There is something in the air in Germany that inspires.
Germany’s inspirational forces are not limited to the past. Whether you’re cruising the Rhine, quaffing a delicious brew at Munich’s Oktoberfest, snowboarding down the Alps, walking along the shores of the North Sea, or cycling through the Black Forest you feel it. These forces well up within you, inspiring you to write the best postcards of your life to friends back home.
Inspiration aside, Germany also knows a thing or two about castles and festivals. Inside these historic borders, you will find 5,000 castles and palaces dotting the tranquil countryside and 10,000 festivals and fairs held each year, such as Hamburg’s Harbour Anniversary and the Rhineland Karneval. Shopping often takes on a festive atmosphere on famous thoroughfares like Berlin’s Kurfurstendamm or Düsseldorf’s Konigsallee.
Travel agents know that getting from the castles to the festivals and back to the shop-lined thoroughfares is the fun part, for Germany takes great pride in its routes. The nation boasts 150 official routes known as vacation highways. The most famous is the Romantic Road, a 220-mile journey from Wuerzburg to Füssen that begins at exit A-7 off the Autobahn and dreamily wends past the magical realm of Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber, the Roman remains in Augsburg and Neuschwanstein, “Mad” King Ludwig II’s unforgettable castle that claims to be the most photographed building in the world.
The Long and Winding Bike Trail
For those who prefer two wheels to four, long-distance bike routes race across the country. There are more than 200 long-distance bike routes in Germany set away from busy roads, with some completely car-free. Each route has its own name, and signposts keep you headed in the right direction. Along the way, hostels, hay hotels (where you sleep on hay in a barn), and friendly German people provide riders with regional cuisine and a place to stay, allowing you to sink your teeth into the regions.
River or ocean, it’s always a nice option for cyclists to rest their feet in the cool waters. Though others enjoy taking a dip into Germany’s vast culture, which explains the popularity of cultural bike paths, such as the Mozart Cycle Route, that follow the trail of poets and philosophers or leap from one amazing specimen of baroque architecture to the next. On the Kunstwegen art trails, you don’t even need to leave the track, for more than 60 works of art are displayed alongside it.
Germany’s major cities know a thing or two about culture, which is why many bike routes take you out on the town. Glide past a bustling market square and breathe in the tantalizing aromas from nearby cafés. Cycle down forgotten alleyways, over stone bridges and around quiet suburbs to truly experience a new city. Cycle paths can be found in the heart of most German cities, which are making traffic junctions more cyclist-friendly, allowing cyclists to drive the “wrong way” down one-way streets, and building bike storage facilities and bike stations where your bike and luggage can be left behind safely while you enjoy the city for a few days. Rick Steve’s practical tips on biking in Europe.
And who says a cycling vacation in Germany should be limited to just cycling? Your travel agent can set up a packaged deal, where cycling is just one part of a diverse, exciting vacation experience. Like roaring through the Alps on a train, where you can hop on and off to bike the sections you choose. Most importantly, travel agents take care of all the details, so all you have to concentrate on is the road ahead.
The German writer Hermann Hesse wrote, “One never reaches home, but wherever friendly paths intersect the whole world looks like home for a time.” You’ll find the friendliest and most scenic paths intersecting in Germany, with your feet on the pedals and your eyes smiling forward.