Tourism Mar 17, 2020

The Bavarian Alps: mountains for relaxing and getting active

As the largest and highest mountain range in Europe, the Alps extend over 1,200 kilometres through seven countries: Italy, France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Liechtenstein and Germany. The German part of the Alps lies exclusively in Bavaria. The alpine highlands in the south of Bavaria offer a wide range of opportunities for leisure and holiday activities, which we present here.

What belongs to the Bavarian Alps?

The Alps themselves can be divided according to several characteristics: In terms of natural areas, cultural or human-geographical features, and geological or hydrological aspects, to name but a few possibilities. Depending on the type of classification, different areas are therefore counted among the Bavarian Alps. For the sake of simplicity, some travel portals say that the region extends from the Königsee in the east to Lake Constance in the west. Regardless of how difficult it is to assign certain areas, it is at least possible to say which mountain ranges belong mainly or partly to the Bavarian Alps. They are: 

•    Allgäu Alps
•    Ammergau Alps
•    Bavarian Alpine foothills
•    Berchtesgaden Alps
•    Chiemgau Alps
•    Karwendel
•    Wetterstein range

The highest peaks are found in the Allgäu Alps (Hochfrottspitze, 2,649 m), the Berchtesgaden Alps (Watzmann, 2,713 m) and the Wetterstein range (Zugspitze, 2,962 m; highest mountain in Germany). 

Culture in the Bavarian Alps 

The Alpine regions in the south of Bavaria are popular holiday areas. Many communities here generate their main income from tourism. Which is why there are various offers all year round on how you can spend your time there: in summer, mountain tours invite you to go hiking, in winter, lifts and powder snow attract people to the slopes – be it for skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing or snow hiking.

There are also health resorts here. The Mittenwald climatic health resort , for example, is located in the middle of the Karwendel and surrounded by Alpine peaks. The art of violin making has a special tradition here. The village even has its own violin making museum. In addition, the numerous traditional events throughout the year are worth seeing: besides an international dog sledding race, the carnival also attracts onlookers. Some of the hand-carved carnival masks called “Holzlarven” are already many generations old and are used every year for the Mittenwald carnival. The regional food is very similar to the rest of Bavaria’s cuisine: hearty snacks, sweet yeast dumplings and of course white veal sausages with mustard can be found in almost every restaurant. 

© Alpenwelt - Wera Tuma

Popular holiday towns in the Bavarian Alps

Apart from Mittenwald, which we’ve already mentioned, there are of course numerous other places that enjoy great popularity here. They attract many people to the Bavarian Alps, especially during the winter holidays. We give you just a brief overview of some of the larger communities, without the order being of any significance with regard to rating. This list provides an initial overview of what the Bavarian Alps are all about and what you can expect as a guest there. 

Most people know Ruhpolding as a venue for international winter sports events. The biathlon in particular has a long tradition here, but it is not only the snow that attracts many people to the community every year. Anyone who wants to be less physically and more mentally active will also find more than one opportunity here: appealing “Lüftlmalerei” façades, a local history museum in a former hunting lodge and the parish church of St. Georg, which sits on the Rauschberg at an altitude of 1,645 metres, are among the sights in Ruhpolding. Lüftlmalerei is the art of façade painting, which is particularly widespread in southern German and Austrian small towns and rural regions. 

Reit im Winkl 
This is where many enthusiastic hikers come together, because Reit im Winkel is considered to be one of the most beautiful hiking regions in the Chiemgau Alps. The tours lead to the high plateau of the Winklmoosalm, around the Chiemsee or to the Demel-Alm. Fans of history and culture will also get their money's worth. At the Hausenhäusl local history museum you can learn more about the history of the village and the locals cultivate their customs at numerous events all year round: The music band’s “Musiball” is held on carnival Saturday, there is a harvest festival procession and a pilgrimage to Maria Klobenstein in October, to name but a few examples. 

It is located directly at the foot of the Zugspitze, between the Wetterstein and Ammer mountain ranges. The Winter Olympics have been held here since 1936 and it has attracted winter sports enthusiasts from all over the world with its picturesque landscape: we are of course talking about Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Upper Bavaria. This town is one of the most beautiful and probably best known ski resorts in the Bavarian Alps. 

The Alpine village in the administrative district of Swabia represents the end of the Romantic Road. The Ammergau and Allgäu Alps even tower above the Hohes Schloss (High Castle) in Füssen. Besides the Lech, which is still an untamed wild river here and offers a stunning spectacle, holidaymakers have another advantage: the world-famous Neuschwanstein Castle is just a stone's throw away. 

Berchtesgaden is situated close to Königssee, directly at the foot of the 2,713 metre high Watzmann and in the middle of its own national park. Anyone spending their holidays here should take their time, because there is a lot to see: The Schlossplatz alone is framed by the royal palace, a Romanesque cloister from the 13th century, the St. Andreas church and the collegiate church. In the pedestrian zone, there are also numerous house façades that are decorated with artful “Lüftlmalerei”. 

Bad Wiessee
This health resort is located right on Tegernsee and is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in the Bavarian Alps. Just 4,700 inhabitants live in the community, which is both a health resort and spa. In addition to beautiful, listed buildings in the town centre (town hall, old post office, Hotel zur Post), you can enjoy the view of mountain peaks up to 1,600 metres high on long walks along the five kilometre long lake promenade. Excursions in the snow are a good idea in these mountains in winter. 

Bad Reichenhall
This spa town is located on the northern edge of the Bavarian Alps. The Reichenhall salt, which is produced here in the salt works, is well-known nationally. Anyone going on holiday to this beautiful town will find the 1,613 metre high Predigtstuhl and its outstanding view, the Royal Spa Garden, which invites you to take a walk, and the very artistically decorated town hall.

Holidays in Bavaria - always a pleasure

Anyone spending their free time in Bavaria can experience a great deal. From magnificent nature to picturesque towns and wellness and sports facilities, everything is possible. Some places in Bavaria show of their very best sides in winter in particular. That's why we have put together some tips for winter holidays in Bavaria for you in our blog.