Can’t-miss German day trips A-Z: Elmstein

In its way, Elmstein is as quintessentially German as Neuschwanstein Castle or the Brandenburg Gate. But you won’t find it on any Top 10 lists. Which is good, because Elmstein can be your little secret.

And though this little village in the heart of the Palatinate Forest isn’t necessarily an obvious destination, a trip to Elmstein practically guarantees you something amazing: a gorgeous outdoor adventure.

The one thing you have to see: The Palatinate forest

If you travel to Elmstein, it is impossible to miss the Palatinate Forest, which contains one of Germany’s largest and most beautiful stretches of wilderness. In fact, you’ll be immersed by towering trees, brooding shadows and beautiful curving roads long before you get there.

And when you do arrive, you need to leave again. Because to truly see the Palatinate Forest, you have to get out of your car, find a trail (there are many, and almost any one will do), and disappear into the woods. Bring a picnic. Bring your dog. Go by foot or by bike. But just do it.

The Palatinate Forest is exquisite year-round, and particularly so in late summer and autumn. It’s also a tranquil place – which can be a wonderful antidote to autobahns or months spent cooped up with your family. The forest also takes all types: it’s equally great for children, adults, those who prefer to meander and those who prefer to race.


Just in Case: Two more Elmstein adventures

If you’re hungry for more Palatinate Forest fun after (or before) finishing your trail time, consider these options.

  • Elmstein Zipline Park. Perfect for families with children older than age 12, or for adults with a sense of adventure. Fly through the trees and get a totally different outlook on the forest.
  • Elmstein village. Though small, it presents a lovely opportunity to stroll the streets, visit the castle ruins, or duck into a mountain biking tour shop.

Getting There

By car, Elmstein is 30 minutes from Kaiserslautern, 90 minutes from Wiesbaden and slightly less than two hours from Stuttgart.

For U.S. government employees, including service members, remember to always follow command regulations, which may be different than host nation policies, when it comes to travel.


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