With the many thousands of mountains in Germany to pick from, it’s no easy job to decide on which to include on your German vacation itinerary.
From Germany’s highest mountain, Zugspitze massif (2962m), to the lower mountain ranges of the Bavarian Alps and the Black Forest, there’s a range of opportunities for all. Whether you want to take on the challenge of climbing up the top dogs or enjoy the beauty closer to sea level, there will be a mountain in Germany with your name on it.
The mountains in Germany are popular for various outdoor pursuits, walking being one of them. Snowsports and watersports in the lower-lying lakes are also hugely popular pastimes for locals and tourists alike.
Maybe one or two mountain ranges on our list below might make it onto your ‘must visit’ list for your next trip to Germany.
What We Cover
- Map of Famous Mountains in Germany
- Best Mountains in Germany to Visit
- 1. Bavarian Forest
- 2. Black Forest Mountain Range
- 3. Eastern Alps
- 4. Elbe Sandstone Mountains
- 5. Estergebirge
- 6. Fichtelgebirge
- 7. Frankenwald
- 8. Harz
- 9. Hunsrück
- 10. Lusatian Mountains
- 11. Ore Mountains
- 12. Rhön Mountains
- 13. Spessart
- 14. Sudetes
- 15. Taunus
- Are there mountains in Germany?
- What mountain ranges are in Germany?
- Which mountain range runs through southern Germany?
Map of Famous Mountains in Germany
Check out our map of the best mountains in Germany before learning more about these epic landscapes.
Best Mountains in Germany to Visit
1. Bavarian Forest
Also known as Bayerischer Wald in German, The Bavarian Forest is a low range of mountains in Bavaria, Germany. These mountains extend along the Czech border and are continued by the Sumava (Bohemian Forest) on the Czech side.
Geographically, the Bohemian and Bavarian Forests are the same mountain range. The highest peak in this area is the Großer Arber ‘Great Arber,’ 1456 m, and the Ragen River runs through the forest, out the mountains, and on its way to Regensburg, Germany.
Most of this mountain range is occupied and managed by the Bavarian Forest National Park (240 km²). Founded in 1970, the Bavarian Forest National Park was Germany’s first national park.
If you want to stay right in the thick of it, the top-rated chalet Blockhaus Stamsried or the equally well-regarded aparthotel Hofatelier Menacher are great options for quick accessibility to the Bavarian Forest and mountains.
See Related: When is the Best Time to Visit Regensburg, Germany?
2. Black Forest Mountain Range
The Black Forest (Schwarzwald) is a wooded mountain range found in Baden-Württemberg, southwestern Germany, bordered by the Rhine Valley borders to the west and south. The name, ‘Black Forest,’ stemmed from the general dark color of the many pine trees that grow in the region.
Within the Black Forest Mountain range towers its highest peak, the ‘Feldberg,’ with an elevation of 4898 ft. (1,493m). This elevation makes it the highest peak of all the low mountain ranges in Germany.
The Black Forest entails a core of gneiss with a cover of sandstone on top. Glaciers covered it during the last ice age, and remnants of this period include cirques like the Mummelsee.
The Danube, Kinzig, Enz, Neckar, Murg, and Rench rivers all originate from the Black Forest. The forest is part of the continental divide between the Black Sea watershed (drained by the Danube) and the Atlantic Ocean watershed (drained by the Rhine).
The forest is only a fraction of the size it once was after suffering immense damage from acid rain over the years. Moreover, some scenic hills and high peaks were left bare with primary growth of young firs and shrubs after the 1999 storm Lothar knocked around the mountaintops. But it’s still a stunning spot to visit in the present day.
See Related: Things to Do in the Black Forest, Germany
3. Eastern Alps
‘Eastern Alps’ is the name given to the eastern half of the Alps. It’s defined as the area east of the Splügen Pass in Switzerland. North of the Splügen Pass, the Posterior Rhine forms the border. The Liro River and Lake Como form the boundary line south of the Pass.
