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Project Expat
  • Project Expat
  • Jul 06, 2023

National Parks in Germany

Germany, Austria and Switzerland are some of the best countries in the world to disconnect from the stress-inducing pace of our daily lives and engage with nature. In addition to their breath-taking landscapes and wide variety of fauna and flora, Germany, Austria and Switzerland have 16, 6 and 1 national parks (respectively), which are undoubtedly hidden gems of nature. In case you didn’t know, national parks are protected areas by the state to focus on the protection and preservation of the environment and its wildlife.

Luckily, we can enjoy spending time in these marvelous places untouched by human intervention. Here are the top 10 national parks in the DACH region that you cannot miss:

1. Black Forest National Park (Germany)

It should come as no surprise that the Black Forest region in Germany is well-known worldwide, attracting thousands of visitors each year. One only has to look out over this area to witness the endless wonders it has to offer. The 10.000-hectare Black Forest National Park (Nationalpark Schwarzwald) is located in the state of Baden-Northern Württemberg in southwest Germany.

There, you can explore this natural reserve’s lush green forests, lakes, valleys and waterfalls on foot or by bicycle, as well as its spectacular mountain views in the heights. Additionally, there are many sporting activities option for all ages, including hiking or rafting.

The entrance to this national park is free!

Exact address: Schwarzwaldhochstraße 2, 77889 Seebach, Germany.

If you want to find out more about the Black Forest National Park, check out their official webpage.

2. Berchtesgaden National Park (Germany)

If you’re looking for heart-stopping scenic views, you don’t need to look any further. Located in the German Alps, more precisely in the Berchtesgadener Land, this national park will blow your mind. In 1990, UNESCO declared the Berchtesgaden National Park as a biosphere reserve, and we have no doubts as to why. The atmosphere is beyond magical: gloomy forests, picturesque valleys, steep cliffs and glaciers will make you feel like you’re in the lungs of the Earth.

In addition to its hiking trails and the many activities and services it provides, this national park offers exhibitions and educational programs where visitors can learn about environmental protection first-hand.

The entrance to this national park is free (there is only a small parking fee).

Exact address: 83486 Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden, Germany.

Do not hesitate to check out further information here.

3. Bavarian Forest National Park (Germany)

The Bavarian Forest National Park, located in the Eastern Bavarian Forest, was founded as Germany’s first national park on October 7, 1970. Along with the bordering Czech Bohemian Forest, it forms the largest continuous area of forest in Europe, making it a must-visit destination. Its awe-inspiring scenery of pristine valleys, hills, forests and summits won’t let you down.

On top of that, the Bavarian Forest National Park offers many sporting activities, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing being the most popular ones during the winter season. Moreover, there are several BBQ areas, playgrounds and visitor facilities that will make your visit more pleasant.

The entrance to this national park is free (there is a parking fee of 5 euros per day).

Exact address: Nationalparkverwaltung Bayerischer Wald*,* Freyunger Straße 2 94481, Grafenau, Germany.

If you want to find out more about the Bavarian Forest National Park, check out their official webpage.

4. Kellerwald-Edersee National Park (Germany)

The Kellerwald-Edersee National Park will leave you speechless with its extensive beech forests. In fact, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2011 known as “Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe”. Located in the north of Hesse, Frankfurt and Wiesbaden being the closest cities, it impresses nature lovers with the Edersee lake and a beautiful low mountain range landscape.

Those who explore the area will discover idyllic stream valleys, deep gorges, old trees and rare flowers. In addition to hiking circuits, people can enjoy swimming, canoeing and sailing in the lake during summer.

This national park has a free access!

Exact address: Nationalpark Kellerwald-Edersee, 34537 Bad Wildungen, Hesse, Germany.

Find out more about the Kellerwald-Edersee National Park here.

5. Müritz National Park (Germany)

The Müritz national park lies mid-way between Berlin and Rostock and to the east of Lake Müritz, the largest lake in the Mecklenburg Lake District. It offers visitors more than 100 lakes, ancient beech forests, mysterious moors, swamps and meadows. With 47 hiking routes, 12 bike pathways, and 2 water trekking trails, the sizable national park can be explored in a variety of ways. A visit to the old town of Waren, steamboat trips and canoeing are highly recommended. Animal lovers can make use of the observation posts in the eastern part of the park to spot cranes, osprays, eagles and even red deer.

The entrance to this national park is free!

Exact address: Kargower Str. 12, 17192 Kargow, Germany.

