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Bavarian Forest National Park - an endless forest wilderness

The Bavarian Forest National Park in south-eastern Germany became the country's first national park in 1970. It was extended to its present total of 243 square kilometres in 1997. Together with the ¦umava (Bohemian Forest) National Park adjoining it to the east, it is the largest contiguous area of protected forest in central Europe. The Bavarian Forest National Park philosophy is to leave nature to its own devices. It is the only place in Europe where such vast swathes of nature are left to develop freely according to their own eternal rhythm.

Visitors are warmly welcomed and invited to experience the fascinating process of an ever-evolving forest wilderness at close hand. Discovering this unspoilt highland landscape, 95 per cent of which is covered by forest, is a magical experience. Mountain peaks offer breathtaking panoramic views of the seemingly endless forests near the Bavarian/Bohemian border. The Bavarian Forest National Park can also boast moorland shrouded in mystery, crystal-clear mountain streams and Lake Rachelsee, the park's only glacial lake.

The region's wildlife has to contend with a rather harsh climate with continental overtones, long, snowy winters and substantial differences in altitude (600 metres to 1,453 metres). In addition to the eagle owl, Ural owl and raven, which have been successfully reintroduced, the indigenous species include otters, capercaillies, hazel grouse, pygmy owls and three-toed woodpeckers.

A network of over 300km of clearly marked footpaths, almost 200km of cycle routes and around 80km of cross-country ski runs offers visitors plenty of opportunity to enjoy the beauties of the national park in summer and in winter. There are also various educational and leisure facilities for visitors to use free of charge. For example the Hans Eisenmann Haus information centre near Neuschönau has outdoor areas where visitors can find out about plants and rocks, an animal enclosure, a wide choice of trails, a rock exploration area and an outdoor forest history section - perfect preparation enabling visitors to fully appreciate the features of the national park.

  • Watzlik-Hain trail
  • Schachten & Filze trail
  • Rock exploration area
  • St. Oswald Museum
Wide range of guided tours free of charge. Every day from Christmas onwards, all year until the beginning of November: guided tours free of charge for families and children on nature themes depending on the season. The forest play area and nature trail, the young people's forest hostel and the wilderness camp on Mount Falkenstein, the only one of its kind in Europe, offer children and young people an unforgettable experience in the natural wilderness of the Bavarian Forest National Park.