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Hey there! I'm Nicole and I blog over at Sunkissed with a Twist. I'm literally sitting in an airport as we speak getting ready to take off on my flight to Germany! I'm going for the entire summer; first to hang out with my mom In Garmisch (she lives and works in Germany) and then I'll be off to Berlin for four weeks to do a study abroad at Humboldt University.
Obviously the best perk about having your parents live in another country means that I always have a reason to travel to Europe! And on the flip side, every time I want to see my parents - I have to travel to Europe. They're not just down the street or a few hours away in another town, which can sometimes be a total bummer when you're craving momma's home cookin' or you need dad to help you work on your car. But no matter what, I always make the best of it by trying to visit as often as possible and for as long as I can manage to stay when I get summer and winter breaks from school.
My parents live in the mountain resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which is located in Bavaria (southern Germany). It's the most stunning little alpine town I've ever seen and it's full of charm, flower boxes, cute Bavarian boys, big beers and giant pretzels! It's also home to Germany's tallest mountain, the Zugspitze and sits right on the border of Austria. It only takes about 5-10 minutes to hop across the border!
Since I've been here several times now and have had a chance to explore southern Germany, I thought I would share with you all the best things to do in Bavaria. So get your beer mugs chilled, walking shoes on, bags packed and your plane tickets booked to Germany!
1. Visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen
I'm obviosuly super biased on this one because it's my European hometown, but trust me - once you do visit, you'll never want to leave. This place is just incredible. Words and pictures will never do it justice. Garmisch-Partenkirchen used to be two separate and distinctly different towns. Even thought the two towns merged together for the 1936 Winter Olympics, they still each maintain their own identities. Since it's located in the Bavarian Alps, it's Germany's number one destination for winter sports and it offers some of the best hiking and mountain climbing in the area.
Throughout the summer months, there's always some kind of festival taking place celebrating a certain town and what else, beer! Oktoberfest in Munich is the most famous festival, but if you're looking for something a little more low-key and not so crazy, then smaller towns or villages would be your best bet. Regardless of which beer garden festival you choose to visit, you're guaranteed to have a great time! Pretzels as big as your head, lederhosen, dirndls, Bavarian music and beer out the wazoo... what's not to love?!
3. Trek to the top of the Zugspitze
4. Take a Train to Munich
Munich is the capital of the state of Bavaria and is the third largest city behind Berlin and Hamburg. It's located on the River Isar, north of the Bavarian Alps. Munich is frequently the top-ranked German destination and was also ranked as the world's most livable city. It has a inspiring mix of historic buildings and impressive architecture. And while you're there, make sure to check out the Nymphenburg Palace!
5. Walk Along the Trail at Lake Eibsee & Go For a Bike Ride
Lake Eibsee is near the town of Grainau and sits at the foot of the Zugspitze. The crystal clear, deep blue and turquoise water is breathtakingly beautiful and there's a trail that wraps around the entire lake. Walking it takes a couple of hours, especially if you're like me and you make frequent stops to take a gazillion pictures!
6. Hike Through the Partnachklamm & the Höllentalklamm
The Partnachklamm and the Höllentalklamm are two gorges that feature narrow rock walls, rapids, waterfalls, and tranquil water basins. The Partnach Gorge is fed by the Schneeferner glacier on the Zugspitzplatt plateau. The trail runs right next to the river and what's even cooler is that you can visit during both the summer and winter months, and even take a guided torchlit hike through the gorge!
7. Visit the Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein is one of three lavish castles that "Mad" King Ludwig II built for himself, and was also the inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle. King Ludwig II died before he could see his dream castle completed and it was opened to the public immediately after his death in 1886.
So, there you have it. Seven great things to do if you ever plan a trip to Bavaria! And of course, there's many more spectacular things in and around Bavaria... I may have to do another "things to do" post in the very near future. I've got all summer to do more exploring and sight-seeing, so I'll have lots of good stuff to share! I hope you enjoyed reading about Germany and thank you for having me Laurie!
Be sure to stop by the blog and say hello. I'd love to meet you! :) And keep an eye out for more Germany posts!