Germany may be known for its medieval castles and good food, but don’t let that fool you. The country is just as good for adventure seekers looking to explore a beautiful countryside and some rugged terrain.
Think about the Autobahn. Legendary across the world for its lack of speed limits, it’s an essential way for Germans to get from one city to the next. The fast speeds? Sure, they get your adrenaline pumping, but they become part of the environment for anyone spending considerable time in Germany.
The same is true across the country. Almost around every corner, new opportunities to find an adventure pop up for your enjoyment. Whether you enjoy galloping across white beaches or paragliding above mountain ranges, consider this your Thrillseeker’s Guide to Germany.
Experience the Alps from Above
The biggest mountain range in Europe is also, in many ways, it’s most exciting. Sure, you can hike long trails and get lost in beautiful villages. But if you’re truly looking for an adventure, consider going even higher in your quest for a good thrill and a lasting memory.
Tandem parasailing is a perfect way to get started. For a relatively low fee as little as $100 depending on location, you can take flight with an experienced professional who guides a trip between 15 and 30 minutes down a mountain range.
Once you get into the alps, almost any valley offers parasailing possibilities from a nearby mountain. Our favorite just might be Paraworth in Hohenschwangau, which guides you not just over beautiful vistas but past Neuschwanstein—one of the world’s most famous castles.
Hike in Germany’s Millenia-Old Mountain Ranges
Hiking opportunities exist throughout Germany. From the Alps in the south to the Siebengebirge in the East, you can enjoy fairytale forests with nature surrounding you as you make your trek. However, nothing quite compares to the Harz.
It’s not a particularly large mountain range, with its highest elevation coming in under 3,800 feet, but these mountains are steeped in legend. The Harz Witches Trail, for instance, is a 60-mile route through the mountain range that you’ll never forget.
Cycle the Ochsenweg to Old Viking Cities
We couldn’t talk about Germany without at least mentioning one of the many bicycling opportunities. No matter where you go, you will find residents using their bikes to get to work, visit friends, and simply enjoy time outside. Opportunities for adventures on two wheels are everywhere.
Consider the historic Ochsenweg (Ox Way), which leads from a suburb of Hamburg all the way to a Danish island. Since medieval times, this was the way that farmers brought their livestock to the market of the German trade capital, given the trail its name. Its origins are thought to date back more than 3,000 years, to the Bronze Age.
Today, it’s a perfect adventure trail. Enjoy old northern German towns, but make sure to park your bike in Schleswig. This northern German town is home to Hedeby (Haitabu in German), a museum at the spot of one of the few true Viking cities to ever exist. To this day, you can enter reconstructed houses, marvel at longboats, and more.
Race Across the Nürburgring
Without a doubt, one of the first things you’ll hear non-natives ask about Germany is the Autobahn. Famous for its lack of speed limits, it’s a system of interstate roads that connect all major cities and areas of the country. Simply driving a car on the wide lanes between Hamburg and Berlin will be enough to get your adrenaline pumping.
But why stop there? Germany happens to be home to the Nürburgring, one of the oldest and most famous race tracks in the world. It remains a regular spot on the Formula 1 circuit, perhaps the globe’s most popular race.
And it can be yours to enjoy. At the ring, you can book a ride with a professional race car driver, or learn how to drift around its 73 corners and turns. The fun may be over in a few hours, but it’s perhaps the best opportunity you will get to understand what it’s like to be behind the engine of one of the world’s most powerful cars.
Ride Along the Coastline
Adventure, of course, does not just mean speed. You might be looking for a closer connection to nature; in that case, consider a new way to explore the Baltic Sea beaches of northeastern Germany.
Germany’s eastern coastline stretches in an L-shaped curve between Flensburg and Ahlsbeck, offering miles upon miles of beaches just waiting to be explored. Some are heavy with tourists, while others are entirely abandoned. Along the beaches, you can find farms that offer riding lessons and accompanied horseback trips.
Few things compare with the feeling of a wild gallop across an almost-abandoned beach. It’s here that you feel close to nature, enjoying the wind around your ears as water splashes up around your ankles. Whether you plan a simple hourlong ride or a longer trip, this is the space to test your riding meddle.
Conquer the Rivers of the South
Where the north of the country is known for its beautiful coastline, the south offers its own watery adventure. Locals here maintain that you haven’t truly lived unless you’ve conquered its many rivers and streams.
The opportunities here are nearly endless. Canoeing in the Allgäu offers the unique mix of serenity and jumping off waterfalls. Log rafting on Munich’s Isar river, on the other hand, brings a feeling of community and calm as your guide steers your vessel. And of course, white water rafting opportunities are plentiful in Bavaria’s network of mountain streams and growing rivers.
A Country Made for Adventure
You know Germany for its castles, rich history, and food. And sure enough, as you first enter the country, all of those will be waiting for you. As you enjoy a Currywurst or explore the Berlin Wall, don’t underestimate Germany’s ability to wow you with thrill-seeking opportunities. It remains one of the best destinations in the world to truly offer adventure for everyone, pushing your adrenaline while quenching your thirst for exploration.