The Eastern Alps include parts of Switzerland, most of Austria and Liechtenstein, and parts of southern Germany, northern Italy, and Slovenia. The eastern borders are the Wienerwald (Vienna Woods) and the Viennese basin, the transition zone to the Carpathian mountains.
The Eastern Alps are traditionally divided according to the Alpenvereins-Einteilung (arrangement of the Alpine Club) into several dozen small regions, each assigned to the Northern Calcareous Alps, the Central Eastern Alps, or the Southern Calcareous Alps.
The highest mountain in the Eastern Alps is not any of the mountains in Germany, but ‘Piz Bernia’ (4052 m) in Switzerland. After which, the second highest mountain is the Ortler (3905m) in Italy, followed by Großglockner (3798m) in Austria.
During the Würm glaciation, the Eastern Alps were drier than the Western Alps. The contiguous ice shield ended in the region of the Niedere Tauern in Austria. This allowed many species to survive the ice age in the Eastern Alps, where they could not survive elsewhere. For that reason, many species of plants are endemic to the Eastern Alps.
See Related: Cool Gifts from Germany
4. Elbe Sandstone Mountains
The Elbe Sandstone Mountains (German Elbsandsteingebirge, Czech Labské pískovce) is a mountain range in Germany that straddles the border between the states of Saxony (in southeastern Germany) and the Czech Republic. It gets its name from the sandstone carved over time by the River Elbe.
The holiday region of Elbe Sandstone Mountains is located in the Saxon Switzerland National Park. This is an area brimming with outdoor activities for those looking to enjoy nature at its finest.
Tourists and hikers enjoy a picturesque backdrop thanks to the breathtaking rocky landscapes of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. There are 14,000 climbing routes via which mountain climbers can conquer 1100 free-standing peaks.
Moreover, visitors can experience the spectacular natural scenes on the asphalt Elb cycle path or onboard a paddle steamer to enjoy the rock formations from a different perspective. Other interesting spots nearby include Königstein Fortress, Fort Hohnstein, Fort Stolpen, Weesenstein Castle, and Kuckuckstein Castle.
Moreover, discovering the first ferrous and sulfurous sources in Bad Schandau in 1730 led to the area being a sought-after health resort, so you’ll find a couple of great swimming spots to take a dip.
See Related: Most Beautiful Castles in Germany
Estergebirge is one of Bavaria’s smaller mountain ranges. It is classified as part of the Bavarian Alps or a larger chain of Northern Limestone Alps, stretching for about 15 kilometers.
The valley of River Loisach borders it from the west. Walchensee Lake and the valley of River Isar border it from the east.
Krottenkopf (2086 m) is the highest mountain in the range. Other prominent peaks in the range include Bischof (2033 m), Hohe Kisten (1922 m), and Hoher Fricken (1940 m). Mainly composed of limestone, Estergebirge features a treeline of around 1700m and, most importantly, is quiet from tourists compared with its neighbors.
Most mountaineers and tourists are attracted to higher ranges nearby. These include Karwendel, Wetterstein mountains, and Germany’s highest mountain, Zugspitze massif. Estergebirge offers numerous mountaineering and trekking possibilities in winter and summer.
It’s very easy to find many great tours to take you to Zugspitze, and you don’t even have to hike it if you’re not keen, with the cable car handy for your leisure!
Visiting Zugspitze on a day tour from a city break to Munich can be the most excellent way to take a break from city life. Rest up in the city center in your own private apartment, and then take to the mountains for the day to breathe some fresh mountain air!
See Related: Most Beautiful Cities in Europe to Visit
The Fichtelgebirge is one of the many ranges in Germany located in northeastern Bavaria, Germany. It extends from the valley of the Red Main River to the Czech border. Here, it is continued by the much higher Ore Mountains.
Schneeberg (1053m) is the highest mountain in the range. While the mountains slope away to the north and the south, there is a steep slope to the west. That’s where the Red Main forms the boundary of the mountains.
