Holidays in Bavaria with Bavarian Forest Holidays

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Press release 15th November 2011

Triple Success for British couple in Bavaria


This has been a bumper autumn for Bavarian Forest Holidays in Bayerisch Eisenstein – that all good things come in threes has never been truer than for holiday apartment owners Margaret Leach and Martin Holborow: the award of the European Hospitality Quality certificate in mid October, was followed by confirmation of 4 apartments as 5 star as part of the German Tourism Association’s three yearly inspection process. Finally, the couple has been recognised at the Bavarian Forest Tourism Awards with an award specially created for them for their achievement in bringing over 2,000 guests from 35 countries to the Bavarian Forest since 2005. Most of these international guests had never visited the Bavarian Forest before and knew nothing about the area before finding the Bavarian Forest Holidays website, often in a general Google search.


Margaret Leach and Martin Holborow have specialised in providing the particular accommodation quality and support services needed by many international guests: from translating menus in the local restaurants, to providing a specially written file of information in English on local attractions and things to do, to supplying more than 20 different items of baby equipment for guests arriving by plane and train, to meeting international standards of eco-friendliness, to well equipped spotlessly clean apartments.


“Almost all of our guests are amazed by the beauty and peacefulness of the Bavarian Forest and an increasing number are returning regularly to enjoy the varied types of holidays offered here” said Margaret Leach after receiving the locally produced glass trophy.


Press release 3rd September 2010


British Couple Win German National Eco-Tourism Award


British couple Margaret Leach and Martin Holborow, owners of 9 upmarket holiday apartments in the Bavarian Forest village of Bayerisch Eisenstein, have seen off competition from all over Germany and won the Fahrtziel Natur (Destination Nature) Special Award 2010. The award recognises the accommodation provider that most encourages guests to use public transport to travel to and within a nature area in Germany.


‘We are thrilled to have won this award,’ says Margaret, ‘especially in a country with such exceptionally high environmental standards.’


Trading as Bavarian Forest Holidays (, the 9 one- two- and three-bedroom holiday apartments also have a small guest shop (stocking organic products wherever possible), a free book and DVD library, a coffee lounge and a meeting room. The couple, whose UK home is in Knighton in the Welsh borders, bought their 1st house, 1 kilometre from the border with Czech Republic, in 2004 and added 3 more houses in 2006 and 2008.


‘Guests have the free use of more than 1,000 kilometres of routes in the Bavarian Forest on buses and trains,’ says Margaret.  ‘The village can be reached from most major European cities within one day – travel time from London is just 11 hours – which means our guests can “breakfast in London and dine in Bayerisch Eisenstein”. 


The Bavarian Forest Holidays’ apartments have been awarded 5 stars by the German Tourism Association and are all eco-friendly. Most have solar panels and wood pellet heating and guests are kindly asked to separate their rubbish for recycling. Bavarian Forest Holidays has also met the criteria for becoming a Bavarian Forest National Park Partner.


Open all year round, attractions include, sightseeing in Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria, walking and cycling in the National Parks on both sides of the border and boat trips on the Danube, winter sports, Christmas and New Year festivities and, of course, Christmas markets. Since autumn 2009, Bavarian Forest Holidays has been a Partner of the Bavarian Forest National Park.

‘This prestigious award,’ says Margaret, ‘will help to attract even more ‘green footprint’ visitors to this very special part of Germany’.


For further information, contact Margaret Leach on tel. +49 (0) 9925 90 3204 or +44 (0)7976 403434, email or visit


Photos here:

with our permission to use in conjunction with this press release.

Fahrtziel Natur is a cooperative project between the major Germen environmental organisatons BUND, NABU, VCD and Deutsche Bahn (German railways) which has been actively promoting eco-friendly sustainable travel together with experiencing nature, since 2001.


This year, we have discovered the distraction of Twitter! We now have 2 Twitter accounts where we can publish our news: is where we put the news of the area and is where we put news about our lives and the holiday letting business. This means that news about the Bavarian Forest is reaching a wider audience. So there will be less news published on this page. Do come and follow us on Twitter!


December: our final house, the Forsthaus, was partially ready in time for Christmas, giving us a proper reception area, a room for all the food and drink, DVDs and toys and games, a library, a lounge for coffee and cakes, and another lounge for use by large groups of guests.

