The Bavarian Forest is a low mountain range in the east of the state of Bavaria. The Bavarian Forest, as it is also called, begins just north of the city of Passau and then runs along the border with the Czech Republic. The Danube flows south and west of the mountains. The highest mountain in the Bavarian Forest is the Großer Arber. It is 1,455 meters high. Other high peaks are the Großer Osser, the Kleiner Arber, and the Knoll.
The Bavarian Forest attracts many tourists every year who are impressed by the beautiful nature. Tourists like to go hiking or camping. In 1970 a national park was opened in the Bavarian Forest to protect nature. At that time it was the first national park in Germany and is also one of the largest in the country.
How is it in the Bavarian Forest?
The Bavarian Forest is around 500 million years old. At that time, several tectonic plates collided, creating a mountain range. In the beginning, the mountains in the Bavarian Forest were even higher than they are today. But over millions of years, a lot of rock was eroded by wind, water, and glaciers. Today the mountains are rather flat and ridge-like.
The Bavarian Forest can be divided into three areas from west to east: the Falkensteiner Vorwald and the front and rear Bavarian Forest. In all areas, you will find many small streams, lakes, and forests. The highest elevations can be found in the Upper Bavarian Forest, which is almost in the Czech Republic. It is the flattest near the Danube. There are also a few larger villages and small towns.
The landscape around the Großer Arber is special. Because it is so isolated there, people cut down only a few trees. That’s why you can still find a lot of primeval forests in this area. Popular destinations nearby are the Great Arbersee and the Rachelsee. The two lakes were formed at the end of the last ice age around 10,000 years ago when melted glacial ice found its way into the valley.
The small islands in the Großer Arbersee, which can swim and are always in a different place, are exceptional. They are not connected to the bottom of the lake. They consist of plants and little soil. They can swim because many of these plants are hollow inside, such as reeds.
Many different animal species live in the Bavarian Forest. Some of these are very rare. In Germany, you can almost only find them there. Red deer, beavers, lizards, capercaillie, and other bird species are typical of the region. For a few years, there have also been wolves and lynxes in the Bavarian Forest again.