About the happiness of hiking, a treetop trail, a varied bike path, water pleasures, cult sites and jungle adventures in a trekking camp - six very special outdoor tips in Saarland.

1

Hiking happiness on the Saar-Hunsrück Climb

On the Saar-Hunsrück Climb premium hiking trail, you'll trek over hill and dale on narrow paths through varied nature, past the Saar Loop and Moselle Valley © Marcus Gloger

"Great things are always created on a small scale" is the official slogan for Saarland. This also applies to the first two, approximately 17-kilometer-long stages of the Long-distance hiking trail Saar-Hunsrück Climb. It has already been named Germany's most beautiful long-distance hiking trail for the second time and runs as a total of 376 kilometers of panoramic route from Perl in the Saarland to Boppard on the Rhine loop in Rhineland-Palatinate. After the first climbs, the first stage from Perl to Hellendorf already offers views of longing: of the border triangle of Germany-Luxembourg-France, of the wide Moselle valley. Narrow paths lead through enchanted forests, orchid meadows and encounter ancient Roman installations. Finally, the second stage from Hellendorf to Mettlach leads to a panorama that you will not soon forget. Initially along babbling brooks, the trail continues through the Steinbach Valley nature reserve. After another climb in the direction of Orscholz, it is finally reached and lies there as if painted: the Saar loop. On the descent there are always new perspectives on the natural wonder.

2

Around the country on the Saarland Cycle Route

In the state capital Saarbrücken you start on the Saarland Cycle Path, which is about 350 kilometers long, once around the whole country © Eike Dubois

Convenient: The state is so small that it can be cycled completely around in just one week. The Saarland Cycle Route holds significant natural and cultural treasures along this 350-kilometer route. From Saarbrücken from there, it first leads along historic towpaths along the Saar River in the direction of Saargemünd, and later along the Blies River in the direction of Blieskastel. The small town is a baroque feast for the eyes. On the rest of the route - here counterclockwise - the bike path winds through the beautiful green Ostertal valley. In nearby St. Wendel, it's worth stopping at the late-Gothic Wendalinus Basilica, at the Bostalsee a picnic would be especially nice. Soon you will reach the Peterberg in the southern Black Forest. This expansive panoramic view is a great place to recharge your batteries while other tour highlights await: follow the tracks of the Celts along the ancient ring wall in Otzenhausen. The spectacular classics of the Saarland follow: The view of the picture-perfect Saarschleife, the border triangle, vineyards and wide orchards. A final highlight is the visit to the Völklingen Ironworks, UNESCO World Heritage Site.

3

The Saar Loop Table Tour

The "Saarland Table Tours" are a special variant of the premium hiking trails. Here, scenic hikes are combined with enjoyment, for example on the Saarschleife Tafeltour. The almost 16-kilometer-long circular trail is something for hikers who love stairs and bridges, castles and the finest views. It begins with an ascent along a forest path that leads up to the tree-rich ridge. The first destination of the Saarschleife Panel tour from Mettlach: the medieval castle ruins of Montclair, which is surrounded by the Saar Loop and once served as a perfect sentry over the stream. From here the route descends on serpentines towards the Saar, where there is a small boat adventure: the Saar crossing. To signal the ferryman, simply ring the bell. (Attention, Monday is a day of rest.) Once you have reached the other bank, a hiking paradise begins here, in the Steinbach Valley, under a dense canopy of leaves. Over numerous wooden bridges, steps and stairs - a real fitness check - the route leads on partly steep sections to the crowning highlight: the Cloef lookout point, which provides the best view of the Saarschleife promises. A place to marvel, breathe deeply and enjoy. Romantic paths through the Weselbach Valley finally lead back to the start, back to the St. Lutwinus pilgrimage church in Mettlach. On the way there are nice places to stop, for example at the bistro in Montclair Castle or in the beer garden of the Mettlacher Abtei-Bräu.

4

Wilderness under the starry sky

Very close to the mighty Celtic ring wall at Otzenhausen you can pitch your tents in the wilderness of the Hunsrück-Hochwald National Park © Marcus Simaitis

Who needs the Amazon jungle? Real jungle adventures can also be had in the Hunsrück-Hochwald National Park experience. Where wild cats roam through the undergrowth, 1,400 species of beetles crawl and moor dragonflies buzz, it gets even better: Three wilderness trekking camps are hidden in the national park, which hikers can book. Called "Celtic Camp," "Dragon Camp" and "Wolf Howl," the camps each have two wooden platforms, each with space for two small tents. Here, where Celts built a mighty ring wall more than 2000 years ago and Romans also roamed the countryside, you fall asleep with the spicy scent of the forest, wake up in the dense jungle green. For all camps applies: tents, food, drinks and toilet paper belong in the hiking backpack. Only in the area of the "dragon camp" spring water bubbles, which should be boiled, however. If you like, you can combine the three camps to a trekking tour of several days.

5

Stand-up paddling on the Bostalsee lake

You can glide across the Bostalsee, the largest reservoir in the Saarland, on a SUP. For beginners there are two-hour courses directly at the lake © Kevin Ehm

The Bostalsee, a reservoir in the municipality of Nohfelden in the north of Saarland, offers a wealth of water sports and recreational opportunities. Here you can surf, sail, pedal boat. Don't feel like it? Then stand-up paddle, or SUP for short, is the perfect alternative to glide out onto the lake in a relaxed way. The sport is easy to learn and you can rent the board by the hour. At Bostalsee the Salt Surf School offers two-hour courses. Here, you quickly learn the most important tricks and tricks to skillfully keep your balance. And then it's nice to just drift across the water on your board and enjoy the view of sailboats and green shores.

6

Rock path in the Kirkel forest

Kirkel Round Table
The Kirkel Round Table leads to nature highlights and historical places © Marcus Gloger

Crisscrossing and winding, root-covered paths wind here through one of the largest forest areas in the country: The Kirkel table tour is probably one of the most spectacular hikes in the Saarland. It's less about thrills than about immersion in an almost mystical natural landscape - the trail leads past moss-covered, bizarrely shaped and towering banks of red sandstone, to pulpits with panoramic views and impressive caves. The highlight of the eight-kilometer-long tour is the mysterious Frauenbrunnen, a place surrounded by mighty rocks in the middle of the forest, which is believed to have served as a place of worship for the Celts. And with the ruins of Kirkel Castle, there is another historical site on the way. From the cone-shaped rock, on which the mighty keep from the 13th century is enthroned today, Roman legionaries once kept a watchful eye on the trade route leading through the valley from Inner Gaul to the Upper Rhine.

Cover photo: Recharge your batteries during a break from hiking, which is excellent in the Saarland with a view over the river and the wooded nature © Maxime Coquard

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