Germany is known for its vibrant cities, edgy performance spaces, and fabulous beers. But there’s another side to the country that the Indian traveller hasn’t quite discovered: its great outdoors. With landscapes that range from snow-dusted mountains to lush forests, from birdwatching at mudflats to hiking lake-side trails, the country offers a variety of fun activities. Thrill seekers can go on a week-long hike in the Black Forest (it’s much more than a cake, you know!) or cycle along the Baltic coast. And those looking for a quiet, contemplative time can taste local wines, or relax at a seaside wellness retreat. There are many ways to experience the great German outdoors.
Photo: ©Tourist-Information Friedrichshafen
Germany’s southern city of Friedrichshafen is a serene retreat for water lovers as well as those who like to be airborne. Located on the shores of Lake Constance, the city offers both beginners and veterans opportunities for canoeing, waterskiing, sailing, and windsurfing. Those who prefer to get up in the air will be intrigued to know that it was in Friedrichshafen that the world’s first Zeppelin was built and successfully flown. Zeppelins are blimp-like rigid airships and you can book a ride on one to enjoy a unique flying experience. When you’ve worked up an appetite, come back to terra firma and tuck into local Swabian cuisine, starring handmade sausage, flat noodles, seafood, and plenty of cheese. Then relax with a cup of coffee at one of many cafés on the lakeside promenade. Pick your activities here.
Wadden Sea in northern Germany is a little-known habitat, a unique landscape of mussel beds, mud flats, and thick sea grass meadows. Spread over 11,000 kilometres, this mammoth UNESCO World Heritage Site is a birdwatcher’s paradise. Spot large colonies of waterbirds as they nest, hunt, and soar through the skies in unusual formations. When water levels are low, guided walks across the mudflats to islands just off the coast are the best way to see the curious creatures that inhabit the Wadden Sea. Learn more about this biodiverse region.
Photo: Samet Guler/Shutterstock
Germany’s biggest cities offer numerous opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Walk or cycle down one of the 17 sections of the 416-kilometre-long 66 Lake Trail to discover the lush countryside that surrounds Berlin. The route winds through a wide variety of landscapes—from lakes to forests, swampland and gently rolling meadows. It takes about 4-5 hours to hike select sections of the trail with beginning and end points easily accessible by public transport. Lace on hiking boots and pick a section that catches your fancy.
Next page: Roadtripping through the Black Forest, wine-tasting in Baden-Württemberg, cycling along the Baltic Coast.
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