Hello! Last month we had the opportunity to visit Bavaria, Germany over Patrick’s spring break with his parents. It was a wonderful trip.. I had few expectations and was lucky enough not to have to do much research because Pat and his family have been to the area a few times before. The weather was beautiful, cool and sunny, and it ended up being the kind of trip where you’re just going with the flow and having fun and then realize you did a ton! I thought I’d share a little recap in case you’re interested in visiting. We’ve already decided we want to go back for a longer visit when we can ski the Alps and add a second destination in Northern Italy.
We flew overnight and arrived in Munich tired, but excited. While at the airport, I was able to confirm there were tickets available to tour the Bayern Munich soccer stadium which was on the way from the airport to our destination. Pat loves soccer and we saw the Manchester United stadium in London so apparently we do stadium tours now! As someone who isn’t too interested in soccer, I still had a good time. They have a huge cafe, cool museum, and our tour guide was entertaining.
From there we drove to our hotel in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (yes, quite a mouthful). We stayed at the cute Hotel Rheinischer Hof where they served a full European breakfast each morning. It was great being able to fuel up on lots of breads, meats, cheeses, yogurts, and treats before a full day of exploring. That afternoon we took a nap and found a little restaurant in town for dinner. I tried pretzel soup and was not disappointed.
When we woke up the next morning there wasn’t a cloud in the sky so we decided to take advantage and go to the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak. After a brief train ride to the base of the mountain, we hopped aboard a cable car and took off into the clouds. The views were heavenly. Patrick and I packed for the mild weather forecast and forgot about the elevation change so we only had one hat, pair of gloves, and pair of sunglasses between us, but it didn’t matter because the experience was so spectacular. We talked about how cool it would be to stay at the ski-out hotel at the top.. maybe next time!
We had a bit of a wait before our train back to Garmisch arrived, so we took a walk to the beautiful lake in the shadow of the Zugspitze. The water is crystal clear and looked like a painting.
That afternoon we went to Partnach Gorge. Pat and his parents hadn’t been there before so it was cool to get to discover it together. You walk along the edge of a narrow gorge cut by running water over hundreds of years. The walkway was narrow, very low and dark in some places (tall people probs), and wet, but this was another incredible experience. It wasn’t crowded at all, perhaps because we were there on a Monday. I highly recommend a visit to this hidden gem!
We visited Ettal and the benedictine monastery the village is known for. The scale and detail were breathtaking. It was a busy day and we ended it with evening beers and pretzels at a cafe near the monastery before dinner back in Garmisch.
Hohenschwangau + Neuschwanstein Castles
I had been looking forward to seeing Neuschwanstein since Patrick and his Dad first visited while we were in college. It’s straight out of a storybook! It was beautiful weather and fairly busy so we had to wait for a tour time of Neuschwanstein. While we waited, we walked to Hohenschwangau, another castle on the property and toured the outside. The Neuschwanstein tour was fascinating and I loved seeing the intricate decor, but the best part was the views 🙂
That evening we had the best German meal of our trip at Bräustüberl Tegernsee. I had roasted duck with kraut, potato dumpling, and a German riesling. Yum! We topped it off with Kaiserschmarrn, a dutch baby/donut-y almond dessert served with apple sauce (a secret item on the menu that our German hotel friend tipped us off to). We are going to try to recreate it at home.
Originally, we were going to go to Munich on our last day, but after seeing more and more of the area where we were staying (and Pat pointing out that Munich isn’t hugely different from other European cities we’ve been to), we decided to stay closer to home and do a few more things that sounded fun. Schloss Linderhogg was the most ornate of the castles and I loved this one because to me, it had the most drama packed into one smaller palace. Every inch was covered with ornate sculptures, paintings, and gilded accessories like chandeliers. Pat got another classic photo of me where he lined it up with a statue’s behind without me knowing….
Mittenwald + Seehof Lautersee
After a stroll through idyllic Mittenwald, Pat navigated us to a little cafe he’d found on lake Lautersee that we thought might be cool (it’s so hard to tell sometimes from Google Maps). He’d nailed it! It was the best hidden spot for lunch alfresco. From our table, the mountains sprung up behind the lake and created another unbelievable view. We lounged by the lake, taking it in, then all went traditional German with our meal of brauts and saurkraut.
That evening we savored our final hours in Bavaria. We walked around town, got a beer at a small pub, took sunset photos, and had a delicious, lighter dinner at a tapas restaurant (highly recommend!).
If you’re considering a trip to this part of the world, absolutely do it! Like I said, we can’t wait to return. There is so much to explore and would be a great place to visit as a couple or with a family. Of course, let me know if you have any questions or want to know more!