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Best foot forward!

Never mind the nudies….going barefoot is all the rage at the moment, over here and over there.

London’s Kew Gardens is at the forefront of all things natural and organic, particularly their new Barefoot Walk in the arboretum. Taking your shoes of and experiencing nature’s offerings underfoot. That surely is a novel idea, isn’t it?

Well, not quite. Germany is – guess what – one step ahead of us. It has been offering ‘Barfusspfade’ for many decades and in many parts of the country.

Take the barefoot walk near Bad Sobernheim, a spa resort and wine-growing town which is approximately 100km west of Frankfurt. The walk has been around since 1921 and its 3.5km long path offers clay, grass, bark, stones and a ford through the river Nahe. Take some spare clothes because the particularly messy clay pool is good fun. And after this stimulating walk on the wild side there’s plenty of space to relax in the adjacent Nahegarten where coffee and cake (and beer, and wine!) are never far away.

Another perfect place to dig your heels in is the barefoot path near Bad Orb, another spa town some 60km the other side of Frankfurt, which – at 4.5km – claims to be the longest in Germany. It leads you through meadows, forests, water and wooden planks. Young children, in particular, love this real-life ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ experience!

And then there’s the real deal in the Kurpark of Bad Wörishofen, which is 80km west of Munich. The first of 23 stations of this 1.5km long path is a ‘Kneippanlage’, inspired by the priest Sebastian Kneipp who lived and worked here in the 19th century. He founded a hydrotherapy cure that involves wading through water of various temperatures which is still followed in many German spas today. Highlight of the round trip in Bad Wörishofen is a large labyrinth carpeted in different textures, but the Kurpark has other input for the senses, too: there’s a spacious aviary, a beach complete with palm trees and hammocks, a tea pavilion as well as a herb and “smelly” garden to complete the experience.

There’s a good chance you’ll fall heels over head in love with the barefoot paths in Germany.



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