Germany is a country filled with incredible culture, scrumptious (and belly-filling) food and little-timbered houses that will knock your socks off. So why would you plan your trip around Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin, when you could be planning your trip around the real German towns you dreamed about like Monschau, the Mosel Valley, the Middle Rhine Valley and Sauerland?
I’m not saying to completely scratch the bigger cities off your list, (they’re always excellent places to start and end your trip) but why not explore a bit deeper into Germany and visit places a little more off the beaten path?
Let’s take Sauerland as an example. I’ve been living in Germany for a few years now which has allowed me to take advantage of weekend getaway opportunities around me. Sauerland, Germany is only a couple hours away from my base camp in Düsseldorf, Germany and is so beautiful that after I experienced the region in winter last year, I decided to come back again and experience what it’s like in the summer.
How did I spend my perfect weekend getaway you ask? (Yes, I’m assuming you’re asking if you clicked on this post). Well, let me tell you…
Friday: Arrival and Relaxation
Whether you’ve just traveled 1 hour or 10 hours, arrival days are always the best days to spend relaxing and enjoying yourself (after all, you are on vacation). Dinner and sauna, anyone?
5:00 PM: Dinner at Steinbergs Wildewiese
On our first day in Sauerland, we checked into our beautiful and modern hotel in the middle of nature, Steinbergs Wildewiese, where they also offered an incredible restaurant menu and the perfect atmosphere to kick back and relax.
We weren’t the only ones who enjoyed what Steinbergs had to offer, there were a number of local guests coming to celebrate the weekend (including sports teams, elderly groups and wedding parties).
7:00 PM: Visit the Sorpesee Panoramasauna
There’s no better way to relax in Sauerland than by throwing on a bathrobe and hanging out in the sauna for a couple of hours. The Sorpesee Panoramasauna has a panoramic sauna (surprise!) where scented sauna sessions take place every 30 – 60 minutes. There are a couple other saunas to choose from including a Starlight escape and a fire burning lounge.
Not to mention, it’s time to experience the real German sauna culture… naked. I know it’s not for everyone, but you’ll have to give it a try. Trust me, my first experience was odd… yet, exhilarating (you can read my post here)… it’s worth it!
Saturday: Adventure and Exploration
If you’re waking up at the Steinbergs Wildewiese like I did, you’re in for a delicious morning breakfast filled with fresh cheese, crispy rolls and more antipasti than you can eat. This will certainly be enough to prepare you for an action packed day of adventure and exploration.
11:00 AM: Rent a Pedal Boat on the Sorpesee (Sorpe Lake)
There is so much to do along the Sorpesee, but why not start out by hopping into a pedal boat, enjoying the sun and exploring the water’s edge by boat? If you head to the Sorpesee Strandbad, you’ll be able to rent a Pedal Boat for about 12 Euros.
2:00 PM: Take a Mountain Bike Tour around the Sorpesee (Sorpe Lake)
Now that you’ve been in the Sorpesee, why not bike around the lake to get an entirely new perspective? The entire route should take around 1.5 hours (if you don’t stop 3 times for ice cream like I did). You can rent a city bike or mountain bike from Mosaik Outdoorzentrum for a couple of hours. While you’re there, you might also be interested in the high ropes course or canoe rentals too.
Depending on where you’re staying in Sauerland will depend on how many different dinner options you have to choose from. If you’re staying in Wildewiese or near the Sorpesee, there are a number of delicious restaurants around the area. Our favorite was the Seehof Restaurant by the Sorpesee Damm.
Sunday: Culture and Nature
After an action packed day of adventure, it’s time for another hearty breakfast to get you warmed up for a day of culture and nature.
11:00 AM: Visit the Sauerlander Pyramids at Galileo Park
Galileo Park is quite a surreal piece of art placed in the middle of the Sauerland nature, close to Lennestadt. It is a park home to seven pyramids that look like they’ve just come out of a children’s story book about life in Egypt. The park itself was created to house interesting and changing exhibitions that entertain and challenge the visitors.
My favorite was certainly the 3D Tricture exhibition where photos came to life through the lens of my camera! Who knew art could be this fun?
1:00 PM: Have Lunch at Ambiente am Markt
Right before you’re about to head off on your hike, how about a little food refuel? In the small town of Lennestadt, there is a wonderful little restaurant called Ambiente am Markt. The restaurant has a number of traditional German dishes made fresh to order, including their homemade potato pancakes and flammkuchen.
2:00 PM: Download the Sauerland-App and go on a Hike
What would a trip to Sauerland be without a bit of hiking? Many travellers come to Sauerland to hike day in and day out for one simple reason: it’s beautiful. The breathtaking green meadows and hills can only be compared to the Black Forest. There are thousands of hiking trails and numerous places to stop for a snack along the way.
Tip: Don’t forget to download the Sauerland-App as it will guide you through your hike with images, maps and distances. You can also take a look at their online map to get an idea of where you would like to start your hike.
Want a couple suggestions? Try out the following hiking trails first:
While there are many ways to get you into Sauerland (train, bus, car), I would suggest renting a car for your visit. Sauerland is an incredible place and can only be best explored when you have access to a vehicle to get you to all the hidden gems around the area.
Curious about what it’s like to visit Sauerland in the winter? Check out my weekend getaway tips for Winterberg, Sauerland.
A huge thank you goes out to Sauerland Tourism for hosting us on our weekend getaway.