The wild South of Germany
Germany’s south is surprisingly wild and untouched: Dark forests, roaring ravines and enchanted wetland meadows present a picture of nature at its most original.
If you venture out on an expedition here, you will find a patchwork of natural and cultural landscapes in various stages of development. Around 14,000 square kilometres (38% of the land surface) are clad with forest. Between Odenwald and the southern Black Forest, there are also river- and pasture landscapes, orchard meadows and heathlands simply enticing you to explore them. There’s a lot of pristine nature and wilderness waiting to be discovered in the ten large protected areas.
In the Black Forest National Park nature can be simply left to its own devices and take its course without human intervention: Baden-Württemberg’s first National Park has extended over the northern Black Forest mountain range since 2014. In late 2020, the new visitor centre will open its doors in Ruhestein – with a grand exhibition and spectacular skywalk above the treetops of the National Park.
The Swabian Alb Biosphere region transformed from a no-go area to a natural paradise. Until a couple of years ago, army tanks use to roll across the former private military training zone at Münsingen. Since nobody had access to the area for a long time, nature had the chance to develop its full diversity. Today, this is the site of one of the largest unfragmented natural environments in Baden-Württemberg.
Sleeping in the wilderness
Anyone can stay in a hotel. Elsewhere, you can find lots of different adventurous places to sleep – such as in a treehouse, native Indian tepee or hanging tent. Baden-Württemberg offers not just lots of original nature, but also more and more opportunities to spend memorable nights in wild surroundings.
In Schenkenzell you can swing with hanging tents in your sleep. At a height of 30 metres above the ground hangs a bright red tent by a wire rope above the Heubachtal. Upon arrival, you will be provided with a picnic basket and a GPS tracker for emergencies and receive a thorough safety induction. Then you can rock yourself to sleep all by yourself.
In the Black Forest Camp by lake Schluchsee, curious places to stay await adventurous guests who can climb down to spend the night in the repurposed ski gondola “Giesla” or make themselves at home in the “Alfons” tepee.
The Swabian Alb biosphere region has a long history of sheep farming. At the Hofgut Hopfenburg near Münsingen,you can spend a night in a shepherds wagon. Meanwhile, the campsite also offers other types of accommodation such as tepees, yurts or circus tents. All accommodation consists of beautifully restored originals or new buildings constructed according to old traditions.
Wilderness in the city
In SouthWest Germany, even the cities have their green and wild spaces. Wetland meadows, parks, forest gardens and rock formations add a nice extra touch to city life in Baden-Württemberg. Whether you want to relax in the cove of the Neckar, do gardening in the historic neighbourhoods or watch amphibians in the former quarry – you don’t have to go all the way to Baden-Württemberg’s nature parks to get away from the city bustle. You can even sometimes get right up close to nature in the city centre.
Perfect examples are Mannheim with a natural paradise in the city squares, Heidelberg with its wild and mysterious Wolfsbrunnen Castle hotel or Heilbronn which offers a green oasis by the Neckar, where water sports are very popular. In Ulm Stand-up-paddling on the Danube is a trendy sport, Karlsruhe offer with 7000 hectares of nature a veritable urban jungle and Pforzheim is the perfect place for wild animals with its wildlife park.
You don’t need to venture far to enjoy a spontaneous adventure in nature. Sometimes, the most exciting experiences are waiting right outside your front door. All you need for a mini adventure in Baden-Württemberg is a bit of courage and the desire to try new things.
The Hessigheim rock gardens are not just where superb wine is grown, the nature reserve is also exciting boulder-climbing territory. The steep shell limestone rocks tower up to 18 m into the sky. Below lies the Neckar Valley, swathed in a sea of grapevines. Beginners and advanced climbers alike can conquer the rocks on about 130 different climbing routes with difficulty gradings ranging from three to nine.
In the Murg Valley in the north of the Black Forest, the river Murg still flows on an ancient riverbed and so is perfect for canyoning. You will get your first adrenaline kick as you abseil down from a height of 15 metres. Then you will walk and wade across country through the Murg’s riverbed. Finally, you can hurl yourself into the water currents and go soft-rafting over the rapids.