• What’s Tramprennen?

Tramprennen is an annual two-week hitchhiking event that has been taking place in August since 2008, where between 50 and 150 adventurous individuals travel across Europe relying solely on the power of their thumbs. The essence of Tramprennen can be described through the following aspects:

The race

Anyone who has hitchhiked before knows the incredible experiences that this form of travel brings. It becomes even more exciting when you’re no longer standing alone on the roadside but surrounded by many others who share the same destination and aim to get there faster than you. It’s an opportunity for individuals to show off their true hitchhiking skills (and it’s definitely not just luck!). Some teams, initially without much ambition, may suddenly find themselves driven by competitiveness as they discover they’re leading after the first stages. However, even outside the competition, it’s incredibly fun to overtake each other, wave, meet and split off again, only to arrive hours apart in the end. It’s also a unique experience to be the last team to arrive and be celebrated by everyone. Of course, it’s also possible to decide to abandon the race for a while and go for sightseeing or a meal, which may sound more tempting than sticking to the route without any detours. Which brings us to the next aspects…


Unlike most other hitchhiking races, Tramprennen is primarily a group journey, and for many participants, this aspect becomes more important than the race rankings. The teams are not primarily traveling alone, and encounters with others don’t just happen at the starting and finishing line. There is ample time spent together as a group, getting to know each other better. Whether it’s during rest days with many people, being stuck together with other teams at a gas station, or hitching a ride together with three teams, it’s always cool to see how the group grows closer as we approach the final destination, through shared discoveries, parties, and sometimes even facing situations that may push us to our limits. Tramprennen allows us to meet many new people and share an intense period of time together. As a result, you have various welcoming hosts in different cities for future visits.


Tramprennen is not a pre-arranged journey. Instead, during the race, the group organizes itself primarily through grassroots democracy. It can be challenging at times, but it also offers the opportunity to find decisions that satisfy everyone and to further strengthen the group dynamic. It’s important that decisions are supported by everyone for the journey to function as a collective experience. Additionally, self-organization provides a great opportunity to practice decision-making in a self-determined manner.

Culture & encounters

During Tramprennen, we travel through different regions, make stops at various places, and meet all kinds of people. Whether they are drivers or people at gas stations, they can be locals, tourists, or fellow travelers. A significant part of Tramprennen is wandering around with open eyes and ears, listening to other people’s stories, engaging in conversations, and being open to new experiences. Along the way, we often encounter interesting little stories and adventures that we gladly share with each other at the end of the day. At the same time, we have the opportunity to advocate for what is important to us: friendship, transcultural exchange, and social engagement – which already touches on a next central aspect of Tramprennen that ist presented further down. And of course, it’s the most beautiful way of traveling: hitchhiking. Our actions aim to establish alternative hitchhiking as a useful, valuable, and socially recognized form of travel. It’s precisely hitchhiking, based on spontaneity and chance, that creates a sense of freedom and enables all these encounters. Additionally, in the best-case scenario, there will be one less car on the road.


Despite often receiving incredulous questions from people in our circle of acquaintances, asking if we willingly spend our annual vacation hours standing on hot and dusty roads, the answer is yes! In any case, we are still on vacation, so Tramprennen should also provide space for relaxation.

Political stance

Another crucial pillar of Tramprennen is our political beliefs. Tramprennen takes a clear stand against any form of racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and similar attitudes. We are against all forms of discrimination! This is important in our interactions with all individuals participating in Tramprennen, whether they are hitchhikers, drivers, sponsors, or encountered during the journey. We strive to continuously reflect on our own role in different dimensions and are aware of the privileges that enable such a trip for us.


As part of Tramprennen, we collect donations every year and seek to raise awareness for social projects and organizations whose goals align with ours. In the spirit of a sponsored run, which some may remember from school, where the entire school would do laps in parks to generate donations based on the distance covered, our route is just a bit longer and takes a different approach. In the past, we have supported organizations such as Viva con Agua, Pro Asyl, the Latvian women’s rights and aid organization centrs marta, Sea-Watch, Cadus and currently ROSA, collecting more than €130,000 in donations overall.

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