Recharge your batteries, pause for a moment, and enjoy the lovely nature: The "Path of Deceleration" (Der Weg der Entschleunigung in German) takes you through the Šumava Bohemian Forest National Park in 15 stages.
In the Collection, I present a specially-selected round hike which takes you 42 miles (68 km) through the forest. The four separate stages will guide you through the north-western Mühlviertel in Upper Austria, taking you to some of the highlights of this beautiful Bohemian Forest.
As one of the oldest low mountain ranges in Europe, the Bohemian Forest has created a unique landscape in the border triangle between Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic. As the last remaining large forest area in Central Europe, the two national parks here are characterised by dense forests, rocky boulders, mountain lakes and wild bogs. The ancient landscape is home to diverse wildlife including lynxes, wolves, red deer, otters, and capercaillie. It is said that moose even live in the marshlands along the Vltava River.
On the adventure, you will explore the Mühlviertel, climb peaks of up to 4,265 feet (1,300 m), discover herb gardens, poetry, mystical rock formations and special hidden places. Spectacular panoramic views, stretching as far as the Alps, are included en route. The four-day hike has what it takes to bring harmony and balance back into your life. All you have to do is let the impressive nature do its thing.
All sections of the route include places to stop for refreshments, but it is still worth packing a snack. You’ll find resting places with great views or comfortable seating along the way. Each stage varies in length averaging around five to six hours of walking time. In addition, you can expect to climb up to 2,600 feet (800 m) daily. Depending on your fitness level, you can extend the length of your adventure to five or six days. Each stage ends in a place with overnight accommodation, but make sure you book in advance.
On the Way of Deceleration you will hike over field and forest paths and through unpaved, partly-stony terrain. Sure-footedness and a good basic condition are required. But with sturdy shoes and motivation to discover new things, you will be fine.
Don’t forget to pack your passport because you will cross a total of three national borders. To make your hike a little easier, you can use luggage transport to carry your things from place to place. You can reach Aigen-Schlägl from Vienna via Linz in just under three hours by car or travel from Munich via Deggendorf in about three and a half hours. It is also possible to reach the hike by train from both cities.
The first section of the route takes you on Upper Austrian soil along the Große Mühl, an idyllic stream with grassy shores. You get to the cool, gently flowing water as soon as you have left Aigen-Schlägl. On this stage you hike a whopping 20 kilometers, but only overcome about 380 meters of altitude - a good mood for what is still waiting for you in the following days. The tour is varied, so time flies by. Nevertheless, you should be in good condition and celebrate it as a daily success, in the evening exhausted but happy to fall into your hotel bed.One of the highlights on the tour is the lovingly laid out herb garden. A place to take a deep breath, let the scent of 1000 different organic herbs and medicinal plants work on you and marvel at the colorful flowers. From May to June, the main flowering period for alpine plants such as gentian, heather, alpine rose and stone floret. From June to August you experience the heyday and maximum joy of colors. Blooming heathland awaits you in September. You can find out more about the individual plants on display boards. A detour to the beautiful market square in Klaffer gives you an insight into the architecture in the Bohemian Forest.On this stage you have numerous places to stop for a bite to eat: In Ulrichsberg the Ulrichsberger Hof or the Hotel-Restaurant Böhmerwaldhof are ideal for a break. In Klaffer you can stop off at the Schnitzlwirt or at the Seewirt at the bathing lake. For the latter, you have to take a small detour, but have the opportunity to cool off on a hot hiking day. If you have your snack with you, we recommend a break right by the stream. Apple and sandwiches have never tasted as good as here with a view of the soft grass meadows and legs dangling in the cool water.Adalbert Stifter is closely linked to the area - he was an Austrian writer, painter and educator and is one of the most important authors of the Biedermeier period. "The son of the Bohemian Forest" - this is how the founder is called. You will read and hear from him more often on your tour. There is an exhibition in his honor in Schwarzenberg. This gives you an insight into Stifter's life, his literary work and his art.A scenic highlight is the hilly Mariental, which you can explore on a beautiful meadow path. From here it is only two kilometers to Schwarzenbach - your destination today, where you can choose from numerous accommodation options.
