STUTTGART – Sometimes all that's needed for a bit of wellness is a brief spell in the countryside. SouthWest Germany has this in abundance, not to mention a host of options for getting away from everyday life and properly relaxing. Here, you will find diverse landscapes, from meadows to woodlands, all encouraging you to immerse yourself in the natural world and take a deep breath.
Fresh air health cure: mountain climate trails in the Black Forest Highlands
The abundance of tree moss is a clear indication: nowhere in SouthWest Germany is the air purer or lower in pollutants than in the Black Forest Highlands. At 1,000 metres above sea level, walking becomes a veritable health cure. Following one of the 18 waymarked mountain climate trails here is like getting a therapeutic treatment. The cool air stimulates thermoregulation and strengthens the immune system, while the lower levels of oxygen activate protective mechanisms that boost circulation. A deep breath has never been so beneficial.
Wellness with a view: treehouse sauna in Baiersbronn
Another infusion fills the Finnish sauna with a wonderful aroma, while the mind is energised by the new wave of heat. A glance out of the window and your attention is drawn down into the valley, where a butterfly meadow unfolds before your eyes. It's almost as if you are floating, but sauna guests are borne aloft by the mighty branches that securely support the treehouse sauna. Here in Tonbachtal, Baiersbronn, the spa hotel Tanne Tonbach has created a place to unwind and relax, ten metres above the ground.
A delight for the senses: "Wellness on tour" around the Swabian Alb
The Swabian Alb offers all you need for a sense of well-being – Petra Müllerschön is convinced of this, and she should know after all. As a born and bred local, she knows the region's assets inside out and has spent many years hiking and cycling in the low mountain ranges, exploring every last corner. With hiking options such as "Wellness on tour", she tempts her guests into the loveliest parts of the Alb region, where they can expect a comprehensive well-being package: exfoliating hand treatments, instant relaxation exercises, musical stimulation – all in the heart of the countryside and surrounded by SouthWest Germany's most stunning scenery.
Concert in the trees: a sound oasis at the Luisenpark, Mannheim
First you are drawn in by the sound, then it won't let you go. Inevitably your gaze is drawn upwards to work out where it's coming from. But the six sound sources are well concealed among the trees that bend over the tranquil island in Mannheim's Luisenpark. From here, the landscape garden is permeated by different sounds designed by the town's own composer, Peter Seiler. Visitors can relax on loungers and daydream to the enchanting soundscape of delicate violins, a melancholic piano, and sounds from the natural world.
Experience the forest spirit among giant trees: the "Wäldersinn" walk near Rothaus
Between the mighty fir trees of the southern Black Forest, there is one that is the mightiest of all. The "Danieltanne" has the largest circumference of any Black Forest fir and, with an estimated age of 400 years, is the oldest fir tree in the country. The new "Wäldersinn" circular walk has now been marked with seven display points between Rothaus and Grafenhausen, giving visitors a ground-level perspective from which to admire the pine canopy formed by this natural attraction and its neighbours. Several wooden loungers allow you to immerse yourself in the delightful pine fragrance for the ultimate feel-good experience in the midst of these colossal trees.
Feel your feet: walking barefoot in Todtnau
The feel of gently prickling pine needles or soft meadow grass under the soles of your feet is no more than a distant childhood memory for many people. Markus Dutschke's barefoot seminars provide an opportunity to rediscover this experience. The tour guide reveals how healthy and beneficial it is to feel the ground beneath your feet and consciously engage with the different sensations. You will need to overcome your inhibitions at first, but before long you will barely notice the tiny stones beneath your heels. Instead, a sense of well-being floods through you: it's been a long time since walking has felt so grounded.