The biosphere reserve straddling the German-French border is marked by diverse mixed forests, towering rocks and romantic castle ruins – and the contrast between miles of forest and the open spaces of the winegrowing country.
The region is characterised by chestnut trees, light-filled pine forests, imposing sandstone cliffs and a wide range of plant and animal species, all of which attract thousands of tourists to the Palatinate Forest every year. Home to lynxes, wildcats and peregrine falcons, the forest is the largest single expanse of woodland in Germany. And with nearly 150 castles and ruins, the area is also testimony to Germany's historic past. On the eastern side of the mountains, vineyards lend the reserve a mediterranean air together with the picturesque winegrowing villages, the fruit and almond trees and the forest borders populated with chestnut trees. Figs, kiwis and even lemons can all be grown here thanks to the temperate climate. A dense and well-signposted network of trails with over 1,000km of quality-certified routes is the best way of appreciating the forest on foot (not forgetting, of course, to stop off at one of the many places offering regional food and drink). Climbers will find plenty to occupy them on the red sandstone formations of the Wasgau hill range, and there is a designated park for mountain bikers with a huge choice of signposted routes, downhill tracks and technical trails. And if you want to spend a night under the stars, the Palatinate Forest campsites offer an ideal place to pitch a tent and gather around a camp fire.