LAccording to a new study by the dating app Bumble, hobby dates are particularly popular this year, because almost half of the singles surveyed stated that they had discovered new leisure activities for themselves. 27 percent are now planning future dates around their new favorite activity. There should also be some hiking dates among them. Because during the lockdown, more people than ever were flocking to the hiking trails to exercise and see something different than just their own four walls – and Netflix.
A trend that is continuing: According to Google Trends, interest in hiking has doubled in the past two years. Hiking conveys a feeling of closeness to nature and relaxation like hardly any other activity – according to a survey, these are the two main reasons why people like hiking so much.
Far away from the hustle and bustle
Even as a form of therapy, exercise in the fresh air is gaining increasing attention, as research shows that being active in nature can not only relieve physical symptoms of illness, but also have a positive effect on mental health. “Clinical studies show that hiking helps to better deal with depressive symptoms. In countries like the US, hospitals, schools and medical centers are already promoting outdoor experiences to help patients with mental illness recover,” says Franziska Fried, hiking expert at camping and hiking magazine Beyondcamping.
In the Scottish Shetlands, doctors prescribe so-called natural recipes as part of the treatment of chronic diseases – these recommend things like long walks, bird watching or making daisy necklaces. In Germany, too, hiking cures are occasionally prescribed on prescription: “In Garmisch-Partenkirchen, for example, a so-called healing climatic movement therapy is offered, which is recognized by the health insurance companies and can be prescribed by doctors,” says Fried.
The best tips for your next excursion into nature, even without a prescription, are here – from the cheapest campsite to the most Instagrammable hiking route and the most dog-friendly holiday region.
Germany’s most popular hiking trails
According to an analysis by Beyondcamping, the 169-kilometer Rennsteig (eight stages), which runs through Thuringia and Bavaria, is the most popular hiking trail in Germany. Followed by the Rheinsteig, which leads 320 kilometers (21 stages) along the river of the same name and is ideal for both ambitious long-distance hikes and varied short tours.
Behind it is the 313-kilometer-long Eifelsteig (15 stages), which is particularly fascinating due to its spectacular views and extensive stream valleys, and the Rothaarsteig, which runs over the highest mountain in North Rhine-Westphalia in eight stages with a total length of 150 kilometers.
The 169-kilometre Moselsteig (eight stages), which promises varied tours at different levels of difficulty, took fifth place. The Malerweg (115 kilometers, eight stages) in Saxon Switzerland, which, as the name suggests, has already inspired countless painters, makes sixth place.
Hiking regions for the most beautiful photos
The mobile home platform Camperdays determined which hiking areas seem to be particularly suitable for Instagram. The Allgäu takes first place in the comparison. Altogether there are more than 1.66 million hits for the region on Instagram – on average around 245,000 photos are uploaded per region. The Black Forest follows closely in second place with almost 1.65 million photos. The Harz secures third place among the most photogenic hiking areas with around 1.28 million posts.
The Eifel ranks fourth among the most popular hiking destinations. The region, which is part of the Rhenish Slate Mountains, appears in over 925,000 photos. With 455,000 entries, the Ore Mountains came fifth. The Bavarian hiking resort of Berchtesgaden ranks far behind in sixth place with 394,880 hits. A Google comparison also shows that interest in the Bavarian Alps has increased the most in comparison, followed by Kaiserstuhl and Schönau am Königssee.
Mobile homes are a popular alternative, especially for hiking holidays, because they are flexible and allow you to easily travel to several regions. “Especially in the colorful off-season, beautiful impressions can be collected while hiking. During this time, more and more people have been opting for a camper that is ideal for such trips,” says Frieder Bechtel from Camperdays.
Where camping is cheapest
As the travel portal camping.info has determined, a camping night in Germany costs an average of 25.21 euros – the night under the open sky is the most expensive at 37.22 euros in Switzerland, and the cheapest at 12.85 euros in Albania.
In a comparison of the federal states, Hamburg (35.42 euros), Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (30.21 euros) and Berlin (29.58 euros) are the most expensive. The cheapest places to camp are in the federal states of Saarland (EUR 21.91), Hesse (EUR 21.87) and Thuringia (EUR 21.45).
Europe’s most popular campsites
“The trend towards holidays close to nature is still unbroken. We can see that not only from the increasing number of hits on our camping portal, but also from the current registration statistics for caravans,” says Maximilian Möhrle, Managing Director of camping.info.
According to the evaluation of the camping portal, the most popular campsites in Europe include the “Campingpark Kühlungsborn” in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in first place and the “Grubhof” campsite in Salzburg, Austria, in second place – which is particularly popular with hikers.
Third place goes to Rosenfelder Strand Ostsee Camping in Schleswig-Holstein, followed by Camping Hüttenberg in eastern Switzerland. In fifth place is “Camp MondSeeLand” in Upper Austria, also popular with hikers. And sixth place is the “Campingplatz Ecktannen” on the Müritz – particularly suitable for guests with dogs.
Traveling with a dog
A holiday with a dog can be a challenge. The travel agency Travelcircus has examined German regions more closely from this point of view and created a ranking from this. In addition to the number of dog bathing spots and dog-friendly accommodations, the average monthly search volume on Google was also evaluated – additional points were awarded for dog boutiques, veterinarians and no general leash requirement.
The island of Sylt ranks first among the most popular regions for a holiday with a dog. Lake Constance takes second place, closely followed by Rügen in third place. The Bavarian Forest and the Spreewald occupy fourth and fifth place.
Wanderlust for at home
The travel platform Travelcircus has analyzed the most popular books to quench wanderlust. The eight most popular books, based on the average ratings on Amazon and Thalia, are:
“Hiking, luck and long ears: With Jonny the donkey on foot from Munich to the Mediterranean” by Lotta Lubkoll (buy here*)
“Flying without Wings: A Journey to Asia’s Mysteries” by Tiziano Terzani (buy here*)
“To run. Meal. Sleep. One woman, three trails and 12,700 kilometers of wilderness” by Christine Thürmer (buy here*)
“Breakfast with elephants: As a ranger in Africa” by Gesa Neitzel (buy here*)
“I’ll be gone then” by Hape Kerkeling (buy here*)
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (buy here*)
“The Great Trip” by Cheryl Strayed (buy here*)
“The big draw: How I won half a million from Günther Jauch and just drove off” by Meike Winnemuth (buy here*)
*This text contains affiliate links. This means: If you make a purchase using the links marked with an asterisk, WELT will receive a small commission. This does not affect the reporting. You can find our standards of transparency and journalistic independence at axelspringer.de/independence.