Treat your feet to sensational strolls along a “barefoot trail”

Treat your feet to sensational strolls along a “barefoot trail”

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Europe

As the days grow longer and the warming power of the sun coaxes growing things to burst into bud, it’s only natural to want to get outside and experience nature’s greatest show first-hand. Leaves of green and vibrant pastel blooms delight the eyes. The scent of flowers and the awakening earth tickle the nose. The busy chatter of birds is like a symphony to our ears.

Another one of the human senses is ready to be awakened from its winter slumber. With their high concentration of nerve endings, the soles of our feet are extremely sensitive to touch, making this the ideal time to ditch shoes and socks in favor of a barefoot experience.

While the simple act of traipsing around the nearest patch of grass in one’s own yard or a nearby nature park can be both grounding and soothing, a number of places in Germany provide a playground for the feet: the Barfuβpfad, or barefoot path.

Barefoot paths are a varied lot, from short stretches along hiking trails to full-fledged leisure facilities charging entry fees. What they have in common is a variety of surfaces to stimulate our soles, from mucky mud to pillow-soft moss to smooth pebbles.

A close cousin to the barefoot path is the Kneipp footbath. These outdoor water facilities are named in honor of Sebastian Kneipp, a mid-19th century German doctor who recognized the healing powers of water, herbs and nature. A “Kneipp Anlage” is a shallow pool in which visitors taking the water cure can be seen with bare legs extending from rolled-up pant legs, walking in circles with an almost stork-like gait. Special pools for carrying out the procedure on arms also exist.

Those based in Germany who are up for titillating their toes at one of these unique places can choose from these or other such facilities. Most generally open around mid-May and close in October. Some are free entry, while at others, you’ll need to pay a few euros to get in.

BAVARIA

Barefoot paths

Bad Bayersoien: Seerundweg Soier See

Bad Wörishofen: Barfußweg

Bergrheinfeld: Labyrinth am Main-Radweg

Dietfurt: Barfußpark an der Stadtlaber

Füssen: Walderlebniszentrum

Mittenwald: Barfußwanderweg

Penzberg: Barfußpfad

Spalt: Spalter Barfuss Wonnenweg

Stamsried: Naherholungsgebiet Kirchbachaue

Windelsbach: Barfuß- und Naturerlebnispfad

Foot baths

Bad Wörishofen: facilities throughout town

Grafenau: Bäreal - Der Kurerlebnispark

BADEN-WÜRTTEMBERG

Barefoot paths

Dornstetten-Hallwangen: Naturerlebnis BarfussPark

Gutach: Park mit allen Sinnen

Metzingen: Barfuss Park mit Kneipp Anlage

Ötisheim: Barfußpfad Kohlplattenwald

Foot baths

Bad Dürrheim: Kneippkurort

Dillingen: Naturkneippanlage an der Donau

Ellwangen: Kneippanlage mit Barfußpark

HESSEN

Barefoot paths

Bad Orb: Barfußpfad

Hofbieber: Barfuß-Erlebnispfad

Foot baths

Bad Schwalbach: Kneipp-Barfußpfad

Wiesbaden: Unter den Eichen (Lufti)

RHEINLAND-PFALZ

Barefoot paths

Bad Sobernheim: Barfuβpfad

Enkrich: Abenteuer-Barfusspfad

Grenderich: Barfußpfad im Mehrgenerationenpark

Hillesheim: Barfußpfad

Kastellaun: Barfußpfad im Walderlebnispark Kastellaun

Ludwigswinkel: Barfußpfad

Schillingen: Barfußpfad

Thalfang: Barfußpfad

Foot baths

Bad Dürkheim, Kurpark

Annweiler, Kurpark

Bad Bergzabern, Kurpark

SAARLAND

Barefoot paths

Losheim: Barfußwanderweg Waldhölzbach

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