Hiking, Cycling, and Canoeing in the Bavarian Upper Palatinate
The Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate) is a haven for outdoor adventures with hiking and cycling popular in the Oberpfälzer Wald (forest) and canoeing on the Naab and Vils rivers.
Visitors to the Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate) in Bavaria can enjoy endless outdoor activities. The area is largely forested and rural with very few large towns. Although these towns have some Baroque gems, the lure of the outdoors is always foremost when visiting the Upper Palatinate.
Several Oberpfälzer towns offer guided town walks while the countryside is ideal for hiking too. Hiking and cycling are particularly popular in the Oberpfälzer Wald / Upper Palatinate Forest as well as next to rivers such as the Naab and its very numerous tributaries. The Naab and the Vils rivers are also ideal for canoeing.
Town Walks in the Oberpfalz, Germany
The tourist office in Amberg offers guided town walks from April to October on Saturday at 10 am and Sunday at 2:30 pm. Special theme walks are conducted in the same period on most Wednesdays at 5 pm.
The tourist office in Weiden conducts 90-minute town walks on Saturday at 10 am from mid-April to October.
Countryside Hikes in the Oberpfalz, Germany
Several long-distance hiking routes pass through the Oberpfalz. One of the most famous is the Goldene Straße (Golden Road). It follows the route Kaiser Karl IV (1346-1378) created to connect Prague and Nürnberg (Nuremberg) mostly through areas under his direct control. Karl IV used the route himself at least 52 times on his travels to Nürnberg. From where the Goldene Straße (Golden Road) enters Germany, it is 150 km/93 miles via Weiden to Nürnberg.
From Waldsassen, the Walderlebnispfad (Forest Experience Route), a 3.6-km/2.2-mile circular route, goes through the forest outside the town. The route offers fine views of the region and the basilica. The path goes through a quiet forest and is very suitable for smaller children too. A 6-km/3.7-mile circular route leads to Kappl and back to Waldsassen. Half the route is through a forest and the rest is on dedicated hiking paths.
Cycling in the Oberpfalz, Germany
The Oberpfalz has a number of long-distance cycling routes with the routes in the Naab and its side valleys particularly popular.
- The Naabtal-Radweg (Naab Valley Cycling Route) is an easy 100-km/62-mile route closely following the Naab from Luhe-Wildenau to Regensburg.
- The Waldnaabtal-Radweg (Waldnaab Valley Cycling Route) is a more challenging 68-km/42-mile route with steeper inclines that follows the flow of the Waldnaab from its source via Weiden to Luhe-Wildenau.
- Similarly challenging is the 78-km/48-mile Haidenaab-Radweg from Bayreuth via the Haidenaab valley to Luhe-Wildenau.
- Far more challenging with several steep inclines is the 66-km/41-mile Fichtelnaab-Radweg from Bayreuth mostly along the Fichtelnaab to its confluence with the Waldnaab near Weiden.
Bicycle rentals are available in Weiden from Fahrrad Keller, Goethestraße 1, tel 0961-416-1433, or Radsport Russ, Hammerweg 12, tel 0961-32-859, and in Waldsassen from the tourist office, which also conducts guided-cycling tours for groups of at least 5 persons.
Canoeing and Kayaking in the Oberpfalz, Germany
Canoeing on the Naab River, Bavaria
The Naab, which flows into the Danube just upriver from Regensburg, is one of the most popular rivers in the Oberpfalz region for canoeing and kayaking. Around 100 km/62 miles of the river is open for recreational use.
The Naab is a relatively slow flowing river, free from commercial traffic and thus suited to families and inexperience rowers too.
The full Naab River is usually divided by canoeist into five stages of around 20 km/12 miles each. Sections of the Waldnaab near Weiden are also accessible but in Weiden itself, canoes need to be carried for long distances.
Canoeing on the Vils River, Bavaria
Around 55 km/34 miles of the Vils, which flows through Amberg, is open to canoeists. This river is still less discovered with fewer facilities than the Naab but considered relatively easy.
Both the Naab and Vils have several weirs where canoes must be carried for short distances.
Canoeing equipment can be rented from Sport Frieser, Gladiolenweg 9, 92637 Weiden in der Oberpfalz., tel 0961-25-003. The company also conducts guided kayaking trips ranging from 2 to 4 hours on the Naab and Waldnaab in the Weiden region of the Bavarian Upper Palatinate.
Further Destinations in the Oberpfalz / Upper Palatinate:
- Amberg – Old Town and Baroque Churches
- Weiden – Neo-Gothic, Art Nouveau, and the International Ceramics Museum
- Flossenbürg – Concentration Camp Memorial Site where Dietrich Bonnhoefer died
- Waldsassen – Cistercian Monastery Church & Library, and Holy Trinity Chapel
- Outdoor Adventures – Hiking, Cycling, and Canoeing in the Oberpfalz
- Hotels & Restaurants in the Oberpfalz – Including the World’s Smallest Hotel
- Introduction to the Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate Region in Bavaria)