Bavarian Forest

The Bavarian Forest lies in Eastern Bavaria and borders Austria and the Czech Republic (Bohemia). In an easterly direction, the low mountain range stretches into the Czech Republic where it is referred to as Bohemian Forest. The mountain range also stretches into Upper Austria where it forms the Sau Forest and the Mühlviertel. The Bavarian Forest’s northern part borders the region of Upper Palatinate.

It was only in the 19th century that the name Bavarian Forest was created in order to clearly distinct the region from the Bohemian Forest. It is speculated that this decision was taken in order to attract more tourists to the area. Before then, the region was used be called the Bohemian Forest or “der Woid” (“the forest”) on both sides of the border. The forest’s highest peaks are the Große Arber (1456 metres above sea level) and the Große Rachel (1453m). In 1970, the Bavarian Forest National Park was proclaimed Germany’s first national park. It includes some areas with dense virgin forest. Due to air pollution and Borkenkäfer, large stretches of the spruce high forests which used to dominate that region werewiped out in the mid-fifties of the 20th century. This is why today you find lots of unusual but diverse types of new natural forests in that area – one of the reasons why the park is not only a widely recognized tourism destination, but also serves as a vivid example for nature conservation education, natural science and cultural history.

Tourism is one of the, if not the most important economic source of income for the region. Apart from being a popular destination for hikers and winter sports fans, the Bavarian Forest is also very well known for its many glassblowing factories and wood carving workshops.