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Goldsteig: Explore the Bavarian Forest in Germany

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One of the longest and most naturally diverse hikes in Germany, the Goldsteig Trail is bound to excite even the most experienced hikers. This breathtaking route in Germany displays some of the most exquisite natural feats of Bavaria, including awesome summits, primordial forests and winding river banks. Trailing along the German-Czech border, hikers will also encounter many impressive historical sights such as old temple ruins and rustic mills.

Highlights

  • Discovering the lush nature of the Upper Palatinate and Bavarian Forest
  • Enjoying the expansive views that stretch all the way to the Czech Republic and the Alps
  • Admiring centuries-old castles that date back to the Holy Roman Empire
  • Tasting traditional north Bavarian beer, such as the rich and flavorful Zoigl brew
  • Unwinding in beautiful Passau, the city of three rivers: the Inn, Ilz and Danube

Lowlights

  • Goldsteig is one of the longest hiking trails in Germany and the entire trail takes 23 days to complete. Therefore, it is not suited for hikers who are time-bound. In this case, we recommend considering either the Rennsteig (8 days) or Mittelweg (9 days) hiking trails instead.
  • Goldsteig trail is open throughout the year. While winter months may seem magical because the region is blanketed with snow, this season might be even more challenging to novice trekkers due to unpredictable terrain.

Goldsteig hike facts

Trek difficulty: Moderate; the trail involves a number of steep ascents
Trek duration: 23 days to complete the entire 660 km
Best season: From May to late September
Remoteness: Goldsteig passes through many villages, municipalities and even bigger towns, so you’ll never stray too far away from inhabited places
Altitudes: 1,453 m at the Großer Arber summit
Accommodation: Bed & breakfasts, hotels and mountain refuges
Start / end locations: Marktredwitz / Nassau
Permits: None
Goldsteig is the longest trail for hiking in Germany
Goldsteig is the longest hiking trail in Germany that passes through the Bavarian forest

Goldsteig day-to-day itinerary

Day 1: Marktredwitz – Friedenfels, 17.5 km

The trail starts near Gerberhaus in Marktredwitz. It continues across the state road and via a meadow path that leads to Rosenhammer. It goes past Waldershof, then through a birch forest before reaching Friedenfels, the endpoint of this section.

Day 2: Friedenfels – Falkenberg, 17 km

This section of the trail goes past a 1.20-meter-tall carp statue, then through meadows and woodlands. The trail goes through the village of Muckenthal. The trek then zig-zags through an area with ponds and the beautiful Perl Lake. This portion of the path ends in Falkenberg.

Tip: Refresh yourself with a pint of the local Zoigl beer at Falkenberg

Day 3: Falkenberg – Neuhaus, 14 km

This stretch of the trail heads through a vast nature reserve of the Waldnaab Valley, where you walk past old castles, rustic mills and impressive rock formations. The endpoint of this stage is in Neuhaus.

Day 4: Neuhaus – Letzau, 22 km

Setting off from Neuhaus, the trail goes past the Hutzlmühle and across a railway bridge to Waaldnab. You will walk past the Lobkowitz castle, the parish church of St. George and the baroque monastery of St. Felix. The nature path continues until reaching the endpoint of this section in Letzau.

Day 5: Letzau – Leuchtenberg, 14 km

The path begins with a small ascent along the edge of the forest. In front of Roggenstein, you will walk past a massive red beech. The trail then descends to Luhe Valley and enters lush woodlands before reaching Lechtenberg.

Tip: Make sure to visit the historic Burg Leuchtenberg, a castle sitting on a 585m high hilltop dating back to the 10th century. It has been impressively restored and preserved and is now used as an observation tower.

Day 6: Leuchtenberg – Tännesberg, 21.5 km

The path ascends over Wittschau and into the village of Döllnitz. It then follows the River Pfreimd, walking past the dam of the Pfreimdtal Reservoir. It continues through the forest and reaches the hill over Tännesberg, where a mighty castle used to stand. Here, you can get a great view of Tännesberg, the town that’s the end point of this section.

Day 7: Tännesberg – Oberviechtach, 18.5 km

This section of the trail goes past some interesting geological formations, as well as the pilgrimage church of St. Judoc. The trail then enters the Tännesberger forest and climbs to the summit of the Wildenstein.  

Fun fact: While in Oberviechtach, make sure to visit the museum dedicated to the famous German doctor, Johann Andreas Eisenbarth. Dr. Eisenbarth gained much respect and fame as a traveling doctor despite never receiving a formal medical training!

Day 8: Oberviechtach – Rötz / Bauhof, 24 km

This portion of the trail will lead you through the intriguing Prackendorfer and Kulzer Moos nature reserve, which is home to over 100 flora and fauna species. After a while, you will reach the ruins of Schwarzenburg and Schwanbergturm (lookout tower).

Tip: While in Rötz, you can visit the rustic market square and the baroque cemetery church.

Day 9: Rötz – Herzogau, 31,5 km

This portion of the trail goes past the Eixendorfer reservoir, then the Oberpfälzer Handwerksmuseum, where you can cozy up in the adjoining tavern. The path trails along the edge of the forest overlooking tranquil villages, then ends in Herzogau, where you can duck into the small rococo church.

Day 10: Herzogau – Furth im Wald, 17 km

The trail departs from Herzogau and reaches the the Klammerfelsen summit, where there is a 360-degree observation tower. The trek continues along the Czech border to the Kreuzfelsen (938 m). This portion of the trail ends in Furth im Wald.

