Germany is the perfect location for an active family holiday. Discover this wonderfully diverse country – with its stunning lakes and mountains, beaches and National Parks. Why not make it fun for the kids and cycle your way around? If you’re after a more chilled out day, you can always take the kids to one of the outdoor swimming pools. They will absolutely love it!
Travelling by car is the best way to really experience this beautiful country. Here are just some ideas to whet your appetite.
Get closer to nature in Germany
The federal states of Bavaria and Baden-Wurttemberg in the south of Germany are popular holiday destinations – and for good reason. The Black Forest is home to some of the most stunning nature in the whole of Germany. With its heavily forested mountain range and beautiful valleys, it makes exploring this region a delight. The historic towns of Stuttgart, Baden-Baden, Freiburg and Donaueschingen are all perfect locations to take the children. Situated close to France, it’s easy to take a trip across the border to Strasbourg and discover the Alsace region.
If you love the idea of seeing this beautiful landscape on foot, you’ll find some fantastic family-friendly nature trails such as the Lotharpfad and the Wildnispfad in the north of the Black Forest, and the ‘goat’ trail in Forbach-Bermersbach, which passes through picturesque meadows while giving the kids a chance to make friends with the goats!
The Schlühüwana nature park consists of an unusual 2km circular route, which is lined with carved, wooden figures. Children are encouraged to really get back to nature and experience the different types of soil along the barefoot trail. Lake Schluchsee is also close by and is the ideal spot to enjoy a picnic and a swim in the lake.
You can read my blog about our Black Forest family holiday in the Glottertal Valley here.
Discover Germany’s Lake District
Take advantage of the many family-friendly cycling routes in the area or discover some of the wonderful rivers and lakes by boat. Lake Constance isn’t far away and is the third largest lake in Europe – just perfect for cycling around. You can’t go to Lake Constance without taking a trip across to the ‘flower island’ of Mainau. This picturesque island is designed like a garden and is easily accessible by boat.
The best way to truly experience the Black Forest’s stunning scenery is to drive along the Schwarzwaldhochstraße. This panoramic route takes you from Baden-Baden to Freudenstadt and passes through some really impressive scenery. Why not stop off in one of the beautiful, historic towns along the route and sample some local cuisine in the delightful little restaurants or cafés?
Bavaria is well-known for its stunning lakes and rivers. It’s worth taking the time to discover Starnberg’s ‘five lake’ region. The area is perfect for water sports’ enthusiasts – especially in summer when the temperatures can easily reach between 25°C and 30°C.
The Berchtesgaden National Park lies close to the Austrian border in the stunning mountainous area, situated just south of the town. At the centre of the park, you’ll find the spectacular Lake Königssee. Taking a boat trip will give you the opportunity to fully enjoy the peace and tranquillity of this beautiful lake. The Echostüberl restaurant is located close by and provides the perfect setting to enjoy some fresh fish or sample the typical Bavarian cuisine.
The Altmühl Valley is the second largest nature park in Germany. Situated close to the Danube Gorge, the area is perfect for those who enjoy walking or cycling. There are cycle routes that run adjacent to the River Altmühl as far as the River Danube. If you prefer to experience this spectacular scenery by boat, why not take one of the many river cruises through the Danube Gorge?
Castles, wine, history and water – family fun is guaranteed
Another fascinating and sometimes underrated area is the Moselle and Rhine Valley, in the Rhineland-Palatinate region. Popular for its world-famous white wine, the area also offers plenty of outdoor activities for the children.
Dotted along the River Moselle and the River Rhine, you’ll find some impressive castles and fortresses to visit. Eltz Castle is surrounded by the picturesque Eltz Forest – perfect for combining an exhilarating walk in the forest with a bit of history. Rheinfels Castle is located in St Goar, close to the River Rhine. If you’re looking for somewhere great to stay, why not try out the Romantik Hotel Schloss Rheinfels? It has a fabulous view across the river and valley. River cruises are also available from several places along the river.
Running parallel to the River Rhine, you’ll find the famous Rheinradweg cycle track, which is part of the EuroVelo15 route. It’s suitable for any level of fitness and great for families. Bikes can be hired from several places en route and there are plenty of companies that will look after your luggage if you decide to do a long-distance cycle ride.
The area also boasts several well sign-posted walking routes like the Rheinsteig, which leads you through beautiful vineyards, forests and meadows. It’s always advisable to throw your swimsuit into your rucksack as there are plenty of opportunities to visit an outdoor swimming pool or take a dip in one of the rivers or lakes.
Germany has so much to offer when it comes to outdoor family holidays. Get back to nature with the kids and show them how to have fun without a smart phone or tablet in sight! With a bit of luck, they’ll want to continue this outdoor journey when they get home. Not only will they be happier, they’ll be healthier too.Read Katie’s blog about ‘Happy and healthy kids: Let nature work its magic’
If you’d like to get some ideas what to do outdoors with your children have a look at my Pinterest board ‘Children and nature’ here.