River Snorkeling in Germany – Under The Pegnitz
If you hear the word snorkeling, you’ll probably imagine a tropical destination with a clear blue sea and coral gardens teaming with fish. But there are many other snorkeling locations around the world just as interesting, and Germany has its own secret underwater world just waiting to be discovered.
Located in Bavaria, Franconia (also called Frankenland) is famous for its wide open natural spaces, dreamy towns, historical cities, health spas and resorts. The region is also characterised by its culture and language, being closely associated with the East Franconian dialect, locally referred to as “fränkisch”.
Meandering through the pretty, timber framed villages that are to be found in the region, is the Pegnitz river and home to a very unique outdoor activity – river snorkeling. A far safer pursuit than careening down a mountainside on skis or a snowboard, river snorkeling offers a great opportunity to experience an entirely different world under the surface.
At just over 100km in length, the Pegnitz offers numerous opportunities to snorkel, but one of the most popular locations is the village of Velden situated on the river. With a population of around 1,800 Velden is dominated by steep, tree-filled cliffs, making it a population destination for climbers and cavers.
Lower down, the river offers an opportunity to enjoy kayaking and canoeing, but there is one particular business which visitors to the area may be very surprised to find – a diving center. Divesector in Velden offers organised snorkeling tours of the Pegnitz, with a 40 minute underwater tour costing around €25 per person which includes snorkel and wetsuit hire (the water can be a very refreshing 14 degrees Celsius even in summer!). The Center also features a well-stocked shop and offers specialist scuba dive training which usually take place in nearby lakes.
While there may be no tropical fish or colorful coral, there is still plenty of marine life and aquatic creatures to be seen (especially trout), interesting geology, plants and even the occasional sunken treasure! The bridges on the Pegnitz are well known to be hotspots for finding bits of pottery and ceramics.
How to get there: Via the A9, exit Hormersdorf. In Hormersdorf turn left in the direction of Velden, turn left again into Rupprechtstegen and continue along the St2162 along the Pegnitz to Velden. The diving center is located directly on the market square.
Accommodation: In Velden, there are numerous accommodation options including guesthouses and holiday homes, and all at fairly reasonable prices (often under 30 euros for one night including breakfast). Several addresses can be found at www.velden.de (click »Gastgeber« under »Tourismus« in the left menu).