From forest bathing and yoga on the beach to monastic retreats: Germany as a holiday destination offers a multitude of spiritual sites to recover from daily life.
Sun, sand and sea: this tried-and-tested holiday combination promises pure recovery. Practising yoga in a location such as this is a great way to achieve true inner peace. The island of Rügen in the Baltic Sea offers dreamlike settings, with its seemingly endless, fine sanded beaches, the primeval beech forest, and the many hours of daylight. Most of all, the warm months between May and October invite meditative and fitness-building activities on the beach. The sun-warmed sand underfoot and the rhythmic sound of the rolling waves makes it very easy to unify mind, body and soul, and find an inner self-contentment. Yoga retreats, for example, are offered on the peninsula of Zudar and Mönchgut.
Black Forest/Baden-Württemberg and the Fichtel Mountains/Bayern
Forest bathing is the newest trend for stress-plagued city-dwellers. Submerge Submerge yourself mindfully and with all your senses into nature, listen to the birdsong, feel the forest floor underfoot, smell the aromatic air and watch the treetops swaying in the wind. By spending time in the forest in such a relaxed way, your thoughts clear and your immune system strengthens. The Upper Black Forest, for example, offers healing spas in the forest. There are special tours to waterfalls, ponds, and viewing points, all suitable for an intensive forest experience. In the Fichtel Mountain Nature Park, a qualified forest health trainer can guide you through unspoilt nature. In this way the forest can be experienced intentionally, for example by walking barefoot, or consciously enjoying the scent of the pine cones.
Those who want to get away from it all while strolling through nature should pay a visit to the Saarland in south-west Germany. Here, hammocks can be borrowed for use at specific stations along hiking tours. Whenever forest walkers feel like an intentional break, they can stretch their hammock between the trees and indulge in a time-out with a view of the treetops. A whole range of routes - from easy to medium to difficult - are suitable for a hammock tour, and their itineraries are described in detail. For example, the Mill Path, the "Primeval Forest Tour", or the "Two Valleys Tour". Those who prefer to rest rather than hike can choose to go on the shorter hour and a half tour in Blieskastel-Lautzkirchen. Hammocks can be set up here at three stations – at which point you can chill, enjoy, and dream.
Relax one step at a time – that's the motto of the Bavarian mountains. On special meditation paths, peace and soul-searching healing for body, mind and soul can be found. The heart opens up, thoughts wander, and the self becomes one with nature. The most well-known and longest of these trails can be found in the Ammergauer Alps. The longest circular trail is over 200 kilometres, but can also be completed in small stages. Certified body therapists offer meditative walks in many Bavarian locations. There are also themed trails, such as breathing trails in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Options include the Chapel trail (Kapellenweg) that pauses at small churches, the Philosophers' trail (Philosophenweg) with quotes to inspire contemplation, and the Franciscan trail (Franziskusweg) in Lower Franconia, which is a reflective walk accompanied by the prayer verses of St. Francis.
Evangelical Drübeck Abbey Monastery/Saxony-Anhalt and St. Augustine's Monastery/Thuringia
Find peace, gather strength and gain new insights through spiritual experiences: This is what a stay in a monastery promises. An increasing number of religious communities in Germany are now opening their doors to non-religious people who would like to spend a few days within the sheltered walls of a monastery, in search of life's purpose and meaning. The Evangelical Drübeck Abbey Monastery in Ilsenburg in the Harz Mountains invites you to combine your stay with cultural excursions or hikes in the region. The monastery kitchen, the monastery café and a wine cellar cater for the physical well-being. The Evangelical St. Augustine's Monastery in Erfurt offers accommodation in their guest house and, in addition to participation in their spiritual programme, many secular activities such as concerts, art lectures, meditation evenings and guided tours of the monastery and its gardens.