Top 5 Day Hikes in Germany

Are you looking to go hiking in Europe? Germany is a paradise for hikers, with a variety of natural beauty waiting to be discovered. If you’re in search of stunning landscapes, breathtaking views and unforgettable experiences, then you’ve come to the right place.

Read on to discover some recommendations for hiking in Germany. From the impressive peaks of the Bavarian Alps to the gentle hills of the Rhineland, Germany offers a variety of opportunities for exciting day hikes.

1. The Bigge-Lister Trail, North Rhine-Westphalia

The Bigge-Lister Trail is rightfully considered one of the best day hikes in Germany: the trail leads through an impressive landscape with stunning views of Lake Bigge and the surrounding mountains.

  • Length: 46 kilometres

  • Duration: between 6 and 12 hours

  • Difficulty: moderate

The Bigge-Lister Trail, with its 46 kilometres, is a true hiker’s dream. But don’t worry, you don’t have to tackle it all at once. Thanks to the cleverly designed connecting paths, you can divide the trail into individual day hikes. How about the North Route, the South Route, or the West Route, for example? This way, you can leisurely explore the impressive landscape of the Sauerland region and be enchanted by the numerous highlights along the way.

A good starting point for a day hike is the Waldenburg Bay in Attendorn, from where the trail first leads you along the Bigge Lake. After a climb to the Dünsberg, you can take a seat on one of the benches at the top and let the view work its magic on you. On the way back, you hike through the picturesque Lister Valley back to Attendorn.

2. The Heidschnuckenweg, Lower Saxony

When you think of the Lüneburg Heath, you probably have the lush blooming heather in mind, for which the region is famous. The Heidschnuckenweg, one of the most beautiful and well-known hiking trails in Germany, leads through this landscape.

This beautiful route offers an unforgettable experience for long-distance hikers in 13 stages. But there are also numerous circular hiking trails along the Heidschnuckenweg for day hikers. These circular hiking trails are embedded like loops in the diverse landscape of the Rosengarten Regional Park, the Lüneburg Heath Nature Park, and the South Heath. Here, you can explore individual sections of the Heidschnuckenweg as attractive half-day or full-day tours and enjoy the natural beauty of the trail. One circular hiking trail that is particularly popular is the Heideschleife Töps – a true heather highlight.

  • Length: 11.9 kilometres

  • Duration: about 6 hours

  • Difficulty: moderate

The starting point is the parking lot at Weseler Weg, right in the middle of the forest. Follow the hiking trail amidst birdsong and wild boar tracks. After 500 metres, a magical sight awaits you: witches floating on their brooms! Follow the path through the fairytale-like forest and down into the valley, where a small stream feeds the pond below. From here, the Kerkstieg branches off, an old church path. The adventurous among you will have their share of excitement beyond Nindorf: a narrow path leads along a steep slope above the narrow floodplain. Enjoy the changing views to the left and diverse forest edges to the right until you finally reach the Weseler Heide. Here, you’ll have a wide view over the gently sloping landscape, accompanied by junipers, birches, and occasional pines. Towards the end of the trail, you might encounter some flocks of sheep grazing in the heath. Overall, the Heideschleife Töps offers plenty of variety and is definitely worth a visit.

Tip: The circular hiking trails are particularly delightful in late summer, as the heather blooms in a beautiful purple from early August to mid-September.

3. The Alpsee Circular Trail, Bavaria

The Alpsee Circular Trail in Bavaria may not be one of the most challenging and longest hiking trails, but it is certainly one of the most beautiful.

  • Distance: 5.2 kilometres

  • Duration: approximately 2 hours

  • Difficulty: easy

During the summer stays of the “Fairy Tale King” Ludwig II at Hohenschwangau Castle, the Alpsee was the royal playground for his rowing, fishing, and swimming adventures. At the age of fifteen, Ludwig swam across the Alpsee in an impressive swimming marathon from the boat shed in just 22 minutes. The chronicles of Hohenschwangau Castle tell of open-air performances of Wagner’s Lohengrin, where the arrival of the Swan Knight on the Alpsee was reenacted. So, the Alpsee is not only breathtakingly beautiful, but it also has history and tradition. If you want to follow in royal footsteps, you’ve come to the right place.

During your trip to the Alpsee, be sure to make a detour to Pindarplatz – from there, you’ll have a fantastic view of the surroundings. As you continue along the shore, you’ll soon reach the Marienmonument, another stop with a magnificent view of the majestic Neuschwanstein Castle at the other end of the lake. During your tour, you’ll wander across footbridges and small bridges, making your journey diverse. Finally, you’ll reach the refreshing Alpseebad – it’s definitely worth a short stop here! A little further, the path divides: walking along the lakeshore, you’ll pass a boat rental and ultimately reach the end of the tour.

Tip: The Alpsee Circular Trail is perfect for a day trip. Take a swimming break at the Alpseebad, rent a boat, or visit the Museum of Bavarian Kings – there’s plenty to experience.

4. Felsenweg ‘The Rock Trail’, Rhineland-Palatinate

Walk along Felsenweg, the rock trail, through the impressive Devil’s Gorge, one of the most famous natural wonders in the Southern Eifel region. Like towering giants, the rock walls rise up to 30 meters into the sky, surrounding you with weathered stone walls, impressive boulders, and deep crevices. But after a short while, the nature of the trail changes, and an approximately 18-kilometre tour offers breathtaking views over the Ferschweiler Plateau.

  • Distance: approximately 18 kilometres

  • Duration: approximately 5 hours

  • Difficulty: moderate

The Liborius Chapel is located on this trail. It was destroyed during World War II but was rebuilt in 1951, and it still towers impressively over the Sauertal. Just a few steps away from the chapel, rocky steps lead to a hermitage. Here, hiking enthusiasts can enjoy the forest, winding paths, and from the chapel’s plateau, a romantic view of Echternach.

5. The Kammweg in the Ore Mountains-Vogtland, Saxony

The Kammweg in the Ore Mountains has a lot to offer. You can hike over 285 kilometres from Saxony through Thuringia to Bavaria over several days. The Kammweg takes you through a diverse and beautiful landscape with rare rock formations, blooming mountain meadows, and refreshing stream valleys. It not only offers relaxed hiking but also extraordinary insights into the tradition and culture of the region, such as mining history, rare craftsmanship, and steam trains. Along the 17 stages, you will find special excursion destinations as well as places to eat and stay along the Kammweg.

Length: approximately 17.2 kilometres

Duration: approximately 5.5 hours

Difficulty: moderate

You start at the SWF Hotel in Neuhermsdorf and set off along the Kammweg. The path takes you through Neurehefeld and Hemmschuh to Rehefeld-Zaunhaus. You follow the white-red-white markings until you reach the Zinnbrücke (tin bridge). Then, you hike back to Neuhermsdorf via Seyde. Along the route, there are many beautiful and cosy places to eat and admire the stunning landscape.

Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just starting out, Germany has a plethora of hiking trails that cater to all levels of difficulty and offer breathtaking views and unforgettable experiences.

Want to stay closer to home? Check out our Top Day Hikes in the UK.