The Bavarian Forest, Hotel Jagdhof Röhrnbach And The Danube. While most everyone has heard of the Danube River and tens of thousands of people take river cruises on it every year, the nearby Bavarian Forest is almost an unknown region to most of those same travelers. The beautiful and uncrowded outdoor hiking area of Bayerischer Wald as it is called in German is located in the southeast corner of Germany between the Danube River and the border with the Czech Republic and Austria.
Within a two to three hour drive from Munich, Prague and Vienna, my husband and I decided to visit this region and chose the Wellness Hotel Jagdhof in Röhrnbach as one of ten hotels we would be staying at during this year’s five week European holiday. We knew the hotel would make an ideal base from which to explore the Danube and the well known German towns of Regensburg (73 km), Passau (25 km) and other towns nearby.
The Jagdhof is the only five star spa hotel in the Bavarian Forest and what a nice hotel it is. Located in the center of the small town of Röhrnbach, the hotel is designed with a nice mix of trendy modern comfort and German traditional style. The large lobby is decorated in warm colors with white columns, marble floors and a huge chandelier.
While not the largest room at the hotel, our very large Wellness suite (60 sq. meters) had everything you could possibly want and then some. Decorated in a contemporary country style, the suite had an entrance foyer with a large walk in closet. The living room had a large flat screen TV, a Nespresso machine and a mini bar. The separate kingsize bedroom had a flat screen TV as well. The large bathroom had a soaking tub, walk in shower, and separate toilet. There were two an outdoor terraces, one from the living room as well as one from the bedroom. This was a room you could definitely call home. Add the wonderful restaurant and modern spa and you might never want to leave the Jagdhof.
In our case, that is exactly what we did for our two nights at the Jagdhof as the weather ended up being rainy during our entire stay. Instead of day trips to explore the nearby towns on the Danube, we ended up spending each day in the hotel’s outstanding spa, the largest in Bavaria. We had walked many a mile visiting the historic cities of Berlin and Prague before arriving at the Jagdhof and it actually felt very nice to just relax for two days.
The spa area is huge and includes both indoor and outdoor pools, six different saunas, a separate ladies spa and large relaxing areas both inside and out.
The hotel’s restaurant serves an outstanding buffet breakfast and a buffet lunch with sweet treats.In the evening there is a six course dinner menu with an appetizer buffet and a dessert and cheese buffet that is included in the room rate. There is a nice bar area where you can enjoy cocktails, wine and beer and there is evening entertainment.
We were sorry that we didn’t get to explore the Bavarian Forest because of the rain during our time in the region but you can’t do anything about the weather when you travel. The sun finally broke through the clouds after leaving Germany. Glorious sunshine appeared just as we neared the Wachau Valley on our drive to Vienna.
The entire region, with terraced vineyards and apricot orchards that slope down to the Danube River, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its beautiful scenery, picturesque villages and medieval castle ruins. The 22 mile stretch of the Danube from Melk to Krems is considered one of the most scenic areas in this part of Lower Austria.
We stopped briefly in Melk, a small town along the banks of the Danube. It’s famous for its 18th century Benedictine abbey which is the largest Baroque structure in Austria where monks have lived and worked for 900 years.
We stopped in the small town of Spitz for lunch at the Gasthaus Prankl. On a rocky ridge high above the restaurant is the ruins of the Hinterhaus Castle. The guesthouse offers a choice of dining on the outside stone terrace or inside the restaurant. At either spot, you can enjoy a glass of wine or beer and have a traditional meal made from local ingredients.
After lunch, we continued our drive, passing through sweet little villages like Weissenkirchen and Durnstein. On a hill high above Durnstein there are the ruins of a castle where King Richard the Lionheart was held prisoner by an Austrian Duke until a ransom was paid for his release.
The town of Krems makes a good start for a Danube river cruise of the area. While in the valley, you can also do a wine connoisseur’s tour of Wachau vineyards for tastings of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling that are famous in Austria.
Perhaps you might even want to take one of the very popular guided bike tours of the area stopping at some of the small growers for a wine tasting. After leaving Krems, it was just a short hour’s drive into Vienna, our next stop on our holiday.
As many times as my husband and I have visited both Germany and Austria, this year’s trip took us to new areas. The Bavarian Forest is popular with Germans but almost unknown to foreign tourists. The Wachau Valley, on the other hand, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular with tourists from around the world. With lots of quaint towns along this area of Danube, the Wachau Valley is a very popular day trip from Vienna.
Would I return to visit the Bavarian Forest or spend time along the Danube River in the Wachau Valley again, absolutely…perhaps next year.