There’s a large selection of sports – football, tennis, horse riding, athletics, aerobics, swimming, and an increasing number of international sports like baseball, rugby and even American football.
If you’d like to receive a full list of all the sports clubs in your region, get in touch with your district authorities (Kreisverwaltung) or the sports office in your city. The Landessportbund Hessen can also give you more information on sports clubs across the entire region.
The best way to find a club is to visit the website www.sport-in-hessen.de, where you’ll find a step-by-step guide on how to get involved. Membership fees vary a lot depending on the type of sport, the size of the club and the quality of its facilities. As a general rule, membership costs 100 to 250 EUR a year; students and children often get discounts. There are also special prices for family memberships, which usually work out cheaper than several individual memberships.
As soon as you’ve become a registered member of a German sports team, you should make sure you’re automatically insured by the club in case of injury.
Lots of clubs will let you come down to training and see whether you enjoy yourself before becoming an official member.
Although there are so many clubs offering lots of sports activities, gyms are becoming ever more popular, and you’ll find a large selection of them in Hessen. The main advantages of gyms are their flexible opening hours and modern equipment (sometimes even with a swimming pool and sauna). Most clubs have a minimum membership length of six or even twelve months, but you can usually try out the place for a week before signing a contract. An increasing amount of gyms have women-only areas, and there’s often even a babysitting service on site. The monthly fees range from 15 EUR for a simple gym and up to 100 EUR for luxury fitness clubs. Some gyms in Frankfurt even offer daily passes.
The best way to find a gym in your region is via the homepage www.find-fitness.de/Hessen (in German). Look for a gym that best fits your schedule and budget.
Cycling in Hessen
An extensive network of cycling paths (3,300 km) has been built throughout Hessen over the past few years, taking cyclists past idyllic river valleys with the original Rhön, Odenwald, Vogelsberg and Taunus mountain ranges, and along the Hessian sections of the Eder, Lahntal, Rhine, Main and Werratal cycle paths. There are also numerous regional routes from north to south and west to east. Detailed maps can be purchased at kiosks and from the Hessen Tourism Agency. You can also visit the excellent website www.radroutenplaner.hessen.de (in German). If you’d like to take a longer trip with your bike, Deutsche Bahn offers weekend passes for groups of cyclists.
Germany’s first ever golf course was built by the Englishman R. W. Duff in Bad Homburg in 1893. The golfing tradition is still alive in Hessen to this day. Hessen has the perfect conditions for a round of golf with its idyllic river valleys, lakes and green spaces.
There are currently more than 50 golf courses with over 39,000 golfers in Hessen. Golf has become so popular that some clubs now have a waiting list, while other golf clubs – especially in rural areas – are often on the lookout for new members. You can hire golf equipment almost anywhere. Contact the Hessen Golf Association for more information at www.hessischergolfverband.de (in German) or visit the big German golf portal www.golf.de (in German).
Lots of Germans love to skate, which is why it’s not even unusual to see high-quality inline skates sold in many supermarkets. Every Tuesday evening from April to October, thousands of skaters roll through various regions in Hessen (like Frankfurt and Gießen) to skate together. An average of up to 2,000 people skate their way through the streets. The routes are usually 35 to 42 kilometres in length, and skaters end up back at the starting point at around 23:00. Please note that these events are not suitable for beginners. Tuesday Night Skating (TNS) also organises inline skating tours around Europe. Visit the TNS website www.t-n-s.de (in German) for more information.
The Eissporthalle in Frankfurt’s Ostend has everything winter sports fans could ask for. You can ice skate on two artificial ice rinks with a total area of 9,000 square metres. Entry costs 6 EUR for adults in peak season. If you don’t have your own skating boots, you can hire a pair for 4 EUR.
If you prefer things a little smaller, the Colonel Knight Stadium in Bad Neuheim provides a cosy atmosphere for ice skating under a domed roof. Inline skaters use the ice rink in the summer.
