What images spring to mind when you think of Bavaria? Beer, Oktoberfest and Lederhosen? The mysterious life of Mad King Ludwig? Impressive landscapes that have been immortalised by countless artists? Bavaria is famous for its traditions and centuries-old customs, passed down from one generation to the next. They remain eternally authentic, while allowing for re-interpretation — in other words, ‘traditionally different’.
Bavaria has a lot to offer as a holiday destination. Visitors can explore treasures such as historic towns nestling in picturesque countryside; lively festivals and cultural highlights; breathtaking mountain scenery; and delicious culinary offerings.
The romantic towns of Franconia are filled with fascinating cultural experiences. At the foot of the mighty Kaiserburg Castle in Nuremberg during summer, musical events such as the Klassik Open Air or the Bardentreffen are free of charge, or you can join in the celebrations of the Altstadtfest (Old Town Festival) and the medieval-inspired Burggrafenfest. There’s also plenty to keep visitors of all ages enthralled; Nuremberg’s many attractions range from the fascinating Toy Museum to the immersive German Railway Museum, while art lovers are spoilt for choice by the city’s many galleries. When it comes to culture, Nuremberg is a great base for excursions into the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Franconia, such as Bamberg Old Town and the Margravial Opera House in Bayreuth.
Lindau, on the shores of Lake Constance, offers urban vitality yet in a relaxing setting. A crystal-clear lake with snow-capped mountains and lush green surroundings provide this historic island with its famous picturesque ambience. Visitors and locals alike enjoy life on the water, with stand-up paddleboarding, sailing and panoramic cruises on offer. The Old Town, with its twisting lanes and surrounding hilly countryside, is well worth exploring too. The charming restaurants on the island are the perfect place to end the day.
Nature lovers will find what they seek in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. This alpine region, at the foot of the Zugspitze — Germany’s highest mountain — delivers a combination of sunny pastures, rustic inns with shady Biergärten, extensive activity options and professional mountain guides. Add to this numerous hotels and guesthouses catering to every budget and any stay is sure to be a real pleasure. Whether your personal preference is for relaxation or activity, getting up into the mountains is always good for the soul.
A rich and varied holiday destination for families in the Bavarian Alps is the village of Inzell im Chiemgau, not far from Lake Chiemsee. The village and its surroundings reward hikers and bikers alike with outstanding views of dramatic valleys and nature reserves. For the more adventurous, there are challenging mountain treks or guided hikes on offer, while lovers of peace and quiet can simply relax on the shore of Lake Chiemsee. Upon arrival, holidaymakers receive the ‘Chiemgau Karte/Ruhpolding & Inzell’ adventure card, which gives them free access to a wide range of activities during their stay, including cable-cars, public swimming pools, museums, tennis, bike hire, ski lifts, ice skating and much more.
Look out for the Bavaria insert distributed with the May issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)