29th November 2008

The Arber lifts opened this weekend - for the next couple of weeks they will be running at weekends only but should be fully open from 13th December.

3rd October 2008

The 4th (and final) house is now ours and renovation work should start next week and be mostly complete by Christmas.
Snow on the Arber today - the first snow fell in mid September, while we were in the UK!

12th July 2008

The first guests arrived today for one of the renovated apartments in our 3rd house, now named Haus Martin. The apartment, called Wald, is definitely the best we have done yet. The second one, Sonne, just needs tidying up in time for the first guests in a few days' time. We have decided not to sell the 1st floor and the 2 apartments there will also be modernised, giving us 4 one bedroom apartments. The location of the house is stunning - backing directly onto the forest and National Park, with a lovely garden for sitting out and enjoying the birdsong.

13th April 2008

The gondola up the Arber stopped today for a maintenance break. It is due to start again for the summer season on 1st May.

7th April 2008

Today we signed the contract for the purchase of our 3rd house in Bayerisch Eisenstein. We get possession on 2nd May 2008. This will give us 2 one bedroom ground floor apartments. The 1st floor we intend to sell.

6th April 2008

Lifts on the Arber closed for maintenance. If there is enough snow, they will reopen for 12/13th April weekend.

31st March 2008

The lifts on the Arber are expected to close for their Spring maintenance break on 6th April. There is still plenty of snow (and more forecast for later this week) but not enough people wanting to ski after Easter.

23rd March 2008 Easter Sunday

It has snowed almost every day for the last week, with the village now looking Christmassy again and the the snow depth on the Arber up to 70cm, with most of the pistes open.

2nd February 2008

Shooting for everyone at the Hohenzollern Stadium The Stadium hosts many Biathlon events during the winter. Now the stadium is being opened up 1 afternoon a week to anyone who wants to try their hand at biathlon rifle shooting under expert supervision. From 13.00 to 17.00 on Wednesday afternoons throughout the year, anyone can turn up and, for €30, get basic training in small calibre firearms and try out 25 shots at the targets.

1st January 2008

No smoking in public places in Bavaria From today, Bavaria has one of the strictest smoking bans in Germany. Smoking is not allowed inside restaurants, bars and cafes, discos or beer tents. There is a 6 week period in which the ban will not be strictly enforced, until mid February. March 2008: The law has since been modified to allow smoking in beer tents for another 12 months.


23rd December 2007

Bayerisch Eisenstein Christmas Market
Margaret and Martin toasting the success of the market with Deputy Mayor Charly and Mayor Thomas.


21st December

The official festivities will again take place at the station. At 14.30, the Interior Ministers of Bavaria, the Federal Republic of Germany and Czech Republic will have a symbolic meeting at the border, followed by Bavarian-Bohemian coffee and cakes. At 16.00 the European Ministers of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Czech Republic will arrive. The festivities will end at 18.00.

15th December 2007

At midnight on 20th December, the border controls between Germany and the Czech Republic will be removed, as the Central and East European countries which joined the EU in the last few years now join the Schengen area. Bayerisch Eisenstein has been chosen as the location for major official celebrations of this event. At 22.00 on 20th December, local celebrations at the railway station will start with the opening of an exhibition of local architecture styles typical of the Eisenstein valley both sides of the border. The mayors of Bayerisch Eisenstein and Zelezna Ruda will then invite everyone present to join them in eating a cross-border midnight soup! The glass door which has divided the 2 halves of the station since 2000 will be formally opened at midnight.

13th December 2007

From today we have broadband! Providing wifi access for guests too.

12th December 2007

Today the Bavarian parliament voted on the government's proposed total smoking ban in bars and restaurants in Bavaria. It was passed overwhelmingly. From January 1st, smoking will only be permitted in outdoor areas, or at private parties/meetings.

Floodlit skiing starts 18.00 today on the Arber. Most pistes are now open all the time, with 60cm snow.

17th November 2007

Snow on the Arber is now 135cm and 4 pistes are open this weekend.

According to press reports, Eurostar is considering running direct trains from London to Cologne and cooperation with the German railways to sell through tickets to Germany. This could make it possible to travel from London to Bayerisch Eisenstein changing trains only twice, at Cologne and Plattling.

11th November 2007

Heavy snowfall for several days now and more forecast. Already 40cm on the Arber - the lifts are due to open at weekends from 18th November and fully from 8th December.

