In a country with so many high profile destinations, the Bavarian Forest region of Germany exists in peaceful anonymity. I confess to having no familiarity with any of the place names prior to my visit. The region is undoubtedly beautiful, and planning a hike there is not simply a roll of the dice. The area is overflowing with modest wholesome natural beauty. Comparing the scenery to the Swiss or Austrian Alps would be completely unfair, or judging it on a Franconian-level brewery scale would also not do the Bayerischer Wald any justice. This is a place where the locals know they have a tranquil paradise, and it is just under the radar enough to remain that way. It is the type of place that someone who wants to get off the beaten path can find an adventure that feels all their own.
I am sure there are many amazing hikes in the Bavarian Forest, but there are two that immediately stand out in their cool factor. Both combine a brewery with a notable landmark.
- Adam Bräu and Großer Arber: The Großer Arber is the highest mountain in the Bavarian Forest (1455m)
- Sitter Bräu and the Three Country Point: The point where Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic meet
Beer & Hike: Adam Bräu and Großer Arber
If you want to stay in a town in the Bavarian Forest that exudes an oompah biergarten atmosphere with lederhosen shops and that wood flower box Bavarian charm, then Bodenmais would be the place. The local brewery Adam Bräu is actually more than just a brewery and biergarten. It is a full beer spa hotel. It also makes the perfect launching point for a hike up the region’s tallest mountain. At an 810m ascent, this hike is no slouch. Several of the trails which take a more direct route are essentially a rocky bed of a mountain stream, so good footwear is crucial. The Großer Arber has four peaks. This hike goes to the dramatic Richard Wagner Kopf.
|Total Distance||17.3 km|
|Total Ascent||810 m|
A good place to grab a meal and a beer before the descent is the Chamer Hütte which is between the Großer Arber and the Kleiner Arber.
Beer & Hike: Sitter Bräu to Three Country Point
Sitter Bräu, like Adam Bräu is also part of a beer spa hotel. If you want to bathe in beer, then staying at the oddly named 1. Bier- und Wohlfühlhotel may be for you. Otherwise it makes a pretty cool place to roundtrip a hike to the intersection of Germany, Czech Republic and Austria. For those who want a shorter easier hike, there is a popular parking area (not free) closer to the top. I show the map for both options. The shorter hike does not include the brewery.
Longer Version (from the brewery)
|Total Ascent||610 m|
Shorter Version (from public parking lot)
|Total Ascent||330 m|
The hike to the three country point was the final adventure of my week in Ruhmannsfelden and the Bavarian Forest. Compared to my Beer & Bike Adventures, I can recommend these hikes without any hesitation. All throughout the week, besides chasing the next brewery visit, I was constantly matching wits with the local Schmetterlings who would taunt me every evening in the wild flower garden behind my holiday apartment, fluttering about and never resting on any flower long enough to catch a decent photo. On the final approach of the last hike of the week, Mother Nature decided to reward me for my persistence. There on a flower, wings spread open in glorious orange with lapis lazuli-like blue trim on the bottom, was a Limenitis populi. A Poplar Admiral. My camera focus was suboptimal, but it was the perfect ending to a week of intense biking and hiking, not enough relaxing, and copious amounts of delicious hefeweizen.