"Alles was die Menschen sind, haben sie von Gott, alles, was sie überhaupt erringen

in Gutem und Bösem, haben sie sich selbst zu danken"

-Jacob Grimm-

The Central German Uplands (Deutsches Mittelgebirge) are older than the Alps and differ from them in elevation and structure. Whereas the Alps are fold mountains, the Central German Uplands are fault-block mountains with a mountain base formed during the carbon era some 300 Million years ago. During the Carbon, the former continents Laurasia (today North America) and Gondwana collided with each other, and a vast orogenic had been formed. Following this, denudation processes (erosion) leveled the mountain range. The relief was slightly curly until, with the Alps' formation, it was exposed to heavy pressure. The former high mountains of the Central German Uplands  were raised again and shattered into lots of blocks. They are lower in altitude than the Alpine region.

Feldberg (1493m)
Feldberg (1493m)

The elevation in the Central German Uplands can differ from 1640 feet (500 meters), such as in the Teutoburger Wald up to the highest peak of  4898 feet (1493 meters) as it is the case in the Black Forest mountain (Schwarzwald) in which you find the Feld Mountain (Feldberg). It is a great destination for skiing and snowboarding. Not only is it the highest low mountain range in Germany, but also the nation's biggest forest area, composed of firs and spruces.

Compared to the North German Lowlands, the average rainfall is higher in the Central German Uplands.


Natural resources such as iron ore, copper, tin, lead, silver, and gold were essential for industrial development. Today, the Central German Uplands are an important recreational area with national parks like the Bavarian Forest and preserve areas such as the Rhoen Mountains (Rhön). The town Oberwiesenthal in the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge) is the highest health resort in Germany.

Distinctive mountains of the Central German Uplands

Wasserkuppe (Rhoen Mountains)
Wasserkuppe (Rhoen Mountains)

The Eifel, Hunsrueck Mountains, Taunus, Westerwald, Bergisches Land and Sauerland are part of the Rhenish Slate Mountains.

The Swabian Alps (Schwäbische Alb), the Franconian Mountains (Fränkische Alb) and the Bavarian Forest (Bayerischer Wald) are mountain ranges in the south.

Other important mountain ranges are Harz, Rhoen Mountains (Rhön), Thuringian Forest (Thüringer Wald) and Erzgebirge.

  The highest mountains (and mountain ranges) of the Central German Uplands


Highest elevation Mountain range
The Feldberg (1493m) Black Forest (Schwarzwald)                          
Großer Arber (1456m) Bavarian Forest (Bayerischer Wald) Bavaria
Keilberg (1243m) Erz Mountains (Erzgebirge) Saxony
Brocken (1141m) Harz Lower Saxony; Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia
Schneeberg (1053m) Fichtel Mountains (Fichtelgebirge) Bavaria
Schwarzkopf (1041m)

Upper Palatine Forest

(Oberpfälzer Wald)

Lemberg (1015m)

Swabian Alps

(Schwäbische Alp)


  Heads of many big rivers in Germany


Most big rivers in Germany rise from the Central German Uplands.

river length head flows into the ...

2888 km

(647 km in Germany)

Black Forest


Black Sea

750 km

Thuringian Forest

North Sea

524 km

Fichtel Mountains


413 km

Fichtel Mountains


371 km

Teutoburg Forest

North Sea

367 km

Black Forest


316 km

Fichtel Mountains


298 km

Thuringian Forest


290 km

Erz Mountains


250 km

Rothaar Mountains


  Volcanic regions


Volcanic activities formed some parts of the Central German Uplands. For instance, volcanoes had formed the Eifel for more than 40 million years, with the last eruption 13.000 years ago in which the Laacher Lake evolved from a caldera. Another volcanic region is located in the Upper Palatinate in Bavaria. Most volcanoes evolved in this region as the Alpine Mountain range arose due to African and European plates' collision some twenty million years ago.