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16 national parks in Germany where you can enjoy nature

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Germany has some great national parks. Below are 16 national parks where you are bound to enjoy nature.

If you love nature, Germany is got you covered. Below are 16 special national parks in Germany where you can enjoy nature.

1. Bavarian Forest National Park

It is the first national park to be established in Germany .

The Bavarian Forest National Park was founded as early as 1970.

After an expansion in 1997, it now covers 24,250 hectares and, together with the neighboring Bohemian Forest, is the largest contiguous forest area in Central Europe .

National Park in Bavaria - national parks

The national park is now an important tourist magnet for the region on the Czech border and is perfect for an active holiday .

You can hike through endless forests here . Marvel at waterfalls in Bavaria and enjoy nature to the full.

The special feature of the Bavarian Forest National Park are the high-altitude forests rich in spruce and some remains of the primeval forest.

Because of a bark beetle plague in the 1990s, many forest areas have been destroyed today and offer a bizarre picture in the otherwise densely forested area.

Hikes over the mountains of the Bavarian Forest, the Großer Falkenstein, Lusen and the Großer Rachel.

Another specialty of the region are high moors and moor lakes.

In addition, rare animals such as lynxes, wild cats , beavers, otters and every now and then an elk from the Czech Republic gets lost in the Bavarian part of the forest area.

2. Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park

The next German national park can be found along the Schleswig-Holstein North Sea coast .

Together with the Hamburg Wadden Sea and Lower Saxony Wadden Sea national parks, they form the German Wadden Sea.

National park in Schleswig-Holstein

The national park in Schleswig-Holstein has existed since 1985 .

Just like in the other parts of the German Wadden Sea, you will find the typical inhabitants of the North Sea here.

In addition, a particularly large number of porpoises and shelduck live here .

With an area of 4410 square kilometers , the region is the largest national park in Germany.

The region is not only popular with active holidaymakers looking for relaxation, but of course also with bathers from all over Germany who spend their vacation here.

The fact that the North Sea coast is so popular is of course also due to the many beautiful beaches that you will find here.

3. Saxon Switzerland National Park

Saxon Switzerland – the German part of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains – has been designated as a national park since 1990.

It is the only rock national park in Germany and has been a popular hiking region for many years .

One of the most beautiful German hiking trails , the Malerweg leads through Saxon Switzerland.

The bastion and the bastion bridge , which are popular viewpoints for hikers and walkers, are particularly well known .

In addition, the jagged rocks and their formations are a popular climbing area for professionals and amateurs.

National park in Saxony

4. Berchtesgaden National Park

The Berchtesgadener Land and the Berchtesgaden National Park, which you will find in the very extreme tip of Germany around the Königssee , present themselves to you like the perfect alpine landscape from a picture book .

This is a real German natural wonder and looks more like a Norwegian fjord due to its location in the middle of the mountains.

National Park in Bavaria

The Berchtesgaden National Park has existed since 1978 .

Above all, it is a popular destination for hiking tourists. You can explore the romantic landscape on around 400 kilometers of widely ramified paths.

Many artists already knew about the beauty of the mountains, especially the painters and poets of the Romantic period used Berchtesgaden and the Watzmann mountain as motifs for their art.

5. Lower Saxony Wadden Sea National Park

The part of the German Wadden Sea that is part of the Lower Saxony Wadden Sea National Park extends from the mouth of the Elbe across the East Frisian Islands to the border with the Netherlands.

It covers an area of ​​around 345,800 hectares and, like the other two national parks in the German Wadden Sea, protects sandbanks, salt marshes, beaches, dunes, lugworms, seals and harbor seals .

National park in Lower Saxony

The Lower Saxony Wadden Sea has been a protected national park and a popular holiday region in Germany since 1986 .

Regardless of whether you are spending your summer vacation on one of the East Frisian Islands or whether you are exploring the coast of the German mainland by bike , you are guaranteed to find the perfect place for your vacation in Germany here.

