Germany's top five outdoor activities

Surfer hitting the Eisbach in Munich | Photo by ArtTower
Surfer hitting the Eisbach in Munich | Photo by ArtTower

Germany's top five outdoor activities

by Mary Del Rosario and Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

Between hiking through mountains and kayaking on pristine lakes, Germany has no shortages of outdoor activities. Its beautiful nature is the reason the term the “great outdoors” was invented. When you have this beauty as your backyard, venture out and take advantage of these five activities for an unforgettable adventure.  

A sport that combines being one with nature and moving those arms, kayaking is a perfect activity for everyone. Germany’s lakes and rivers to include the Danube, Altmühl, Gutach, Weser and Werra, are ideal for this sport and while northern Germany provides calm, flowing waters, the south has different types of rivers — ranging in landscapes, yet still offers gorgeous river valleys. Though spring is in the air, the best time to take the kayak out on the Danube River, the second biggest river in Europe, is in the fall when you have the vibrant fall foliage as a natural backdrop. 

Danube River

A great way to get those steps in is by lacing up your sneakers and exploring the world around you by going on a Volksmarch, or non-competitive walking. Translated to the “people’s march,” this activity was formed in the mid-late 1960s as a way to get the whole community involved. Now, there are many clubs in which you can take part in — just ask your local community.  Whether it be with your pets, family, friends or people you’ve just met, volksmarching is a perfect way to get a healthy dose of exercise.

Translated to the “people’s march,” this activity was formed in the mid-late 1960s as a way to get the whole community involved.

Want to explore the Black Forest from a different vantage point? Get your harnesses on and head to Hirschgründ for an awesome zip lining experience! From easy-going lines to the Gründle — a 570-meter-long rush of pure adrenaline — there is something for every level. Seven lines loop their way through the forested canopy, where you’ll climb over steep ledges, zip through scenic valleys and over babbling creeks. Don’t worry if you’ve never done it, the experts on the ground will give you an introductory and safety course before they let you get hooked up on the lines.

Ziplining in the Black Forest

Culinary Hike
Food, wine, beer and exercise? If you think one of these things is not like the other, you’ve been misinformed! In Germany, culinary hikes are sprouting everywhere this time of year and are the best way of combining food and the great outdoors. Foodies and wine aficionados alike have the chance to get their hands on German cuisine — both traditional and innovative while being able to explore nature. For those who enjoy wine, the Ahr Valley in the Rhineland Palatinate region boasts a phenomenal Red Wine Trail that provides views of lush green vineyards and the River Ahr.  

When you mention surfing, odds are Germany doesn’t spring to mind as a wave-catching hotspot. However, the beaches along the Baltic Sea, Pelzerharken and Hohwachter Bucht offer good options for beginners. For the more experienced wave riders, check out the beaches along the more exposed North Sea — Sylt offers larger waves and beaches that are less crowded.

Can’t quite make it to the northernmost reaches of the country? Head to downtown Munich instead. Believe it or not, one of Germany’s most famous surf spots is right in the middle of the city. Due to a mistake in engineering, city officials inadvertently created a standing or perpetual wave in the Eisbach.

Tip: Just remember, your skin probably hasn’t seen the sun in a while, so be sure to slather on the sunscreen before you head out on your great outdoor adventures.

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