Birds chirping, brooks babbling, treetops rustling – the air usually only smells this good by the sea. Recharge your batteries, fill your lungs with fresh air, find peace, get healthy. Anyone who goes to the Bavarian Forest instinctively feels it: the forest is good for you. funkyGERMANY has found seven inspiring ideas that offer respite and a chance to slow down.
The Forest Pharmacy
Hiking guide Maria teaches about the healing effects of the forest on a four-hour tour of discovery through the largest contiguous forest area in Central Europe. In the Lamer Winkel region she shows what the forest has to offer. It’s cool to learn about the useful plants that can be used to prepare ointments, tinctures, teas and bath treatments, with healing and relaxing effects.
The Bavarian Forest is like a giant powerbank for your health. The aroma of the trees has a positive effect on the body, reducing stress hormones and strengthening the immune system. Forest bathing is also about mental wellness. By concentrating on the vitality of the forest and appreciating it with all the senses, a feeling of inner peace can be achieved. A yoga teacher and Kneipp health trainer show guests how it works in a course which is available in the Grosser Pfahl nature reserve in the Viechtach Land region of the forest.
Forest Cures in Lackenhäuser
Under the name Waldkurort, in the small village of Lackenhäuser in the Dreisessel region, Eva Kempinger has designed some unusual hiking programmes for those seeking stillness and contemplation. The programmes are a mixture of hiking and meditation, mindfulness exercises, dance and reflections and aim to create a close connection between humans and nature.
There’s plenty to nibble on in the Bavarian Forest. Blueberry, huckleberry, wild berry, forest berry, hayberry – there are many local names for the blueberry here. The dark blue fruit is a real superfood that contains plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The beautiful blue colour is created up by the anthocyanins in the berry, which are considered to be an anti-ageing booster in traditional, natural medicine.
Blueberries are in season from July to September, and pleasure-seeking hikers should take advantage of this to tour the 1,292 metre-high Heugstatt mountain in the northern part of the Bavarian Forest. Incidentally, the mountain’s summit plateau is not made of rock and stone, but a fantastically beautiful meadow. The blueberry bushes are waist-high and full to bursting. Blue lips on the hike back reveal who ate the most berries…
Happiness Coaching in the Forest
In the heart of the Bavarian Forest, Coach Heidi Heigl can be seen exploring the woods with her happiness-to-go course participants. During their intensive rendezvous with the forest, those who are interested can learn to transfer the success secrets of nature into their own lives, learn more about the healing effects of the forest, attain more inner peace and gain a deep sense of contentment. This fresh energy and joie de vivre acts as a natural way to prevent stress.
Birding in the Wild Forests
The mixed forest along the River Ilz is a paradise for birds. Caves for woodpeckers can be found here as well as dense bushes for the goldcrest. Coal tits, mistle thrush, treecreeper, flycatcher, warblers and many more species can be heard singing their song in the trees and bushes. If you set off from Schönberg for the Upper Ilz nature reserve, you can embark on a tour for the senses on hiking trail #2.
The five-kilometre circular trail begins at the Ettlmühle mill, where the Kleine and Große Ohe rivers meet and become the Ilz. The path continues uphill and downhill through the rich forest to a sunny clearing in the idyllic Ilzauen meadows, perfect for a rest and a picnic. If you are lucky, you may spot the tiny goldcrest, with his crown of gold feathers, on this tour.
Bird’s Eye View
At the forest tower in Maibrunn near Sankt Englmar, birds fly past at eye level, at a height of 52 metres. The surrounding treetops are full of the sounds of flapping and fluttering wings. Once you have walked up the 400-metre-long treetop pathway, you’ll be standing on the platform of the forest tower. The panorama here sweeps across the Bavarian Forest and the Danube Valley.
Looking for a special kick? You can’t have vertigo if you want to chill out in the free-hanging nets suspended above the trees, and listen to the sound of the forest. And how to get back down? The two tube slides are definitely the fastest way.