Yodel- ay- hee- hoo! The once kingdom of Bavaria will leave you yodeling for joy as you enjoy the pristine countryside, clean air and beautiful mountains.
Are you considering a trip to the Bavaria region of Germany? Well you should. We found it to be beautiful, easy to navigate, and very family friendly. We visited this area in the winter time to ski, but the other activities we did in the area are also open year round. So our pictures have snow in them, but perhaps your pictures you'll be in shorts and tanks and slathered in sun cream! No matter, this is an incredible location where there is much to do all through the year.
So come along, I will share my honest opinion of each activity!
With my family of all beginners, we loved skiing in this area. There was a great beginners area and some easier blue runs that we enjoyed doing. We didn't get to explore all the mountain had to offer, but again we are true novices. My little one is not into sports and she LOVED skiing. Some of the lifts did get quite busy on the weekends and we had to wait in lines. We all had ski lessons with Skischule Garmisch and had mixed reviews. I had a great instructor who spoke amazing English. My husband had an instructor who didn't speak English, even though he had booked for an English lesson. He felt that this lesson was a waste of his money. My kiddo was indifferent.
In a grand display of his power, Hitler ordered the construction of the Stadium, in 1934 along with a sister ski stadium in Partenkerchen, all for the 1936 Winter Olympics. This stadium is still being used today to house ski jump competitions! New Years you can see ski jumping competitions and in the summer you can take a tour of the whole facility. It was an impressive site to be sure. We parked here and walked through for free during the winter.
We parked near the Olympic Stadium and took a walk up the canyon to get to Partnach Gorge. It was about a mile walk, so if you need to walk less you can drop your party up near the ticket booth and then find parking down the road. We enjoyed the walk through the morning sunlight!
This place was particularly stunning in the winter because the entire gorge was made up of massive icicles lining the gorge. It was spectacular. It really felt like we had stepped into Disney's "Frozen" and we were trying to find Elsa. I'm sure it is pretty in the summer time, but the winter was magical. Whenever you go, make sure to dress warm! The gorge is entirely in the shade and the temperature drops a LOT!
Of course this castle is going to pop up on EVERY Bavaria "to-do" list. And you should. Because you should. It's worth every penny. Not only it is the inspiration for the Disney castle prototype but it also has a fascinating history with a high maintenance king. It also isn't VERY old, being started in the late 1800's. King Louis wanted it to LOOK like a medeival castle... but give it a fairy tale flare. I'd say he did a good job.
We had heard horror stories about how crowded this castle is and how it is almost unmanageable to reach, etc, etc. We honestly found it quite pleasant! Perhaps that is because we went in February? It wasn't busy, the walk up was fine, and we had an enjoyable time with no lines. However, some of the viewpoints were closed due to ice and snow.
PILGRIMAGE CHURCH OF WIES
On the way, to or from Neuschwanstein, lies this church in a beautiful valley and considered to be a perfect masterpiece of Rococo art. This church is at the heart of pilgrimage routes around Europe as a very important miracle took place here. It was here in the village in which tears were seen on a simple wooden figure of Christ mounted on a column. It was hailed to be miraculous and the wooden Jesus become a place of pilgramge. It was housed in a small wooden church, but then the pilgrims became too many the Catholic church decided to dump a LOT of money into the building of a place to house this magnificent piece of art. It was indeed beautiful, and made for a good rest stop on our way to Neuschwanstein from Garmisch.
The tallest mountain in Germany was incredible. Don't let the cost of the gondola deter you. It is worth it. We lucked out here and got to go to the top on one of the most beautiful and clear days. We could see for MILES! We could see the Italian Alps, the Swiss Alps and the Austrian Alps. In fact, the Austrian Alps were right next to us and we could WALK into Austria! How about that for adding another country to our list? Make sure to take a minute to each lunch here and admire the views from the bar stools. What a beautiful world.
After visiting the top of Zugspitze, we took a cable car down below the peak to an area of skiing, sledding, laughter and fun. We rented some sleds and had the silliest time laughing and peeing our pants sledding down the hill. You do have to walk your sleds back up to the top in order to have another go. While you do this, sledders are also coming down the hill so make sure to walk on the side!