The young prospector was found some 20 kilometres from his family's home in Stadtbergen, near Augsburg, on Monday night.
“To keep from getting lost, the little world traveller had equipped himself with a copied page from an atlas,” a police spokesperson told radio broadcaster Antennae Bayern on Tuesday.
Several hundred police, fire fighters and a police helicopter searched for the boy after he was reported missing. They managed to return him unharmed to his parents late in the evening, the police spokesperson said.
When they picked him up, the child told several dozen rescue workers that he “wanted to become a gold prospector immediately, because he believed it promised more success than continuing school.”
The boy's story is similar to that of three Nuremberg children who caused an enormous search after they ditched kindergarten to fly to Africa in mid-January.
And last year, two childhood sweethearts, aged six and seven, along with one of their younger siblings, also went missing briefly when they decided to elope from Hannover on New Year's Eve to be married in Africa.