Encountering wild animals, battling the elements, seeing what's going on underground: you'll remember these excursions into the green, dark and blue for a long time to come.
Table of contents
1. On the trail of the wolves: with the ranger through the Bavarian Forest
2. Dinosaurs and Archaeopteryx: Fossil hunt in the Altmühl Valley
3. Off to the rally: the mooseum in Bächingen
4. Of gorges and smugglers: hiking tour in Oberreute
5. Visit to Tarzan's realm: Tree top walk Steigerwald in Ebrach
6. Seventy meters underground: the cave tour and the largest stalactite
7. 5000 year old natural monument: healing water at the growing rock near Usterling
8. Animal company on the Goldsteig: Hike with alpacas
9. Adventure boat trip on Lake Chiemsee: Into the delta of the Tyrolean Achen
10. Everything in the river: gliding across the Inn with the giant SUP
11. Between frogs and moors: Bremental peat experience trail in Jettingen-Scheppach
12. Bike tour for the whole family: The Räuber-Kneißl bike trail
The Bavarian Forest is the largest forest landscape in Central Europe. The view, experience and knowledge of a ranger make a tour through the primeval forest an unforgettable experience.
With a lot of luck, you can discover not only rare plants and birds such as the hawk owl, black stork and peregrine falcon, but also wild animals such as brown bears, lynxes and wolves. Many hiking and biking trails also lead through the parks.
The Altmühltal Nature Park is home to the ancient bird Archaeopteryx and many other prehistoric creatures such as dinosaurs, predatory fish and ammonites. Fossils of 900 different species of animals and plants have been discovered here - all around 150 million years old.
The Altmühltal Nature Park is located in the middle of Bavaria.
This is how you get to Solnhofen by train: Plan arrival.
Five quarries and collection points invite visitors to tap out million-year-old treasures from the fossil-rich rock layers. Anyone can find fossils among the Solnhofen slabs here. Another highlight is the Dinosaur Museum with its 1.5-kilometer forest trail and 70 life-size replicas of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. Some are so huge that they tower above the treetops.
It gets boring in the mooseumAfter all, a moss rally leads through the exhibition. It deals with the habitats in the Swabian Danube Valley, its lowland moor and reed landscape.
Bächingen is located northeast of Ulm in the Donauried - on the edge of the Swabian Alb.
This is how you get to Bächingen by train and bus: Plan arrival.
Discover, play, marvel - and all that with audio guide or app, with information panels and hands-on stations. The permanent exhibition at the mooseum is fun - and there's even more outside the door. There is the Danube playground, a wetland biotope and a sensory garden. Extra tip: Take a quiz tour along the Brenz River; information is available at the mooseum.
There is a rustling in the bushes - a smuggler? The "Border Trail" leads through meadows and forests, winds over hills and through gorges and crosses streams and moors. In the past, goods were smuggled here, duty unpaid, across the green border to Vorarlberg. Today the path is an adventure trail with telescopes, forest hammocks and waterfalls.
Smuggler Peter" shows children how they have to understand the signs of nature and sharpen their senses to get through the mountains unobserved. In the process, they discover life-size animal figures in the undergrowth, find a treasure chest that must be cracked open, and catch the voices of the treetops with an ear trumpet. Meanwhile, adults can gain knowledge about nature or enjoy the peace and quiet on sky lookout benches and forest hammocks.
42 meters up through the branches: Tarzan, Jane, squirrels and birds know how exciting it is at the very top of the treetops. The one-kilometer-long wooden walkway leads up there, winding through all the levels of the forest and ending at a dizzying height in an observation tower.
The ascent through the goblet-shaped tower made of wood is an adventure in itself. Unusual perspectives in the different floors of the forest show completely new facets of plants and animals. The highlight is the panoramic view over the treetops and the expanse of the Steigerwald. The treetop path is barrier-free - families with baby carriages, people with walking difficulties and wheelchair users can also reach the lofty heights without any problems. At the exit there is a petting zoo with goats and rabbits.
Over a distance of 20 kilometers, 30 caves are hidden in the rocky wilderness: When Wilma and Fred Feuerstein explore the Cave circuit in the Hirschbach valley they would have settled here.
In the 1.2 kilometer long Maximilian Grotto bizarre stalactites have formed, including Germany's largest stalactite.
The cave circuit runs through the Hirschbach Valley in Franconian Switzerland, and the Maximilian Grotto in Neuhaus an der Pegnitz is located in the Nuremberg region.