The Fichtelgebirge attracts many tourists during summer and winter. Many come for recreational activities like hiking, skiing, and seeing the large rock formations.
For any keen sports enthusiast, staying at Lindner Ferienwohnungen und Doppelzimmer is a superb option whether you’re looking to dust off your hiking boots in the summer or take on fresh powder in the winter.
Otherwise, Fichtelfeeling is another top-tier choice to consider. Both options are pet friendly, with free parking so the whole family can visit.
The Frankenwald is a mid-altitude range in the northern part of the Bavarian Alps, located in the Oberfranken district, Bavaria. There are geological connections between the Thuringian Forest and the Fichtelgebirge.
The highest mountain in the range is Mount Döbra at 2,608 ft (795) in Döbraberg near Schwarzenbach am Wald. There’s a watershed between the Saale and Main basins, belonging to the systems of the Elbe and Rhine, respectively.
The Frankenwald runs for about 48 kilometers (30 miles) in a north-westerly direction. It’s a broad, well-wooded plateau descending gently on the eastern and north sides towards the river Saale. It descends more steeply to the Bavarian plain in the west.
At the Nature Park Frankenwald, there are countless adventures to experience while enjoying the stunning views. For one, the castle ruins or Steam Locomotive Museum in Lichtenberg are great historical detours from nature. But for those wanting a little more physical exertion, many bike trails grace the area.
The Harz is an independent mountain range in northern Germany. It straddles the border between Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia.
The name derives from the Middle High German word for ‘forest.’ Six hundred thousand people live in towns and villages of the Harz mountains.
The Harz is 100 km long and 30 km wide. It occupies an area of about 2000 km² and reaches its highest point at the Brocken (1141 m) in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. The Wurmberg (971 m) has the highest elevation in Lower Saxony.
The range is divided into the Upper Harz (Oberharz) in the northwest and the Lower Harz (Unterharz) in the southeast. The Upper Harz has a higher elevation and features fir forests. The Lower Harz gradually descends towards the surrounding land and has deciduous forests mingled with meadows.
In ancient times, dense forests made the region inaccessible. But after a stint as a silver mining hotspot, the area sees new prosperity through its popularity from tourism.
Today, the Harz forms a popular tourist destination for summer hiking and winter sports. Consider a tour around the stunning mountain range and lush Harz National Park on your next trip to Germany for something truly special.
The Hunsrück is a low mountain range in Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate), Germany. It’s bounded by the Moselle (north), Rhine (east), and Nahe (south) river valleys. The Hunsrück is continued by the Taunus mountains past the Rhine and the Eifel, past the Moselle.
The highest mountains within the Hunsrück include the Hochwald, the Idarwald, the Soonwald, and the Binger Wald. The highest peak of the lot, though, is the Erbeskopf at 816m. Slate is mined in Hunsrück, with the climate being characterized by rainy weather.
Towns located within the Hunsrück include Simmern, Kirchberg, Idar-Oberstein, Kastellaun, and Morbach. Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, a growing low-fare carrier and cargo airport, is also located in the region.
Morbach is a lovely spot to call your base when exploring the Hunsrück range. Hochwald Lodge is a 4-star property a mere 3.3 km from Usarkopf Mountain. Additionally, if you’re visiting the area during ski season, Erbeskopf is just a short drive away.
10. Lusatian Mountains
Lusatian Mountains (German: Lausitzer Gebirge) is a range of European mountains. It’s on the southeastern border of Germany and the Czech Republic, east of the Elbe River, a continuation of the Erzgebirge west of the Elbe.
The Lusatians are an extension of the Sudeten Mountains of Bohemia and Moravia. These mountains join the Carpathian Mountains. The highest point is Lužické (Lausche) 793 meters.
Other notable peaks include Pěnkavčí vrch (Finkenkoppe) 792 m, Jedlová (Tannenberg) 774 m, Klíč (Kleis) 760 m, Hvozd (Hochwald) 750 m and Studenec (Kaltenberg) 736 m.
