Top 5 outdoor spots in Germany
Birds have started chirping, and leaves are budding on the trees. This time of year, Germany sheds its winter coat and welcomes springtime. After being cooped up during the cold and snowy months, grab your gear and head outside to one of Germany’s best outdoor spots.
The Roman ruins in Trier
There is no shortage of history in the city of Trier. Known as Germany’s oldest city, Trier was founded in 15 B.C. by Augustus. Emperor Constantine decried Trier as the Rome of the north, and named it the capital for the western front of the Roman Empire. Today, the lasting imprint of those ancient times is evident. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986, the Roman ruins in Trier are some of the best preserved outside of Rome.
One of the more well-known landmarks is the Porta Nigra. This imposing blackened gate was once part of a 4 mile-long wall that surrounded the city. Although it has survived strife and war, the black coloring is actually due to environmental smog and pollution. Take in a gladiator reenactment at the 25,000-seat amphitheater, or tour below the arena to see where fighters and animals were held before matches. The Imperial Baths are an impressive and incomplete complex of ancient tunnels and galleys. Top off the day with delicious eats in the charming Altstadt.
Crystal clear Königsee in Bavaria
Located in the Berchtesgaden National Park, Königsee is the deepest and cleanest lake in Germany. Jagged edges of the Bavarian Alps provide a stunning backdrop to this clear, emerald green lake. Winding through sheer cliffs, Königsee resembles a fjord. Due to strict environmental standards, fishing, camping, windsurfing and gas-powered motorboats are not allowed.
The best way to view this natural beauty is from one of the electric tour boats. Relax as you glide along the glass-like surface. Approximately halfway through the two-hour tour, the boat will stop near the steep rock walls. A trumpeter or alphorn musician will play his instrument to demonstrate the unique clarity of the echoes that reverberate off the cliffs.
The “flower island” at Lake Constance
Sitting in the midst of an alpine lake is a tiny island with a semi-tropical climate. Insel Mainau, or Mainau Island, is located near the borders of Austria, Switzerland and Germany, in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. Known for its exquisite and lush landscape, Prince Nikolaus von Esterházy created the botanical gardens in the 1800s. Stop and smell the roses at the Italian rose garden, or view thousands of vibrant tulips blooming in the spring.
There are activities for everyone, including a large play area for children, butterfly gardens, an exhibition gallery and a castle. For aviation enthusiasts and history buffs, the Friedrichshafen Zeppelin Museum is worth a visit. A 33-meter-long partial replica of the doomed Hindenburg is on display. Have a bite to eat among the blooms at Restaurant Schwendenschenke, which serves savory Swedish cuisine.
An adventure in the heart of Berlin
Just two short blocks from the Museum of Natural History is a unique outdoor spot right smack in the middle of Berlin’s bustling metropolis. Beach Berlin makes going to the beach easily accessible. Challenge your friends to a game of volleyball, or dance the night away as it transforms into an outdoor club.
The real gem of Beach Berlin is MountMitte, Berlin’s highest ropes course. With three different levels, there are six routes to choose from that are suitable for climbers of all abilities. More than 90 obstacles — including vintage Trabant cars, canoes and kayaks — dangle precariously throughout the course to present fun challenges for adventurers. For more thrills, check out the SkySwing and SkyFall.
Off the beaten path at Alpsee Bergwelt
Approximately 30 minutes off the autobahn in southern Bavaria, Alpsee Bergwelt is a hidden gem. In addition to the longest alpine coaster, this adventure park also boasts the largest high-ropes course in Germany. During the summer, you can ride the chairlift to the top, or you can earn your schnitzel and beer by hiking the 3.5- or 4-kilometer-long trail. At the top of the hill, you’ll find the start of the alpine coaster, the ropes course and Abenteuer Alpe, a huge interactive play area for the kids. The ropes course has different levels and includes instruction for first timers.
If the snow hasn’t quite melted, don’t worry — Alpsee Bergwelt offers adventures through all seasons. During the snowy months, the hiking trails transform into two toboggan runs, and sledding is plentiful. Protected against the weather elements, the alpine coaster runs year-round. There is also a restaurant that offers a beautiful panorama and tasty local cuisine.
Dust off your backpack and travel guides — spring in Germany is a great time to enjoy nature's beauty.