As we live fairly close to Germany, just about a ten minute drive, we occasionally head over for a weekend to go hiking or for other outdoor activities. After doing so for more than a decade, we have discovered quite a few unknown places that take you further than regions such as Eifel or Sauerland, where the majority of tourists for hiking usually ends up. In this blog I’ll tell you about our favorite unknown places for hiking in Germany. I bet you had never heard of most of them!
A special place that is certainly worth visiting in terms of beauty is the Remstal. Here the rolling hills are covered with vineyards and deep pine forests. The valley is split in two by the river Rems and is flanked by historic villages with half-timbered houses, such as Schorndorf and Strümpfelbach. In the valley you can walk the 215-kilometer Remstalweg, a long-distance walk of 11 stages of 15-20 kilometers per day. In addition, the Remstal is very easily accessible by train, you take the ICE to Stuttgart and from here the S-Bahn into the valley. Ideal for those who want to travel by train.
You can read more information in this extensive article about hiking in the Remstal
Just a bit further than the famous Sauerland is the Kellerwald-Edersee National Park. This extended piece of nature is often overseen by visitors. As the name implies, most of the land is covered by woods and this especially makes it a very pretty place to be during the fall. The leaves are changing to every single shade of orange and yellow you can possibly imagine and it’s usually a very quiet place to wander through the woods. We were here twice and once we hiked a part of the Kellerwaldsteig, which we truly enjoyed!
German-Dutch Nature Park Veenland
I wrote about this place earlier just after my recent visit, but the German-Dutch Nature Park Veenland really deserves more visitors than it gets at this moment. The park is located on the border of the Drenthe in Holland and Emsland in Germany and mostly exists of Moorland. In fact, this region used to be the largest Moorland in Central Europe. In some places you can actually witness the work going on here. The best hikes can be found in Twist, where you can literally walk on the border of The Netherlands and Germany. You can read more about this park in one of my previous posts and how to find the best places for hiking on abandoned railway tracks.
The Rothaargebirge actually is more famous than you think, as it’s a part of the famous Sauerland, which attracts thousands of tourists each year for summer activities and skiing. Busy places such as Willingen and Winterberg are in the Rothaargebirge but once you head off the beaten track, you will most likely find yourself alone without running into other tourists. As we like to escape for the holidays, we spent our last Christmas in Bad Fredeburg, a small village on the opposite side of the mountain than Willingen. You can walk a part of the Rothaarsteig here for example, but there is a large network of other hikes as well. With a bit of luck you will even encounter some snow, like we did during Easter in 2015.
For the Dutch, the Hunsrück is a fairly unknown region. It’s a lower mountain range part in the Rhineland-Palatinate region. In this region, where tourism has only been seen as a meaning of income since some twenty years now, you can find the so-called ‘Traumschleifen’. This is a selection of the region’s finest walks, varying from 6 to 15 kilometer in distance. I have been to the Hunsrück region twice over the past months, one time being during a visit to the longest swingbridge in Germany, the Hängeseilbrücke Geierlay. We also hiked a part of the Saar-Hunsrück Steig, another great long distance trail in Germany!
The first time I heard of Teutoburgerwald I had to smile. Those Germans can definitely think of some pretty names for their regions. This region can be find just across the border from Holland near Enschede and we can be found there every now and then for rock climbing. Last time we were there, I didn’t really feel like climbing so I decided to hike a part of the Hermannsweg, one of the prettiest long distance walks in Germany. Eventually I ended up in Tecklenburg and I was rather sad I couldn’t stay there behind any longer because it was by far one of the most charming little towns I had come across in a long time.
Conclusion and disclaimer
These were our favorite unknown places for hiking in Germany. I often hear people say they hike in Eifel or Harz Mountains for example, but there is so much more to be explored, you just have to know where to find it. Germany has ample hiking areas even we have never explored and it is a true paradise for hikers. I hope I inspired you to consider Germany for your next hiking trip as it’s well worth spending some time there. You will love it for sure!
Note that this post was first published in 2016 and updated and republished in 2020.