Protected natural landscapes make up one third of Germany's land area. Nature conservation and enjoyment of the great outdoors go hand in hand in more than 130 large-scale designated protected areas: Innovative experiences such as dark sky parks and treetop walks offer up in-depth and eco-minded insights into the natural world. Accommodation and restaurants committed to sustainable management find ways to treat their guests, even with a small carbon footprint.
Tourists seeking an active holiday are sure to find the right route for them in the 12,000 kilometres of high-quality cycle paths and the 200,000-kilometre network of hiking trails. More than 250 health spas and spa towns in Germany provide pure relaxation and work wonders for the body and soul with natural remedies and relaxation methods.
16 ideas for a surprising and sustainable holiday
Suspended tree tents, Saarland
Spend the night hanging out above the Saar Bow:
Guests sleep between heaven and Earth in these tree tents. The sleep platforms are suspended between trees and offer spectacular views of the Saar Bow.
Dark Sky Park in Eifel National Park, North Rhine-Westphalia
The Milky Way feels close enough to touch in this Dark Sky Park:
In the Eifel National Park, guided hikes and astronomy workshops are full of information on the spectacular starry sky above us.
Sustainable shopping, Hamburg
Browse in sustainable designer stores in Hamburg:
Organic cotton children's clothing, fair-trade streetwear, furniture fashioned from driftwood washed up in the city's harbour, jewellery made of sustainably sourced materials – shopping doesn't get greener than this.
GreenMe Berlin, Berlin
Scout out the eco-hotspots with insiders in Berlin:
Green lifestyle guides show visitors their favourite places in the capital. You can find more information on sustainability on the website.
Painters' Way, Saxony
Enjoy artwork etched into the landscape in Saxon Switzerland:
Along the Painters' Way, display boards featuring historic landscape paintings created at the very site in which they are now on display give visitors a sense of the importance of the region in terms of its art history.
Climate House, Bremerhaven
Go on a round-the-world journey the eco-friendly way in Bremerhaven:
Visitors to Climate House Bremerhaven 8° East can learn all about how climate zones are created on a fictitious journey along longitude 8° 34' E.
Try out old craftsmanship techniques in the Hessenpark:
Visitors can experience old craftsmanship techniques and lifestyles first-hand in more than 100 historical buildings during reenactments and at festivals in the Hessenpark Open-Air Museum.
Heath Rangers, Lower Saxony
Hike through Lüneburg Heath in bloom with a ranger:
Visitors can marvel at ancient forests, spectacular trees, mysterious moors, bubbling springs and the heath itself on guided tours here.
Eels from the Schlei fjord, Schleswig-Holstein
Buy freshly caught eels straight from the boat on the fjord:
Visitors to the Schlei, a narrow inlet of the Baltic Sea, can buy locally sourced fish straight after it's been caught. It doesn't get fresher than this! It goes without saying that fish are only sold when they are in season.
Watch the trout on a walk through Wernigerode:
Cleansing the waterways and removing obstacles to migration has created a fishways-themed nature trail at the heart of this town in the Harz mountains.
Experience a slower pace of life in the home of Riesling:
The town of Deidesheim in the Palatinate wine-growing region is one of Germany's 21 Cittaslow communities. Being good to yourself, far away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, is the order of the day here.
KONUS Visitor Card, Baden-Württemberg
Free bus and train travel through the Black Forest:
Tourists in more than 145 destinations staying with more than 11,000 accommodation providers can use the KONUS Visitor Card for free travel on public transport in the region.
Merchants' Bridge, Thuringia
Do a spot of fair-trade shopping on the inhabited bridge in Erfurt:
Local hand-made items such as Blaudruck prints, hand-painted ceramics and Lauscha glass make shopping in this historical setting a joy for sustainable shoppers.
Hybrid boat tour on the Peene, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
Watch the wildlife on a hybrid catamaran in the Peene Valley:
On a day trip on the Ida vom Peendamm catamaran, tourists can experience the spectacular Peene River Valley in a relaxed and eco-friendly way.
Cattle drive, Bavaria
Bid farewell to summer at the cattle drive in the Allgäu region:
When the cows come back from their summer spent on the alpine meadows, they are traditionally welcomed with a huge fete in the villages.
Donkey tours, Brandenburg
Trot through the Uckermark region with a donkey:
A culinary donkey trek will take you on a tour of the diverse scenery throughout the Schorfheide-Chorin Biosphere Reserve. The walks are perfect for families.