The Franconian Forest is a mid-altitude mountain range which makes up the northern most tip of Bavaria. Its 3,500 kilometers (2,175 miles) of hiking paths make it a mecca for walkers and hikers, especially in autumn when the leaves change colors. It is also home to one of Germany's oldest and most well-known trails, the Rennstieg. For more than 168 kilometers, the Rennstieg connects the mountain ridges of the northern Franconian Forest to its neighbor, the Thuringian Forest.
Geologically, the Franconian Forest is interesting as well. In the region's slate quarries, traces of the earth's history lay visibly open. Rock layers of greywacke, shale, lime deposits and iron make up the mountain relief; layers of dolerite are evidence of primeval volcanism. A guided tour is informative and highly recommended.
One of the Franconian Forest's most famous cultural attractions is Lauenstein Castle, which has sections dating back to the 12th century. The castle museum depicts how the ruling margrave lived in the Middle Ages. On the tour of the grounds, there are still secret passageways to be "discovered."
Those who search are in for another treasure in the Franconian Forest, located in an old mill surrounded by trees: the Confiserie Lauenstein. Rewards await those who persevere -- the pastry shop makes first class sweet delicacies to be devoured immediately or sent back home. Over 170 different types of chocolate truffles and pralines can be sent from Lauenstein to mail boxes around the world.