Sleepouts in the trees for walking with wolves: six exhilarating outdoor activities in Germany | Sustainable travel
Extreme nights in Saarland
The German language has some wonderful words, ranging from wegbier (“Beer to drink on the way”) for hamsterkauf (“Panic buying”). Another to add to this lexicon is waldeinsamkeit: a feeling of being alone and of finding inner peace in the forest. Arguably travelers can no longer become one with the woods other than sleeping in a portaledge tent (or cloefhanger) suspended between the trees in the forest of the Saarland. It’s a wonderful way to immerse yourself in forest life: think of morning mists, twit-twooing owls, mysterious nighttime noises, and the occasional bursts of “we’re standing.” How? ‘Or’ What high ?! âlooking at the clouds below (the tents are perched at dizzying heights overlooking a dramatic bend in the Saar river). cloefhangers are not for people who do not have schwindelfreiheit (“Absence of vertigo”; AKA a head for heights) or trittsicherheit (“Tread safety”; AKA surefootedness), but there is a less dizzying version involving hammocks in the same forests.
Price: 119 â¬ (102 Â£) per night, June-September
Stargazing in the Eifel
The Eifel National Park, which is located near the Belgian border, has been designated an international dark sky park since 2014 because of its starry sky unpolluted by light pollution. Many nights are so clear that it is possible to glimpse the Milky Way. Other constellations can be seen using giant telescopes at the Vogelsang Observatory, which also hosts Stars Without Borders astronomy workshops. The unique Eifel night ambience can be further enjoyed with a visit to the moonlit sauna of the Eifel-Therme Zikkurat spa, or the annual ghost parade in the village of Blankenheim. It’s also close to the vineyards of the Moselle Valley, so why not accompany your flight to heaven with a bottle of premium Riesling?
Woodcarving in the Bliesgau Biosphere
Elsewhere in Saarland, it is possible to channel your inner Albrecht DÃ¼rer through the wood-cutting workshops organized in the forests of the Bliesgau biosphere. No prior pruning experience is required, but participants learn how to make wild wood chairs, benches, and personally forged knife sets, which they can then take home. There’s even a xylophone-making class. Don’t be fooled by the nickname âbiosphereâ: you won’t fashion your furniture out of a plastic dome. In fact, the Bliesgau Biosphere is an area designated by Unesco, designed to bring people and nature together in a sustainable way. This is exactly what you will be doing, as the course is also about replanting deciduous trees to save the environment.
Prices start at â¬ 130 / Â£ 111 per person. Glamping accommodation is available in the biosphere. More info here
Walking with wolves in Wendland
The big and bad wolves hold a special place in the German psyche, having been a naughty and greedy element of people in the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. Despite this, the lupines were welcomed back to the country two decades ago, after an absence of 150 years. Today there are more than 100 packs of wolves across the country, some of which roam the wilderness of Elbe Wendland, Lower Saxony. If you thought you had to travel to the northern tundra to see these magnificent beasts, think again: on Wendland safaris, tourists can follow the cunning beasts and learn more about them by hearing ghostly howls echoing through them. forests. Tours range from three hours to an âintensive wolf weekâ.
Wolf Intensive Week prices range from â¬ 156 / Â£ 133 (two nights) to â¬ 602 / Â£ 2,516 (seven nights). Accommodation included in the price
Beekeeping in the Lake District of Germany
Certainly, beekeeping tourism is in a way a niche interest. But all budding beekeepers should rush (apologies) to the Sternberg Lake District in Mecklenburg, a gloriously pretty region buzzing with bee-themed revelry. It offers a number of self-guided cycle / walking trails – ranging from five to 90 miles – that take visitors through fields and orchards teeming with bees, as well as museums and playgrounds dedicated to striped honey harvesters. (the Demeter cider house makes a brilliant pit stop). There are also beekeeping workshops, âcooking with honeyâ classes and a special class suitable for people with bee phobia. When it is all over, the town of Schwerin, filled with cafes, and the expansive white sand beaches of Mecklenburg’s Baltic coast are a short drive away. Soft.
Beekeeping lessons available from â¬ 60 / Â£ 51
Culinary donkey trek in Brandenburg
Donkey rides are popular in Germany and available from Hamburg to Bavaria. However, only one area offers a ‘culinary donkey ride’ and that is Uckermark in Brandenburg. As you walk with your Eeyore through the region’s emerald beech forests and sunflower fields, the hikes cover between eight and 11 miles each day. Angela Merkel is a fan of the area and has a vacation home nearby. The gastronomic element comes from your overnight stays in country houses and local farms, where your hosts serve you organic food from the fields and smokehouses nearby. Meanwhile, your saddlebags will be filled with picnics (and carrots for Dobbin, too, of course). The hikes can be tackled on a day trip from Berlin or on a three-day stay. Bring your family – this might be the best vacation they have had in donkey years.
A three-day, two-night hike costs from â¬ 228 (Â£ 195) one person. A three-hour hike costs from â¬ 35 (Â£ 30) one person
To learn more about sustainable and good travel throughout Germany, visit Feel Good, which is full of inspiring ideas and practical advice.