Top things to do in Franconian Switzerland, Germany

I have to admit that prior to the trip, I hadn’t heard much about the Franconian Switzerland region in Germany. But following an invitation we received from the Nuremberg tourism board, who also suggested we visit there, we got to discover a stunning region of Germany we would love to revisit.
The Franconian Switzerland tourism board arranged a very fun itinerary for us according to our preferences and we ended up having an amazing trip, combining city life, nature, rest and challenges and a lot of beer and delicious food.

How to reach Franconian Switzerland?

Franconian Switzerland is in the Bavarian region of Germany. We arrived via a direct flight to Nuremberg with Germania Airlines. After two days in Nuremberg, we drove to Franconian Switzerland in a rental car. It’s a short drive of about an hour.

Where did we stay?

This was one of the trip’s special experiences. We got to stay at Burg Rabenstein. A stunning castle with many attractions in its vicinity. You may read about our experience at the castle in detail in the post about “Sleeping in a castle in Franconian Switzerland, Germany – A royal experience from the middle ages”.
Hotel price comparison and additional reviews.  

Things to do in Franconian Switzerland

Forest climbing park

This was my first time in a ropes park, and to be honest, I was scared at first. I did try many extreme activities such as bungee jumping, free falling, wall climbing and such in the past, but I’ve got no coordination or balance and sometimes get scared of heights! Kletterwald park forced me to face all these problems 🙂 and I had a fun, challenging time.

This park has many tracks of varying difficulties and is suitable for both children and adults. At first, we went through instruction by one of the instructors (After he helped us put our gear on). We got the instruction on a training track and the guide explained, step by step, what we need to do – before letting us try on our own. Only after seeing us do the track properly did he allow us to go on to the regular courses on our own. The courses include passing over bridges of all sorts and doing omegas (Which was my favorite part).

We decided to start with the medium difficulty course and it was honestly quite hard, but I managed it successfully. We then did a hard course, which was definitely quite difficult, but I succeeded that as well (Despite difficulties along the way and letting a girl pass me along the way, since I felt like I was slowing her down).

Roman then decided we should go try the hardest track, named “The Gorilla” (The guide warned us ahead of time that the course isn’t for everyone, as it’s truly difficult and requires a lot of strength), I followed Roman and right away we understood it was going to be very complicated, and after several stages we decided there was no chance we could go on. It was too hard and we kept slipping. So, we backtracked and decided to let that one go (I’m tall, and Roman is very tall, and it turns out that in these places the taller and heavier you are, the more you’ll struggle. We had to admit the Gorilla course wasn’t for us, at least not the first time we visit this kind of park).

Then we had the most fun (And scary) experience, a course called “Flying fox”. It’s essentially a course made up of climbing to a great height (The scary part), then going on a few omegas and finally a very long omega (The fun and scary parts, combined). The course costs an additional 3 euros, and is highly recommended. It’s a bit of a stressful experience, as the first climb is both physically exhausting and caused me a fear of heights, you have to climb a swaying ladder. However, with Roman’s encouragement I made it through that part and the fun began. For those who aren’t afraid of heights, this is definitely the highlight of the park.

The employees are the park were really nice and our guide explained everything in a clear and patient manner. If you like a bit of a challenge and are looking for a fun activity for you, and your kids if you have them, I definitely recommend this park. If we weren’t on a tight schedule, we would stay there for half the day, as each course takes about half an hour and we had a few more to try. Link to website.
Address Kletterwald Pottenstein, Weidenloh 10091278 Pottenstein, Map

Private tour of Forchheim, including beer tastings at a beer brewery and a visit to the world’s largest beer garden

We took the tour through the Forchheim office of tourism. The office offers private tours, as well as group tours (Tours of the old town, beer breweries, Segway tours and more). Link to the tours they offer. We took the private tour with Christiane, our guide, who was extremely lovely.

We started the tour in Forchheim city. It’s one of the Germany’s ancient cities and is sometimes called the gateway to Franconian Switzerland. It’s a beautiful city, which is more reminiscent of a small town. Everyone there knows each other and there’s a homey, pleasant atmosphere there. For example, there’s a garden there with many planter boxes and apparently, those without a garden at home who wants to grow plants can rent a planter box at this garden and grow whatever he wants there (Pretty cool, right?).
It used to have over 30 beer breweries, with only four remaining today.

So, we started the tour of the city and Christiane told us of the town’s history and life there (She’s lived there for 10 years with her husband and children). Most houses there are hundreds of years old, with only a few new ones. In fact, even the new houses have been built in the old style, and so it’s hard to differentiate between them. One of the things Christiane told us excitedly of is the Anna festival.  It’s an 11-day festival in the end of July and includes a lot of beer 🙂 Hundreds of thousands of tourists visit this festival and celebrations continue all day long with beers, music and a jovial atmosphere. Honestly, she made us want to come back during the festival, as it sounded very cool.