25th October 2007

The Bavarian Government has finally (hopfeully!) decided on a total ban on smoking in all publicly accessible buildings from 1st January 2008. Even beer festivals will be smoke free in the tents.

19th October 2007

First snowfall of the winter in the village but not likely to last this early in the season.

10th October 2007

Avis have opened an office in Plzen and are willing to deliver rental cars to our guests, thus removing the problem of many guests renting cars in Germany and not being able allowed to drive them into the Czech Republic.

6th October 2007

Our first guests arrive by train from the UK - 11 hours station to station from Ashford, Kent in the Uk to Bayerisch Eisenstein.

8th September 2007

The Arber will again host World Cup Ladies Slalom and Giant Slalom races in 2008, 1st-2nd March.

4th September 2007

First snowfall of the winter on the Arber!

21st August 2007

From November, guests from Ireland will be able to fly from Belfast to Prague on Easyjet or from Dublin to Prague on Ryanair.

11th August 2007

We have invested in new mountain bikes for rental to guests - 8 bikes in 4 different sizes for adults and children.

10th August 2007

We have made it through the 1st round of the German National Tourism prize for our (innovative!) concept of providing holiday apartments specially geared to the needs of foreign guests. Results of the next round will be announced in 2nd week of September.

5th June 2007

Our 2 newest apartments, Haus Sterr 4 and 5, have been awarded 5*****stars and Haus Sterr 3 4****stars by the German Tourism Association. In a few months time we will do some upgrading on Haus Sterr 1 and 2 and have those graded.

11th May 2007

The cable car on the Arber restarts on May 12th.

30th April 2007

The winter is finally over and the weather is warm and sunny. This snowfall here was very low, as in the rest of Central Europe but everyone who came and wanted to ski managed to do so, included the week before Easter. The Arber cable car closed down for its Spring break on April 15th and is due to restart on May 11th. We are fully booked for Christmas and New Year 2007 and bookings are already coming in for 2008. New developments for summer 2008 are boat trips on the Danube linked with trains from the village and there should also be a direct train to Salzburg at weekends from Bogen, about 1 hour's drive away. We have just a few short vacancies in the peak period of the summer but plenty of availability in early summer and autumn. The weather is beautiful but the village is strangely empty of tourists!
The outside of the new house is now almost finished - the walls have been painted and the new garden fence put up. Now we just need the plants and grass seed to grow.


28th December 2006

The 2 new apartments were finished on schedule ready for the 1st guests before Christmas. All 5 apartments were booked for Christmas, 4 by Brits and 1 by Australians. As they were all looking for a white Christmas the light covering on the village was a little disappointing but everyone had a great time and one family decided on their 3rd day here to book for the next 2 Christmases! We now only have 1 apartment available for Christmas 2007 and bookings are coming in well for February and summer 2007.

13th December 2006

More snow in the last few days - it melts quickly in the village still but the Arber mountain is now looking very white!

22nd December

A new development this winter season is a 900 metre toboggan run on the Arber, accessed from the top of the 6 seater lift. Suitable toboggans are being provided.

Also this season, the floodlit skiing Wednesdays and Fridays 18.00-21.30 is being extended to a second, easier, run. Apparently, last winter, evening skiing was very popular with experienced skiers and less experienced skiers felt a little intimidated!

Tickets for the Women's World Cup Slalom and Giant Slalom races on the Arber on 10th & 11th March 2007 have just gone on sale. They can be ordered from At the moment we have all 5 apartments still available for that weekend.

5th November 2006

The first snow fell as forecast on 1st November but has already melted in the village, although the Arber mountain still has 4cm.

The Bavarian Forest National Park has bought the railway station in the village from the German railways, which is good news as it is a very historic building, the only in Europe divided between 2 countries and it marked the iron curtain during the cold war years. The nearby glass works is planning to restart glassmaking demonstrations and that area of the village should develop into a series of museums and historic buildings.

30th October 2006

The first snow of the winter is forecast - for the night of November 1st. October has been the warmest on record in Bavaria so the ground is not cold enough yet for any snow which falls to settle, but nighttime temperatures this week are forecast to fall below freezing. The autumn has been simply beautiful - the mix of the colours of the changing leaves against the dark green, with wisps of mist drifting across has been wonderful. Although bookings have been much better than last year, it is still a pity that more people don't take advantage of the excellent walking in the mountains in autumn. The Arber cable car is due to stop for its autumn maintenance break on Wednesday but may continue until Sunday if the weather is fine. It will reopen as soon as there is enough snow for skiing.