The Upper Lusatian Mountain Trail is among the best and most popular hikes. Any hiker who takes on the challenge can enjoy its rugged landscape and remote traditional towns. Moreover, if geology is your thing, you might be in awe at witnessing volcanic rock, sandstone, and granite mountains along this long and winding trail.
Dubbed one of the prettiest hiking trails in all of Germany, the Upper Lusatian Mountain Trail would be a wise addition to any keen hiker’s ‘to hike’ list. The hike takes around seven days, and there are many great scenic break stops and top-quality hotels, like Prinz-Friedrich-August Baude ski guesthouse, that help create a most memorable hiking adventure in Germany.
11. Ore Mountains
The Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge) are a range that covers 150 km of the boundary. They’re found on the border between Germany and the Czech Republic. They extend from the western border of Saxony to the Elbe River.
The western portions of the mountains have the highest peaks. The Klínovec (1244 m) on the Czech side and the Fichtelberg (1214 m) on the German side are the highest mountains in this range. In the west, the mountains are continued by the much lower Bavarian Fichtelgebirge.
In the east, the Elbe Sandstone Mountains on both banks of the Elbe River may be regarded as the easternmost extension of the mountains. East of the Elbe, the mountain chain continues as the Lusatian Mountains. The Ore Mountains slope gently away to the north, where the cities of Zwickau and Chemnitz are on the foothills with an extremely steep southern incline.
The Ore Mountains were unsettled during the Middle Ages and were covered with dense forests. In the 15th century, the discovery of silver and tin deposits led to settlement within the mountains. The name is derived from the richness of mineral resources.
Segmented Erzgebirge, the name takes Erz from the Tuscan city Arezzo. The city produced such fine metal that its name became the German word for metal. Gebirge are “mountains.”
During the decline of silver and tin deposits, former miners had to look for new ways to feed their families. Besides lace-making and weaving, they went into wood carving.
Nutcrackers, Smoking Men, Pyramids (carousels with figures of the Christmas story or from mining), and Schwibbogen (wooden arcs with candles in the windows, symbolizing the opening of a mine) are just some of many Christmas items of the Ore Mountains. Seiffen in the East Ore Mountains was a center of the wooden toy industry.
12. Rhön Mountains
The Rhön Mountains are a group of low mountains in central Germany bordered by the German states of Hesse, Bavaria, and Thuringia. The Fulda River and its valley separate the range of mountains. They are a product of the ancient volcanic activity from Vogelsberg Mountain.
These mountains found in German territory are popular tourist destinations. Hikers come for the nearly 6,000 km (3,750 miles) of tracks through the picturesque scenery. Gliding enthusiasts have been drawn to the area since the early 20th century.
More recently, farm stays have flourished in the region. Parts of Rhön were declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1991 by UNESCO because of the unique high-altitude ecosystem.
Notable peaks of the Rhön include:
- Wasserkuppe 950 m (3,110 ft), (Hessian Rhön)
- Kreuzberg (mountain) 928 m (3,040 ft) (Bavarian Rhön)
- Schwabenhimmel 926 m (3,040 ft) (Bavarian Rhön)
- Heidelstein 913 m (3,000 ft) (Bavarian Rhön)
- Milseburg 835 m (2,740 ft) (Hessian Rhön)
- Feuerberg 832 m (2,730 ft) (Bavarian Rhön)
- Ellenbogen 814 m (2,670 ft) (Thuringian Rhön)
The Spessart is a hill chain in northwestern Bavaria and southern Hesse, Germany. It is bounded by the main river on three sides, which describes a long curve. Two large cities are located at the foot of the Spessart: Aschaffenburg and Würzburg.
Although the Spessart is a roughly circular hill country, the main ridge extends from the southwest to the northeast. The Odenwald continues in the southwest and by the Rhön in the northeast.
Its highest peak is the Geiersberg (586 m). Apart from the edges, the region is sparsely populated. Two nature parks called Bavarian Spessart and Hessian Spessart occupy large portions of the hills.
