Wanderlust and the joy of beer on the Zoigl hike
Is there anything better after a long hike than a cold beer and a hearty snack? Definitely not. On a Zoigl hike through the Waldnaabtal Valley enjoy beer culture in one of the most beautiful areas of Bavaria.
A six-pointed star is the mark of a Zoigl parlour – a temporary inn. Here you can enjoy bottom-fermented, unfiltered beer – Zoigl – which is brewed according to a tradition that is almost 600 years old. Three points on the star stand for the ingredients water, hops and malt and three for the elements fire, water and air. The Zoigl is still brewed today in the community breweries of Eslarn, Falkenberg, Mitterteich, Neuhaus and Windischeschenbach.
However, the area isn’t famous for its delicious beer alone, but also for its magnificent natural environment. A stretch of the Goldsteig rated hiking trail passes through the “land of a thousand lakes” and the wildly romantic Waldnaabtal Valley.
Through Zoigl country in four stages
Hike from Wiesau via Falkenberg, Windischeschenbach and Neustadt an der Waldnaab to Weiden in Eastern Bavaria. You can cover the roughly 50-kilometre stretch in three or four days depending on your itinerary and level of fitness.
Start in Wiesau. In the “land of a thousand lakes” people have been breeding carp, pike and tench for more than a thousand years. Following the fish information route, you pass the “Kipp” bathing lake and walk on to Schönhaid, shortly after which you meet the Goldsteig Trail. Follow the course of the Waldnaab to Falkenberg. Here you will find a thousand-year-old castle and the historic Zoigl brewery.
Entering the Zoigl beer capital
One of the most beautiful stages of the Goldsteig Trail passes between Falkenberg and Windischeschenbach. The Waldnaab carves a course deep into the granite rocks and now flows through a canyon, at the edges of which rock formations raise their bizarre shapes to the sky. Moss-covered boulders and scree direct the course of the water. Secluded meadows, moors, beech and birch groves strew the path.
Windischeschenbach and its district of Neuhaus bear the honorary title of “Zoigl Capital”. 14 Zoigl brewers serve their guests self-brewed Zoigl one after the other. Enjoy a hearty snack of home-made sausages and boiled belly pork to go with it. Take a tour and visit the rustic communal brewery of Windischeschenbach.
Zoigl and culture in Neustadt and Weiden
After your morning pint, continue your hike to Neustadt an der Waldnaab, which is 10 kilometres away. The route follows the banks of the river across damp meadows and forest paths covered in gnarled roots. Take a break at the Hutzlmühle. Once you have arrived in Neustadt, a city tour of this former home of the Princes of Lobkowitz with its two palaces in the style of the Renaissance and the Baroque is a definite must.
The last stage takes you over 15 kilometres to Weiden. The birthplace of the composer Max Reger is full of inviting cultural displays – and of course any number of Zoigl inns. Why not try a few out: Every innkeeper has his own recipe, so no two Zoigl beers taste alike.