Day 11: Furth im Wald – Schönbuchen, 22 km

The trail goes through Hohenbogen, where it ascends for about one kilometer. The peak offers great views over the Bohemia. It then descends into Schönbuchen, the final point of this stretch.

Day 12: Schönbuchen – Eck, 9.5 km

Via Reitenberg in the direction of Kaitersberg, the path goes past the Mittagstein monument. The trail then continues through the alpine-like terrain of the Steinbühler Gesenkes, before ending in Eck.

Day 13: Corner – Großer Arber, 16 km

This is one of the most fascinating and physically demanding portions of the trail. It goes over eight summits, including Mühlriegel (1080 m), Ödriegel (1156 m), Schwarzeck (1238 m), Reischflecksattel (1126 m), Heugstatt (1261 m), Enzian (1285 m), Kleiner Arber (1384 m) and finally finishes in Großer Arber (1453 m) the highest peak of the Bohemian Forest mountain range.

Day 14: Großer Arber – Bayerisch-Eisenstein, 12.5 km

The path begins with a forest walk down to the Großer Arber Lake. The trail follows the river until reaching the center of Bayerisch Eisenstein.

Day 15: Bayerisch Eisenstein – Großer Falkenstein, 12.5 km

This section of the trail takes you through the exciting Watzlik-Hain forest trail, then continues into Zwieslerwaldhaus. The trail descends down the jungle-like Mittelsteighütte and the more serene Ruckowitzschachten. This section ends at the Großer Falkenstein refuge.

Day 16: Großer Falkenstein – Rachel, 26 km

This portion of the trail goes along the border ridge to Bohemia. To the north lies the Czech National Park Šumava. This stretch ends in Rachel.

Day 17: Rachel – Lusen, 15 km

Natural stairs lead to the summit of Rachel, the second highest mountain of the Bavarian Forest. After going through Teufelsloch, a long ascent to the summit of Lusatore (1373 m) follows. Once you descend from the summit, you will come across Schutzhaus, the end of this section.

Day 18: Lusen – Mauth, 11 km

This section descends through romantic meadows. Finally, you reach the border of the Bavarian Forest National Park and the village of Mauth, which will emerge on the other side of the forest.

Day 19: Mauth – Philippsreut, 9.5 km

The trail goes uphill over the Almberg. Here you will find the highest point of this section, and the beautiful views will be worth it. From this point, the Goldsteig goes downhill, reaching Philippsreut shortly afterwards.

Day 20: Philippsreut – Haidmühle, 23.5 km

This portion of the trek goes through the abandoned village of Leopoldsreut, then continues onto the Haidel summit (1167 m), whose observation tower offers magnificent views. The trek continues into the forest and ends in Haidmühle.

Day 21: Haidmühle – Breitenberg, 23 km

This section of the trail leads hikers atop Dreisesselberg, among some of the most interesting rock formations on the Goldsteig. If the weather is favorable, the views stretch all the way to the Alps. The trail goes across the Austrian border, trails through it for about 8 km, then re-enters Germany. Back in Bavaria, this section ends in Breitenberg.

Day 22: Breitenberg – Hauzenberg, 24 km

This portion of Goldstein goes through Rastbüchl, where you can visit the ski slopes, the weaving mill and the quaint Church of the Visitation. The trail continues through Schauberg, then ends in Hauzenberg.

Tip: While in Hauzenburg, make sure to take a break and kick back and relax in the serene city park.

Day 23: Hauzenberg – Passau, 21.5 km

The final section of the trail descends into the valley of the Erlau. It moves along a disused railway line, past the former paper mill and the village of Eggersdorf. At the path continues, you will see Passau looming on the horizon, with its beautiful cathedral and the three rivers that form its landscape. Your journey is complete!

Safety tip: Since the terrain of the Goldsteig tends to be pretty diverse, always be mindful of where you’re stepping.

Goldsteig hiking trail offers some of the best scenes in Germany
Goldsteig is one of the best hiking routes to see the best of Germany
Goldsteig will show you various rivers running in the Bavarian forest
A serene river on the Goldsteig hiking trail
Goldsteig is the longest hiking trail in Germany
Miles and miles of open fields and greenery, Goldsteig gives you good reasons to take a break
Goldsteig is a naturally diverse hiking trail
Goldsteig passes through several rivers along the 23 day long trail

Alternate hiking route

The Goldsteig trail divides into two routes starting from the Upper Palatinate Forest. Hikers can also take the southern route, which goes along the ridges of the Bavarian Forest through Walderbach, Konzell and Lalling before reaching Passau.

Goldsteig hiking trail finishes at Passau
The scenic city of Passau by the Danube at dusk
Passau is the ending point of Goldsteig hiking trail
At the end of your hiking experience, go and explore the quaint streets of Passau

How to get to the trailhead

If travelling by air, the closest airport to the town of Marktredwitz is Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic. The town is also serviced by trains from several major German cities, including Munich and Nuremberg. If you are looking to spend some time in Munich then check out the best things to do in Munich.

The beginning of the trail is located in front of the Marktredwitz main railway station. The Goldsteig is marked with a yellow path-shaped symbol.

The starting point of Goldsteig is marked with a yellow path-shaped symbol
Yellow path-shaped symbol representing Goldsteig

Between the dynamic natural scenery and abundance of historical treasure troves, it’s no wonder that the thought of conquering the Goldsteig entices every stripe of hiker. If you ever want to experience the amazing landscapes and rich cultural heritage of the German province of Bavaria first-hand, then put on your best hiking boots and head straight to the glorious Goldsteig.

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