Discover Germany away from the tourist centers: The most frequented vacation spots are not always the best choice. If you want to take the time to get to know the country and its people better, you might find one or two tips for relaxing vacations beyond the mainstream in this overview.
Once you have stowed your travel bag and provisions in your Europcar rental car, you are ready to go: But where to actually? Out into the blue, towards feathery summer happiness! Houseboating on the Mecklenburg Lake District or hiking on the Rothaarsteig trail in the Sauerland region? Industrial culture in the surprisingly green Ruhr area or extensive bike tours in the Munsterland region? Individual and diverse present the best insider tips for your summer vacation in Germany – but see for yourself:
1- The Mecklenburg Lake District – castles, lakes and waterways
Twice the size of Saarland, the Mecklenburg Lake District stretches across large parts of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Between the Hanseatic city of Lubeck and the picturesque lakeland landscapes of the Muritz, charming places like Plau am See or the island town of Malchow await your visit. Whether for a stopover at the Muritzeum nature experience center or on the castle island of Mirow – one of the most beautiful ways to discover this natural paradise is by water on board a rented houseboat.
Especially families with children benefit from this decelerated way of traveling. Of course, you can also visit the numerous historic towns and harbors as individual stops on a road trip. You feel like listening to alternative pop music in the open air? The Immergut Festival at the gates of the baroque town of Neustrelitz presents you with its handpicked line-up the perfect summer soundtrack.
2- The Ruhr Area – More than Industrial Culture
The Ruhr region is more than coal mining and big-city hustle and bustle – in fact, at second glance, the Ruhr metropolitan region presents itself in a surprisingly natural way. Admittedly, a certain amount of rough charm and refreshing directness should already appeal to you when you spend your summer vacation between industrial culture and river idylls. The impressive backdrops of the Duisburg Nord Landscape Park and the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen have long since ceased to be industrial sites.
Atmospherically illuminated, they bear witness to the eventful history of the region. As one of the most exciting theaters in the country, the Schauspielhaus Bochum offers new and old classics of spoken theater. You can take long walks on the 3-Turme-Weg in Hagen as well as in the city of Dortmund on the traces of the widespread street art. At the Tante Amanda beer garden, German cuisine beckons, along with a playground and table mini-golf.
3- Sauerland – The green heart of North Rhine-Westphalia
Another region of North Rhine-Westphalia that is absolutely worth seeing is Sauerland . Whether at the Sorpe Dam in tranquil Amecke or at the Möhne Dam with its imposing dam wall – idyllically situated campsites and walking paths are a tempting attraction everywhere. Spend family time in the FORT FUN adventure land Bestwig or experience entertaining hours at the Karl May Festival in Elspe. Sufficient space for a common picnic is always available here, Indian word of honor!
The Rothaarsteig trail between North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse leads through the beautiful hilly landscape of the Hochsauerland region. On 8, alternatively 6 or 12 stages the path of the senses brings you closer to the unique flora and fauna of NRW. Winterberg and Willingen also enchant with green meadows and untouched forests away from the ski season. Take the funicular to explore the Muhlenkopf ski jump, the annual venue of the Ski Jumping World Cup.
The Sauerlandpark in Hemer is a little more tranquil: in addition to themed gardens and a forest playground, the 27-hectare park also offers a suitable backdrop for changing open-air events.
4- Munsterland – By bike from castle to castle
In the northwest of Westphalia, the flat Munsterland region beckons with rural idylls. Like its namesake university city of Munster, the surrounding Munsterland region is known for its extensive network of bike paths. Since there are hardly any ascents to overcome, the region is also ideally suited for untrained cyclists. Farm vacations and classic horse riding vacations are possible here as well as bicycle tours along the almost 1.000 km long 100 castles route .
You will drive through green parks past romantic castles, moated palaces and stately homes. Cycling tourists can choose from 4 different circuits here. Of course, one or the other trip to the picturesque old town of Munster may not be missing. Between the cobblestone Prinzipalmarkt with its covered arcades and gabled houses and the neighboring Domplatz, the popular student city presents itself from its most beautiful side.
Combine a visit to the all-weather zoo with a boat trip on the neighboring Aasee lake. The swan pedal boat attracted national attention a few years ago because of its feathered admirer. The modern harbor district with its outdoor restaurants is a worthwhile summer meeting place – here you can end your vacation day in chic restaurants with a view of the water.
5- Alpine region – Mountain summer in the south of Germany
Unbelievable, but true: Outside the winter season it is pleasantly quiet in the Karwendel Mountains south of Munich. At the same time, the summer months offer the perfect opportunity to take a refreshing dip in crystal-clear mountain lakes. A hike around the ca. 9 km southwest of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, you can wonderfully combine Eibsee with a boat trip in the shadow of Zugspitze. The Benedictine Abbey of Ettal Monastery is also a nice destination for an excursion.
In addition to the magnificent baroque church with its dome fresco, there is also a liqueur factory here to marvel at – tastings not excluded! Experience thrills and natural idyll on a hike through the Partnachklamm gorge in Garmisch-Partenkirchen . With a length of 699 m and a depth of about 80 m, the narrow rock gorge with its waterfalls is a real natural highlight. Your age will be about 10.000 years estimated.
You can easily park your rental car from Europcar in a parking lot located within walking distance. The walk to the gorge is approx. 20 minutes. Even more atmospheric is the trip to the gorge by horse-drawn carriage – here even the youngest will get their money's worth.