The Nurtschweg, a long distance trail along the German-Czech border, promises to be a great hiking adventure. On seven stages, you walk through sparsely populated areas in the Upper Palatinate Forest, enjoying only the essentials of life. Carrying everything you need on your shoulders, including food, you can feel what is really important in life. In the endless forests, you can rediscover yourself in nature.
The tranquil villages along the 140-kilometre (86-mile) trail reveal the border region’s interesting culture. Although you only hike on German soil, the Czech Republic is often only a few metres away.
Along the way, you discover enchanted castle ruins, magnificent sacral architecture, and plenty of traditional beer from the region. Several viewpoints afford spectacular views over the surrounding landscape too. The trail is named after Johann Baptist Nurtsch, who was a postman in Weiden around 1900. He marked the route for the first time in the colours yellow-red-yellow, which you can still follow today.
The stages are neither short nor long, and you never have to overcome many metres in altitude. This makes the trail an ideal long-distance hike for beginners and families. The routes are designed for gentle walking, allowing plenty of time to stop for breaks and visit places en route. The rippling streams, moss-covered rocks and forest create a mysterious atmosphere. Look up and watch the tree tops swaying in the breeze and keep your eyes peeled for inhabitants of the forest.
In this Collection, the trail runs from from north to south, but you can walk in either direction. The Nurtschweg is most beautiful during the warm months: from spring when nature slowly awakens again, to summer when the plants bloom in their splendour, and autumn when the Upper Palatinate Forest comes alive with colour. The individual stages are also wonderfully suited as day hikes.
It is best to book your overnight stays in advance. Sometimes, accommodation isn’t available directly at the end of the stage, but you will find a bed close by. Hosts in the region are helpful and often happy to pick you up at the end on request. They can also prepare takeaway meals and snacks. The stages often run through remote areas so make sure you bring enough food and drink with you. You’ll spot regional bakeries and butchers to purchase a treat for your hike. Bring cash as you may not be able to everywhere by card.
Take the train to Marktredwitz and Wiesau. From there, you can take the BAXI bus to the starting point in Kappl. You can find more information, here: fahrmit-tirschenreuth.de/baxi. There’s a station in Waldmünchen, where you finish the hike, too.
The Nurtschweg begins with a bang: before you even set off, you can visit the magnificent baroque Trinity Church in Kappl. But then it is time to start hiking and you enter the first piece of forest south of the Kappl. Now you have already got to know the leitmotif for your first stage on the Nurtschweg. This creates a smooth transition from civilization to nature before you advance into more pristine regions over the next few days.After the first few kilometers, the second highlight awaits: In Waldsassen there is an impressive abbey that is definitely worth a visit. The monastery includes an imposing basilica and a historical library. It then goes uphill through a forest quite comfortably. At a chapel there is a rest area for a break. Here you can relax and enjoy the snack you brought with you.Soon it goes slightly downhill again through trees and fields to Bad Neualbenreuth. Before you enter the place, you will pass the Sibyllenbad. Here you can relax wonderfully in the healing water or in the sauna after your first day of long-distance hiking. A tour of Bad Neualbenreuth is also worthwhile: Here, many houses are presented in the special Egerland half-timbered structure that can only be seen here in the Bavarian-Bohemian border area - including in the next stage destination, Mähring. In Bad Neualbenreuth you will also find all kinds of places to stay and stop for a break.
On the second stage, the Nurtschweg runs along the border with the Czech Republic through a sparsely populated area. So it's best to pack a decent snack for on the go. It can also be a little more, because there is no inn at the stage destination in Mähring.First you walk east straight to the Czech Republic. You will immediately pass the Grenzlandturm, from which you can get a good overview. To the south and east you look in the direction in which the Nurtschweg will lead you. Then an extensive section in the forest awaits you, some of which runs directly on the border. This brings you to the small Muglbach waterfall.Further through the forest and parallel to the border you come to a picturesque clearing on which only the chapel of the former village of Högelstein stands. The last few kilometers also lead you through the forest to your stage destination Mähring. Here you have another opportunity to admire the Egerland half-timbered houses before you spend a good night's sleep in a guesthouse.
