Bavaria - The Bavarian Forest

Thoughts of Bavaria conjure up images of Lederhosen, fairytale castles and Alpine peaks. However, the Bavarian Forest, an area rich with culture and traditions, could not be more different.

About this Germany walking region
If you feel like venturing off the beaten track, look no further than the Bavarian Forest; a beautifully wild and unspoilt highland landscape of undulating scenery, colourful wildflower meadows, crystal clear streams, and picturesque lakes, which date back to the Ice Age – all embraced by ancient forests as deep and mystical as you would find in a fairy tale.

There are few quieter, more refreshing places to go walking and to unwind than this deeply traditional region. This area of great natural beauty is a walking destination that is little-known by all but the Germans. It is a gentle region not dominated by vast mountains but caressed by verdant woodlands and hills; stretching as far as the eye can see. Situated close to the Danube valley in southeast Germany, it knows no man-made boundaries and spreads across the borders of the Czech Republic and Austria into much of western and southern Bohemia, forming Central Europe’s largest woodland area.

Much of it is protected, as the Nature Park Bavarian Forest, which spans 3,077 square kilometres (1,188 square miles) and is the largest in the country. This Nature Park contains the National Park Bavarian Forest, a 243 square kilometre (94 square miles) heavily protected area, where nature is left to take its course without human interference. It stretches across the Czech and Austrian borders and seamlessly blends into the much larger Šumava National Park on the Czech Republic side (Bohemian Forest), Germany’s Upper Palatine and the Mühlviertel region in Austria. Together, they form the largest contiguous woodland area in Central Europe – one of the last true wildernesses left in Western Europe.

Nature-lovers will delight in the many walking trails which allow you to observe native creatures such as lynx, deer, wild boar, foxes, otters and badgers. Among the uncommon bird species that live here are the white-backed or three-toed woodpecker and the pygmy owl, Europe’s smallest. The Bavarian Forest, like so many other walking regions in Germany, is very family-friendly, and there are hundreds of walks to choose from, ranging from gentle circuit trails to more challenging, multi-day hikes. The finest walking is generally considered to be in the north, but the entire area with its characteristically dark and dense vegetation offers a number of sublime opportunities.

Walking in Germany – The Bavarian Forest
For an active and peaceful time out: choose a walking holiday in the pristine wooded mountains of Central Europe’s largest forest. A paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and lovers of nature, the Bavarian Forest is criss-crossed by hundreds of kilometres of superbly marked walking trails. The hills and mountains of the Bavarian Forest are fairly modest and so the walking is relatively gentle. The highest mountains in the region are Mt. Arber (1,456m/4,777ft) followed by Mt. Rachel, Mt. Lusen, Mt. Falkenstein and Mt. Dreisessel (1,300m/4,256ft–1,450m/4,757ft).

Deggendorfer Land

Between the Danube and Europe’s green roof; the Bavarian Forest ● Delve a little deeper into the history and culture of an area well away from the traditional tourist routes ● Forested slopes, woody valleys and miles and miles of gentle walking trails ● All about apples! ● Beer and baroque in the medieval town of Deggendorf.

European Borderlands

The fascinating borderlands of Austria and the Czech Republic ● Beautifully wild places to get away from the crowds ● A day trip not to be missed: UNESCO World Heritage site Cesky Krumlov, Southern Bohemia ● Mt. Dreisessel (1,332m/4,370ft) ● Exciting cross-border hiking trails ● Undiscovered by mass tourism.

Mt. Arber Region

The highest peak in the Bavarian Forest region (Mt. Grosser Arber – 1,456m/4,777ft) ● Wild frontier nature at the Czech border ● Don’t miss the impressive ‘Haus zur Wildnis’ (House of Wilderness) national park information centre ● Gorges, waterfalls and the romantic lakes Grosser Arbersee and Kleiner Arbersee.

Passauer Land

Close to the Austrian border ● Sample the charms of the ancient ‘three-river-city’ of Passau ● Special tip: nature-sanctuary ‘Halser Ilzschleifen’ ● Delightful countryside with plenty of rambling and walking trails ● Wooded hills and scenic beauty in the North; rural idyll and a paradise for nature lovers in the South.

Rachel-Lusen Region

The very heart of the Bavarian Forest National Park ● 200 kilometres (124 miles) of walking trails ● Mt. Rachel and Mt. Lusen rising up between 1,373 and 1,453 metres (4,505 feet to 4,767 feet) ● Exciting 1,300 metre-long (0.8 miles) tree top walk ● See bear, wolf and lynx in their natural habitat at the park’s visitor centre.


Travel Information

Best time for a walking holiday...
May to October

Fly to...
Munich (DE), Linz (AT), Prague (CZ), Salzburg (AT), Nuremberg (DE)

Germany Walking Regions