This is how you get to Neuhaus an der Pegnitz by train: Plan arrival.
Pack a flashlight, put on old clothes and sturdy shoes: Climbing into a cave means thrills! The Maximiliansgrotte leads 70 meters into the depth. In the middle of it lies the eerily illuminated Leißner Cathedral, which gets a few rays of sunlight through a wind hole.
This growing rock is a rarity in Bavaria's most beautiful geotope: The Karst formations near Usterling has expanded over the past 5000 years to a length of 40 meters and a height of 5 meters. Steinerne Rinne is also the name of the growing rock, which is the largest of its kind in Germany.
Usterling is a district of Landau an der Isar in the district of Dingolfing. A tip for cyclists: The geotope is located directly on the Isar cycle path.
This is how you get to Landau an der Isar by train: Plan arrival.
The growing rock is covered with moss and looks like the board root of a rainforest giant. The fairy-tale surroundings exerted a magical attraction on people as long as 500 years ago. The spring that runs over the rock is considered healing water for eye diseases and was also used as baptismal water, which is why the stone is also called "St. John's Rock".
They have googly eyes, fluffy fur, are quiet, peaceful, gentle and sensitive: six alpacas live on the Simmernhof farm and are allowed to lead guests on a one-and-a-half-hour hike on the Goldsteig, Germany's longest quality hiking trail.
A Hiking tour with alpacas calms and decelerates. The leisurely walking pace of the Andean camels transfers to people. Children love the cute animals and are proud when they are allowed to lead them. Through the attention of the alpacas, the whole family discovers new details in nature.
The nature adventure tour starts at the steam pier in Übersee-Feldwies on the southern shore of Lake Chiemsee in the district of Traunstein.
This is how you get overseas by train: Plan arrival.
A boat trip on Lake Chiemsee is already an experience because of the scenery - in the lake the famous castle island of Herrenchiemsee and the Fraueninsel, in front of it the Bavarian mountains. The knowledge about the history of the formation of the Bavarian Sea during the last ice age allows a completely different perspective on nature. To this end, tour participants are also allowed to use nets and binoculars to examine the underwater and bird life in the delta's nature reserve for themselves.
River hiking with adrenaline: A SUP, a stand-up paddleboard, sounds like a wobbly affair. But what happens on a Big-SUP, on which eight people can stand and paddle? The guided Big SUP tour on the Inn is an adventure. SUP experience is not required. But you should be able to swim.
Children from the age of eight can paddle along on the giant SUP. Those who already have experience in "souping" can also take a more sporty approach to the tour and go on a one-man stand-up paddleboard or one-man kayak. The wild nature on the banks of the Alpine river and its dark green water make the river hike a splashing experience.
What is a "Schapfe", what does a "Pflatsche"? What these tools unearthed, used to warm people in farmhouses: Peat. Where the black, fibrous mass comes from is shown by the Peat experience trail and guides playfully through nature, culture and history of the Bremen Valley. The old peat cutting craft is demonstrated. And those who dare to enter the pit may cut a piece of peat from the moorland.
Adi the stork is always with you on the Peat Experience Trail. The mascot sometimes hides in the reeds of a marsh, or he hops over a plank path and makes sure that even small children have fun. There are insects, birds, frogs, fish and plants to discover everywhere. An observation tower and a bread hut invite you to take a break. The trail is two kilometers long and passable with a stroller.
Mathias Kneißl, better known as the robber Kneißl, has been a kind of folk hero in Bavaria since his controversial execution at the age of 27 in 1902: The newly opened theme trail Räuber-Kneißl cycle path travels along the stations of his life, which were marked by poverty, flight, persecution, crime and drama. Information panels provide interesting facts about the area and interesting facts about the robber legend.
The bike path leads through seven communities in the Dachau region in the west of Munich: Bergkirchen, Gröbenzell, Karlsfeld, Maisach, Odelzhausen, Paffenhofen an der Glonn and Sulzemoos.
This is how you get to Sulzemoos by train and bus: Plan arrival.
The route, which is 110 kilometers long in total and family-friendly, is divided into four sections with distances of 23 to 30 kilometers each, and is equipped with five e-bike charging stations and several rest areas. Entrances are also possible from S-Bahn stations and the two camping sites. Cycling maps are available free of charge at local town halls, by e-mail or as a download from the website.
Cover photo: Knock and find: Fossil hunt in the Almühltal Nature Park © Altmühltal Nature Park/Dietmar Denger
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