Adventure and action: The most spectacular holiday spots in Germany

For many vacationers, the experience clearly takes precedence over relaxation when planning a vacation. Action and outdoor activities do not require long trips.

German vacation regions offer spectacular experiences and unique impressions in unique natural landscapes. In addition, there is a whole lot of adrenaline for adventurous active vacationers.


Preparation is everything

Canyoning, climbing and glacier hikes - intense experiences with these and similar activities are possible in many places in Germany. To make sure that the fun doesn't come up short during the action, comprehensive preparations are a must. After all, an adventure vacation demands both people and equipment. It is therefore important to prepare well.

Personal requirements for the adventure vacation

On an active vacation, the focus is - as the name suggests - on activity. This can either be manifold or it is a pure hiking vacation, a long bike tour or similar. In any case, the physical constitution is crucial when choosing an adventure vacation. Only those who are healthy and sufficiently fit should consider this type of vacation.

Depending on the intensity, muscle strength and endurance are a prerequisite, joint problems or other pain are taboo. The necessary physical fitness should be assessed by a doctor in case of doubt.

But personal requirements also include know-how and training. No matter whether it is hiking, canyoning or any other sport: They all carry certain dangers that one should know and be aware of.

In addition, many sports and activities require specific training or perhaps even proper training in advance. One thinks, for example, of paragliding or diving. So if you don't yet have sufficient stamina, strength, agility or any other kind of fitness for your vacation, but you still have time before your trip, you should prepare in a targeted manner. How this works best depends again on the planned activities.

Expectant hikers can start with small tours before the vacation and increase them slowly. Kayakers can train their arms in the gym or at home with dumbbells. An individual training plan is therefore recommended in any case.

The right equipment for the adventure vacation

From climbing to swimming, canyoning requires a lot of physical strength and endurance - © pedrosala /
© pedrosala /

If the personal requirements are right , the equipment is the next step in planning the adventure vacation. This also depends on the chosen sport, but also on many other factors such as the chosen vacation region, the season or individual preferences.


A packing list prepared in advance helps to have everything necessary for an adventure vacation. In addition to the normal travel utensils, those things that ensure safety during an active vacation are essential.

Research is the key to starting with the optimal equipment. This may also mean still having to make certain investments. The right shoes are indispensable for intensive hikes. They may need to be broken in first. Special hiking pants, on the other hand, are not necessarily important. It is therefore always important to weigh up which purchases are necessary or sensible and which can be saved on with a clear conscience.

Of course, every vacationer has his or her own ideas about where the priorities lie when it comes to adventure vacations. Young people, for example, often take an action cam with them on vacation. This makes it easier to capture the experiences of climbing, mountain biking or canyoning and turns them into a fascinating memory that can be used in different ways later on. Sometimes additional purchase costs are incurred.

In the case of electronic devices, these include special charging cables, memory cards, a power bank, adapters, protective cases for safe transport and the like. In the example case with the action cam, it may also be necessary to edit the videos with a video editing program so that the recordings actually become an impressive film in the vacation follow-up. In that case, it is important to get to grips with the possibilities of video editing and to invest in suitable software. Also around SLR cameras or even the smartphone additional software can be useful in the action vacation.

Thrill activities in Germany

Of course, the best equipment is of no use if the wrong destination is chosen. However, it is not absolutely necessary to fly abroad for an adventure vacation - even if that may be the common view. Although there are numerous top spots for outdoor vacationers in the surrounding European countries, Germany also has a lot to offer in terms of adrenaline and thrills. Vacationing in one's own country also brings many advantages, such as easy and quick travel or the lack of a language barrier.

Around 25 percent of Germans regularly plan vacations in their own state - and the trend is rising. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is the most popular destination within Germany. Around one in five spends this vacation actively, often hiking. But many other activities are also very popular. These include the following:

Rafting - whitewater course in nature

When it comes to action-packed outdoor activities, white water rafting has become a classic - © Arcansél /
© Arcansél /

When it comes to action-packed outdoor activities, white water rafting has become a classic. One that loses none of its appeal because it perfectly combines a sense of community, adventure and the experience of nature. The most beautiful rafting routes are located in the alpine regions. However, rafting is also possible in other places in Germany. The most beautiful rafting tours in German vacation regions include the following:

Isar in Southern Bavaria

As is well known, the Isar flows right through Munich, but before that it passes many other beautiful places in southern Bavaria - including the Bavarian Alps. Accordingly, some of the routes are fast-paced. Depending on individual taste, the tours can be started directly in Munich or instead from Lenggries as well as Bad Tölz. The first variant also offers additional highlights such as rivertubing if active vacationers want to try something new.