6. Lower Oder Valley National Park

In the very far east of Germany, on the border with Poland, is the next national park in Germany.

The Lower Oder Valley has been a designated national park since 1995 and is part of the Lower Oder Valley International Park , which extends on German and Polish territory between Mieszkowice and Stettin on the Oder.

National park in Brandenburg

The special thing about the Lower Oder Valley National Park are the polder areas .

Large areas of the river basins will be diked according to the Dutch model.

High winter dikes protect the surrounding villages from flooding, while the lower summer dikes are opened every November.

In this way, the water of the Oder can flow away unhindered and the entire width of the river valley can be used.

In winter and spring the polder areas are flooded, when the water drops in April, the remaining water is pumped out and the summer dykes are closed again.

Thanks to this technology, there is virtually no risk of flooding in the city of Szczecin and the areas can be used for agriculture in summer.

In addition, the flooded meadows are a popular resting place for many migratory birds in winter .

You can also watch white storks, kingfishers and the very rare black stork here.

7. Müritz National Park

The next national park is also in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and comprises two sub-areas with a total size of 322 square kilometers .

The Müritz sub-area comprises the eastern hinterland of the Müritz with Feisnecksee, Rederangsee, Specker See and Wotzerfitzsee.

The second sub-area Serrahn lies in the transition between the Mecklenburg Lake District and the Feldberg Lake District.

National Park on the Müritz

The Müritz National Park is particularly popular with cyclists and hikers , because the entire National Park is equipped with a large network of cycling and hiking trails, including rest areas.

In addition, a national park bus route including bicycle transport runs from May to October.

The Käfflingsbergturm , one of the most popular viewpoints in Germany, is also a popular excursion destination.

8. Hunsrück-Hochwald National Park

It is the youngest among the 16 German national parks and was only founded in 2015.

It covers an area of ​​around 10,100 hectares and is located in the low mountain range of the Hunsrück in the states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland.

Under the motto “Let nature be nature” , the focus has been on renaturing the landscape since the national park was officially founded.

For example, spruce trees that were planted here by humans are to be replaced by native plants and moors are to be watered again.

National park in Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate

Especially the wildcat , which is found here in greater numbers than anywhere else in Europe, black stork and black woodpecker can be found here.

In the “primeval forest of tomorrow” you can of course experience a lot today.

Not far from the popular German wine regions on the Moselle and Rhine, you can hike or see the remains of a Celtic fortification in the Otzenhausen Celtic Park.

9. Hainich National Park

The next national park on our list is in Thuringia between Eisenach, Mühlhausen / Thuringia and Bad Langensalza .

The approximately 7500 hectare park is best known for its treetop path, which lets you run up into the treetops.

The park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site for Beech Forests and Old Beech Forests since 2011 .

The aim of the national park is to create a central European primeval forest here again .

National park in Thuringia

The entire national park is well developed for tourists and has well signposted hiking and biking trails as well as rest areas. There are a number of sights around the national park that you can explore on your next vacation in Germany.

Only a few kilometers away from the Hainichen National Park you will also find the historically significant Wartburg .

Here Martin Luther translated the Bible into German and the Wartburg Festival – the first aspirations for a democratic nation – was celebrated here.

10. Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park

The last part of the German Wadden Sea, which is advertised as a national park in the Elbe estuary and belongs, despite the distance to Hamburg.

The Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park was founded in 1990 .

It mainly consists of sand and mixed mud flats .

It also includes the inhabited island of Neuwerk , which also belongs to Hamburg, and the dune islands of Scharhörn and Nigehörn.

11. Eifel National Park

The 11,000 hectare national park has existed in North Rhine-Westphalia since 2004.

Here, over 2000 endangered animal and plant species find an undisturbed and natural home.

These animals also include the shy wildcat and the rare black stork.

Around 240 kilometers of trails run through the park, so you can go on long hikes there, some of the trails are also approved for cyclists and riders.

