They say that Lower Bavarians are reserved. And rather liberal. If you don’t want to do something, then no one here is going to put pressure on you. Lower Bavarians are also peace-loving. They are a nation tending more towards a melancholy character than a choleric one. To some people that may sound rather unexciting in - geographically speaking - the remotest corner of Germany. Yet on the other hand, it is this very characteristic which also makes Lower Bavarians such excellent hosts. And that’s undoubtedly what they are - here in the heart of Europe - because Lower Bavarians love their home country. It’s close to large cities such as Munich and Regensburg and not far from the Czech Republic and Austria, yet still far enough to preserve its own identity and local traditions.
Wide range of options
The region’s variety offers excellent conditions for holiday-makers. From the Bavarian forest in the north, through the Danube valley to the Bavarian golfing and spa country located around the health spas at Griesbach and Füssing. The major tourist attraction is Passau - the city at the tip of which the Donau, Inn and Ilz rivers flow together. A city with a destiny that is inseparable from these three rivers: During high water periods at this university town, it even happens on occasion that students writing state exams are brought by boat from their homes to sit their exams. Yet Passau has way more to offer than flood tourism. In its culture and leisure options, this town boasting roughly 50,000 residents can easily hold its own with larger cities - thanks, for instance, to the organ in the Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral), with its 17,974 pipes and 233 registers making it the largest church organ in the world. And thanks also to the café culture as well as around 130 pubs and restaurants in the city’s old, narrow alleys. And thanks to the oft-cited German phrase “Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaft”, reputed to be the longest single German word. Hikers are attracted to the region, as are cyclists. In the meanwhile, they can be found in large numbers along the Danube. In the area around Passau, almost 4.7 million nights of accommodation were recorded over the past year.
How many of these visitors come to the region to play golf is not (yet) logged. What is clear, however, is that the Passau region has developed into a rewarding golfing destination over the past few years. Within a radius of 50 kilometres of the city, one can reach a total of 20 golf courses in less than an hour’s driving time. This, according to our Tourist information, represents the greatest density of golf courses across the whole of Germany - a powerful attribute with which Passau has earned its bragging rights. This of course includes the courses in neighbouring Upper Austria, just across the border. But the flagship is the Hartl-Resort in Bad Griesbach, Europe’s largest golf resort. On an area of 4.76 million square metres, which equates to approximately 952 soccer fields, the resort comprises five 18-hole championship courses, three 9-hole courses, a 6-hole practice course and even a kids’ course with 6 holes. Bad Griesbach provides a big sporting challenge and a great deal of variety. 279 bunkers are spread across the resort’s courses, in addition to 39 bodies of water and almost 70,000 trees and bushes. The most challenging courses were designed by German golfing icon Bernhard Langer and the renowned architect Kurt Rossknecht. Those who choose this as their holiday destination generally tend towards a longer stay, as cooperation agreements with hotels and estates mean that guests receive discounts at the golf courses.
Close to nature
However, the other golf courses in the area are also appealing. The panorama golf course in Fürstenzell, for instance, is the first course in Germany built in accordance with the principles of the oriental Feng Shui philosophy. Another special feature can be found at Bad Birnbach, about 25 kilometres to the south-west. The golf course there, which lies picturesquely above the village, is owned by the local community. The greens are covered in the same festuca grass which is used on the legendary Old Course at St. Andrews. The northern-most course is at the Golfclub am Nationalpark Bayerischer Wald (Bayerischer Wald Nature Reserve). This is a course marked by the unspoiled landscape of the oldest nature reserve in Germany. Wild animals and birds of all kinds make their homes on the course. The fairways and holes are named after them. And also at the Donau Golfclub Passau-Raßbach the course extends across streams and ponds alive with fish, and between deciduous and coniferous forests. You are as close to nature and the local environment as the Lower Bavarians are to the simple life.
Text: Stephan Schöttl