Enjoy Bavaria’s rivers up close! From the lively Isar to the majestic, slow-moving Danube. On a raft, inflatable, canoe or kayak. Those who prefer to stay on dry land can walk along the river bank.
Canoe tour on the Iller
The River Iller starts life in the Upper Allgäu, where the three mountain streams called the Trettach, Stillach and Breitach come together. 150 kilometres long, it flows into the Danube near Ulm. The trip from Oberstdorf past Sonthofen and Immenstadt to Kempten is around forty kilometres long.
The Iller is a moderately challenging wild river, characterised by an open river landscape, gravel banks and wooded hills on either side. At one point near Häusern/Martinszell, boats have to be carried a hundred metres. There is a suitable exit point just before Kempten. It is not permitted to travel through Kempten on a canoe or any other boat.
oberstdorf.de (only in German)
Experience the alluvial forests of the Danube
The Donauwald walking trail offers thrilling glimpses of the Danube alluvial forest in Bavarian Swabia. The route runs around sixty kilometres from Günzburg to Schwenningen. It can be divided into five comfortable half-day stretches. This charming trail varies between grassland and reed-lined oxbow lakes.
Deciduous woodland and water landscapes with climbers and water lilies give it an ancient feel. There is a huge diversity of plant and animal life, including lady’s slippers and spring snowflakes, beavers and kingfishers. A very special kind of river adventure!
donauwald-wanderweg.de (only in German)
Raging Breitachklamm Gorge
The Breitachklamm Gorge is the deepest rocky ravine in Central Europe. It stretches from Kleinwalsertal to Tiefenbach/Oberstdorf and is 2.5 kilometres long, 150 metres deep and just two metres wide at its narrowest point.
The gorge was created at the end of the last Ice Age when the glaciers melted and the water chiselled its way through the rock. It can be explored on foot along various trails. At any time of year, including in winter. The paths are well maintained, but you need sturdy footwear. Walking trails all around the Breitachklamm Gorge tempt visitors to explore further.
Rafting in the Franconian Forest
Saturday in summer near Wallenfels. It’s three o’clock. The weirs have opened and a surge of water is gushing into the Wilde Rodach River. Now the rafters can begin their journey. The passengers, around twenty per raft, sit astride wooden beams.
It takes around forty minutes to cover the five-kilometre stretch. And you may well get wet … So it’s best to bring a change of clothes! You can leave it in your car at the end of the route. A shuttle service brings the raft passengers to the start. Enjoy the ride!
flossfahrt-wallenfels.de (only in German)
Family fun on the Altmühl
The Nature Park Altmühltal is bigger than the whole Saarland region and one of the largest nature parks in Germany. The River Altmühl crosses it from west to east and flows into the Danube near Kelheim. Beginners and experienced paddlers alike feel at ease on the Altmühl.
Its gentle flow makes it the ideal family river. The full boating stretch is 160 kilometres in length, but the stages can be divided up to suit your individual needs. There are plenty of hire stations and camp sites. Or you can simply book a package boat tour.
A trip along the River Main
The Main - life blood of Franconia. It flows over 500 kilometres in an east-west direction through the Franconian low mountain region. Eventually it flows into the Rhein near Mainz. The best section for a trip on the water is found between Hochstadt and Stockstadt, a total of 350 kilometres.
Families and leisure paddlers tend to cover up to 25 kilometres a day, experienced boaters somewhat more. Hire stations, hotels and restaurants along the way make it easy to plan individual tours. Package deals are also available.
main-wasserwandern.de (only in German)
The black pearl that is the Ilz
The River Ilz rises in the Bavarian Forest National Park and flows south to Passau - sometimes through ravines, sometimes through undulating hills. There it meets the Inn and the Danube. Along its sixty-kilometre length, it drops over a thousand metres! It is noted for its dark, marshy water, once rich in pearl oysters.
Today, even more unusual creatures live in the river and its valley, including dippers and fire salamanders. The Ilz is a beautiful river to walk along, as well as offering white water stretches such as the Dießensteiner Leite. In May and June no boating is permitted on the river to protect nature.
The River Regen is one of the most attractive rivers in Bavaria. It is always good for exciting and adventurous tours. Water tourists can frolic or relax over a distance of over a hundred kilometres. It runs from the Blaibacher See in the district of Cham and joins the Danube in Regensburg.
The section between the towns of Regen, Teisnach and Viechtach is especially lovely, featuring reed-covered banks and thick forest. There is a good infrastructure along the river with plenty of rest and camp sites.
Important note: Until further notice, commercial tours with rental canoes are prohibited.
Walking in the Waldnaab valley
A highlight in the Oberpfälzer Wald: the Waldnaab forms a canyon between Falkenberg and Windischeschenbach. Twelve kilometres long, it is lined with rock faces up to fifty metres high. The Goldsteig Section 3 trail leads through this spectacular valley.
The trail is well marked and wildly romantic with its high bracken, mossy granite boulders and foaming water. At the halfway point, walkers can fortify themselves in a lovely Biergarten. Information panels along the way tell of legends and bygone castles.
Nature and culture on the Danube
Between Vohburg and Weltenburg, the Danube flows in its natural river bed - a charming stretch for boat tours about twenty kilometres in length. Alluvial forest and water meadows line the route - a unique natural landscape. With luck you may see a black kite overhead or hear the song of the nightingale.
The Weltenburger Enge is a famous sight: here the Danube forces its way through rocky cliffs towering up to seventy metres in height. There are plenty of historic places that are well worth visiting along the way, including the home town of Agnes Bernauer in Vohburg, Neustadt with its old city centre, or the Benedictine Abbey of Weltenburg with its famous abbey church rebuilt and refitted by the Asam brothers. From Kelheim onwards, the Danube is a federal waterway carrying shipping traffic.
herzstueck.bayern (only in German)
Rafting fun on the Isar
Every year from May to the middle of September, there’s plenty of activity on the River Isar. This is when the traditional rafts begin their trips through the Isar valley. They start from Wolfratshausen and float with their passengers almost thirty kilometres past Schäftlarn, Georgenstein and Grünwald Castle. The rafting trip comes to an end in Thalkirchen, an urban district in the south of Munich.
The whole experience lasts between five and seven hours. Up to sixty passengers can travel on a single raft. Traditional music, beer and a hearty snack ensure a jolly atmosphere on board. These rafts once transported wood and other goods along the Isar.
muenchen.de (only in German)
Wild Partnach Gorge
One of the most impressive natural spectacles in Bavaria is the rushing water through the Partnach Gorge near Garmisch-Partenkirchen. This 700 metre long gorge was carved through the rock by the mountain river. The rock faces rise up to eighty metres high. You can get up close to this natural spectacle along the various galleries and passages that have been blasted into the rock.
The gorge can be accessed all the year round, even in winter. Bizarre ice formations give it a particular charm at this time of year. Locals first entered the gorge in the 18th century. It has been open to tourists since 1912.
partnachklamm.de (only in German)