When it comes to the sheer variety of scenery on offer, the Goldsteig is hard to beat. Its route through the Upper Palatinate Forest and Bavarian Forest runs through five nature reserves and one national park.
Starting in Marktredwitz, the Goldsteig Trail passes through the Steinwald Forest before continuing to the wild and romantic ruins of Weissenstein Castle and on to Friedenfels. A thousand little lakes line the onward leg to mighty Falkenberg Castle, before the route follows the part gentle, part dramatic Waldnaab valley to the lead crystal town of Neustadt an der Waldnaab. Shortly after Oberviechtach, the Goldsteig Trail divides into two equally attractive routes. Walkers with a good level of fitness should choose the ridge route, which takes them past Furth im Wald, up the Grosser Arber and over the highest peaks of the Bavarian Forest National Park. The alternative option heading south offers glorious alpine panoramas from Mount Pröller, Mount Hirschenstein and Mount Brotjacklriegel. Descending to more level ground, it meets up with the mountain route in Passau, the town on three rivers. For those seeking accommodation, a warm welcome awaits at any one of the ‘Goldsteig-Ge(h)nuss’ accommodation providers.
Tip: ruins of Weissenstein Castle
Weissenstein Castle, now a ruin, was first mentioned in the 13th century. It has been undergoing reconstruction and archaeological examination since 1992. The castle keep affords fine panoramic views of the surrounding region and is accessed via an alarminglooking set of stairs.
At a glance: