Salt sumpters once transported 'white gold' along this route from the river Danube over to Bohemia. Today, the Goldsteig Trail leads walkers through a national park and five nature reserves.
Starting from the edge of the Fichtelgebirge mountains, the Goldsteig Trail scales the high ridges of the Steinwald forest and then heads down to the wild and romantic ruins of Weissenstein Castle on its way 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. Shortly after Oberviechtach, the Goldsteig Trail divides into two equally attractive routes. Walkers with a good level of fitness should choose the 'mountain route', which takes them past Furth im Wald, up the Grosser Arber and through 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 of three rivers. In the Upper Palatinate section of the Goldsteig Trail, walkers can visit local taverns serving hearty snacks and the bottom-fermented zoigl beer, which is brewed in only a few locations.
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 alarming-looking set of stairs.
At a glance