The second stage on the way to decelerate is a bit shorter at 16 kilometers, but you have to overcome the 700 meters of altitude difference with some challenging walking terrain in the summit area. A hearty and hearty breakfast is the perfect basis to master a challenging day. Today you will cross national borders a few times - so be sure to pack your passport.The first crossing from Austria to Bavaria awaits you after four kilometers on the Gegenbach. After another five kilometers and the longest climb on the tour, you will reach the first highlight, the three-seater. This is one of the most striking peaks in the Bavarian forest. The rock castle Hochstein is with 1322 meters the highest elevation on the three-seater. The three-seater chair was made famous by the founder, who made reference to the three-seater chair in his stories and drawings.The name Dreisessel has its origins in a legend: the kings of Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Austria are said to have met on the rocks to define the boundaries of the respective territories. At the place where the gentlemen settled, the three-seater formed. Here is also the half-way point of your tour and a stop or rest is advisable. If you don't have a snack with you, take the chance and try Bavarian specialties in the Berggasthof Dreisesselhaus.In the further course of the tour you will discover further scenic highlights. On the way to the Stone Sea you hike through the high forest - an initially inhospitable place where the bare trunks rise into the sky like tree ruins. Here the storm raged Cyril and bark beetles and left the forest in a desolate condition. Nature is slowly recovering from the hardships.The Steinerne Meer, however, lives up to its name. As far as the eye can see, there are large, flat stones on the floor, which are partially covered by a thin, green layer of moss. An important note at this point: The stones are very slippery when wet and special care is required.The good news first: Now it's all downhill. But you still hike a total of four and a half kilometers to your destination - Oberschwarzenbach. There you can choose from various accommodation options.
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On stage 3 of your tour, your legs are getting tired, but there is still so much to discover! Today, 18 kilometers are on the agenda and a whopping 840 vertical meters. But the tour is peppered with many highlights, breathtaking views and places of strength. You will only feel the effort in the evening.From Oberschwarzenbach you hike a good two kilometers on a moderate slope to the first stop of your tour. The devil bowls are on a rock castle and are bowl-like depressions that are constantly filled with water. According to legend, the devils and witches met here under a full moon to carry out incantations and evil spells. Until the Middle Ages, the imposing rock castle then served as a place of assembly and cult. The place still exudes a special energy. It is the strongest place of power on the path of deceleration.After a short, flatter section, the incline increases again until you reach another highlight on your route. The border triangle is a man-high marker that shows the country borders Czech Republic, Germany and Austria. Where else can you cross three countries in just a few steps? If your stomach is already growling after the short climb, you can take a break at a huge stone table.Before you reach the highest elevation in the Bohemian Forest, the 1379 meter high Plöckenstein, pay a visit to the founder Dachl. The monument in honor of Adalbert Stifter offers an ideal shelter, but also a perfect view of the surrounding area and the beautiful Plöckensteinersee.The Plöckenstein is located in the border area between Austria and the Czech Republic, whereby the border runs directly over the Plöckenstein. We continue along the border with four other peaks over 1000 meters: Reischlberg, Schönbergfelsen, Hochfichtgipfel and Stinglfelsen.There is only a refreshment stop on this path at Hochficht - at a small supply station at the valley station of the chairlift you can get the essentials.Or you can take a side trip to Holzschlag: the Holzschlag event house or the survival inn are waiting to cater for you. From logging you can walk straight to the Stinglfelsen and there you will find your way back. Remember that the detour takes about four more kilometers to your speedometer.Then you hike through sparse forest and reach Schöneben, a large clearing on the Böhmerwaldkamm. Your daily goal has been reached. There is a small selection of accommodation available in town.
Today you go on the last stage on the way to deceleration. There are almost 14 kilometers and only 160 meters of altitude waiting to be mastered by you. At the end of the tour, you descend 500 meters to the starting point in Aigen-Schlägl.This day will also be particularly promising. You can enjoy great views from the Moldaublick observation tower, from the Bärenstein, Hochbuchet and the Liebesfelsen. You will reach the first highlight after about two kilometers on foot. The Vltava view on Sulzberg (1041 m) offers you a great view of the Vltava lake in the Czech Republic, one of the largest reservoirs in Europe. For perfect foresight, climb another 24 meters to the lookout tower on Sulzberg.We continue to the Bärenstein, a rock castle with a beautiful summit cross. The rock castles in the Bohemian Forest are the result of a weathering process, which in geology is called wool bag weathering. The Bohemian Massif was created 300 million years ago. Rainwater that seeped into the ground washed out gullies and caves underground, the granite blocks began to decompose, and the round wool sack shapes emerged.Your stomach is already growling? No problem! It is only two kilometers from the Bärenstein to the Panyhaus inn. After a refreshment you come from here to the love rocks that invite you to linger.A crowning conclusion of your tour is the detour to the Kneipp basin at the Michaelsquelle. Here you can review the past four days and mentally prepare yourself for the re-entry into the hectic hustle and bustle at your destination in Aigen-Schlägl.