Germany is one of the most visited countries in Europe and features a rich history, culture, and heritage. Germany also has several national parks and other protected areas that conserve the landscapes and the native flora and fauna of the region. These protected areas are visited by large numbers of domestic and international tourists. The 10 most visited protected areas of Germany are as highlighted below.
8. The Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park
The Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park is the most visited protected area in the country. It has an area of 805 square km and is located on the shores of the Baltic Sea and encompasses numerous islands, lagoons, and peninsulas within its boundaries. The park is very rich in birdlife, as thousands of geese and cranes can be spotted along the shores of the sea within the national park. The park's natural beauty and the lure of excellent birdwatching opportunities draw numerous visitors.
7. Saxon Switzerland National Park
Saxon Switzerland National Park is the second most visited protected area of Germany. Located in the Free State of Saxony, the park occupies an area of 710 square km and features a fissured and rocky canyon landscape. The highest point in the national park has an elevation of 1,814 ft. A wide variety of habitats are found in the area. Tourists visiting the national park can enjoy biking, hiking, and climbing activities. The park features 400 km of hiking paths and 49.9 km of biking paths.
6. Bavarian Forest National Park
The Bavarian Forest National Park is the third most visited protected area in Germany. It was established in 1970 and became the country’s first national park. Different types of habitat exist within the park, including highland forests, mixed mountain forests, and water meadow spruce woods. The park also features mountain peaks, raised bogs and bog lakes.
5. Jasmund National Park
The Jasmund National Park is the fourth most visited protected area in Germany and is renowned for its jaw-dropping beauty. The protected area is located on the Jasmund Peninsula in Rügen island and its most notable features are the tall, jagged chalk cliffs rising steeply from the shores of the Baltic Sea. Beech forests lie behind these cliffs, and a variety of birds, like the white-tailed eagle, peregrine falcon, and house martin, live in the park. The park was established in 1990 and has an area of only 30 square km, making it Germany’s smallest national park.
4. The Lower Saxon Wadden Sea National Park
The Lower Saxon Wadden Sea National Park was established in 1986. It includes the East Frisian Islands and nearby salt marshes and mudflats between the Bay of Dollart and Cuxhaven. It is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was inscribed in June 2009. The national park serves as a home of several species of resident birds and is also visited by large numbers of migratory birds. Seals can also be observed on the coastal sandbanks of the national park.
3. Berchtesgaden National Park
The Berchtesgaden National Park is located in southern Germany in the Free State of Bavaria. It was founded in 1978 with the aim of protecting Germany's Berchtesgaden Alps region. In 1990, the national park was designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The park has a mountainous landscape and hosts several lakes, such as the Königssee in the central part of the park. An extensive network of trails allows visitors to explore the national park and its hidden wonders. The Berchtesgaden National Park is also home to the Church of Saint Bartholomew, which is a popular cultural attraction.
2. Harz National Park
Harz National Park includes parts of the German states of Saxony-Anhalt and Lower Saxony. Parts of the Harz mountain range are located within the boundaries of the park. Forest covers most of the national park, and spruce and beech woods are the dominant vegetation within these forests. Several creeks, granite rocks, and bogs are also present in the area. Some rare animals and birds, like the Eurasian lynx, dipper, the black stork, and the peregrine falcon, have been spotted in the area. The natural beauty and diverse wildlife of Harz National Park attract a large number of visitors each year.
1. Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park
The Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park encompasses parts of the German Wadden Sea in the Schleswig-Holstein area. With an area of 4410 square km, it is the largest national park in the country. It was established in October 1985 and is one of the most visited protected areas in Germany. Large numbers of eelgrass, porpoises, and shelducks are found in the national park. The park is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site that also includes other German and Dutch areas of the Wadden Sea.