From the majestic snow-clad mountains, hidden lakes to charming Bavarian towns, the Bavarian Alps are full of surprises.
When we talk about the Alps, we picture the scenes from 90s Bollywood that was obsessed with the shooting in the beautiful mountains of Switzerland. A Swiss holiday even today is on the bucket list for most, but what if we told you that you don’t need to burn the bank to get almost a similar experience in Bavarian Germany? Yes, that’s true. The Alps are the most extensive mountain range in Europe and it pans through various countries including Germany. A road trip through the region is like a treasure hunt. You will spot castles, local bier gardens, hidden lakes, monasteries but most importantly, you will stumble upon Bavarian villages that will transport you back in time with its old-world charm and raw beauty surrounded by beautiful landscapes. So much so, that every sight is just a portrait that is waiting to get captured.
When in Germany, commute is never a problem as most of the Bavarian region is connected by trains and buses. But to experience the real charm of Bavaria, a road trip is ideal so we decided to rent a car. We picked up a rental from Munich airport and went straight to Garmisch- Partenkirchen which formed our base for our day trips to the nearby towns. While our trip was planned in a way to fit in Munich’s Oktoberfest, the best time to visit Bavarian Germany has to be between May and November, post which most attractions close down due to snowfall. On a side note, while getting to these attractions is easy, there will be a considerable amount of walking involved, so be sure you get yourself ready for the hikes. The best place to start exporing is the small town of Oberammergau that can be traversed on feet in just a few hours.
This Bavarian town is known for its woodcarvers and woodcarvings along with the tradition of mounting Passion Plays that have been followed since the 1600s. It started off when the village inhabitants vowed to God that they would perform passion plays every year ending with zero if they were saved from the wrath of Bubonic plague. The tradition is followed even today and over 2000 cast and crew members put together a show each decade. Most houses in the town also sport frescoes that feature fairy tales, religious scenes and more on the walls. Some of them are vintage and worth admiring.
We made our way to the tallest peak in the Bavarian Alps, known as Zugspitze and if you are travelling by road, you can reach its base and get a clear view of its grandeur. The gondola ride centre takes you to the top of the mountain, much like that at Jungfrau in Switzerland. You could lounge at the cafe at the top and enjoy a pork roast and beer while admiring the picturesque views. But if you want to get up-close with nature, take a walk around Lake Eibsee. This blue lake is surrounded by forest and is said to be one of the most beautiful spots in the country.
Oberammergau is known for its 17th venture charm. From the Baroque steeple of the Parish Church to Christmas Markets during Advent and the Lüftlmalereiens on the houses, this one has a happy vibe. At the city centre, there is a giant violin and raft that shows the culture of the town. This is a resort town and you will find luxurious properties to stay here. During your visit here a trip to the violin making museum is a must and thanks to its abundance of natural beauty, it attracts large groups of hikers too. But no trip would be complete without a visit to the Kehlsteinhaus (better known as Eagle’s Nest). It was known to be Hitler’s winter home but as per records, he only visited there on 14 odd occasions as he hated the place due to its extreme weather and height. Today, it is a perfect spot to get a view of the alps over a pint of beer. Getting to the top is tricky but you can take a bus to the Kehlsteinhaus elevator which takes you to the top. But the best way up is to hike through the pathway. This is a bit far from Garmisch- Partenkirchen and might need half a day to explore.