Southwest Germany is one of Europe’s greenest regions, with forests, rivers, rolling hills and wildlife galore. Communing with Mother Nature is easy, thanks to the network of well-signposted hiking and biking trails. But the federal state of Baden-Württemberg is also Germany’s sunniest state, with a Mediterranean-like climate on Lake Constance.
The region has attracted holiday makers since Roman times, but today’s travellers have even more reasons to come: the glorious gardens of Mainau and Baden-Baden, the vineyards in Stuttgart and birdwatching on Lake Constance. And, wherever holidaymakers decide to go in Southwest Germany, they will enjoy traditional hospitality, matched by clean and safe accommodation.
Mainau: The Island of Flowers
Spring, summer, autumn and winter: Mainau Island, the botanical garden on Lake Constance, displays nature in all its glory every day of the year. Its Baroque palace is surrounded by parkland dating back to the 18th century; the butterfly house is one of Germany´s largest; the arboretum is studded with many trees that are more than 150 years old; the adventure playgrounds are a must for children. During the Mainau Flower Year, thousand upon thousand tulips, hundreds of rhododendrons, headily-scented roses, perennials and colourful dahlias bloom in the park and formal gardens. Lending the island a Mediterranean charm in the summer months are the palms and citrus plants. Annual highlights include the orchid show, showcasing 3,000 orchids (March 19 to May 2, 2021), the rose display (June to September) and the dahlia display (end of August to October).
Baden-Baden: Clean and green
For centuries, cosmopolitan Baden-Baden has been the jewel in the Black Forest crown, with natural thermal springs and soothing spas, gourmet restaurants and tempting shops. And impressive parks and gardens. The Kurgarten lawns welcome guests to the elegant Kurhaus casino; the 200-year-old Lichtentaler Allee is perfect for promenading under tall chestnut, maple and oak trees, past flower beds and romantic bridges over the River Oos. A world-class rose garden, the "Rose Society Garden", overflows with dozens of varieties.
Stuttgart: SouthWest Germany’s green capital
Set in a natural bowl, Stuttgart is surrounded by hills, forests, orchards and vineyards. And scenic views galore. Head for Karlshöhe ridge, with its popular beer garden and panoramic terrace. Eat delicious cakes in Weissenburg Park’s historic tea room. Overlooking vineyards, the 200-year-old Württemberg Burial Chapel is a starting point for wine-themed hikes. Even the downtown heart of Stuttgart boasts the “Green U”, a U-shaped chain of parks and gardens, stretching for 5 miles/8 kilometres: perfect for relaxed urban walks.
Southwest Germany: A birdwatcher’s paradise
Southwest Germany is a twitcher’s paradise. Lake Constance attracts 300 species during the year; late autumn brings black-throated and red-throated loons; in winter, lapwing, dunlin and curlew are among the 250,000 temporary residents. Spot them on winter tours at the Wollmatinger Ried nature reserve on Reichenau Island. Nearby, Lake Federsee is another highlight. Among the 265 recorded species are marsh harriers and whinchats, bearded tits and noisy grasshopper warblers. Just a hop away from the UK!