Few places in the world are as breath-taking and diverse as Bavaria. The southern part of Germany offers travelers a blend of stunning nature, warm-hearted people and great food and it will undoubtedly leave you wanting more. With that in mind – here’s what you must see if you’re visiting Bavaria.
There’s no doubt about where the Grimm Brother’s found inspiration for their famous fairy tales; at least I’m convinced it’s from here! The Black Forest is the epitome of fairy tales and it seems like anything can happen once you step foot in this magic landscape! Bordering France, Germany and Switzerland, the forest has been viewed as no man’s land, as it’s kind of impenetrable – and definitely a place where tourists could get lost! Nevertheless, exploring this area is important when visiting Bavaria, as it kind of sums up the Bavarian culture; beautiful scenery matched by old-fashioned traditions.
There’s obviously several ways to discover the forest; by foot, bike or even car, as the region is about 150 km long. But one can never go wrong with settling for a few days in the spa town of Baden-Baden (the northern part of the forest) to explore the German wellness culture. You can also head to the south of the region, where many lake and ski resorts can be found.
During summer the mountain resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen is paradise for hikers and mountain bikers; during winter it’s Germany’s number 1 location for winter sports. On New Year’s day people from all over the world are watching the famous ski jumping competition transmitted directly from Garmisch-Partenckirchen, but why not go there to experience it yourself?
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is the epitome of Bavarian charm and hospitality, and you’ll quickly realize that it’s the perfect weekend getaway – especially if you’re into spa and wellness! This is Germany’s ‘health region’ offering anything from long, undisturbed walks in the Alps to luxurious spa treatments.
From Munich you can reach Garmisch-Partenkirchen within 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Füssen and Neuschwanstein Castle
Bavaria is also famous for its beautify and fairytale-like castles, and one of the most well-known has to be Neuschwanstein! It’s hard to avoid it and it would be a shame to miss it if you’re in the area! Neuschwanstein Castle was built in the last part of the 19th Century, which makes it less than 200 years old. Still though, it looks much older and the intriguing history compensates for the young age. The castle was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a homage to Richard Wagner, but before the castle was even completed, the king died a tragic death.
Neuscwanstein is also the inspiration for Disney’s famous logo, which is recognized by children and adults alike from all over the world.
Travelers should not only pay attention to the splendid castle though, cause at the foot of it nestles a charming little town called Füssen. Situated 5 km north from the Austrian border and with a population of less than 15.000 inhabitants, Füssen is probably best known for its violinmaking industry – and its connection to Neuschwanstein. Make a day trip to this little gem, take a stroll down the narrow streets and pay a visit to the crypt of St. Mang’s Basilica, which houses the oldest fresco in Germany.
It might sound slightly corny, but the Romantischer Strasse in Southern Germany depicts the true essence of German scenery and culture at its best! 350 kilometers of high way (ending in Füssen by the way) links several picturesque small towns and castles making it easy for travelers to find them. One of my personal favorites to visit along the way is historical Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and there’s plenty of cute hotels and restaurants to visit as well. The Romantic Road is loosely based on the old Roman trade route of Via Claudia Augusta.
The road is marked along the way with brown signs making it easy to follow.