When the snow is gone, the hikers, trekkers and joggers come out. Whether it is just going for a walk in the woods on a Sunday or taking a hike over several days, Germans value their forests and natural settings. Nearly every community has its own hiking club, which organizes nature outings and wilderness excursions. Well-marked hiking trails can be found in nearly all of the major wooded parks in Bavaria. The Alps and the Bavarian Forest are particularly popular choices for weekend wanderers and day-trippers. Adrenaline junkies have ample opportunity for free climbing or mountain climbing. Here is a small sampling of Bavaria’s rich and colorful wilderness walks.
The Maximiliansweg takes its name from King Maximilian II, who in 1858 undertook a large expedition across the Alps. Leading from the Allgäu region to Lake Königsee, the journey takes about 14 days. Of course, the hike doesn’t need to be taken all at once. King Maximilian traveled through Füssen to Bad Wiessee, past Eschenlohe and Lenggries and then on to Fischbachau, Brannenburg, Marquartstein, Ruhpolding, Bad Reichenhall and Berchtesgaden.
Nestled in the Naturpark Altmühltalweg in Franconia, the Altmühltalweg winds 140 kilometers along the Altmühl river, stretching from Treuchtlingen to Kelheim. Part of the way is shared by bicyclists, but not the panorama trail from Gunzenhausen to Kelheim. The area is breathtakingly scenic and a welcome change from the often crowded alpine trails.
Every year, one week after the Oktoberfest, the streets of Munich belong to joggers and runners. Thousands take to the streets in the 42-kilometer (26-mile) race to the finish line. This year the event will take place on October 12, beginning in Schwabing, winding through the English Garden, then moving south through the Bogenhausen, Steinhausen and Haidhausen districts, and finishing in none other than the Olympic Park. This year there is also a 10-kilometer mini-marathon for athletes preferring a shorter jog. For both runs, you must register by September 30. This is one of Europe’s most popular marathons, so whether you are taking part or watching from the sidelines, you won’t want to miss it.
Tel: 0180 142 420 2 (4.6 ct/min)
If mountain climbing is on your agenda, then you might want to get some indoor practice before you tackle the big boys in the German Alps. The following three venues have extravagant indoor climbing walls with various degrees of difficulties and a very knowledgeable staff. Lessons are offered and gear can be rented.
Thalkirchner Straße 207; Munich
Tel: 089 221 591
Grafinger Straße 6; Munich
Tel: 089 200 030 70