Am Bornheimer Hang 4
Tel.: +49 (0) 69 21239308
Eisstadion Bad Nauheim
Nördlicher Park 25
D–61231 Bad Nauheim
Tel.: +49 (0) 6032 343356
Am Auestadion 1
Tel.: +49 (0) 561 928940
Neuer Botanischer Garten
Tel.: +49 (0) 6421 690910
One of the big running events in Hessen is the annual JPMorgan Corporate Challenge in Frankfurt. The 5-kilometre race attracted over 68,000 participants from almost 3,000 companies in 2012, making it the biggest road race in the world. Participants flock from all over Germany to run through Frankfurt city centre. The event has left behind its modest beginnings with only 700 runners in 1993 to become one of the most important sporting events in Germany.
www.jpmccc.de (in German)
More ambitious runners can take part in the Frankfurt Marathon, which has been held in autumn every year since 1981. It’s the oldest city marathon in Germany and the second biggest in terms of the number of finishers (approx. 15,500 in 2012).
www.bmw-frankfurt-marathon.com (in German)
Hessen is also known for its community running events like the Nordhessencup, a series of 19 different popular running events across North Hessen.
If you’re interested in regular running meets, you should visit the website www.hlv.de (in German).
Walking and hiking
Hessen’s landscape has some wonderful hiking trails, and the Hessen Tourism Service recommends a dozen trails in places like the Taunus, around Fulda and the Bergstraße mountain road. There’s something for everyone – from romantic strollers to adventurous hikers. The trails are usually between 8 and 20 kilometres in length, and some are 800 metres above sea level. Visit https://www.hessen-tourismus.de/en/home/ for a full description of the suggested excursions.
Almost every town in Germany has its own indoor or outdoor swimming pool. These facilities range from family pools to luxurious water parks.
Visit www.schwimmbadverzeichnis.de (in German) to find a swimming pool that meets your needs in Hessen. If you’d rather swim in a more natural environment, Hessen also has lots of bathing lakes to offer. Some of the largest bathing lakes in Hessen include the Diemelsee in Waldeck-Frankenberg, the Twistesee in North-West Hessen, the Edersee, and the Waldsee in Langen to the south of Frankfurt.
Every summer, the world’s biggest IRONMAN qualification brings world-class athletes to the Frankfurt Rhine-Main region. More than 2,300 participants from over 55 nations and around 350,000 spectators make the IRONMAN an international festival. After swimming for 3.8 km in Langen’s Waldsee and then cycling for 180 km, the athletes reach arguably the hardest part of the IRONMAN challenge in Frankfurt city centre: a marathon along the banks of the River Main. Their pain is somewhat compensated by the wonderful atmosphere along the entire route and a breath-taking view of Frankfurt’s skyline. And when the IRONMAN competitors have (almost) finished and enter the final strait along the Römerberg, their exertions are all forgotten at one of the biggest finish line parties in Europe.
Spa resorts, saunas and thermal baths
There’s nothing more relaxing than spending some time in a spa or sauna after a stressful day at work or in the bleak winter months. The tradition of thermal baths originated in Roman times, and the concept of a healthy mind in a healthy body is still flourishing in Hessen. You can find more information about the region’s 32 health resorts and spas at www.hessischer-heilbaederverband.de (in German).
Traditional health resorts have now been joined by an increasing number of spa temples with activities for the whole family. These resorts are being modernised and now offer several attractions under one roof: indoor and outdoor swimming pools, whirlpools, water parks, saunas, spas, thermal baths and more.
Tel.: +49 (0) 6421 - 309784-0
www.marburg.de/aquamar (in German)
Sieben Welten Therme & Spa
Harbacher Weg 66
Tel.: +49 (0) 661 397 800
www.siebenwelten.de (in German)
Aqua Fit Freizeit und Familienbad
D–36251 Bad Hersfeld
Tel.: +49 (0) 6621 7 6496
Europastraße, D–35614 Aßlar
Tel.: +49 (0) 6441 - /807100
www.laguna-asslar.de (in German)
D–61352 Bad Homburg
www.taunus-therme.de (in German)