Work on the new house is continuing. The new bathrooms are nearing completion. Next week, the new windows, internal doors and balustrades for the balconies will go in and the house with finally start to be 'put back together' again.

21st September 2006

All our guests continue to be delighted with the village and surrounding area and some have been talking about possibly buying property here themselves. The local newspaper published a major article about the depopulation of Bayerisch Eisenstein, which has been quite drastic over the last 40 years. We wrote a letter to the newspaper about the number of English speaking guests interested in buying here and the lack of available property because there is so little on the market. This was published in the Bavaria section of the newspaper and has been followed by a string of phone calls from people keen to sell their houses - mostly not in Bayerisch Eisenstein!

This week, work got underway on the 2nd house, with the plumber, builder and electrician all starting work. Already walls have been demolished, doorways are being blocked up and shower room walls built and much of the main plumbing work has been done. Tiles have been ordered and curtains are being made. Shopping lists for furniture and accessories are almost complete. The new apartments are Haus Sterr 4 and 5 and we already have the first bookings. All will be complete by Christmas.

16th August 2006

Today we bought our second house here, directly behind, in the next street, Hans Watzlik Strasse, at an insolvency auction. Like our first house, this one also has 2 self contained apartments on the ground and first floors, as well as an extended sitting room on the ground floor and a panoramic 180 degree view of the Arber and surrounding forests from the 1st floor. The new house will be fully renovated, with new wiring, new plumbing, new balustrades for the balconies, completely new kitchens and bathrooms - every bedroom will have its own ensuite shower room - and a sauna in the cellar, where we plan to have a sauna/infra red cabin, treadmill, foot spa and maybe a few other things! The new house is so close that we can run the 2 houses almost as a single site, with all visitors having access to the common facilities at both houses.

9th June 2006

The winter snow has finally gone from the Arber - the snow which fell at the end of May disappeared almost immediately. And our new terrace at the back of house is finished, giving lots of space for guests to barbecue or just eat outside, sit and read or enjoy the sun. Football fever has also arrived in the village, in the form of 4 young Brits who have, a little surprisingly, arrived to spend 16 days using the Louisenhof apartment as a base for getting to see the England matches, as well as enjoying the area. They start off at 6.30 tomorrow, heading for Frankfurt for the 1st match - getting there and back in one day is bit of a challenge! Our neighbour who owns Lousenhof says that few Germans are on holiday here at the moment because the men have spent the holiday fund on a larger TV!

26th May 2006

A few significant events this week for Haus Sterr and Bayerisch Eisenstein.

On Wednesday, a local artist came to paint the house in local style - a beautiful picture on the end wall where the path goes up to the front door, showing 2 men cutting timber in traditional Bavarian Forest style: a tribute to the family who built the house and to the local area. We also have 'Haus Sterr' in traditional script on that wall and on the wall overlooking the orchard. Our neighbours seem to feel that this is a demonstration of our commitment to the house and the village and we feel that way too!

This weekend there are 2 important events:
the local Waldbahn trains will cross the border into the Czech Republic. Initially they will only make the 10 minute journey to Zelezna Ruda and Spicak but giving easy access to Spicak will be a great benefit to our summer tourist, walkers and mountain bikers as well as skiers in the winter. The cable car from Spicak up the Pancir mountain operate summer and winter. A number of special guests are coming to the village for the departure and music will be provided by the Plzen Conservatoire.
on Saturday, GPS for mountain biking will be launched for the area. A number of races are being staged, where the participants will find their way only by using GPS devices - there will be no signposts or markers. Spectators will be able to watch the progress on a big screen. GPS for mountain bikers will be available from now on.

27th April 2006

The last of the snow has gone from the garden today. The cable car on the Arber will start again for the summer season from Saturday 13th May 2006. The cable car is open on Monday 1st May for one day only but there is too little snow now for skiing on the May Day weekend.

20th April 2006

The last day of the Arber skiing season will be Sunday 23rd April. All lifts and thecable car will close then for maintenance and the cable car will restart at the beginning of the summer season.

