Kayaking holiday in Germany: Top 5 rivers for a kayak road trip

Jul 05, 2013 BY Paul McWilliams

Germany has a combined waterway network of about 40,000 kilometres, 25,000 of which is accessible to canoeists and kayakers all year round. Meaning a kayaking holiday in Germany is perfect for those that like to explore on the water.

From the flat northern part that’s littered with lakes and canals, to the industrial western Rhineland and mountainous south, a kayaking holiday in Germany is as varied as it is beautiful. Move from river to river, through changing landscapes, using the famously efficient public transport system or take the car for the ultimate kayaking road trip.

With so much water to choose from, the only hard part is knowing where to start. That’s why we’ve compiled a top 5 of the best rivers for kayaking. Of course, there are plenty more, but these will make a great place to start. Using buses, trains and the legendary autobahn you could even combine the lot in one trip.

Canoe on the Danube

The second biggest river in Europe, the mighty Danube rises in the Black Forest and flows through Passau and much of southern Germany. Rent kayaks in Kelheim and go in the autumn to experience the incredible colours of the trees. It’s a huge river so expect wide and flat sections. Just think that the water you’re on passes through some of Europe’s greatest and grandest cities as it makes it’s way across the continent to the Black Sea.

Kayaking holiday in Germany flickr image by dfbphotos

Go underground on the Altmühl

A flat and relatively small river, the Altmühl offers the only way to cross the watershed between the Rhineland and the Danube, making it a great way to connect the two. There’s also a unique underground tunnel section that was artificially constructed to supply the Rhine-Daunbe canal. Not for the easily spooked.

Experience the wild Gutach

Back in the Black Forest, if you fancy something a little rougher after your calm Danube experience, then try the Gutach. It’s a side valley of the larger Kinzig, where the Black Forest railway runs. It’s fast flowing, narrow and tough, perfect if you’re looking for a little thrill on your kayaking holiday in Germany. It’s also a nice little challenge for any kayak road trip.

Kayaking in Germany flickr image by SidPix

Take it easy on the Weser

This river runs along the edge of the Harz Mountains and deep into rural Germany. There is some stunning scenery along the way and you get to enjoy the delights of traditional towns such as Rinteln and Hameln. The water may be flat but it’s fast so you need to take care. It’s 440km from where the Weser is formed at Hann Mulden to the coast at Bremerhaven,  so enjoy as much or as little as you like. With good transport links along the way you can get on and off as you please.

Beware the Werra

Start at Meiningen and paddle downstream to Eschwege, a total distance of 170 kilometres for the complete experience. The Werra starts as a small, winding river and downstream there are plenty of weirs to keep things interesting. As the river opens out, there is some beautiful rolling hills and forest to enjoy in this central German landscape.

Travel by train, bus or even bike it on your kayaking holiday in Germany. Plan your route or play it by ear, you’re never far from some great kayaking in Germany. Check out http://www.goeuro.co.uk for more information about how to get around Germany and the rest of Europe.

Black Forest, Black Sea, Bremerhaven, Danube, Europe, Germany, Gutach, Harz Mountains, Kelheim, Kinzig River, Passau, Rhine River
Hann Mulden, Motorway (Autobahn)
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