Escape the city – Ford weekend adventures from the Harz Mountains to the Baltic Sea
© Sebastian Kowalke
Get out of the city and into nature with these five weekend adventures that are sure to make you forget the stress of everyday life. Swap urban canyons for rocky gorges, slow-moving traffic for rushing water, and leather shoes for hiking boots. After all, idyllic autumnal landscapes are the perfect backdrop to switch off during a hike. In this Collection, we have picked out five adventures in the north-east of Germany that are perfectly planned for your weekend. For each region, we give you accommodation tips and recommend two wonderful hikes. All destinations can be reached in only two to four hours by car from Hamburg or Berlin. Get behind the wheel and start your journey into nature – the most beautiful adventures are often only a short road trip away!
Do you enjoy the salty air along the coast? Then head off to the island! In the northeast of Rügen, you can walk along the beach for miles, eat fish sandwiches, and admire the blue water of the sea. The Baltic Sea fjord Schlei is also a spectacular area to explore. Here, rugged moorland landscapes alternate with idyllic fishing villages. If you don’t like the vast ocean, then you can explore the Mecklenburg Lake District on two hikes which combine water and forest together. Or maybe you want to dive into the forest? In that case, visit the Harz Mountains for the weekend. Or, you can explore Saxon Switzerland and marvel at the unique rock formations in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains.
It’s up to you how to use your Friday evening – the whole weekend lies ahead of you, ready to be action-packed. And after a good dose of nature spiced with adventure, Monday mornings become much easier. So, enjoy your freedom and head into the weekend at full speed.
The island of Rügen is perfect for a weekend excursion - especially now after the main season is over. In the north of the largest island in Germany you can experience the wild side of the Baltic Sea: rugged cliffs, long sandy beaches and blue seas as far as the eye can see. Add some sun and wind and the Baltic Sea weekend is perfect.This 16-kilometer hike takes you over the Wittow peninsula. It starts at the holiday complex “Am Möwenort”, where you can set up camp for the weekend. You wander a bit over the flat land before you reach the Wieker Bodden. You walk along the brackish water to Dranske and watch the boats sailing on the shallow water.As it should be in the Baltic Sea, in Dranske there is time for a fish sandwich. Freshly strengthened you leave the bay and cross the narrow piece of land until you stand on the shore of the Baltic Sea. Take a deep breath of the slightly salty sea air and let your gaze wander over the water. In good weather you can even see as far as Denmark.On your way back to the starting point, you will now always have the Baltic Sea on your left. You walk along the steep coast and then on to the wonderful north beach. Time to take off your shoes and feel the fine Baltic Sea between your toes. How about a refreshing dip in the water?
Today's tour in the north of the island of Rügen shows you the famous Cape Arkona. Look forward to three towers, an imposing cliff and a picturesque fishing village. But at the beginning you start this nine-kilometer hike with a good pinch of Baltic Sea air on the north beach.From the parking lot in Putgarten it is only a short distance across the country to the Baltic Sea. On the north beach you can let the wind tous your hair and look for amber in the sand (after a stormy day the chances are particularly good). You walk along the beach to the east to Gellort - a mostly lonely stretch of beach in this corner of Rügen. A staircase then brings you up the cliff.
Once at the top, you can already see the beacons of Cape Arkona. If you have the time and inclination, then the ascent to the new lighthouse is worthwhile - there are 75 steps to the viewing platform at a height of almost 30 meters. You have a great view from above!We continue along the steep coast with the wind in our face. Soon you will see the roofs of the fishing village Vitt in front of you. A fishing village on the Baltic Sea could hardly be more picturesque. Treat yourself to a relaxing break in Vitt with a fish dish and everything that goes with it. It is only a stone's throw from here to your starting point in Putgarten.
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The Selketal-Stieg winds its way through the picturesque valley in the Harz for a total of 67 kilometers. On this 16-kilometer hike, you can sniff a little long-distance hiking trail air and gain a wonderful insight into the unique landscape. The hike through the north German low mountain range starts at the Harz Camp at the Bremer Teich.At the beginning of the tour you hike through the dense forest downhill towards Selketal. Once you have reached the river, on the other side of the valley it goes uphill again until you are on the actual Selketal climb. Look forward to impressive views over the forested hills of the Harz Mountains. Breathe in the fresh, fragrant air of the forest and let yourself be enchanted by nature. On the picturesque cliff hiking trail, you hike directly along the banks of the Selke, through caves made of rocks and roots.Faster than you would like, you leave the Selke again and climb out of the valley. Through the forest it goes back to your starting point, where you can look forward to a relaxing evening on the banks of the Bremen pond.
On day two of your short vacation in the Harz, it will be mystical: on this 18-kilometer hike, you will discover the wild and romantic Hexenstieg in the Bodetal. The path meanders through a magical landscape and will definitely cast its spell on you.The circular hike starts at the Hexentanzplatz on the edge of Thale. This is where the entrance to the Bodetal is located. After a short distance you step over the Devil's Bridge into another world. The Bode meanders through the wild valley, you walk sometimes on narrow paths, sometimes on wooden footbridges through this unique nature. Again and again you have great views over the wooded hills or down into the depths of the valley.In the romantic village of Treseburg you will find a restaurant to stop off after almost nine kilometers before you leave the Bode valley and hike back to your starting point at the height.
