I planned for an 38 km average which I miserably missed mainly due to my lack of fitness, bringing worn out shoes that caused me pain and to many sights to process with such a busy hiking schedule.
The first third of the trail is dominated by megalithic graves from which the German name Hünenweg is derived. Highlight of this section is the "Hunebed centre" in Borger which vividly depicts the daily life of stone age people and how they built these enourmous graves using foundlings.
Although the Netherlands is obviously pretty flat I was amazed by different landscapes. I hiked around the Zuidlaarmeer which is a huge shallow lake and crossed into Germany in the huge binational Bourtanger Moor.
The second third in Germany follows river Hase, another big environmental project in which the river is given back its floodplains.
The last third is all about megalithic graves again, the main concentration is next a huge golf course. It is a stark contrast to see all the graves and then seeing well groomed men playing golf next to it ...
I was lucky to meet trail coordinator Anna Schulte who explained that the Hünenweg has just recently been opened and is still a work in progress. Although there is still potential for improvement like getting more trail of the pavement I really enjoyed this trip across a rather unknown hiking region.
Anna also revealed me another interesting sight along the trail: Litte trail town Haselünne boasts three (!) distilleries which can all be visited on a guided tour including tasting. (I went there at 9 am which seemed a bit too early for tasting though ...)
Jurasteig und Altmühltal-Panoramaweg
|View from the Jurasteig over the Danube River|
|Kloster Weltenburg which can be seen from both trails|
|View from the Frankenweg with the Franconian flag|
I might be biased because I am born in Franconia where this trail is located but the 520 km long Frankenweg is one of my favourite trails in Germany. Like the above mentioned trails it is located in Northern Bavaria where there are only only secondary and low mountain ranges - and a lot of agricultural landscapes. So don't expect untouched nature! But this trail's appeal is in its variety - it shows you all sorts of different aspects of this region from pilgrimage churches, calvaries and shrines along the trail to culinary highlights such as local breweries and bratwurst.
What do you do when you live in Berlin and feel cabin fever, but only have a weekend to hike? Well, you hike in the region and luckily Berlin is surrounded by little populated Brandenburg which offers plenty of hiking opportunities. With 217 km and 155 km respectivly these two are my favourite hikes in the area and I have come back in different seasons to hike sections of them again and again. They are easily accessible from Berlin by train and can indeed be hiked year round. Even in summer you will hardly encounter another soul and in winter you the forest all to yourself. Summer is best though because there are plenty of lakes with crystal clear water and swimming opportunities. I have even tried out my packraft here ... Brandenburg is not a spectacular, but a very relaxing outdoor destination.
Free camping is even legal in Brandenburg for non-motorized persons for one night in the "open landscape".