Germany’s 10 best hiking trails

There are around 200,000 kilometers of hiking trails in Germany. Whether they follow a river, pass through flowering fields or scale steep peaks – there’s something for every hiker in this list of top 10 walks.

In the 18th century, places of natural beauty saw an unprecedented boom in tourism. Bizarre rock formations, like in Saxon Switzerland south of Dresden, were suddenly seen as wild and romantic. Since then, a trail called Malerweg (Painter’s Way) has guided visitors through the rocky scenery. The path was restored in 2006 with help from historical guidebooks.

The Allgäu Alps in southern Germany are a classic hiking destination. They include part of the E5 European long distance path – a 3,200-kilometer (1,988-mile) track from Brittany in France through Switzerland, Austria and Germany, and over the Alps to Verona in Italy. Since 1969, around 12 long-distance trails crossing through various countries have been set up as a sign of cooperation.

Many European pilgrimage routes dating back to the Middle Ages have led to the shrine of Apostle St. James in Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The scallop shell is a symbol of these roads. In Germany, there are 30 paths to Santiago, as well as an ecumenical pilgrimage route. This trail follows the Via Regia – the oldest and longest road linking eastern and western Europe, from Görlitz to Vacha.

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