Amberg, Waldsassen, Weiden, Neustadt, and Flossenbürg in the Upper Palatine, Bavaria
Forests, rolling hills, and sights including Amberg, Waldsassen, Weiden, and Flossenbürg are the major draws of the Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate) in Bavaria, Germany.
The Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate) in Bavaria has traditionally been ruled by the Wittelsbach family from their electorate in the Palatinate along the Rhine. Here the Wittelsbachs lived in splendor in the magnificent castle in Heidelberg and later in the largest Baroque palace in Germany in Mannheim. In 1620, the Oberpfalz became part of Bavaria, which was up to then ruled by a different branch of the Wittelsbach family.
The soil of the Oberpfalz is mostly unsuitable for agriculture, which contribute to the low population density and the large sections of forest that survived to the present. During the Middle Ages, the mining of iron ore was important as was the control of trade routes between Bohemia (Prague) and Nürnberg / Nuremberg as well as Regensburg to Leipzig. In more recent times, the production of glass and porcelain has been important and continues to employ significant numbers.
Most of the Oberpfalz is soft rolling hills but the scenery is more interesting in the Oberpfälzer Wald (Upper Palatinate Forest) in the east on the border with the Czech Republic. The area is very popular for hiking with the numbers of visitors and prices lower than in the nearby Bayerischer Wald (Bavarian Forest). However, the tourism infrastructure is also less developed than further south.
Cultural sights in the Upper Palatinate include a number of impressive churches from the Gothic and Baroque periods. Several Baroque churches in the Oberpfalz were designed or decorated by such leading Baroque artists as the Dientzenhofer brothers (Amberg) Johann Baptist Zimmermann (Georgskirche in Amberg), Cosmas Damian Asam, and Giovanni Battista Carlone.
Transportation in the Oberpfalz
Frequent railway connections from Regensburg are available to Amberg and towns in the Naab Valley. Weiden has good connections to Bayreuth and Amberg to Nürnberg.
Buses are needed to visit smaller towns, especially in the Oberpfälzer Wald. The area is also great for drivers as traffic is generally light and roads in great condition.
Shopping – Glass & Porcelain in the Oberpfalz / Upper Palatinate
Glass and porcelain production are major industries in the region – in addition to the porcelain and glass tourist routes, several factories and studios are also open to visitors.
Porzellanstraße / Porcelain Holiday Route in Germany
In the northern parts of the Oberpfalz is part of the Porzellanstraße (Porcelain Route), c/o Porzellanwelt Selb, Werner-Schürer-Platz 1, 95100 Selb, tel 09287-918-0034, which confirms the importance of northern Bavaria in the production of porcelain.
Weiden in der Oberpfalz and nearby Neustadt have several factory outlets with huge discounts for both porcelain and glass.
- F.X. Nachtmann Bleikristallwerke, Zacharias-Frank-Straße 7, 92660 Neustadt a. d. Waldnaab, tel 09602-301-176, is famous for its lead crystal.
- Seltmann, Chr.-Seltmann-Straße 59-67, 92637 Weiden, tel 0961-204-115, is a major porcelain producer.
The Glassstraße / Glass Holiday Route in Germany
The Glassstraße (Glass Route) is a 250-km/155-mile route through the Oberpfälzer (Upper Palatinate) and Bavarian Forests. The route passes by producers and museums.
Many studios welcome visitors, in some you may even try your own hand (or rather mouth) at it, while most have shops on premises.
Several glass and local history museums in the Bavarian Upper Palatinate have special glass sections but none can compare to the Glass Museum in Passau, the largest museum of glass in the world.
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)