We have hiked a lot of the National Parks in USA and Canada. My kids (3 older teenagers) would like to hike in Germany where our family is orginially from. Can anyone point me in the right direction to some go to hikes we should start looking at? They would be day hikes. We would be mixing in hiking with our touring. Debating also going to Austria on the same trip. Thanks!
Bavaria is the best region. It borders Austria.
Look into the Garmisch Partenkirchen area of Germany. Stunning.
The area around Salzburg, Austria is spectacular also. Lakes, mountains, castles, fortresses, ice caves, salt mines, paragliding, Sommerrodelbahn. So much to do. Look into Wengen, Berchtesgaden, Hallstatt. If you have a car, this apartment is a great base for the area: https://www.booking.com/Share-rdHD94
We have done quite a bit of hiking in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. We are going back this fall, and will be going back to some favorites and trying 2 new areas. Our favorites are Grainau in Germany (close to Garmisch) and Stubai (just south of Innsbruck) We have also hiked in the Zilertall area of Austria. Our two new areas will be Wilder Kaiser and Seefeld. Here is a web site to get started with-I have used this web site to get an idea of different areas and then google that area.
One more helpful web site for Austria:
After picking my 2 new areas, I went to these web sites:
Seefeld is between Garmisch and Innsbruck and looks beautiful. So far, we have chosen this hike:
The second area is Wilder Kaiser:
We are planning on doing this one:
These web sites have hikes for all lengths and difficulties.
We look for hikes that are from 5-14 miles with reasonable elevation gain.
Our favorite hike in Grainau:
It can be done by taking the lift up and having more downhill or hiking up and over to the lift and riding down. We've done it both ways. The Höllentalangerhütte is great for a meal on the way up or down. The gorge is beautiful.
Stubai has some great some hikes too. We have done 2 of the seven summits of Stubai. They are the 2 easiest: Elfer and Burgstall.
There are great huts on all these hikes. Just remember that most huts only take cash- not credit cards.
I have spent hours researching hikes. Once you get it narrowed down. I'd be happy to answer any questions on these areas. (either from personal experience or what my research has shown depending on whether I have hiked them)
Can anyone point me in the right direction to some go to hikes we should start looking at? They would be day hikes. We would be mixing in hiking with our touring.
Germany has a long-standing love for the hiking experience. A kingpin in the German Romanticism movement - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, born in the 1700's in what we now call the former East Germany - was Germany's Shakespeare in many ways and highly influential - and he loved to hike. He hiked a good bit all over Europe, but today Germans associate him with hiking in Germany's Harz Mountains. The Goetheweg (Goethe Trail) is enormously popular among Germans. It starts in Torfhaus and it's not a long trail, but it takes you to Germany's highest peak in the north, the Brocken.
Nearby, the towns of Quedlinburg, Wernigerode, and Goslar make for an outstanding visit and are very big with German tourists. When I visited these places, I was ignorant of the Goetheweg, so I've never hiked it. It's on my bucket list.
I doubt Rick has ever seen these places, probably because most of his personal tastes in Germany and his initial writings were developed prior to the fall of the Iron Curtain. So Rick doesn't send people to these places, but there are others on this forum who know them and may chime in with some praise for them. Sam and Audrey (they're adorable) have a Quedlinburg video that should give you a glimpse.
Rick sends his readers mostly to Bavaria for hiking - and for everything else, pretty much; this fact will likely inflate the number of suggestions you receive for Bavaria on this forum.
The German National Travel Board website, OTOH, provides this page with 13 top hikes that are scattered around the country. The Goetheweg I mentioned happens to be part of the Harz Witches' Trail network on this list. Another hike listed among the 13 is the Rheinsteig Trail, which I have hiked myself. It's located near Koblenz in Germany's Middle Rhine Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. "The Rhine Gorge" is a very popular area on many itineraries and good for 2-3 full days or more if you have the time. Here's an orientation map with links:
With the Rheinsteig trail on the cliffs of the EAST bank of the Rhine Gorge, the Rhine Castle Trail on the cliffs of the WEST bank, and the old-world towns of Bacharach, Oberwesel, Boppard, Braubach, Rüdesheim and others at the river's edge, and castles everywhere you look, you have a superb hiking environment. The towns are linked not only by trails but also by train tracks, day-cruise boats, and ferry crossings. Section 10 of the Rhine Castle trail (Rheinburgenweg in German) between Oberwesel and St. Goar is especially scenic. Took me close to 3 hours. Rick does mention the day cruises, Bacharach and St. Goar in his materials, but he hasn't got much on hiking the area.
I haven’t hiked in Austria, but we have been to Garmisch--Partenkirchen for hiking four times. I really like the variety there. I was going to post about the Höllentalklamm gorge hike and the extension beyond, but some chores beckoned and I took care of them first. And now Connie has done all the work for me.
We would rather hike uphill than down, so we start with the Höllentalklam and continue to the Hütte for lunch. Then, instead of heading to Kreuzeck, we take a higher trail to Osterfelderkopf, at the top of the Alpspitzbahn, and ride the cablecar down to town.
In addition to all the hiking trails, there are two Via Ferrata paths on the Alpspitze. Both start at the top of the Alpspitzbahn cablecar. The more difficult one goes more or less straight up to the summit, using ladders and cables. You need full-on equipment ( helmet, harness to clip in, and gloves) to do this one. The other, which I have done, is much easier, and does not require special gear. It crosses the face of the Alpspitze on a ledge which is wide enough to feel safe, with a cable to hold for security, a tunnel at one point, and a ladder near the end. It does not go to the summit; it ends at the shoulder known at Bernadeinscharte, on the left side of the summit in this photo:
From there it is an easy walk/scramble with no exposure to the summit.
We have stayed in Garmisch and in Partenkirchen, but Grainau is a good idea as well.
We were going to take my son’s family, with twin boys, to the Zillertalmarea of Austria this summer, but they opted for a return to Switzerland. We will add a few days in the Dolomites as I want to introduce them to that area. I know they will love it.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, born in the 1700's in what we now call the former East Germany
Luckily for him, it wasn't Frankfurt an der Oder where he was born (but he would have enjoyed all your suggestions anyway) ;).
Consider first selecting an area that you would like to see. There are hiking opportunities everywhere. Most town websites will have a WANDERN tab. Also check regional websites, such as SWABIANALB.INFO or
SCHWARZWALD-TOURISMUS.INFO. you might also see if there is a Volksmarch in the area you visit -
It was the other Frankfurt?? Always had him pegged for an Ossi. I stand corrected.
Some years ago, I did a two day hike from Garmisch up to the top of the Zugspitze mountain. I did it twice with my teen children. It was great, we spent the one night in a hutte (small lodging were you sleep on a thin mattress in your clothing).
Wow thank you everyone I really appreciate all your responses!
Just to add a couple of suggestions to the already plentiful information you've received. The Bavarian Alps is my favourite region, pipping the Mosel. But he Mosel is a great area during September/October, contains the steepest vineyard in Europe (Calmont), and is close to the hiking trails along the Rhine.
Two really enjoyable hikes around Gapa are Höllentalklamm Gorge and Schachenhaus. I'm hoping to do both again next year, if my body holds out
Here is a recent post that has additional information about hiking in Germany. https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/germany/recommendations-for-two-weeks
Hiking is very popular in Germany with many, many marked trails. I recommend looking at one of the popular route websites:
One popular options is to hike to a alpine hut and stay the night, like the Tegernseer Hütte.
Germans like to hike and do Volksmarches. When I lived in Germany, I would hike on them, but some of the young American soldiers would run and that always ticked off the Germans.