Moated palace
Moated palace ©Dietrich Förster

Franconian Forest Nature Park – historical castles and enchanted valleys

In northern Bavaria on the verdant border with Thuringia lies the Franconian Forest Nature Park, a highlands area of sweeping views, flower-filled valley meadows and magnificent castles.

The Franconian Forest is a large continuous area of woodland containing meadow valleys and mountain ridges rich in biodiversity. The history of this landscape can be felt today in a variety of ways, from trips to fabled castles to rafting tours on the river. Educational trails provide insights into the highland scenery and form part of a well-signposted network of walking routes running right through the reserve. From the old town of Kronach with its mighty medieval fortress, to the ruins of Lichtenberg Castle high up in the mountains, there are is a range of attractions worth visiting, some of them offering excellent culinary opportunities as well. Cycling and mountain biking trails, after a short initial climb, offer lovely descents, including through the area known as the Green Belt, the conservation area within what used to be the border zone between East and West Germany. On the Rennsteig, a historical ridgeway, skilled trades and other activities provide an insight into the culture and industry of the area. Also well worth visiting is the German Steam Locomotive Museum (DDM), which offers an educational trail along the stretch of railway known as Schiefe Ebene. In the Franconian Forest Nature Park, visitors can look forward to beautiful tranquil scenery and traditional towns and villages – and an insight into German history and culture.

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