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Bavaria is the part of Germany best known to tourists. It is associated with traditional lederhosen, beer, and the high mountains that make Germany a climber’s paradise. But Germany has many rock-climbing areas—meticulously marked and graded for all levels of climbers from beginners to advanced—and they are not just in the South.

Frankenjura, also called Fränkische Schweiz, the most popular German climbing area, has been ranked among the best areas for climbing in the world. Hundreds of limestone rocks are spread out over a huge area in a wonderful romantic landscape framed by the towns Nuremberg, Erlangen, Bamberg, and Bayreuth. Each rock and valley has its own character: big and small, full of holes and solid, steep and sloping, sunny and shady. In all there are 4,000 routes with all levels of difficulty. Everybody can climb there, including beginners, and nearly all the routes have been made safe to a high altitude.

Unfortunately, the lodging possibilities are somewhat limited. The insider address is: Camping “Eichler,” Gasthof Eichler, Wolfsberg 43, 91286 Obertrubach; 011-49-9245383, fax 011-49-92459166. Eichler offers campsites (approximately $3), huts with or without mattresses (approximately $5 per night), alcoholic beverages, take-out food, and dinner as well. This is the place where climbers from all over the world meet and exchange the latest information.

Elbsandsteingebirge, also called Sächsische Schweiz, is the number one sandstone climbing area in Germany and one of the biggest and best areas in the world. Situated in East Germany, it is becoming more and more popular, and there are 15,000 climbing routes of all ratings on the 1,100 free-standing sandstone towers. Since this area is a national park, there are many regulations. The use of chalk, for example, is strictly forbidden, so climbing during the summer is rather difficult. The best time for going there is in late summer or fall.

Lodgings can be found in numerous huts, youth hostels, and campsites.

In the northern part of Germany, the best climbing area is Ith, with its popular limestone rocks. The most commonly visited rock here is in Lürdissen. It provides a lot of easy routes, which makes it a paradise for beginners.

The other important climbing area is in Holzen. Because of its southwestern position and the lack of woods, the temperature can be extremely hot in the summer. However, it is the first choice among climbers in winter. The rocks are very solid with good possibilities for face climbing.

More Information

For weather information go to weather.yahoo.com/imgindex/world.html. In case of bad weather, one can also climb in the following gyms, which are near the areas:

Frankenjura: Sportzentrum Nuremberg, Schüblerstr. 15, Nuremberg, 011-49-911-544911.

The Wall, Andernacherstr. 15, Nuremburg, 011-49-911-527753.

Zwiebelberg,Auess. Bayreutherstr. 48, Nuremberg, 011-49-911-512291.

Sächsische Schweiz: Die Wand, Breitscheidstr. 40, Dresden, 011-49-351-8042668 or 011-49-172-7931611.

Ith: Shape Sport Club, Osttangente 200, Winsen/Luhe, 011-49-4171-7890.