As winter gives way to spring and wildflowers replace snowbanks in mountain meadows, I’m having alpine dreams. Those usually take me to Switzerland and the Jungfrau region, one of my favorite places in the world, but today I’m thinking about Germany. It’s been decades since I’ve spent any real time there, for no good reason that I can think of.

So what’s the best way to see the country? Car, bike, or boat?

It’s a little tricky to divert from your plans when you’re on a river cruise, and delightful as it may be to course down the Rhine passing castles on hills, I’m more drawn to hitting the road. By car, there are an astonishing number of preconceived options, 150 of them, through scenic areas and including just about any thematic activity imaginable. How about the Beer and Castle Route? Or Baden Wine Route? The Gemstone Route or Half-Timbered Houses Route? There’s the Lower Saxony Mills Route, and of course there has to be a Milk Route.

By bicycle there are even more options, 200-plus dedicated long-distance cycling routes. Consider the 100-mile Berlin Wall Route or the 600-mile Baltic Coast Route. Hungry for veggies? Try the 86-mile Cabbage and Turnips Route. And it would be hard to resist the 263-mile Romantic Road Route.

Or, I could always walk. Germany has 124,000 miles of marked walking/hiking trails. Thinking of it both gets my adrenaline going and exhausts me. Just so long as there’s liquid refreshment involved. Maybe the Franconian Red Wine Trail is the way to go.

So many ideas, and summer’s coming. I can almost smell the alpine air.

Filed Under Cycling, Driving Trips, Europe, Germany, Germany, Hike/Backpack


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