Sprawling along the border between Germany and the Czech Republic, the Bavarian Forest is an extensive area of woodland that once covered much of southern Germany. During Roman times it was known as the Hercynian Forest and today extends across the same mountain range as the Bohemian Forest in the Czech Republic. It includes the walking trails of the Bavarian Forest National Park (the first of its kind in Germany), the Bavarian Forest Nature Park and the Eastern Bavarian Forest Nature Park, as well as the ski slopes of the Great Arber.

The forest covers hills composed of granite and gneiss and is divided into two sections by the Pfahl, a sharp quartz ridge that runs along the Regen Valley. Rolling meadows dotted with small hamlets scatter across the valleys, with the higher and steeper sections of the mountains largely uninhabited.

On the northeastern side of the Pfahl lies the dense Hinterer Forest, which includes the Great Arber mountain (1,455 meters). It stands as the highest peak in the Bavarian-Bohemian mountain ridge and is home to one of Germany’s most popular ski resorts.

Be sure to explore the 44-meter-high Tree Top Walk in Neuschonau that features a dramatic, 500-meter-long wooden ramp that leads through the forest canopy and offers a bird’s eye view of the Bavarian Forest. Other attractions not to miss include the Bavarian Forest Museum Village that nestles on the Dreiburgensee lake and the Finsterau Open-Air Museum that exhibits farmhouses from across the Bavarian Forest. Discover the world of the ancient Celts at the Gabreta Celtic village near Ringelai and explore the ruins of Weißenstein Castle and its stunning Gläserner Wald (Glass Forest).