Stretching from eastern Germany to the Czech Republic and Poland, the Sudetes, also called Sudety or Sudeten, is a mountain range in Central Europe. Reaching up to 1,602 m, Sněžka-Śnieżka in Krkonoše/Karkonosze Mountains on the Czech-Polish border is the highest summit of the mountain range.
The Sudetes are divided into:
- Western Sudetes
- Lusatian Mountains (Germany and the Czech Republic)
- Karkonosze/Krkonoše/Giant Mountains (Poland and the Czech Republic)
- Jizera Mountains (Poland and the Czech Republic)
- Central Sudetes
- Eastern Sudetes
In the past ten years, Krkonoše Mountains have had growing tourism for winter sports. Its skiing resorts are becoming an ideal alternative to the Alps.
The exact location of the Sudetes is unclear, as it has varied over the centuries. The name was used before World War II to describe the German province of Sudetenland.
The Germans living there were called Sudeten Germans. They were heavily clustered in Bohemia. Hitler redefined the term to mean the entire mountainous periphery of Czechoslovakia and, under that pretext, got his future enemies to concede the Czech defensive border, leaving it helpless. The Germans soon overran Czechoslovakia.
The ancient Sudetenland certainly did not have that meaning. It meant at least the northwest frontier of today’s Czechoslovakia, probably extending to the north. By implication, it was part of the Hercynian Forest mentioned by many ancient authors.
A mountain range in Hesse, Germany, the Taunus composes part of the Rhenish Slate Mountains. It is bounded by the Main, Rhine, and Lahn river valleys. The Hunsrück continues the mountains on the opposite side of the Rhine. The mountains span the Hochtaunuskreis, Rheingau-Taunus, Main-Taunus, and Rhein-Lahn districts.
Not to be confused with the high Feldberg in the Black Forest, the Großer Feldberg (880 m above sea level) is the highest peak. It was also used for the Feldbergrennen hill climbing contest and rally stages. The second highest peak is the Kleiner Feldberg (826m), then the Altkönig (798 m), with the late Iron Age hill fort (La-Tène A, ca. 400 BC) remaining near the summit.
The Roman Limes were constructed across the Taunus. The Saalburg, now a restored Roman castellum, houses a museum. The Alamanni settled here following the fall of the Limes (in 259/260 AD); for this reason, some Alemannic cemeteries are in the Taunus’s southern foothills (Eschborn).
It’s straightforward to fit a visit to the Taunus, and the Saalburg highlights as a day trip from nearby Frankfurt. Because of this, staying within the city at the 4-star Scandic Frankfurt Hafenpark Hotel could be a great starting point for a city break, easily leveled up with a day of mountaineering!
See Related: Things to Do in Frankfurt, Germany
Are there mountains in Germany?
There are thousands of mountains in Germany. Because of the sheer number of top-tier mountains in Germany, hiking is a popular pastime for tourists and locals alike.
If you can brave it, go hiking to reach the summit of the highest and most famous mountain in Germany, Zugspitze (2962m). Otherwise, you could look to take on Hochwanner (2744m), Watzmann (2713m), or Wetterwandeck (2698m), which will all provide challenging yet memorable hiking experiences.
What mountain ranges are in Germany?
There are a total of 46 different mountain ranges in Germany. The most famous mountain range in Germany would probably be the Black Forest Mountain Range, but the Bavarian Alps and Ore Mountains are also worth mentioning.
The low mountain range of the Black Forest is a very popular destination. Often noted as an area of outstanding beauty, the Black Forest is probably one of the best places to go in Germany to enjoy great hiking with lush valleys and plentiful wildlife as an accompaniment.
Which mountain range runs through southern Germany?
The Bavarian Alps run through Southern Germany across the Austrian border. The highest mountain in Germany, Zugspitze massif, calls this range its home.
The Bavarian Alps is the most mountainous region in Germany, with most of its prominent peaks located alongside, or near, the Austrian border. Known for being popular for wellness retreats and high-grade skiing, this area is a great spot to consider for your next trip to Germany.