Do you fancy a varied walk on the beach to get in the mood for your weekend? Then this eight-kilometer loop is just right for you. It starts at the Nordstern campsite, where you can also set up your base for the weekend.Right at the beginning, the path leads you along the picturesque Norgaardholz beach. How about a refreshing dip in the sea? On the shore you walk north, a little later you continue on roads that are hardly used to the coastline at Habernis. The pebble beach is wonderfully lonely and offers great views of the sea.You leave the coast and turn into the natural moor, on wooden footbridges you hike across the lush wet meadows. Keep an eye out for rare flowers and the animal inhabitants of the moor. After a rest on the benches at the artesian spring Wolsroi, you go through a small forest back to the start of the circular hike.
Germany's longest Baltic Sea fjord stretches a good 40 kilometers from the coast into the inland. The Schlei offers you a wonderful landscape for your hikes - including idyllic fishing villages, lots of water and pleasant tranquility. This tour starts at the parking lot on the northern edge of Kappeln.To get into the right mood, Kappeln offers you the perfect backdrop. One of the few still intact fishing ports on the east coast is located in the village. If you are out early enough, you can watch the cutters as they enter the port and watch the fishermen unload their catch. And because a boat trip up here on the coast is almost a must, you get on the boat yourself. The ferry leaves from Kappeln to the Schleim estuary twice a day (except on Fridays): schlei-ausflugsfahrten.de.In Maasholm you step ashore again, the statue of "Peter Aal" is already waiting for you. After a little detour through the village, you continue walking along the banks of the Wormshöfter Noor. Let your gaze wander over the water, breathe in the fresh coastal air and enjoy the peace and quiet. You cover the last kilometers over the flat land until you arrive at the parking lot again.
Bizarre rock shapes shape the unique landscape of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, also known as Saxon Switzerland. The region is no longer an insider tip, but a visit is always worthwhile. On this eight-kilometer hike you climb over the striking Lilienstein, the symbol of the Saxon Switzerland National Park.The hike starts at the Aktivhostel Ferdinands Homestay. It is best to start the day early to climb the Lilienstein before the other hikers. In addition, the atmosphere in the early morning hours on Table Mountain is particularly nice. To get in the mood for the tour, walk through the Upper Elbe Valley along the riverbank to Halbestadt. There you turn left and head towards the Lilienstein.Once you have reached the mountain, it goes up steeply over rock stairs. But don't worry, it's worth the effort: once you get to the top, you have an amazing view. The Elbe flows in a 180-degree loop around the rock, your gaze wanders far over this beautiful piece of earth near the Czech border.If you have enjoyed the view extensively, it goes downhill again. You hike back to the starting point on natural paths. At the end of the tour, you can make yourself comfortable on the banks of the Elbe or take a walk along the river.
Robber barons once raged here, today the bastion is one of the most popular excursion destinations in Saxon Switzerland. On this seven-kilometer hike, you will get to know the unique rock formation better and also enjoy wonderful views of the Elbe and the surrounding, striking mountains of the Sandstone Mountains. It is best to start this hike early in the morning, because the Bastei bridge is a particularly popular spot.It starts at the parking lot near the Gamrig. Through the forest you walk closer and closer to the bastion and soon you start the ascent. On your way up you can already enjoy a wonderful view of the Elbe. The well-known Bastei bridge stretches over a stretch of almost 80 meters through the fairytale-like rock formation - simply beautiful!There is still a bit of an uphill climb, but soon you have mastered the challenging part of the hike. Another fantastic section of the trail follows: You walk along the wild and romantic gorge path past the Schwedenlöchern. You then walk back through the Amselgrund and along the Grünbach. In the health resort of Rathen it is worth taking a break before walking back to the car. If you are still motivated, you can finally climb the 253 meter high Gamrig and enjoy another dream panorama of Saxon Switzerland.
The Müritz is the largest lake in Germany - and always worth a trip. This hike takes you in a 19 kilometer loop through the beautiful forest of the national park, to beautiful bathing areas and to a lot of relaxation. The tour starts at the “Bolter Ufer” campsite, where you can rent a room for the weekend.The path leads you at the beginning through the extensive pine forests. You walk under the tall trees, past picturesque lakes and moors. Enjoy the tranquility in this unique landscape, listen to the birds and let the beautiful forest paths guide you through the wonderful nature.After your extensive "forest bath" you will reach the small town of Boek. From here it is worth making a detour to the banks of the Müritz. At the bathing area you can wade far out into the lake through the shallow water and refresh yourself. In Boek you will also find national park information, the park rangers will be happy to answer your questions.There are hardly any places to stop for a break on the route. So pack some provisions. However, there is a small kiosk at the swimming area. Back at the campsite, you can look forward to hearty cuisine in the “Zum Bolter” restaurant.
On this almost 20-kilometer hike, you will come up high right from the start - in the lowlands of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The bus takes you from Waren to the starting point of the tour, the Käflingsberg. From the observation tower you have a magnificent all-round view of the dense forest and the numerous lakes. You then cover the way back through the Müritz National Park to Waren on your own. So it's best to park your car centrally in goods.The path leads you through the idyllic national park, past small lakes and species-rich wet meadows. Once you have reached the banks of the Müritz, it is not far to the port in Waren. Here you have more than earned a fish sandwich.The hike is particularly beautiful in late summer: Then you can expect a feeling of Indian Summer on your foray through the dense forest. The brightly colored leaves of the trees offer you an unforgettable sight. After all, 70 percent of the national park is forested.You can get to the starting point with the National Park bus. It is best to check the timetable in advance: mueritz-rundum.de/fahrplaene.