Germany — Things to Do
Germans simply love the outdoors and when the weather is good, everyone heads outside. With plenty of forests, mountains, rivers and lakes to explore, adventure activities, such as white water rafting, kayaking, and skiing are popular. If hiking or walking are things you like to do, there are thousands of trails to uncover.
Kayaking has always been a popular sport among Germans and there have been numerous German kayak Olympic gold winners. Germany has some excellent rivers where kayaking is possible and for visitors, this activity is best done by joining a tour. Contact Sportiv Touren for a relaxed row along the Danube and Iller rivers. The more adventurous can try kayak tours of the Saale River through Saaletal Aktiv Tours.
Road trips are a great way to explore Germany and in fact, there are several ‘must drives’. The Romantic Road is the most famous, part of which can be done in one day, but the best way to cover a longer length is to stay along the way at small inns. The route runs from Würzburg to Füssen and highlights include the historic city of Rothenburg, the Bavarian town of Nördlingen, as well as Neuschwanstein castle. Another drive is the Fairy Tale Road from Hanau to Bremen. It follows the Grimm Brother’s tall tales, including Rapunzel’s tower. Rent a Porsche or other swanky German car and enjoy a scenic cruise.
Although German ski slopes are not quite as extensive as those in Austria or Switzerland, there is still good skiing available in southern Germany. The main ski resorts are Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Oberstdorf, Berchtesgaden, and Oberammergau. The most famous is Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which hosted the Winter Olympics back in 1936. Although snow is not always guaranteed before Christmas, once the flakes do fall, the slopes are well maintained and feature excellent facilities. For beginners, there are plenty of ski schools in Garmisch-Partenkirchen like Skischule Alpin or Skischule Thomas Sprenzel.
If skiing is not your thing, why not try snowshoeing? Becoming more and more popular in Germany, there are excellent tours available. No experience is necessary as with just a little bit of instruction, anyone can get the hang of snowshoeing. An experienced guide will be able to lead visitors to the best sightseeing spots. In Garmisch-Partenkirchen, seek out Skischule Vivalpin or Skischule White Mountain.
In the mountains on a clear day, you can often see paragliders slowly making their descent down into the valley. Paragliding is very popular and if at all interested, Germany is the place to try it. There are plenty of schools around, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Gleitschrimschule can teach you everything you need to know about sailing the wide open skies.
Because of all the fabulous cliffs and peaks in Germany, mountaineering is a popular thing to do at all ability levels. The Zugspitze is the highest mountain in Germany and there are many climbs and climbing schools that offer tours and lessons. The Mountaineering School Zugspitze offers courses and instruction, as does the Hiking School Garmisch. For a more private experience, consider hiring a guide before heading out, especially if you are new to the sport.
River cruises is a must for visitors to see the many castles, fortifications, toll towers, and towns that are nestled along the Rhine. The Rhine River is 766 miles in length and flows from the Swiss Alps all the way to the Netherlands through Germany. This means that cruises can be taken from a variety of locations, with Frankfurt being one of the main stops. Board in Frankfurt for a half day or full day excursion. For tours, check out Primus Linie or Personen Schiffahrt Nikolay.
Horseback riding is a favorite pastime in Germany, with many world class equestrians hailing from the country. There are stables throughout much of the countryside. Horse lovers will want to try riding a German warmblood, a beautiful breed bred for sport. Castle Sindlingen Equestrian Center (Black Forest) offers horseback riding holidays or visitors can also opt to simply stay at a stable, such as Reiterpension Karduck (near Koblenz).