Spread across Germany, there are numerous national parks, all waiting to be explored by nature and tourists. Whether you are interested in discovering the plains in the Wadden Sea or walking through the dense forests of the south, German nature reserves offer endless opportunities to feel in harmony with the outdoors.
Here is our list of the best national parks to visit in Germany. Our list includes national parks dotted with extinct volcanoes, perfect pine forests and rare species of wildlife.
1. Jasmund National Park
This jewel in northern Germany only reminds travelers of a subtropical destination, not a German reserve, and you will find this national park on the Baltic Sea coast. The sea has turquoise tones and the beaches are almost Mediterranean. Jasmund National Park is especially admired for its chalk cliffs that rise directly beside the sea. In some places, cliffs dominate the landscape with heights of up to 161 meters.
At Königsstuhl National Park Center, you can enjoy excellent views of the chalk cliffs from the point of view. The on-site information center is an excellent source of information about the national park and the island of Rügen.
Jasmund National Park also consists of an old beech forest, with several hiking trails.
2. Eifel National Park
Formerly a hot spot for volcanism, the scenery within the Eifel National Park it was defined mainly by the brutal forces of nature. Therefore, dramatic mountains and lakes are just some of the spectacular features that you will find in this area. The Eifel National Park has beautiful mountain bike trails and trails, thanks to the mountainous perspectives, the presence of beech forests and possible interactions with wildlife. Wild cats and black storks are some of the rare and exciting animals that also roam the dense forests.
Hardcore walkers can face – parts of – the Eifelsteig, a great walking route that crosses the national park for 313 kilometers. Numerous volcanic remnants, streams, lakes and waterfalls along this route illustrate Eifelsteig's slogan “Only you, the water and the rocks”.
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3. Harz National Park
Those seeking peace in nature are in the right place when touring this central German national park. Harz is an almost uninhabited area and therefore the perfect environment for animals and wild flowers to flourish. Known for its charming mossy forests, Harz National Park it is blessed with natural jewels, such as the elusive lynx and several species of deer, in addition to more than a thousand types of plants. For botanists who can't get enough, Brocken Garden at the peak of the eponymous mountain, there are 1800 species of alpine plants from around the world. Around Brocken, a seemingly endless network of trails allows you to dive into forests and mountains.
The fearful can cross the Titan RT suspension bridge, which at 458 meters is one of the longest pedestrian suspension bridges in the world. At a height of 100 meters, you can observe a water reservoir and forests.
4. Black Forest National Park
O Black Forest National Park (Schwarzwald) contains ancient forests in southwest Germany and is close to the border with France and Switzerland. The protection of these lands resulted in rich vegetation and lots of wildlife, such as eagles, owls and chicken coops. As you walk the green trails, you will be accompanied by prosperous swamps, waterfalls and views of the ever rolling Black Forest landscapes.
It is worth visiting the Triberg Waterfalls, as this waterfall descends from a height of 163 meters, spread over 7 levels. For a little action, hike the Wildnispfad (desert path), a trail on which you'll have to find your way up and down under countless trees.
In winter, the Black Forest becomes a favorite center for ski and snowboard enthusiasts.
5. Saxon Switzerland National Park
The Saxon Switzerland National Park is the only national park in Saxony and also one of the most spectacular in the country. The most attractive are the dramatic rock formations, which rise like chimneys over the rivers and valleys of this east German state.
The Bastei Bridge (seen below) is a captivating place and offers an opportunity to leave your friends at home jealous of drooling photos. This stone bridge connects several rock pillars so that tourists have perspectives on the alien formations and the surrounding lush vegetation.
As intriguing as they are, the rugged landscapes are a playground for climbers, fit walkers and mountain bikers who are ready for a challenge.
6. Bavarian Forest Park
Of all the parks in Germany, the Bavarian Forest Park can be described as the most untamed. Although rare, animals such as the lynx, wolf and brown bear call these forests home. In addition to these exciting mammals, Bavarian Forest Park can easily compete with other parks in terms of scenery. One of the most exceptional sites is the Rachelkapell, a wooden chapel with stellar views over Lake Rachelsee. For more details, go to the Baumwipfelpfad. This incredibly designed viewing platform has multiple levels and overlooks the canopy.
In total, Bavarian Forest Park has more than 300 kilometers of hiking trails and more than 200 kilometers of bicycle trails.
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7. Berchtesgaden National Park
Berchtesgaden National Park visitors' dishes with the best landscapes imaginable in the German Alps. Perfectly clear glacial lakes, dramatic mountain scenery and jaw-dropping observation platforms are the selling points of this region. Treat yourself to the fascination of Berchtesgaden by renting a kayak or taking a cruise to sail the Königssee and Obersee lakes. Here, the peaks of the German Alps are usually reflected perfectly in the water. If you look at the sky, you might even see eagles circling or woodchucks and ibexes jumping on rocks.
If your main objective is to see magnificent landscapes, the Berchtesgaden National Park may be the most attractive option on this list and a must visit.
8. Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park
If you like beaches, sea and marine life, then Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park should be at the top of your list of natural spots to visit in Germany. With its mudflats, typical of the Wadden Sea, this national park is one of the few places in Europe where you can walk on the seabed at low tide. Another rare opportunity is a boat trip that brings you closer to the seal colonies of the Wadden Sea. You can even see some porpoises along the way. Bird watchers will feel at home in the protected areas near Belum, where large colonies of aquatic birds gather to feed and breed.
9. Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park
The Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park (Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft) is another example of the beauty of northern Germany. The atmosphere on this peninsula is genuinely charming; with miles of white sand, powerful dunes, tidal lagoons and picturesque lighthouses, the variety is remarkable. Mainly because it is a flat national park, this area on the Baltic coast is the ground zero for leisure cycling. Unique features of the Western Pomeranian lagoon area include ponds and grassland-like moorland behind the dunes.
10. Hunsrück-Hochwald National Park
Although of modest size, the Hunsrück-Hochwald National Park it is, however, a biologist's dream. The forest – the main habitat here – is home to the largest population of shy wild cats in Europe on the continent and stunning flora such as sundews and carnivorous orchids. Other inhabitants commonly seen in Hunsrück-Hochwald are wild boar, deer, black storks and many types of bats.
The Hunsrück-Hochwald National Park has many sites that refer to ancient civilizations, such as the Hillfort of Otzenhausen which was built by the Celts around the 5th century BC. Marked trails allow you to explore the ruins and the surrounding forest.
Each of Germany's national parks has its own unique identity and characteristics, from the mudflats in the Wadden Sea and the cliffs on the Baltic Sea coast to the ancient woods elsewhere. When traveling to these places, you will be immersed in a magical world of waterfalls, mysterious hiking trails and some of the rarest animals in Europe.
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