For years, hiking has been one of Germany’s most popular activities. Books on the subject – such as by Manuel Andrack, Hape Kerkeling or Henning Sußebach – find rapid sales; 63% of Germans like to hike, according to a study last year; and in May this year, National Take a Hike Day was proclaimed for the first time.
In addition to the nature experience, hiking fans value the balance of everyday work: “25% of respondents think that stress reduction is the most important reason for exchanging the urban jungle for the genuine experience of nature. A recent study by the Austrian Alpine Club shows that just one hike lasting about three hours can considerably increase your mood and serenity. No wonder that every year in the US, “National Take A Hike Day” is held – and exactly today, on 17 November.
We take today as an opportunity to introduce five of the best hiking routes in Germany.
Albsteig Black Forest (83.3km)
The Albsteig Schwarzwald may be “only” 83.3 km long, but it is a challenge. Over 2,722 meters in altitude, it goes along the Alb from Albbruck in the Rhine Valley to the Feldberg. You will reach numerous waterfalls and the Teufelsküche, which is spectacular in the rock-lined, steep ravine of the lower Albtals, you hike through earthy landscapes and blooming meadows – and in between you may want to take in the views of the quaint Black Forest villages.
Harzer Witches Rose (97km)
Goethe raved about this hiking area in 1777 in his “Harz trip in winter”, and it has lost none of its fascination. Quite the opposite; the northernmost forest mountains in Germany is topographically complex, scenic and displays impressive biodiversity. The highlight of the Harzer-Hexen-Rose is the granite cliffs of the Bodetal between Treseburg and Thale – the greatest German rock valley north of the Alps.
The FrankenwaldSteig was recently voted Germany’s second most beautiful hiking trail, and with good reason: you can experience a total of 13 stages of the forest and its benefits – the gentle rustle of the leaves in the wind, the lively lapping of the rivers along the way and the free breathing on the heights of the Franconian Forest. Historic monuments and old towns are reminiscent of bygone times, cozy taverns and hiking-friendly accommodations invite you to stay. And where exactly is the “secret capital of beer” hidden?
The Moselsteig accompanies the entire German Mosel run from Perl on the German-French-Luxembourg border to the mouth of the Deutsches Eck in Koblenz and is one of the most varied long-distance hiking trails in Germany. It has 24 stages to offer – and none is like the other. Sometimes they lead through forest, then through vineyards again. Sometimes the Mosel flows majestically to the right, then to another idyllic brook to the left – and behind the next corner suddenly a slope gives a a magnificent new view. Even charming towns and villages invite you along the route to explore or stay overnight.
It already takes “gold” for the longest distance in its name – the Goldsteig is the longest certified quality hiking trail in Germany. It traverses the entire Upper Palatinate and Bavarian Forest as far as Passau. Hikers have the choice between two routes: The demanding, 286 km summit route (Nordvariante) through the Bavarian Forest National Park, which leads past some of Bavaria’s most beautiful geotopes such as the black sea on the Lusen or the bizarre granite rocks at the Dreisessel, and the more moderate, 243km long route (south variant), which is characterized by a colorful change of shady forest trails and fresh meadow paths and magnificent views up to the Zugspitze. Through cross-connections you can flexibly switch between the routes.
No matter which route you choose, the CAT® S60 SMARTPHONE is your perfect companion. It is the world’s first smartphone to have an integrated thermal imaging camera that identifies heat and cooling sources in no time at all. It is extremely waterproof (up to 5m for 1 hour) and its touchscreen can be operated with wet fingers and gloves. With a sturdy die-cast frame and Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4, it can withstand drops of up to 1.80 meters and has a long-life lithium-ion battery with up to 43 days standby time.