If you wish to find out more about this national park, check out their official webpage.

6. Eifel National Park (Germany)

Located between North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland Palatinate and eastern Belgium, the Eifel National Park extends over an area of 110 square kilometres. It is famous for its grand beech and gnarled oak woods, dark blue lakes and rivers, wide dams and mountain ranges.

In addition to exploring the area, you should visit the Hirschley viewpoint, which provides a view 180 metters above the Rustausee reservoir.

Moreover, if you enjoy astronomy, this is the right place for you: the Eifel National Park offers the “Dark Sky Park”, where you can watch the starts very well thanks to the clear and unclouded air of the national park.

The entrance fee is 8 euros per person, but there are different offers depending on your personal situation.

Exact address: Urftseestr. 34, 54937 Schleiden-Gemünd, Germany.

Check out their official webpage to find out more information about this national park.

7. Hainich National Park (Germany)

The Hainich National Park in Thuringia, located between Bad Langensalza and Eisenach, stands out for its wild beech forests. Being the largest continuous expanse of mixed deciduous woodland in Europe, this national park was once a military zone.

Visitors can explore this old woodland in a variety of ways. A sleigh ride is strongly suggested in the winter, while the well-marked hiking routes or the 44-meter-high Thiemsburg treetop trail are ideal during the rest of the year.

Another well-liked attraction is Hütscheroda Wildcat Village, where guests can watch the animals or observe the Rhön Alps, Wartburg Castle and Thuringian Forest.

The entrance fee is 8 euros for adults, but there are different group and individual offers that might be suitable for you.

Exact address: Marktkirche 9, 99947 Bad Langensalza, Germany.

Find out more about the Hainich National Park here.

8. Jasmund National Park (Germany)

The Jasmund National Park lies on the Jasmund peninsula, in the northeast of Rügen island in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. It is especially famous for being home to the largest chalk cliffs in Germany, reaching heights of up to 177 metres, and ancient beech forests. In fact, in 2011 UNESCO listed the Jasmund beech forest as a World Heritage Site.

A multi-kilometer hiking track that leads directly to the impressively rough coastline and provides breathtaking views of the white cliffs, lush forests, and the sea is available for visitors to explore on foot or by bike.

The entrance fee is 6 euros for adults, but there are also some reduced admission prices available.

Exact address: Stubbenkammer 2a, 18546 Sassnitz, Germany.

Do not hesitate to check out further information on their official webpage.

9. Hohe Tauern National Park (Austria)

The Hohe Tauern, located between Carinthia, Tirol and Salzburg, is the biggest and oldest national park in Austria. It offers the most breathtaking high mountain sceneries, as well as Austria’s largest glacier, Pasterze, and Europe’s tallest waterfalls, the Krimml falls. Visitors can participate in themed trails and ranger-led trip that encourage them to explore the cultural and natural treasures of the area. Additionally, its educational programs offer an understanding of the distinctive flora and fauna of this natural reserve in the Alps.

The entrance to this national park is free!

Exact address: Kirchpl. 2, 9971 Matrei in Osttirol, Austria.

If you want to find out more about the Hohe Tauern National Park, check out their official webpage.

10. The Swiss National Park (Switzerland)

The Swiss National Park is the only national park in Switzerland. It is located in the Western Rhaetian Alps and is part of the is part of the worldwide UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The park features a variety of picturesque landscapes, including stunning rivers running through deep valleys, high mountains, fauna, and thick and expansive forests.

Bike riding and camping are prohibited in the park, but the excellent hiking makes up for this. In addition to the 21 walking routes in the national park, you can trek through alpine meadows, climb a mountain or saunter in a forest.

This national park has a free access!

Exact address: Swiss National Park, Runatsch 124, Chastè Planta-Wildenberg, 7530 Zernez, Switzerland.

Check out their official webpage to find out further information about the Swiss national park.

All in all, we believe that these national parks are great places to spend a weekend getaway or even a lovely day trip with family and friends. Expats should see the wonders that Germany, Austria and Switzerland have to offer!

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I think that would be a great initiative and an added value service for expats like myself.


What a great idea to set up a website for English-speaking ex-pat's in Munich to help with everyday challenges.


I am looking forward to your services in the mentioned topics in the survey.


Sounds exciting and we would definitely use it for a myriad of reasons. Particularly as we are getting ready to move to Germering and require all of these services. Specifically, sometimes it is hard finding doctors who speak English. And both Cecilia and I work with auslanders who do not speak German, either (and would as well be interested).