Escape from the daily grind, enjoy the scenery and switch off for a couple of days: on one of Bavaria’s long-distance hiking trails, you can immerse yourself in nature, find your rhythm and experience something very special – including on the Goldsteig in Eastern Bavaria.
The scene is Berggasthof Eck in the early morning. Hikers are packing their rucksacks, cramming their Thermos flasks of warm tea and their packed lunches into them. One or other of them is carefully tying his laces again. The prevailing mood is like that in a Himalayan base camp.
And for good reason: for today is the “eight thousand metre peaks stage”. Hikers on the Goldsteig are crossing the Mühlriegel, Ödriegel, Schwarzeck, Reischflecksattel, Heugstatt, Enzian, Kleiner Arber and Grosser Arber between Bad Kötzting and the Grosser Arber today. “A full day ridge hike across eight peaks which are higher than one thousand metres”, explains Sepp Hoffmann, the hiking guide from Arnbruck.
You find peace and your gaze focuses on the essentials – nature and the special people that you meet during such a long hike.
But this eight thousand metre peaks stage is just one highlight of the Goldsteig, a 660 kilometre long-distance hiking trail which has connected Marktredewitz in Upper Franconia to Passau since spring 2007.
The long-distance hiking trail crosses the entire Upper Palatinate Forest and the Bavarian Forest on two marked-out routes and its very name sounds like an adventure. And it is true: the trail goes over ground that is rich in history.
In the mountains, there were once gold mines and streams carrying gold, also “golden trails”: pack animal tracks along which the “white gold” of the Middle Ages was transported from the Danube to Bohemia. The greatest treasure of the Goldsteig is, however, its beautiful and varied nature.
“Of course, only very few find the time to hike the 35 stages of the Goldsteig without interruption,” explains Olaf Beck, editor-in-chief of outdoor magazine. His tip: “You should simply do a section every now and then.” He personally has already completed the northern stages of the Goldsteig in the Upper Palatinate Forest.
“On a 12 kilometre stretch, the Waldnaab flows through a canyon with high granite rocks and the Goldsteig winds through the middle as a narrow path. You get down quite quickly there and enjoy every step.” Long-distance hiking means finding your rhythm. Your pace may be a bit jolted on the first day, but an even hiking rhythm will soon set in.
You will immerse yourself in the landscape and get a feeling for the special things in life. For example whilst seeing out the day’s hiking in an Upper Palatinate Zoigl pub, where locals still brew their own beer. You can listen to the conversations, marvel at the rustic ambience and enjoy the luxury of the simple hiking life. On the next day, the hike continues – always as far as you want.