STUTTGART – An irrepressible natural force, as well as a source of life and important for our well-being. Water is intriguing, and in SouthWest Germany it offers all sorts of relaxing experiences. Perhaps your gaze will be cast serenely over the surface of a lake, or maybe a stroll will take you down the course of an unhurried, babbling brook: refreshing water is a way to escape and a chance to restore your inner equilibrium.
In balance: sunrise SUP yoga on Lake Constance
Before the first rays of sunlight even touch the surface of the water, stand-up paddle boards launch onto Lake Constance from the island of Reichenau. While the cool air is still characterised by a morning stillness, the yoga group is preparing for their sun salutation. This means breathing deeply and remaining balanced. Because when you are doing SUP yoga, your base is constantly moving. This strengthens the body even more while your mind seeks tranquillity until the regular ripples on the lake and the warming sun usher in the new day.
Healthy water fun: Kocher outdoor pool in Künzelsau
Along the banks of the Kocher river, there are several places where you can take a short break to enjoy the fresh water. But only the Kocher outdoor pool in Künzelsau guarantees a totally safe and healthy bathing experience. Following conversion work in 2020, the water in SouthWest Germany's only river outdoor pool is purified using natural and environmentally friendly techniques. Water lilies, reeds and gravel form a filtration system to ensure visitors slip into clean water in this natural pond, which is separated from the Kocher river itself – avoiding any risk of irritation or other adverse reactions. So, people who suffer from allergies will also benefit from a visit.
From the source to the monastery: the Krummbach trail in Ochsenhausen
When you walk along the Krummbach, you would scarcely guess that this idyllic, gently flowing stream rises from several gushing springs just a few hundred metres away. In the 15th century, the monks at the Ochsenhausen monastery figured out how to tame this torrent of water: the stream they created formed a fundamental part of a system that supplied the monastery and its mill with water and energy. Today, the town of Ochsenhausen still gets most of its drinking water from this Benedictine canal. The waymarked trail is part of the "Mühlenstraße Oberschwaben" (which promotes Upper Swabia's historical mills) and commemorates an important historical water feature, which will attract history enthusiasts and those seeking relaxation in equal measure.
The healing power of water: Kneipp health resort in Überlingen
The first few steps through the cold water are enough to produce a slightly uncomfortable sensation. But if you persevere, you will be rewarded: the increased blood flow invokes a sustained sense of relaxation. This Ancient Roman practice was rediscovered by Sebastian Kneipp in the 19th century, prompting him to incorporate water treatments in his health care principles. In Überlingen this has formed the basis of the spa treatments for decades. This town on Lake Constance has four pools where you can engage in water-treading. The Kneipp therapy components of movement, nutrition, medicinal plants, and balance are also taught here, making Überlingen not just a Kneipp resort but, since 1955, SouthWest Germany's only Kneipp health spa. A visit in 2021 to mark Sebastian Kneipp's 200th birthday will certainly be worthwhile.
At one with yourself and nature: the Wu-Wei waterway in Bad Peterstal-Griesbach
Everyday life and its challenges often mean we lose sight of what really matters. "Forests have the potential to restore our inner tranquillity", Anna Karina Cassinelli Vulcano is convinced of this. The yoga teacher invites guests to wander through the Black Forest greenery along the Wu-Wei waterway and, while on the banks of the Wilde Rench, engage inwardly with the "Wu Wei" principle based on Taoism: don't fight against the negative, instead consciously follow the natural flow of things. Mindfulness and breathing exercises help reinforce self-awareness and heighten the sense your own existence within the natural world.
Climb on board and switch off: punting in Taubergießen
One place, different experiences: it's true that a punting trip in the Taubergießen nature conservation area on the Upper Rhine always follows the same route, but in each season the surroundings look completely different. Sometimes everything is in full bloom, at other times a mystical enchantment descends on a leafless wetland landscape. What remains is an incomparable sense of serenity, which is all-encompassing as the punt glides through the water on the Blinde Elz river. The silence is only broken by occasional cries from the animals that inhabit this conservation area near the town of Rust. The punt chauffeurs know these animals by name and will be delighted to tell their guests about them.
Traces of the Ice Age: hiking in Pfrunger-Burgweiler Ried in Ostrach
If you follow the circular "Moorseen" walk around the moor ponds in Pfrunger-Burgweiler Ried, to the north of Lake Constance, you will be led through a fascinating water landscape. The meltwater pond from the last ice age no longer exists, but the basin it created certainly hasn't dried out yet. Peat excavation pits form the centre of SouthWest Germany's second largest moorland. The ecosystem also includes woodland and pasture and is constantly acquiring new plant and animal inhabitants thanks to a major conservation project. Different breeds of cattle also contribute by grazing in the area, and walkers will see them regularly as they explore the region.