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My product (id 1234) has one custom options, called colors. The id of colors is 1234567, its a drop down and it has several options, like yellow, red and black.

Now I am trying to add that product including its custom option "yellow" with id 5678 to the cart, like this:

http://www.whatever.com/index.php/checkout/cart/add?product=1234&qty=1&options[1234567]=5678

This always results in the "There are missing custom options" error in the cart. Why? Whats wrong with my approach?

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it works nicely for me like this:

http://www.whatever.com/index.php/checkout/cart/add/product/{product_id_here}?qty={qty_here}&options[{option_id_here}]={value_here}.

If I replace {value_here} with an id of a custom option value that does not exist, the product still gets added to the cart, but I get an error message that the custom options are missing. Just like you get.
It means that 5678 in your case is not a valid value.
Look in the product page source at the value attribute of the option you are trying to use.

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