National park in Rhineland-Palatinate

The image of the Eifel National Park is characterized by dense deciduous forests, species-rich meadows and many small streams.

The park also includes Lake Urft and the dam.

The wilderness trail is ideal as a little break in between .

You can hike this hiking trail in four daily stages and it leads you across the national park.

On this hike you will encounter all the scenic features of the Eifel National Park – from deep forests, over flowering meadows and past rushing streams.

12. Jasmund National Park

The Jasmund National Park on Rügen is the smallest national park in Germany with around 3000 hectares .

The area of ​​the park is north of the city of Sassnitz and also includes the famous Rügen chalk cliffs and the Königsstuhl viewpoint.

From here you can enjoy a unique view over the coast of Rügen.

It is not for nothing that the chalk cliffs are among the most romantic places in Germany.

National park on Rügen

Most of the park is covered with dense beech forests, part of which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2011 .

Go on long hikes through the region or explore the national park from above.

You have a perfect view of the area from the treetop path in the Rügen Natural Heritage Center.

13. Harz National Park

The largest forest national park extends around the Brocken between Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt.

The landscape of the national park is characterized by spruce and beech forests and many moors.

National Park on the Brocken

Many myths and stories have been entwined around the Brocken and the sometimes bizarre rocky landscape .

All the more reason to set out on your own and find out whether one or two witches might stop by the Brocken on Walpurgis Night .

The Harzer-Hexen-Stieg hiking trail also runs through the Harz Mountains.

Further highlights are waiting for you around the Brocken.

How about a visit to the Harz Treetop Walk or the “Brockenblick” toboggan lift?

14. Kellerwald-Edersee National Park

The Kellerwald-Edersee National Park is located in Hesse.

The Edersee is one of the most beautiful German bathing lakes and borders the park with its south bank.

So you can combine your next vacation with children in the popular travel region with a visit to the national park.

National park in Hessen

Explore the diverse landscape by bike or on foot.

The landscape is characterized by mountains and beech forests .

You will also find other forest types such as dry oak forest and hillside forests with hardwoods.

Many animals also find their habitat here – in 2007 a wildcat was detected for the first time in 60 years.

15. Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft National Park

This beautiful national park with its landscapes and unique beaches is located on the Baltic Sea coast in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania .

The area of ​​the park extends along the coast and in the hinterland between Ahrenshoop and Ostseebad Zingst.

It is the third largest national park in all of Germany.

National Park on the Baltic Sea

Here trees grow right up to the water and, deformed by the wind, offer a bizarre-beautiful spectacle .

A special feature of the lagoon landscape is the wind watt . This is not determined by ebb and flow, but is influenced by the wind.

They are important resting and feeding places for migratory birds .

16. Black Forest National Park

It is the first national park in Baden-Württemberg and was founded in 2014 .

The area of ​​the park lies between the Black Forest High Road and the valley of the Murg.

The mixed mountain forests that grow here are made up of spruce, beech and fir trees .

The landscape is shaped by the mountain ranges of the Black Forest, the highest mountain in the northern Black Forest, the Hornisgrinde and the Hoher Ochsenkopf.

National park in Baden-Wuerttemberg

Go on a journey of discovery through untouched nature.

Roe deer, red deer and black woodpecker live here alongside rare insect species, amphibians and dragonflies.

If you feel a little exhaustion after a hike, you can relax in one of the thermal baths in Baden-Württemberg.

Many of them are located in the Black Forest.

Go on a journey of discovery through untouched nature.

Roe deer, red deer and black woodpecker live here alongside rare insect species, amphibians and dragonflies.

If you feel a little exhaustion after a hike, you can relax in one of the thermal baths in Baden-Württemberg.

Many of them are located in the Black Forest.

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Tim Gumbert
Tim is the go-to guy when it comes to finding all the gems regarding life as an Expat in Germany. His whole motto is discover Germany on your own and without a roadmap, explore new routes while climbing or mountain biking.
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