Adventure Camp Schnitzmühle
If the Black Forest is Germany’s dark secret, a place of goblins and ghosts and the occasional slice of devilish gateau, its easterly cousin, the Bavarian Forest, is all easy-going charm and woody innocence. A lumberjack’s violent fantasy, the forest comprises a seamless landscape of undulating hills, winsome spa towns and dense woodlands, criss-crossed with comely copses and titillating trails for bikers, hikers and cyclists.
Located slap-bang in the centre of this leafy nirvana is Camping Schnitzmühle, arguably the first really cool campsite in the country. Unlike most German sites, this one is run by young people determined to make the tenting experience considered and comprehensive, as well as energetic. The owners in question are Sebastian and Kristian Nielsen, who adopted their parents’ hotel business a few years back and have lovingly transformed it into a funky one-stop-shop for all things outdoorsy. Not only did they give the hotel’s interior a modernist makeover, they also overhauled the restaurant, added the capacious camping area, constructed an expansive spa and built a beach area around the site’s natural lake.
The Nielsen brothers’ rejuvenating spirit haunts the whole site, and in a good way. Its several acres, located right next to a pretty section of the Schwarzer Regen river, are green and airy, peppered with trees, bushes and flowers. Even without the funky extras it would be nice, but when you discover the delights of: the Bongo Bar (a thatch-roofed drinks bar surrounded by sand and deckchairs); Stonehenge (a cheeky replica of the great British landmark that doubles as an open fire and grill place); and the Group Camping section that has adventure facilities and experienced instructors leading rope-climbing, canoeing and mountain-biking escapades – well, it’s hard not to be impressed.
Being blessed with two rivers – the Regen and the Schwarzer Regen – means water- babies are going to feel totally at home here. Stroll around for a minute or two and you’ll find a lovely natural swimming spot, whilst you can easily arrange canoe trips on site (€36 per canoe for 2 adults/2 adults and a child). A shuttle bus whisks you to a starting point and you make your own way back to Schnitzmühle.
The surrounding area isn’t short of charming countryside or traditional towns and villages. Some leave you a bit cold, though others have high rural appeal. Arnbruck for example, is world famous for its superior glass production and a perfect place to pick up some quality wine glasses at decent prices for all your drinking exploits at home. Nearby Viechtach has some cafés and gives insight into small-town Bavarian life.
Back at the site, if you don’t feel like breaking out the barbie, take advantage of the hotel-restaurant, which combines Thai and Bavarian specialities with truly superb results (the mixed tapas is especially good, though it’s neither Thai nor Bavarian, but who cares?). Behind the hotel lies the camping reception, which also boasts a well-stocked kiosk offering everything from lovely local Weizenbier to the equally lovely freshly baked bread.
The nearby beach and lake, located along a path on the other side of the hotel, is the perfect place to cool off and sunbathe. And if you’re feeling even more indulgent, the spa is just a short aloe-vera-face-scrub- throw away. But if you don’t feel like leaving Schnitzmühle to enjoy some real R&R, there’s absolutely no need to.
These are superb, including a clean (and colourful) shower block, well-stocked kiosk, onsite bar (Bongo Bar), a place for camp fires and BBQs, a playground and Internet (restaurant) – plus a hotel, spa, restaurant and lake right next door.
Tents, caravans, campervans, dogs, groups – yes.
The site can organise everything from canoeing and hiking, mountain-biking, cycling and tree-climbing tours. There’s a playground onsite with table-tennis tables, and you can swim in the lake. Another great option is the bobsleigh ride at the theme park Rodel Paradies (0049 99 65 1203), a 20-minute drive away. For a truly relaxing experience, try one of the many massages at Schnitzmühle’s spa. Take your pick from the Yanomami (with banana leaves – €72 for 75 minutes), the Espresso (a 15-minute quickie for €14) or the Absolute High Power Massage (55 minutes for €49).
Food & DrinkThe kiosk sells fresh bread in the mornings and general camping essentials. The hotel-restaurant serves up a funky fusion of Bavarian and Thai food, and has a generous breakfast buffet each morning for €8, as well as salads and sandwiches for lunch. Bella Italia (00 49 9942 3633) in nearby Viechtach sells good pizza and pasta.
From Munich take the B2R and exit onto the A9. From there take the exit 68-Kreuz Neufahrn to merge onto A92 towards Landshut, continuing on the B11. Turn left at the B85, right at St2139 and continue on Bahnhofstrasse/St2326. Take a right towards Blosserberg, right at Schönauer Strasse and right at Leuthenmühle. Then it’s a left towards Rothenbühl, left at Rothenbühl and left at Gmeinholz. From Dresden, take the A4 towards Chemnitz/Leipzig, taking exit 68-Kreuz Chemnitz to merge onto A72 towards Hof/Zwickau/ Chemnitz-Süd. Take exit 4-Dreieck Hochfranken to merge onto A93 towards Regensburg/Prag/ Praha/A6/Hof-Ost. Take exit 33-Schwandorf-Mitte towards Cham/Wackersdorf. Merge onto the B85, the B20/B85, turning left at St2139. Follow directions as from Munich.
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