Germany may not be the first destination that comes to mind when you think about holidays in the heart of nature, but there are many great areas to explore in this respect. The country is actually home to more than 130 nature parks, biosphere reserves and national parks, meaning that around a third of its total land area falls into one of these categories.
So, with the German tourism board focusing on nature holidays for 2016, here are some excellent places in which to have an adventure.
Berchtesgadener Land Biosphere
Designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1990, the Berchtesgadener National Park can be found in the south of Germany and is defined by the borders with Austria. These alpine foothills are blessed with fantastic scenery, especially the area around Mount Watzmann, Germany’s highest peak. The biosphere reserve is home to two of the country’s five glaciers and features the calm waters of Königssee at its centre. Activities here include various hiking trails and staging your own pilgrimage to St. Bartholomew's Church. Outside of the park, the town of Berchtesgaden is well worth exploring.
North/Central Black Forest Nature Park
Comprising of an area 1,500 square miles in size, this is Germany’s largest nature park. It is part of the larger Black Forest, which dominates the state of Baden-Württemberg and is a great place for cycling and sampling the region's excellent food and drink. In the winter, it is possible to take part in snowshoeing activities and in the summer there are various food festivals offering some delicious ways to refuel after your hiking exploits. Don’t leave without tasting some authentic Black Forest gateau. You can also learn about the local culture in the interesting Vogtsbauernhof open-air museum.
Lauenburg Lakes Nature Park
Between Lübeck and Lauenburg, in the north of Germany, you will find a system of 40 lakes that provide an excellent setting for a relaxing break. Animal lovers will enjoy the great range of birdlife, whilst history buffs will love tracing the Old Salt Road and wandering around the medieval towns of Ratzeburg, Mölln and Büchen. However, there are larger cities in the area too. Hamburg, with its rich history and vibrant harbour, is one in particular which is definitely worth a visit. If you are looking for a more active break, though, the canoeing and other water sports offered on Ratzeburger See and Schaalsee will get the blood pumping.
The Thuringian Forest Nature Park
The Thuringian Forest is located in an area affectionately known as the Cultural Heart of Germany, but this beautiful nature park shows that it is a green heart too. The best way to make the most of the stunning scenery is by hiking along the Rennsteig, probably Germany’s most famous and popular trekking route. Other highlights within the boundaries of the park include Saalfeld's Guinness World Records listed colourful Fairy Grottoes (caves featuring impressive stalactites) and the historic Wartburg Castle.
The Rhineland Nature Park
Part of this nature park’s beauty and appeal is the fact that it features a diverse range of different terrains to explore. From the banks of the Rhine itself to areas of dense forest, there is so much to discover; you’ll even find the volcanic landscape of the Eifel mountain range. Whether you want to relax within these peaceful surroundings, take part in some of the sporting activities on offer or immerse yourself in the history of nearby Cologne and Bonn, the Rhineland Nature Park has something for everyone.
We can offer many different trips to Germany, including those that will help you discover the country’s natural side. Call our friendly team for more information about how you can enjoy a holiday in the heart of nature.