ACTIVE ADVENTURES: THE BEST ROAD TRIPS IN WINTRY GERMANY
TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE | PHOTOS: SANDRA FEHR
If you’re looking to embark on an adventurous road trip in 2023, you should consider which route is best for outdoor activities. To make this selection easier for you, we introduce some of the best routes there are.
Germany is known as a stronghold of adventure tourism; a growing travel trend that combines various destinations with outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and nature walks. And with a third of Germans preferring to spend their holidays in their own country, it’s become clear that people like to enjoy their home environment to the fullest.
In 2021, 12.77 million people over the age of 14 rode their bikes several times a week. According to the German Hiking Association, hiking is also one of the most popular outdoor activities in the country. A total of 68 per cent of Germans hike the 200,000-kilometre network of hiking trails every year. Given the many opportunities for outdoor activities in Germany, this spirit of adventure is not surprising. Think, for example, about the country’s scenic hiking trails that lead past crystal-blue lakes and impressive castles, as well as the world-famous cycle paths through the breathtaking countryside of the country.
Adventure tourism is a growing trend which incorporates many outdoor activities across Germany, while a road trip with family or friends is a great way to get close to nature in Germany and discover the many cycling, hiking and running routes along the way. Road trips also give you the freedom to explore the country on your own and in your own time. All you have to do is choose the start and end point and start planning your route. You can even combine your active outdoor adventure with a visit to a big city like Berlin or Munich. Every year, more than 25 million Germans go on a road trip and use their vacation time to explore their own country, or other destinations that are easily accessible by car. But can you combine these two trends and go on an adventurous and active road trip holiday? To find out and to determine the most active road trip routes, Avis.de used the Outdoor Active route finder to identify all outdoor activities available along popular road-trip routes between December and February. Let’s explore some of their findings to get you excited for your next road adventure!
For the active ones
Between Würzburg and Füssen, the 340-kilometre-long road trip along the Romantic Road offers the most outdoor activities (a total of 1,267). The Schwarzwaldhochstrasse road trip ranks second among the activities (1,025), although it only covers 60 kilometres. Passing through the region’s famous pine forests and historic towns, this route offers numerous attractive activities en route, including mountaineering, water sports and horseback riding, making it a great option for the entire family.
For the hikers
The Black Forest High Road offers the most hiking activities (641), making it the most attractive option for avid hikers. The highlight of this route is the Baden-Badener Panoramaweg, with a magnificent view of the natural landscape of the region. It comprises four stages, which you can divide up individually depending on your physical condition or weather conditions.
In second place, with 575 hiking activities, there are numerous scenic hiking routes that have something to offer for everyone on the road trip on the Romantic Road. Start your journey with a four-kilometre easy hike along the Steinweinpfad in Würzburg. This is a circular route that passes one of Germany’s most famous vineyards and offers a unique panoramic view of Würzburg itself. In Füssen, you can then circle the nearby Alpsee or take a moderate hike to the Branderschrofen with a view of the famous Neuschwanstein Castle. In third place, is the Wine Route, with several hiking trails; such as the circular route around the wine region with the ruins of Wolfsburg.
For the cyclists
Cycling is another popular pastime among Germans. The many routes for an exciting road trip open up numerous opportunities to explore nature from the saddle. The road trip along the Romantic Road tops the list with 488 cycling activities. There are stretches of varying difficulty on this route, but if you’re looking for a challenge, a bike ride through the Halblech Valley offers a high-energy workout against stunning natural backdrops as you traverse scenic river valleys. The route from Stuttgart to Weil am Rhein offers 372 cycling activities and is suitable for anyone looking for a shorter route than the road trip along the Romantic Road. The D-Route 6 is a long-distance cycle path that takes you past the Danube from Weil am Rhein to near the German-Austrian border. A bike tour through Offenburg, on the other hand, offers fun for the whole family. Finally, the King and Emperor Route offers 301 cycling activities, including trails along the Danube and the Austrian border.
For the runners
If you want to stretch your legs after your time in the car, many road trip routes also offer you the opportunity to explore some of the best running routes in Germany. The Moselle Valley road trip covers a small region that is perfect for exploring on foot. Walk through the cities of Trier or Koblenz and enjoy the view of the Moselle. In addition to the numerous cycle paths, the road trip from Stuttgart to Weil am Rhein also offers many running routes. Walking around Stuttgart is a great way to discover the city. Or you can explore one of the cycle paths on foot – if it offers enough space for cyclists and walkers. The road trip on the Romantic Road offers a good 50 running routes, including scenic routes around the Alpsee, along the Main, the Danube and the Wörnitz.
For active families
If you are travelling in Germany as a family or with young children, you can still have an active road-trip holiday, as many routes offer family-friendly activities. In Freudenstadt on the Schwarzwaldhochstraße, you will find several beautiful nature walks, including an informative walk through the Plenterwald, or a walk along the highest rose path in Germany, which is in full bloom in June and July. On a road trip along the Romantic Road, we recommend the gentle and scenic hike up to Neuschwanstein Castle. From the Marienbrücke, there is a breathtaking view of the castle itself. Since this route is very popular, be prepared for crowds of tourists and queues, especially in spring and summer. Finally, the Rhine cycle and hiking trails offer both city walks and nature trails, such as B.; four-kilometre-long circular route around the old town of Rothenberg, an award-winning cycle path through the Tauber Valley and a beginner-friendly via ferrata along the Rhine Valley.
Plan your road trip
The first point might be obvious, but first, you will need to decide for one route. While it can be tempting to just head out, a good road trip requires planning so you know where you’re going. Planning ahead also allows you to choose which sights to see and activities to do. To make your road trip worthwhile, you should also make sure to pack the right things. In addition to essentials like your driver’s license, car insurance and first aid kit, some sunglasses, toiletries and comfortable clothing will also help ensure you can really enjoy your road trip. If you are planning various outdoor activities during your trip, think of everything you might need for them, such as appropriate sportswear. Last but not least, check your car. Before you set off, be sure to check your mode of transport to make sure everything is in order. When renting a car, you should make sure at the car rental company that everything is in good condition and that the car is suitable for the intended trip.
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