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The Essential Guide to the Bavarian Alps

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Snowcapped mountains piercing the sky, Alpine lakes lapping against sun-drenched shores, and a range of outdoor activities to get your heart pumping—it’s no wonder the Bavarian Alps continue to draw curious travelers from all over the world. No matter the season, the iconic region displays nature at its best. In summer, Alpine valleys blossom with a verdant array of flora that encircles traditional villages and emerald lakes. In the colder months, waterfalls freeze, lakes frost over, and blankets of snow cover mountainsides, forming a winter wonderland befitting any fairy tale.
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Großer Arber, 94252 Bayerisch Eisenstein, Germany
The ski schools at Grosser Arber enjoy an excellent reputation throughout the Bavarian Alps, catering to children and adults alike with a wide variety of lessons. In the toddler area, little ones ski around fun obstacles under...
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Untere Bachgasse 8, 93047 Regensburg, Germany
The Hotel Orphée, in the medieval city of Regensburg, oozes 19th-century French glamour. Centrally located to Regensburg’s cobblestone streets, local shops, restaurants, and small squares, it’s decorated in a Baroque...
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Kemnater Str. 2, 87600 Kaufbeuren, Germany
Adlerkeller has a glowing reputation throughout the Bavarian Alps for both its delicious traditional cuisine and welcoming atmosphere that lures diners back again and again. Indeed, the lovely owners of this Kaufbeuren-based restaurant take pride...
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Am Hangenwald 1, 88074 Meckenbeuren, Germany
Ravensburger Spieleland is not your average amusement park. Located in Upper Swabia between Ravensburg and Lake Constance, the 61-acre wonderland features a whopping 60 rides of varying excitement, including the Fix and Foxi toboggan run. Families...
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Scheidegg, Germany
While the Alps are blessed with vast expanses of cross-country skiing terrain, Scheidegg in the Bavarian Alps has some of the best. Thanks to the town’s sunny but snowy conditions, its trails—especially the Oberstein—attract...
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Alpseestraße 30, 87645 Schwangau, Germany
You know you’re in the Bavarian Alps when a majestic, fairy tale–like castle appears in the distance, perched atop a rugged peak. Thanks to King Ludwig II and his obsession with 19th-century Romanticism, this mountainous area is home...
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Neuschwansteinstraße 20, 87645 Schwangau, Germany
The most famous castle in Germany—and one of the best known in Europe—Neuschwanstein is renowned not just for its fairy-tale architecture (which directly inspired the Disney Castle) but also for its creator, “mad” King...
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82487 Oberammergau, Germany
It's difficult to think of a more sought-after spectacle in the Alps than the famous Oberammergau Passion Play. These live performances take place an hour outside of Munich in a charming Bavarian town and depict, in a highly detailed and...
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Karl-und Martin-Neuner-Platz, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Step back in time with a visit to the astonishing Olympiaschanze in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Famous for hosting the ski jumping event during the 1936 Winter Olympic Games, the iconic structure, which was renovated in 2007, continues to wow crowds...
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Bankgasse 16, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Located in the heart of Garmisch, Koch’s lures diners from all over Germany—indeed, all over Europe—with locally sourced ingredients and innovative recipes. Committed to sustainability, the chefs build the menu around...
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In Elmau 2, 82493 Krün, Germany
Schloss Elmau, set at the foot of the craggy German Alps, has a fascinating past. A German theologian opened the hotel in 1916 as a place for visitors to commune with nature while attending religious lectures, public readings, and classical music...
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Freihaus 4, 83707 Bad Wiessee, Germany
To truly live the Alpine life in Germany, you must dine on authentic Bavarian fare surrounded by majestic mountains. Freihaus Brenner am Tegernsee offers your best chance to do so—with a five-star finish, to boot. Here, spectacular views...
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Spitzingsee, 83727 Schliersee, Germany
Playful activities in the Alps have a funny way of transforming adults into carefree children, none more so than flying down a mountain on a sled. While Switzerland and Austria provide ample terrain for sledding, Spitzingsee, in the Bavarian Alps,...
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Kehlsteinhaus, 83471 Berchtesgaden, Germany
Adolf Hitler’s mountain retreat, the Eagle’s Nest combines haunting history with stunning panoramic views. Located high in the Bavarian Alps, this famous Third Reich construction was bought for the former German Führer as a...
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Königssee, 83471 Schönau am Königssee, Germany
No matter the time of year you visit, Lake Königssee always inspires awe. Summer means shimmering water in shades of emerald and sage green, while winter brings a cold, misty atmosphere with otherworldly light. Take a boat ride along the...