Rural tourism in Germany

Alpine terrain

Photo of Hintersee lake, classic alpine scenery in Bavaria (Credit Nikater – Wikipedia)

From iron curtain to green belt (The Guardian) When Germany was divided during the cold war, nature took control of the deserted border area. Now the strip forms an amazing reserve just as interesting as the country’s recent history

For four decades up to the end of the cold war in 1989, around 600 threatened species of animal and plant life were given a free rein in a no man’s land overshadowed by minefields, metal fences and watchtowers. The legacy is a unique and extraordinarily rich chain of ad hoc nature reserves running for nearly 1,400km in a gentle zigzag from the Vogtland region, near the German-Czech border in the south, to the Baltic Sea in the north, now interlinked to form a grünes band, or green belt.

Germany’s lake district (The Guardian) The Mecklenburg lakes just outside Berlin offer peace and beauty – and a bit of nude bathing.

The difference between hiring a canal boat here, as compared with Britain or France, is apparent from the moment you arrive. The world of German waterways is more regulated, and if you don’t have a sport-boating licence (as we didn’t) you have to attend a novices’ briefing, for which you need a good understanding of the language; for once, this is not a part of Germanywhere spoken English comes naturally

Mark Twain and castles in Germany (The Guardian)  Gimlette follows in the footsteps of  Mark Twain in Germany, from Heidelberg through the Neckar valley

Most of these villages in the Neckar valley were fortified. It ran ike a corridor of castles. each of which was a huge bastion, an almost Disneyesque creation. Neckarsteinach had three of these fortresses, all built by thugs called things like “The Grand Wrecker of the Country”. Hirschhorn had only one fortress but it was a particularly virulent orange, and dangled off the top of a hill.

Top rural destinations in Germany

Wikitravel links

  • The bleak and beautiful Baltic Sea Coast (Ostseeküste) and North Sea Coast (Nordseeküste), with picturesque islands such as Rügen, famous for its bathing beaches and chalk cliffs and Frisian Islands.
  • The Middle Rhine Valley (Mittelrhein), , where the Rhine carves its way through steep hills topped with countless castles and ruins, is one of the most famous and so most touristy parts of German.
  • Franconian Switzerland (Fränkische Schweiz). This area famously attracted Romantic artists who were reminded of the Swiss landscape. The area is home to the highest density of breweries in the world
  • Black Forest (Schwarzwald) This renowned region with high mountains, panoramic views, is a haven for tourists and hikers. Black fir forest covers much of the landscape. Good hiking and mountain biking
  • Lake Constance (Bodensee). A lovely corner of Central Europe, which forms the border between Germany, Austria and Switzerland. This is the third biggest lake in Central Europe. The Rhine River runs through the lake. Lots of water sports and beautiful lakeside towns and villages.
  • The Bavarian Alps (Bayrische Alpen). This is one of the most beautiful areas of Germany, home to Neuschwanstein castle, and Germany’s best skiing and snowboarding resorts. Loads of hiking and mountain biking possibilities. The land of Bavarian stereotypes of lederhosen, bratwurst, and alpine peaksThere are numerous glacial lakes.
  • Other areas: the Ore Mountains, Bavarian Forest and the Harz Mountains
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