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On the third stage, dreamlike landscapes and places steeped in history await you. Today the Nurtschweg leads only a little through the forest and more over fields, so you have a nice unobstructed view. You leave Mähring in the south and then turn to the southwest. The forest through which the border to the Czech Republic runs is always in view. You cross the village of Griesbach and then dive into the forest for a short distance.On the adjoining fields that bring you to Hermannsreuth, you have a wonderful view. Now you are walking through a small forest again. There, where you step out again between the trees, your stage destination Bärnau is not far anymore. The rather small town has city rights because it is on the Golden Street. In the Middle Ages this was an important trade route between Nuremberg and Prague. If you are interested in this epoch, you can take a journey through time in the history park, an archaeological open-air museum.You can also visit the button museum in Bärnau. In general, there is everything in the village that a hiker's heart desires: shopping, refreshment stops and places to stay overnight.
On the fourth stage you can enjoy the essence of the Upper Palatinate nature again: The Nurtschweg leads you between trees through a landscape in which the next places seem far away. Only the first two kilometers run over fields.In the forest you will soon pass a rustic log cabin, which invites you to have a second breakfast with comfortable benches and tables. Then you pass the Silberhütte, whereupon you soon reach the Kreuzstein, an old border marker. Here you can walk a bit along the border or - even better - you can take a short detour to the Czech Republic. On the Havran, in English "Großer Rabenberg", there is an observation tower, from which you have a wonderful view over the forest.In the further course of the path, impressive rocks await you around the Schellenberg, which tower high into the sky. A castle ruin with a viewing platform is enthroned on such a rock. We continue through the forest. At the end of your stage you can enjoy a hearty snack in the Alte Mühle Gehenhammer. From there it is not far to the stage destination.You cannot spend the night in Georgenberg itself. But if you go a little further on the Nurtschweg, you will come to Hinterbrünst, where there is a hotel and a guesthouse. Or you can choose another host in the area who will pick you up at the stage destination and bring you back the next morning.
The fifth stage is one of the longer routes on the Nurtschweg. Today the forest thins out more often and the varied path makes the hiking day entertaining. First over fields and then through the forest you hike up to the Sulzberg. Numerous springs arise here, some of whose water also flows down to Waidhaus, where it feeds a swimming lake in the Bäckeröd leisure center.You can stop in Waidhaus and get a snack from the bakery. It goes on to the southwest. After you have crossed the Pfreimd river, you can make a detour to the church on the Ulrichsberg and enjoy a leisurely break there.Then forests and fields alternate on your way to Eslarn. You can especially look forward to this stage destination, because Eslarn is a Zoiglort. The Zoigl is a beer that the residents of the village brew together in the communal brewery. This is then served on certain weekends in the Zoigl-Stube. You can find out whether this is currently open here: zoiglstum.de/html/zoiglkalender.html. And what could be better than a well-deserved beer after a day of hiking? You can find out more about the typical drink from the Upper Palatinate in the beer experience at Kommunbrauhaus.
On the sixth stage, a lively up and down between forests and fields awaits you. From Eslarn you go south towards the Stückberg. At the foot of the mountain you will be greeted by friendly forest dwellers. In the wildlife park you wander between the enclosures of mouflons, deer and wild boars, and then go via Lindau to Friedrichshäng.In the adjacent forest, after another ascent, you can make a detour to an abandoned and destroyed village. There is only one building left in theügellohe - today, as a documentation center, it tells the history of the place. And then it's time again for a look from above: Just a few meters further, the Bohemian Forest Tower is waiting for you with its wonderful all-round view.The next highlight in the forest follows shortly afterwards: the enchanted Reichenstein ruins. A large part of the keep of the former castle still stands. Then you master the last descent of the day. Shortly before the stage destination Stadlern you will pass the Hochfels. This impressive stone formation rises from a picturesque heathland.There is no overnight accommodation in Stadlern itself. The best thing to do is to find a host in the area who will pick you up at the stage destination and bring you back there the next morning.
As the last stage, a longer hike is waiting for you. So you can enjoy the Upper Palatinate nature with its dense forests to the full and bring your Nurtschweg to a worthy end. A short piece of forest brings you to Charlottenthal, another to the foot of the Kleeberg. Here you can make a detour to the pretty pilgrimage chapel of Steinlohe, which stands lonely above the meadows.To the left you bypass the Kleeberg and then hike to the edge of the village of Egelsee. From there you walk south past Spielberg and Kapellenberg. A few kilometers before your destination Waldmünchen you will reach the banks of the Perlsee. Say goodbye to the forest here, because on the last section you will only meet a few trees.You can take a leisurely break at Perlsee and cool off in the water. On the herbal educational trail you will learn interesting facts about the healing powers of plants. Then you hike to Waldmünchen, where you have earned a hearty stop at the end of the Nurtschweg. A train will bring you home from the local train station.