Last updated: 12:30 PM ET, Thu February 18 2016

Germany Focuses on Nature in 2016

Destination & Tourism | Janeen Christoff | February 18, 2016

Germany Focuses on Nature in 2016

PHOTO: Berchtesgaden, Germany. (photo courtesy of GNTB)

Germans love to get outdoors. It’s not uncommon to find them hiking Alpine trails, strolling through public parks or just enjoying the countryside. Being outside is second nature.

So a global campaign to promote the outdoor areas of the country — of which there are many — seems like a natural fit. Germany has more than 100,000 miles of walking trails, almost 45,000 miles of cycling routes and 350 different islands — meaning there’s plenty of land to explore.

This year, the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) will launch campaigns and trade activities that are geared toward the country’s 130 natural landscapes, including its 16 national parks, the 15 UNESCO-protected biosphere reserves and the country's 100-plus natural parks.

READ MORE: Germany’s Fairytale Castles: Planning a Dream Trip for Your Child

Petra Hedorfer, CEO of the GNTB, noted that 2.6 million Europeans have traveled to Germany for nature vacations and more than one-third of the country is made up of protected natural sites. Germany’s environmental stewardship encourages sustainable travel within the country, giving way to even more opportunities for authentic, natural experiences.

Visitors who follow the website Germany.Travel/Enjoy will find a focus on outdoor spaces and can plan and fine-tune their nature experiences with tools developed to help travelers locate the perfect places to visit based on criteria that they provide.

Looking for a semi-serene, mountainous adventure with a lot of sports? Try Hohes Venn-Eifel Nature Park in the country’s “Wild West” located near the border with Belgium, which offers walking and cycling paths as well as castles and palaces. All of the information, such as where to stay, what to do and how to get there is just a click away, which makes planning simple.

If you are looking for somewhere that offers a dramatic landscape but also relaxing, head to Germany’s only Alpine biosphere, the Berchtesgadener Land Biosphere, for peaceful meadows juxtaposed with rugged mountains and a magnificent forest. The area, located between Mount Watzmann and the Salzach River in southeast Bavaria is filled with family-owned farms, wholesome food and a host of outdoor activities.

Berchtesgaden National Park, which is where visitors will find Mount Watzmann and the resort area of Lake Konigsee — known as one of the country's most beautiful lakes and home to a world-class bobsled and luge track — offers a range of outdoor activities, educational trails and themed walks, providing the ideal combination of serenity and activity.

READ MORE: The Ultimate Upgrade to Your French Alps Experience

In addition to its web-based informational tool, there is a social campaign that is also part of the GNTB’s promotion. The tourism board is encouraging people to share where they have been or where they want to go. There are share buttons for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as a twitter hashtag: #EnjoyGermanNature. There is also a series of promotional YouTube videos that highlight Germany's natural side. 

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