Königsseer Ache in Berchtesgaden

Not far from the Isar is the vacation region of Berchtesgaden, also in southern Bavaria. The mountainous landscape is crisscrossed by a multitude of wild rivers, which is why the area is very popular for rafting, especially among advanced and professional rafters. The Königsseer Ach is a popular place to go, as are the routes on the Saalach.

Rhine and Ruhr in NRW

The Rhine as one of the most famous rivers in Germany is a popular hotspot for white water rafting. Most tours start from Cologne or Bonn, but there is also a large offer in Erpel. The practical thing here is that the starting points can be easily reached by public transport. However, it is rather leisurely on the Rhine and also on the Ruhr. Therefore, it is mainly families who get their money's worth here, instead of active vacationers who are looking for the absolute thrill.

Iller in the Allgäu

The Allgäu is located in the south of Germany between Lake Constance and the Eastern Alps. The Iller River, which flows here, is considered one of the most varied rivers for rafting. Calmer stretches alternate with rapid rapids and unexpected obstacles. Thus, there is something for everyone: gentle tours for families with children, but also challenging white water rafting for the adventurous. The trips can be started from Sonthofen, Blaichach or Oberstdorf.

Canyoning - Into the deepest gorges

Exploring a gorge demands a lot from even the most athletic active vacationers - © Nico /
© Nico /

Exploring a gorge demands a lot from even the most athletic active vacationers, because it combines various disciplines. From climbing to swimming, a lot of physical strength and endurance is required, jumps into several meters depth demand courage and a head for heights. The effort is rewarded with unforgettable experiences and spectacular nature. For this unique experience, there are the following options in Germany, which are similar to the rafting hot spots, especially in the south of Germany:

Sonthofen in the Allgäu

Without high mountains there are no impressive canyons. The Allgäu is considered the hotspot for canyoning par excellence. Around Sonthofen there are three gorges where canyoning is possible. These are the Starzlachklamm, the Kobelach and the Schwarzwasserbach - whereby the Kobelach is already in neighboring Austria. The tours are rated as demanding and therefore well suited for advanced canyoneers.

Lenggries in Southern Bavaria

The southern Bavarian town of Lenggries is only a short distance from Munich and is also a well-known location for canyoning. There are several canyons around the Sylvensteinsee, which are the right choice especially for beginners. But advanced and professional canyoneers will also find what they are looking for in the region: In the Karwendel Mountains, with more than 100 peaks that count over 2,000 meters in height, challenging routes can be found.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Southern Bavaria

The idyllic town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a popular winter sports destination due to its location on the Zugspitze and the Karwendel Mountains. But there are also excellent conditions for canyoning, especially in the Teufelstal valley and around the Stuiben Falls. There you can also complete a famous abseil passage as a highlight, which knows how to inspire with a height of about 50 meters.


Berchtesgaden in Southern Bavaria

The last place on this list is also in southern Bavaria and has already been mentioned in the topic of white water rafting. Berchtesgaden is also ideal for canyoning due to its landscape. Various tours with varying degrees of difficulty are offered. They start in Berchtesgaden itself or in Schneizlreuth. The focus is on three gorges: Strublklamm, Kesselbach and Almbachklamm. Exciting cliff jumping is also possible there in places.

Canoe and kayak tours - hiking on the water

More contemplative than rafting but still with lots of water, kayak and canoe tours are the way to go - © nullplus /
© zeroplus /

Much more tranquil than rafting or canyoning, but still with plenty of water, are kayak and canoe tours. The water landscape in Germany offers views and opportunities that can certainly keep up with Norwegian fjords or Canadian river courses.

Canoe on the Danube

The Danube is often called the Grand Canyon of Eastern Bavaria. Here, active vacationers can rent a canoe near Vohburg and travel about 28 kilometers to Kelheim. The difficulty is to be judged as easy and thus well suited for beginners. If that is too boring for you, you can also go against the current.

Canoe on the Müritz

The Müritz is ideal for tours lasting several days. The ten-lake circuit, for example, which covers just under 42 kilometers, is popular with many canoe fans. The starting point is Lake Woblitz. The adventurers are then on the road for two to three days and arrive back at Lake Woblitz after this easy round trip with four locks.

