top things to do in southern germany

hello! M & i just got home from our trip. it's weird being back in atlanta. this city can't handle the hype & lifestyle of new york. i love that place so much. today nicole is talking about her travels. her experiences go beyond the borders of north america {something M & i need to start doing more}. she specifically writes about her adventures in bavaria, germany {i had to use a map to find exactly where that was. i'm working on my geography} & lists the top things to do if you happen to visit. i'm so glad nicole shared this with you -- one, because she's awesome & more people should get to know her :) & two, because my knowledge of germany started & ended with the ruben sandwich {yep... food. no surprise there}. i hope y'all enjoy this as much as i did. & don't forget to go say hallo {that's "hello" in german. i looked that up too}  to nicole!
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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.

2. Try Local Bavarian Beer

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

Germany's tallest mountain, the Zugspitze, sits 9,718 ft above sea level and is the highest peak of the Wetterstein Mountain range in the northern limestone Alps. It's flanked by three glaciers, two of which are the largest in Germany. You can take a cable car all the way to the top, where there's panoramic views of four countries: Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland.

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!

Bike riding is one of my absolute favorite things to do in Bavaria because not only is it great exercise, but you get to enjoy the fresh alpine air and see much more of the cities you visit. This picture was taken in Partenkirchen (which originated as  the Roman town of Partanum on the trade route from Venice to Augsburg) on Ludwigstraße (which follows the original Roman road).

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!


  1. That is one heck of a beer! Pretty sure I'd have to skip out on a meal to down one of those. I love this list, thanks for sharing Nicole!

    -Amanda | Living in Another Language

  2. I loved reading this as I spent many a winter and summer at Garmish and Chiemsee growing up in Europe as an Air Force kid. So your photos hit a soft spot with me. I love that area so much and cannot wait to return.

    Bonnie Rose | A Compass Rose

  3. Very efficiently written story. It will be valuable to anyone who utilizes it, as well as yours truly :). Keep doing what you are doing – i will definitely read more posts. Hotels in Frankfurt-Oder

  4. The nature is so pure and beautiful I am keen to Travel in Germany after seeing these pictures I will get my visa as soon as possible and then will travel.



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