Outdoor Activities

Summer Students Explore Hessen via Kayak

#1 Summer Students Explore Hessen via Kayak

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The major rivers and scenic waterways that cut through Hessen provide ample opportunity for kayaking, canoeing, rowing, or other water sports. There are plenty of local or university clubs to enjoy the water while meeting new people. The Hessen International Summer Universities (Hessen:ISUs) offer a comprehensive program of cultural and recreational activities to balance out the intense academic program. In this picture, international students at the Justus Liebig University of Giessen take a break from coursework on intellectual property law and the business of biotech. Photo copyright: ISU Giessen

Discovering Vineyards with a View

#2 Discovering Vineyards with a View

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Vineyards and castles dot the hills surrounding the Rhine River and other parts of Hessen, providing ample opportunities to explore by foot, car, or bike. Well-marked trails and plenty of places to stop for refreshment of all sorts make wine country outings a popular weekend activity, and the close proximity of historical architecture and world-class wineries satisfy both history buffs and wine lovers. The wine trade at Castle Vollrads, pictured above, dates back to the 13th century, making this vineyard one of the oldest in the world. Photo copyright: http://www.schlossvollrads.de/

Serious Runners Take on Frankfurt Marathon

#3 Serious Runners Take on Frankfurt Marathon

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Runners in Hessen take advantage of trails alongside rivers and gently sloping hills that wind their way throughout the state. It’s easy to find solitude in parks, on country roads, or pathways through dense forests. For more sociable runners, opportunities to meet like-minded individuals in clubs abound both within the university and in most cities and towns. Photo copyright: Keute, Jochen/GNTB

A Leisurely Boat Ride on the Rhine River

#4 A Leisurely Boat Ride on the Rhine River

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The Rhine River stretches from the Swiss Alps through Germany and the Netherlands to the North Sea, making up parts of the borders with Luxembourg and France. The area surrounding the river in Hessen is known primarily by its official wine region name of Rheingau and is part of the Rhine Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Boat rides for an afternoon, a day, or much longer are popular for tourists and locals alike. Photo copyright: ISU Giessen

North Hessen’s Popular National Park

#5 North Hessen’s Popular National Park

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The Kellerwald-Edersee National Park stretches across over 15,000 acres, with plenty of opportunities for hiking, camping, or exploring the flora and fauna of one of the last remaining unbroken stretches of deciduous forest in Europe. Hikers can tackle the low-lying mountains on numerous trails, from relaxed afternoon jaunts to the 93-mile roundtrip Kellerwaldstieg. Water lovers can go fishing, canoeing, sailing, surfing, scuba diving, or rent a boat at the Edersee Lake at the northern end of the park, pictured above. Photo credi: cognitio (www.cognitio.de)

From City to Country in the Blink of an Eye

#6 From City to Country in the Blink of an Eye

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One of the greatest surprises for visitors in Hessen is how quick and easy it is to get into the countryside. A 15-minute drive from most of Hessen’s cities and villages leads to rural areas with all sorts of recreational opportunities. Even without a car, a comprehensive public transportation network can bring nature-lovers into the country with ease. Bikes are allowed on almost all trains and buses, so it’s just as easy for bikers to hit the trails while maintaining their low carbon footprint. Photo copyright: cognitio (www.cognitio.de)

Get on the Field – or into a Stadium Seat!

#7 Get on the Field – or into a Stadium Seat!

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Soccer (or “football” as it’s known in Europe) is the most popular sport in Germany in terms of spectators and league players. The nearly 7 million members of the German Football Association play in over 25,000 clubs across the country – Hessen alone has over half a million active members. It’s not difficult to find a pickup game or join a team, although watching Eintracht Frankfurt do battle against their Bundesliga counterparts from the comfort of a stadium seat is also a true cultural experience that requires far less exertion. Photo copyright: ISU Kassel

Warm Up at a Busy Christmas Market

#8 Warm Up at a Busy Christmas Market

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From the end of November until Christmas Eve, traditional German Christmas markets spring up across Hessen. Visitors from around the world come to enjoy the uniquely festive atmosphere, browse through stall after stall of traditional and modern handicrafts, or get a bite to eat. Families and friends gather throughout the season to catch up – and warm up – with a steaming glass of mulled wine or the non-alcoholic Kinderpunsch. Photo copyright: Tourismus+Congress GmbH Frankfurt am Main