After the tour of the city, we visited a beer brewery (Which has won many awards for its beer), the Neder brewery (Map). It’s a brewery since 1554. We ordered three different beers, one of which is called Black Anna (I really liked it). Christiane taught us the signals of beer at a bar. If you put the glass to the side, it means you want it refilled, if you put it on its handle – it means you want half a glass, and if you put the coaster on top of the glass – you’re done for today 🙂 If you’re ever there, you should try it and tell me if it works.

After the brewery, we continued to the world’s largest beer garden. It’s actually an area full of small beer gardens (Some are only open during the Anna festival and some year-round). At first, we took a small tour of the basement which used to serve as a brewery, and then sat at one of the spots for a local dinner with more beers (At this point, I ordered water). At the restaurant I ordered a Currywurst and Roman had meat and white sausages. We also ordered some fries and Christiane ordered a plate of sausages and local cheeses.

The tour was so fun. Christiane was an excellent guide and a joy to talk to (We’ve spent time just chatting about life), and it was nice to hear about the city’s history and culture. If you want a private tour, you may contact the office of tourism and ask her as your guide specifically or just join the tours they offer.

Kayaks  

Well, in retrospect, I can tell you that Kayaking is apparently one of the challenges we don’t enjoy as much. We’re more into bike riding or trekking, but those who enjoy this kind of extreme activity, will surely like kayaking in the Franconian Switzerland area.
I’ve told you this area is beautiful, and kayaking is another great way of enjoying the sights (If you know how to row properly and aren’t occupied with survival, like we were).

Let’s start at the beginning. We came to Aktive Reisen and received floatation gear and a water proof box for valuables, such as our camera and phones (Important tip: Don’t go on this trip without a phone, and when properly closed, the box is truly water proof, from experience). We then parked the car at the nearby lot and got our kayak and paddles, as well instruction about the route. The guide explained that most of the course is quite calm, but there are a few stormy parts and the entire course is about 7km.

When went out optimistic and excited about an experience in such a beautiful place. At first, we took photos and were even optimistic enough to bring take-away food onto the kayak. We didn’t have time for lunch and were naïve enough to think that we could eat while rowing. Very early on we reached a small waterfall. We somehow managed to go into it horizontally and got stuck between two rocks. The kayak quickly filled up with water (And so did we) and we had to exit it onto a rock and try to dislodge it, but it was too heavy. Roman somehow managed to dislodge it but it immediately got carried away by the fall’s quick current.

At this point we were stranded on a rock with paddles and the sealed box. We called the company to let them know what happened (I told you it’s important to have a phone with you) and they said they’ll come rescue us, but it’ll take some time. 15 minutes later came a fisherman who was in the area and managed to catch our kayak (We have no idea how). We had to cross the frozen river on foot (With water up to our belly buttons) to take the kayak off his hands.

We decided to continue the course (Since we knew it’ll take time to rescue us and preferred to just keep going). The rest was hard and exhausting, and we were already too traumatized to enjoy the view. We took a few more photos and otherwise fought not to get into another problematic situation. After an hour and a half of rowing we got to the end of the track, wet and frozen, but pleased to have finished it without getting hurt and with only a slight trauma and a story to remember for a long time.

One of the guides came to pick us up with the car at the end of the course, we reached the car in one piece. In summary, this is definitely an experience we’ll remember for a long time, and we’ve also learned kayaking wasn’t really our thing. Next time we’re in the area, we’ll come back to this company and rent a bike from them to ride around the region (Biking is definitely a favorite of ours).

Staying at a castle or visiting it and its surroundings

As I’ve mentioned, one of the things we loved on our trip was staying at Burg Rabenstein. However, even if you don’t stay there, you may still join their special events (If it works out for you in terms of dates, as they don’t always host them, but if they do – It’s highly recommended). We were lucky enough to be at an event called “Sophie at night”, which included visiting a large, impressive cave by the castle and then a 3-course gourmet dinner. There are also differently themed events, with things like magic, medieval and murder mysteries.

There are also nice walking tracks by the castle. The routes are marked and go through the forest, with caves and a beautiful vantage point over the hotel. Some routes are only a few kilometers but can go as long as 22 kilometers.

There’s also a birds of prey reservation, including a show and the option of holding a falcon. We got to hold Kosma, the 11-year-old falcon.  
You can also join tours of the castle itself for half an hour (Every hour, starting at 11am. Note that the tours are in German, but will still allow you to see the unique rooms of the castle, such as the ballroom, the knights room and more).
 There’s a very nice beer garden by the castle where you can grab a beer and some local food.

The Franconian Switzerland area is amazing for trekking, riding a bike, beer breweries, visiting old towns, staying at a castle, good food and wonderful people. We were there in early September and the autumn colors have already begun coming in, only adding to the beauty of the place.

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