1st April 2006

A new fast bus service has started from Zelezna Ruda to Passau, taking 2 hours for the whole trip, a little less from Bayerisch Eisenstein. It leaves shortly after 11 am from Bayerisch Eisenstein and the return bus leaves from Passau at 16.25, giving 3 and a half hours for lunch and some sightseeing/shopping.

8th March 2006

The Arber ski lifts are now forecast to continue running until 18th April i.e. after the Easter weekend. The ski bus service is still due to stop on 2nd April. It is snowing now and due to continue until Sunday.


24th November 2005

After nearly a week of almost continuous snow, the house now looks like the picture on the Home Page! This morning the temperature was -13C. The cross country skiing season started last weekend, with 15 kilometres of prepared trails available at this stage - and no parking charges until Christmas. The Thurnhofhang lift on the Arber is expected to start operating this weekend. The new Sonnenhang lift is due to be inaugurated on 16th December.

A new 4-seater chair lift was opened yesterday on Spicak mountain, just across the border in the Czech Republic. The Spicak area offers 7.2 kilometres of ski runs plus a special Snowboard Park. There are 5 main ski runs of varying difficulty, including No. 4 with a gradient of 45%. Spicak also offers night skiing with one floodlit run. For more information, see

16th November 2005

First snow of the winter this morning - very wet and not settling but the 6 day forecast is for snow and minus temperatures every day.

7th November 2005

The cable car on the Arber, and the restaurants at the top, have closed for maintenance. They will open again in December for the skiing season. Snow fell above 1,200 feet in the Alps at the weekend, but there has not yet been any snow this autumn in the Bavarian Forest.

21st October 2005

At Seebachschleife, on the edge of the village, a few minutes walk from Haus Sterr, there are plans to turn an old glass industry building into an Arts Centre. The Centre will include studios for craftsmen working in glass, metal and wood, a small cafe, an exhibition area, lecture room/cinema, 200 seat theatre and a multi-media room for young musicians and bands to use as a recording studio.

17th September 2005

On 2nd October 2005, the 1st International German-Czech Nordic Walking Day on the Bohemian Way, from Deggendorf to Zelezna Ruda, will take place. Although the Bohemian Way was officially opened in 1990, it has been a route for pilgrims and traders for hundreds of years, connecting Danube Plain with Bohemia, an important route for silks, dyes, spices, wine, tobacco and fruits from the south.

16th September 2005

News from Bayerisch Eisenstein Tourist Office:

A number of guided walks are offered for the autumn season with specific themes: Herbs on 20th September, Mushrooms on 27th September, to the 1,333m high Zwercheck mountain on 4th October, to the Black and Devil Lakes in the Bohemian Forest on 11th October and to a barbecue in the forest on 25th October. The Boehmerwaldcourier train trips to Klatovy in the Czech Republic will continue until 2nd November 2005.
The Arber will have a new 6 seat chair lift on the Sonnenhang for the coming winter season.

13th September 2005

Until now, the only ways of crossing into the Czech Republic were on foot, bicycle or by car. There was no public transport - the trains from the village station travel into the Czech Republic from the Czech side and into Germany from the German side but do not cross the border. This situation is about to change.

From 1st October, there will be a bus link from the border to Susice in the Czech Republic. Buses will leave from the border at Eisenstein at 08.25, 11.25 and 14.25 and return at 10.10, 13.10 and 16.10. There are plans to offer a 'package' similar to the Boehmerwaldcourier train trip (which includes a tour or Klatovy (unfortunately only in German) and lunch).

Even better news is that the local German Waldbahn trains will be travelling across the border from June 2006 - as far as Spicak, making it possible to use the service to get to walks to the mountains and lakes in the Bohemian Forest and skiing in winter.



Contact us

Bavarian Forest Holidays
Hans-Watzlik-Strasse 8
94252 Bayerisch Eisenstein

(Germany) +49 (0) 9925 90 32 04
(UK) 07813 811 497 (Martin)
(Ulrike – Germany) +49 (0) 160 9171 8011



Skiing on the Arber

Forest walk

Arriving by train from the UK

Baby bear in the Bavarian Forest National Park

Cookery lesson

Bavarian Forest mountains

Martin with the first Sengzelten

Regensburg Cathedral

Rissloch falls

Our guest shop, open 24/7