I talk a lot about USAG Bavaria, but Grafenwoehr isn’t the only base that makes up the garrison! There’s also a small base in Hohenfels, Germany, which is home to the Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC).
I visited Wander in Germany author LeAnna, a civilian employee at the base. After living in Germany and going back to the States, she and her family longed to come back. They just couldn’t stay away!
Hohenfels is a 75-minute drive from Grafenwöhr, and just a 30-minute drive from Regensburg. The base itself is pretty isolated, but the plus side is that you could live in Regensburg!
Looking for a great day drip from USAG Bavaria Grafenwoehr? Check out things to do in Regensburg (including Walhalla)!
It’s a small, close-knit community. The post is home to less than 4,000 active duty soldiers, civilian employees, and family members, compared to Grafenwoehr’s population of around 28,000.
And the town of Hohenfels isn’t as lively as Grafenwoehr (if you can believe it). But the surrounding towns and villages have much more to explore. When you PCS to Hohenfels, you’ll likely live in one of those villages.
Once you’re settled in, you’ll find that traveling is super easy! The Munich airport is a 90-minute drive, and both Prague and Garmisch are just under 3 hours away.
You can really live up the travel life at Hohenfels! (When there’s not a global pandemic, that is.)
Life in Hohenfels as an American Living in Germany
When moving to a new place, there will always be an adjustment period, regardless of whether it’s within your state or across the sea. And as someone who works with the U.S. military, you’re already familiar with that experience.
If you’ve never lived in a rural area, you’ll be in for a shock! LeAnna, a self-described city girl, admits that she found it strange to live in a town with just one stoplight.
There are also other customs that take getting used to, such as everything being closed on Sundays, or closing before 6pm. Taking your recycling to the center may also be a new experience.
But don’t let these new experiences scare you away! You may be tempted to stay on post all the time, but if you really want to live your best life, you need to explore the world off-post.
Take the advice from people who have spent years living in Germany: you will be much happier if you get off post!
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There are plenty of metzgereis (delis), bakereis (bakeries), and cafes that will welcome you into their shops. As long as you’re polite and make an effort to speak even a little bit of German, people will respond with kindness.
Things to Do around Hohenfels
The top activity around Hohenfels is easily the Kuhstallcafe in Illkofen. Enjoy a slice of cake (or three) with a cappuccino while your kids say hi to all the cows. In true Bavarian fashion, it’s only open on Sundays between 9am to 7pm.
You can also go to Velsburg castle. It’s been around since the early 1100s, but after the Thirty Years War, the castle slowly became a source for materials to construct other buildings.
And it’s not the only castle or ruins in the area! You can also visit Burg Lupburg, Burg Parsberg, Burg Lengenfeld, and Burgruine Kallmünz. If you PCS to Hohenfels, there’s a good chance you’ll live in a city with a castle!
It’s tempting to leave Germany every 4-day weekend, but remember that there’s plenty to do in your backyard. Before you know it, 3 years will fly by and you’ll realize you never experienced a local fest or explored a historical landmark just 20 minutes away.
Frequently Asked Questions about Hohenfels
Here we have answers to a couple of the most common questions about life in Hohenfels.
There are so many day trip options from Hohenfels! For a short trip within an hour, all the castles in the surrounding villages are great things to do around Hohenfels. If you want to spend the day in a city, check out Regensburg or Munich!
If you’re PCSing to Hohenfels, be sure to contact LeAnna when you arrive – she’d love to welcome you to your new home! The area has so much for you to explore and enjoy.