Canoe on the Elbe

You can get a taste of urban flair on the Elbe, because the tour from Königstein to Radebeul leads right through Dresden. The route is 52 kilometers long, which takes about two days by canoe. But if you take your time, you can also extend the tour to a week and stop at important sights. This is also an easy tour for beginners.

Canoe on the Ruhr

Even the Ruhr area has some beautiful green spots to offer. These can be marveled at on the canoe tour from Witten to Essen, for example. The tour covers a distance of 40 kilometers to Lake Baldeney over two days and can be extended as desired.

Kayak on the Baltic Sea fjord Schlei

The Baltic Sea arm Schlei proves that it can also be very quiet with the kayak. The tour covers 40 kilometers and leads across the open sea. Nevertheless, the route, which lasts several days, is considered to be safe and the scenery is absolutely worth it.


Kayak on the Lahn

A little more exciting is the kayak tour on the Lahn, one of the most famous hiking rivers in all of Germany. However, this is less due to the flow speed or the rapids than to the dense vegetation on the banks. This makes for exciting obstacle courses and occasionally evokes real jungle feelings. Although many locks await kayakers here, there are also 235 kilometers that can be navigated at will.

Kayak on the Isar

The water landscape in Germany offers views and opportunities for kayak tours that can easily compete with Norwegian fjords - © VIAR PRO studio /
© VIAR PRO studio /

The Isar is a rather wild river and is therefore also ideally suited for kayaking - as long as the riders have some knowledge and experience. The flow velocity is comparatively high and many natural stretches in the mountains always hold various obstacles.

Climbing - high up as a peak climber

In the lofty heights of the mountains, not only spectacular views await, but also highly athletic challenges. Between glacier ascents and excursions into rocky steep faces, climbing fans have numerous hotspots at their disposal. Beginners and professionals alike will get their money's worth. But where can you find the most beautiful via ferratas in Germany?

Climbing in the Palatinate

For classic climbing, as well as bouldering, the Palatinate offers the best conditions. The rocks in typical red-gray offer a lot of variety for every level of difficulty with steep walls up to 60 meters high. Especially the south of the Palatinate is considered a real climber's paradise.

Climbing in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains

Saxon Switzerland and the Elbe Sandstone Mountains are famous for bizarre rock formations such as the Bastei. Instead of classic mountain slopes, climbers will find sandstone plateaus there in a variety of forms and over a thousand dark sandstone peaks. By the way, free climbing was even invented in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains.

Climbing in the Black Forest

The Black Forest, which got its name from the Romans because of its dark and dense trees, attracts visitors with comparatively high peaks that are well suited for climbing. The Battert in particular has always enjoyed great international popularity. The rocks consist of sandstone, granite, gneiss and porphyry, so that a diverse selection of routes for beginners, advanced climbers and climbing professionals can be found here.

Downhill mountain bike - The search for flow

Mountain bike trails with different requirements for bikers can be found almost everywhere in Germany - © eyetronic /
© eyetronic /

The perfect trail looks different for every mountain biker, but they are all looking for the perfect flow: the high between excitement and adrenaline that spreads throughout the body on the way down into the valley. Mountain bike trails with different demands on bikers can be found almost everywhere in Germany. So variety and always new challenges are provided. The most beautiful mountain bike trails in Germany have different levels of difficulty, so that everyone can find a suitable descent almost everywhere.


MTB in the Palatinate Forest

The Palatinate has the largest contiguous forest area in Germany and is therefore ideal for mountain biking. There is even a popular bike park here.

MTB in Bavaria

In Bavaria are altogether the most and at the same time some of the most beautiful trails for mountain bikers. Starting with the Allgäu, these become more and more challenging over the Bavarian Forest and the Chiemgau to the Bavarian Alps.

MTB in the Black Forest

The Black Forest is not only a climbing paradise, but also enjoys great popularity among mountain bikers. It offers a wide range of challenging tours that lead across mountains and through valleys. Beginners get their money's worth in the Black Forest just as much as professionals.

MTB in the Eifel

The Eifel is known for its scenic variety. Those who travel by mountain bike will find many challenges and highlights in the volcanic landscape, such as the single trail around Manderscheid.


Germany has a lot to offer when it comes to active vacations. More leisurely tours can be found as well as experiences with a lot of thrills. In addition to climbing, water sports and cycling, there are other options such as long hiking tours, paragliding, winter sports or horseback riding. Thus, anyone who not only wants to lie on their lazy skin on vacation, but also wants to push themselves physically to their limits, should be able to find what they are looking for in Germany.