below, it is a land where tradition remains a part of modern life.
Each area even has its own customs, as unique to that village or town as the high peaks and pristine lakes that make a visit here so memorable. And there’s no better way to experience them than by trekking Bavaria’s abundant trails, mountains and reserves,
The region is home to the Bavarian Forest National Park – the first created in Germany – and an unusual spot in itself. The park is wild in the most literal sense; its hands-off policy has allowed its forests and bogs to develop as nature intended, proving a boon to its native wildlife, including three-toed woodpeckers, wild cats and the rare boreal owl.
Nor is it Bavaria’s only protected area. The peaks of Berchtesgaden National Park are a haven for hikers, with a stunning trail linking the southern part of beautiful Lake Königssee to the equally serene Obersee. If you’re lucky, you might even spot the odd raft loaded with cattle, making the same journey they have made for hundreds of yean.
Away from the forests and peaks, the region is also sketched with a network of cycle paths. Explore its narrow valleys, winding rivers and mountain passes under your own steam, or simply drive the Alpine Road that weaves through the south’s high-altitude lakes and snow-flecked peaks for a bite-sized version of Bavaria.
And lastly, a word should be spared for the region’s lakes, with the areas around Ruhpolding and Oberaudorf blessed. But no matter what you do, from brewery trails and mountain escapes to diving into the region’s traditional pursuits, there’s no end of possibilities in this unique part of Germany.