The Upper Palatinate Forest, or Oberpfälzer Wald in German, is found along the border of Germany and the Czech Republic. For about 100 km (62 mi), it’s like the same church, different pew. Right?
Its name doesn’t change the fact that the Upper Palatinate Forest occupies 1,380 square kilometers with its actual real highest point reaching 1042 meters, which is found on the Czech side.
I’ll get to the highest point on the Upper Palatinate side, but give me a minute to get there, OK?
Too bad I couldn’t make it to all 100 or so German towns in the Upper Palatinate Forest, let alone what’s found across the border, but I’m going to kick it off in Tirschenreuth.
Along the Naab River, Tirschenreuth has the Oberpfälzer Fischereimuseum, or Upper Palatinate Fishing Museum (with an aquarium), and a beautiful 11th century church. After getting yourself stuff for a picnic at the Weekly Market (on Thursday), have a picnic over at what’s called the Große Teufelsküche (Great Devil’s Kitchen) in the forest itself.
Next to Tirschenreuth is the village of Falkenberg (Oberpfalz). This small town’s got an 11th castle that’s built right over a rocky outcrop. One former owner was Friedrich Werner von der Schulenberg, a diplomat who was executed for his role in the famous von Stauffenberg plot to kill Hitler.
World War II history continues in Flossenbürg, our next town. This is where the infamous Flossenbürg Concentration Camp was located (did you know Queen Victoria’s great-grandson was imprisoned here?). Today the site is a Holocaust Museum.
Flossenbürg is also where you’ll find the Entenbühl, the highest point of the Upper Palatinate Forest on the German side, reaching 901 meters above sea level.
From this vantage point, I think it’s possible to see all the castle ruins in the region. There are quite a lot of them, not just in and around Flossenbürg, but scattered throughout the Oberpfälzer Wald.
It is believed that the ruins of the Burgruine Leuchtenberg are one of the best preserved; and on top of that high praise, you should make sure to see its St. Margaret Church and its Teufels Butterfass.
We’re just about half-way done, so once I get to the 20 village town of Waldthurn, I’m taking a rest. How else am I supposed to enjoy all the coniferous and deciduous trees?
I say it like I know what I’m talking about… ;-)
OK, I read about it — coniferous trees are like pine trees with cones on them. Deciduous trees are the ones that change colors in the fall.
Best to stick to what I know, castles. Good thing I’ve found a pretty Gothic/Renaissance style one in Vohenstrauß known as Friedrichsburg Castle. Oh, and a medieval one named Burg Waldau.
In Pleystein’s 29 districts aren’t any castles, but there’s a great City Museum and a Baroque Pilgrimage Church, in addition to lots of little roadside chapels.
The 38 meter high Rosenquarzfelsen in the forest are famous, and said to be one of the most beautiful rose quartz rock formations anywhere.
Who am I to disagree? Good thing there’s the Bavarian-Bohemian Culture Center, the E6 European Walking Route, spa facilities, an RV park, and lace making to keep me going.
On a personal note, the lace made in this area is world famous, and just simply beautiful.
You can send me some, for telling you all about the Oberpfälzer Wald. Hey, I gotta flit off to somewhere else in Germany for you, so it’s not like I got time to shop. ;-)