Bavaria used to be an independent kingdom. It joined the German Empire in 1861 and has been part of Germany ever since. The largest federal state of Bavaria consists of Lake Constance, Franconia, the capital city of Munich and the Alps. The Bavarian Alps are part of the Alps and continue across the border into Austria. The region is considered one of the most picturesque in Germany. This is where German or Bavarian stereotypes of dirndl and lederhosen, bratwurst, and glistening alpine peaks come true. It is a very rural area, abundant with wildlife and many glacial lakes and thick fir tree forests. It is a place where traditions are still very strong. Maybe it is due to the fact that Bavarians are generally more conservative than other Germans.
The Bavarian Alps are not very high, the highest peak of Zugspitze is only 2964 m. But the view of the mountains gives an impression that they are much higher than they really are because of the massive vertical rise from the Bavarian countryside south of Munich.
Quiet villages and health retreats are common for this district. Most of the resorts have plenty of reasonably priced accommodation. There may be a charge (Kurtaxe) for overnight stays, but this entitles to certain perks, like free tours, a city bus service and entry to special events. One has a wealth of outdoor possibilities for skiing, snowboarding, hiking, canoeing and para-gliding – much of it year-round. The ski season lasts from about late December until April. One of the largest resorts in the area is Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Other bases are Berchtesgaden, Füssen and Oberstdorf.
The resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen offers some of the best skiing experience in the land, including runs on Germany’s highest peak, the Zugspitze. The towns of Garmisch and Partenkirchen were merged for the 1936 Winter Olympics, and to this day host international skiing events. In 2011 the Alpine World Skiing Championships will be held here for the first time since 1978. Garmisch-Partenkirchen also makes a handy base for excursions to Ludwig II’s palaces, including the Schloss Linderhof and the Jagdschloss Schachen.
Berchtesgaden is framed by six formidable mountain ranges and is home to Germany’s second-highest mountain, the Watzmann (2713m), there are a lot of gurgling mint-colored streams and peaceful Alpine villages. Outdoor activities, notably hiking, are plentiful. The mountain-top Eagle’s Nest, a lodge built for Hitler, is a major draw card, as is the Dokumentation Obersalzberg, a museum that chronicles the region’s dark Nazi past.
The castles of the Bavarian Alps are also worth seeing. If one is interested in history, it would be fascinating to visit the town of Füssen, nestled at the foot of the Alps. It is located at the southern end of the Romantic Road and is located near two magnificent castles of the Bavarian Alps. The first of these is Hohenschwangau, an ancient fortress originally built by a family of knights. The citadel fell into ruin for years only to be revitalized by King Ludwig I. His son, the colorful character Ludwig II, spent many days of his youth in Hohenschwangau. The other castle, Neuschwanstein, is very mysterious and romantic. Its towers inspire a feeling of magic. Majestic walls reflect the brilliant sunlight. This view is really unforgettable.
The Bavarian Alps offer a lot of opportunities to enjoy yourself. Whether you choose to be active and go hiking or biking up and down the tricky mountain roads, or simply admire the majestic views while strolling down the quiet town streets, you are sure to fall in love with the region.