4 Reasons Germany is the Ultimate Adventure Destination

With towering Alps, rushing rivers, and pristine lakes, it’s no surprise that Germany is an adventurer's playground. Goats on the Road list some of their top adventure activities and where you can find them.

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Hiking & Trekking in Germany

With numerous mountain ranges and trails to explore, this is one of the most popular outdoor activities in Germany. Here's our pick of the favorites to help get you started:

The E5 Hike

Located in the Allgäu region, this is a trekker’s dream. You’ll depart from Germany and end in Italy six to seven days later.

Start the trek in Oberstdorf in the Alps, and continue through the craggy mountains, pretty valleys, and icy glaciers. The trek offers numerous ascents, and a very steep descent of 5,905ft (1,800m) in one day!

You’ll sleep in mountain huts (US $23/night) along the way, and unless you want to spend 15–20 Euros (US $20) for a meal at the huts, we suggest bringing your own food. You’ll need to be in good physical shape to tackle this trek.

King’s Way (Königsweg)

Want to follow in royal footsteps? Starting at Castle Hotel Elmau, this path winds through the forest and along the King’s Way gravel road before arriving at Schachen House, which is the mountain home of King Ludwig II.

This trek is only 12mi (20km), but for a real challenge, turn this trek into a multi-day hike. Stay in basic accommodation at the Schachen Mountain Hut and enjoy the peaceful vibe of the Alps.

Hell Valley Gorge (Höllentalklamm)

If you’ve got three Euros to spare, head out on this beautiful hike, located in Grainau, at the base of the Zugspitze mountain (Germany’s tallest).

The gorge, which is 1,000 meters long, offers hikers the opportunity to cross bridges and walk through tunnels, all while the deafening thunder of water is pounding down beside you. The water in this gorge is incredibly powerful. Actually, if you don’t want to get wet, make sure you wear a waterproof jacket.

This hike takes around 2.5 hours to complete. To extend it a bit longer and make it a little more challenging, continue on to Höllentalangerhütte, which is an alpine lodge offering amazing views of mountains and glaciers.

Hikers in the Höllentalklamm gorge, Germany. Photo credit: iStock

Cycling Around Germany

Germany is one of the best countries in Europe for cycling. In the cities, you’ll find bike lanes, while the countryside offers gorgeous scenery for those wanting to explore on two wheels.

Lake Constance Cycle Route

Just like some of the trekking routes in Germany, you can span a couple of countries by bike. This route is around 170mi (273km), and covers areas of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. 

The cycling path follows the edge of Lake Constance, with the towering Alps as a backdrop. It’ll take between four to seven days to complete.

There are a number of small towns and villages that you’ll pass through, and plenty of options for accommodation.

The Harz

For something a little more challenging, check out one of the 74 mountain-biking routes around the Harz. Located in northern Germany, this area offers well-marked trails ranging from easy to difficult.

The most popular cycling trips range in length, from 5–28mi (9–46km), taking in castles, monasteries, and towns. Click here to learn more.

Winter Sports in Germany

Not only can you hike and bike during spring, summer, and fall, but you can hit the slopes when the snow starts to fall in winter. And, lucky for backpackers on a budget, ski passes here range from just US $3.50–$58!

Zugspitze

As this is Germany’s highest peak, naturally the skiing and snowboarding here is epic. These mountains border Germany and Austria, and are over 10,000ft (3,048m) high. There are around 13mi (20km) of trails waiting for you to discover.

Bonus: if you’re not able to tackle the runs, or are with someone who isn’t a skier, there’s an awesome 360-degree viewpoint which can reached by cable car.

Accessing the slopes will cost between US $37.50– $69 for the day.

Black Forest

Not only a cake, but a mountain region in southwest Germany! This part of the country borders with France and offers winter lovers a chance to do some cross country skiing, winter walking, and snowshoeing.

In fact, there’s a 62mi (100km) trail that runs between Schonach and Belchen, which makes for an awesome multi-day cross-country-skiing trip.

For those who want to enjoy the scenery, but don’t want to do it on two planks, you can wear your normal boots with spikes (crampons) and head off on a 7.5mi (12km) walk through a winter wonderland.

For snowshoers, you can wander on paths that aren’t so well worn, or go off-track through the woods.

It’s important to always head the advice of the locals regarding where to go, as there is a risk of avalanches.

Two snowshoe hikers in Bavaria, Germany. Photo credit: iStock

White Water Rafting & Camping in Germany

The best place to try white water rafting is in the Bavaria region of Germany. Although it’s not the most difficult rafting in Europe, it’s still a great place to go if you’re a beginner or at an intermediate level.

This area gives adventurous travelers the opportunity to test their skills on the mighty Isar River. The rapids here are around a category two, making them easy enough for all levels of skill.

A popular trip includes white water rafting plus a one-night stay in a guesthouse, and some canyoning along the way.

Whether you want an easy(ish) hike, a multi-day cycling tour, or you want to hit the slopes, there’s an adventure waiting for you in this incredible European destination.

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