If you love glass, this is the route of routes because here you will see the stuff of your dreams. Today there are very few regions left where this ancient craft is practised so creatively, although the glassmaking process has remained essentially unchanged since the glassmaker's pipe was discovered some 2,000 years ago. Things really hot up when you visit the glassworks along this route because it takes an incredible 1,500 degrees to turn quartz sand, soda and chalk into a crystal work of art. At some glassworks you can watch the glass being made and everywhere there are glass shows, exhibitions and classes. Because the ancient craft of glassmaking has still not been replicated by machine, the mouth-blown tradition has been carefully preserved and is still alive and well in many towns and villages. The Glass Route is a relatively new tourist route with a marvellous backdrop: a sea of spruce and beech trees with wild flowers, the largest single expanse of mountainous woodland in central Europe. On your way between Europe's 'lead crystal capital' and the Passau Glass Museum, you'll come across a whole range of famous international glass manufacturers. Many glass studios have large showrooms where you can admire and purchase a wide range of glassware.