One of the best all-around 4×4 shows in Europe has to be the Abenteuer & Allrad event held annually beginning of June in the Bavarian town of Bad Kissingen, Lower Franconia, Germany. Literally translated as Adventure & All-Wheel-Drive, it boasts some 50,000 visitors with four fields of camping, thus confirming it certainly the largest event on the circuit.
Granted, “Bad Kiss” as it’s known colloquially, does not have the wide open spaces of the tank-training wilderness associated with Sweden’s Villingsberg show, nor a King of the Mountain timed competition featuring Dakar-type racers at Salon Val d’Isere in France, but at least the Allrad event is still running, whereas both the Villingsberg and Val d’Isère shows have now sadly passed into the history books.
Its one major drawback however is the camping area, for it’s not actually attached to the exhibition area. Because of environmental issues, it is situated a few kilometres away. This is such a shame as not all of the campers even make it to the actual showground, this despite Pro Logic (the organisers), laying on an all-day free coach shuttle service. I can’t think of another major show where this occurs, yet still the event goes from strength to strength.
As for the exhibition area itself, one of the event’s great assets is the showground’s compactness. Having stepped off the coach, in one intensive day visitors can see virtually all of the major players in the German 4×4 and overland market, plus a few additions from abroad, plus have the opportunity to ride in Pro Logic’s all-wheel-drive M.A.N. trucks or take passenger rides around Land Rover’s impressive man-made demonstration course; also in recent times, Jeep’s demo track too. A further bonus are the ‘semi-indoor’ areas. Although not completely enclosed, the overhead canopies are a real boon should the weather take a turn for the worse, hence keeping both traders and visitors reasonably dry.
Meanwhile, back at the camping areas … the parties and get-togethers are legendry. Groups of friends, especially the overland community, may only meet up once a year, so take full advantage of the friendly atmosphere the campsite creates. As a Brit, as soon as I open my mouth, I am ‘forced’ to accept a beer off the nearest group. My, it’s a hard life! I think I’ve visited Bad Kiss on about five occasions now, and STILL come back for more … so the organisers must be doing something right.
Yes, for some it can be a long drive reaching the venue (the spa town of Bad Kissingen in located approximately 150 km east of Frankfurt), but for me it’s definitely worth it. May Bad Kiss reign supreme for many more years to come!
For the record … we couldn’t make it in 2015, so these archive photos will have to suffice. They are still relevant after all.