Hiking and cycling in the Black Forest

By | Category: Travel destinations
Mainau

Mainau

Recreational hiking was born in South-West Germany so it comes as no surprise to learn that they are working hard to encourage those of us who like outdoor holidays to holiday there.

Claimed to be,Germany’s sunniest region there are endless unspoiled forests and lakes clean enough for swimming. From Lake Constance in the south to the rolling Swabian Hills in the north, not forgetting the gentle, undiscovered Odenwald, you can go hiking and biking, try stand up paddle boarding or canoeing.

For this year there is the new lake trail –Baiersbronner Seensteig – a 55-mile route in the Black Forest National Park. Start in the village of Baiersbronn, famous for its Michelin-starred restaurants If you manage to drag yourself away from those then you’ll go over the moors ( it isn’t only England and Scotland that have them)  you’ll pass one lake after another. There are hiking huts along the route where you can pause for lunch.

If you fancy a longer jaunt try the north- south route through the Black Forest from Pforzheim to Basel. Or pedal the 120-mile/190-km Danube cycle path. Start in Donaueschingen, the river’s sourcebut  stop along the way to see the impressive Schloss Sigmaringen castle. That trek ends in in Ulm, where there is a minster with the world’s tallest steeple.

If you prefer gardens, head for the island of Mainau on Lake Constance, with its near-Mediterranean climate. After April’s tulips and narcissi comes the spectacular rose display: 10,000 bushes and 1,000 varieties. In late summer and autumn, 12,000 dahlias in 250 varieties provide the colour. New this year is a high-tech 360° camera installed in a towering cedar tree, linked to a giant screen at ground level and the island’s website.

It’s not all countryside, there are cities. In Heidelberg, hikers and cyclists can traverse the 1,800-ft/567-m high Königstuhl and the 1,000-ft/330-m high Heiligenberg mountain with the famous Philosophers’ Walk. This path has gardens and benches, plus panoramic views of the Old Town across the river. Several well-marked bicycle trails cross in Heidelberg: the Burgenstrasse (Castle Trail) and the Bergstrasse (Mountain Trail), as well as the Neckar Valley Cycle Trail. And in Baiersbronn there are three restaurants which between them have 7 Michelin stars between them.

 

For more information about South-West Germany, click here.

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