February 23, 2018

Dream Trips: Driving the German Alpine Road

We all have our vision of a perfect vacation.  In one of my visions is a leisurely drive along the German Alpine Road!

The Bavarian Alpine area is one of my favorite places to visit.  I cannot pass up the laid back atmosphere, rolling green hills, steep mountains, lakes, old world villages full of tradition and charm, castles and serenity this area offers.

Come with me as we discover a journey I dream of taking!

Oberstaufen Germany

Oberstaufen from Oberstaufen Tourismus Marketing GmbH

The German Alpine Road stretches about 280 miles from Lake Constance on the border with Switzerland to Berchtesgaden in the east and very near Salzburg Austria.  The journey very near the Austrian border takes you pass 25 fortresses and castles, 21 mountain lakes and 64 spa towns all while offering some of the most beautiful and serene scenery you can find!

The castles along this route are some of world’s most famous – Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau and Linderhof.  Visits to well known Garmisch-Partenkircken and the Zugspitze plus little ventures off the road to Mittenwald and its painted buildings as well as a trip Prien so I could visit Herrenchimesee castle would be on my list.

But there are many not so well known villages, lakes and mountains to see.  So let’s get a move on, we’ve got a lot of miles to cover!

Harbor of Lindau Germany

Lindau harbor by vauvau, on Flickr

Lindau is a town and island in Lake Constance on the border with Switzerland.  This idyllic village has a maze of streets with a medieval center, a lovely lake side promenade and Bavaria’s only lighthouse.

Immenstadt has that ideal alpine setting we are looking for.  Surrounded by mountains the lake offers many boating activities but there are also beautiful walks in the countryside nearby.  While in Immenstadt make sure to visit the ruins of Laubenbergstein Castle and Schloss Königsegg.

Wieskirche Bavaria Germany

Wieskirche by froutes, on Flickr

While in the area we have to stop at the Wieskirche one of the best examples of Rococo architecture.  The church is truly a masterpiece and worth a stop!

The Benedictine Abbey in Benediktbeuren was founded in 740 and is the oldest in Germany.  It is home to Fraunhofer Glashütte which still specializes in preserving medieval glass.

Picturesque Wallgau is a mountain village that is full of frescoed farmhouses dating back to the 16th century.  Nearby Walchensee is Germany’s biggest mountain lake and its highest alpine lake.  For a panoramic view take the chair lift to Herzogstand.

Tegernsee Germany

Tegernsee by Uli Meier, on Flickr

Tegernsee was founded by Benedictine monks and the monastery was converted into a castle which became the country home for royalty.  A tour of the castle includes the former brewery which still serves beer.  You can also enjoy a steamer trip on the lake or a ride on one of the cable cars.

St. Bartholomew Konigsee Germany

St. Bartholomew in Konigsee by RC Designer, on Flickr

Reit im Winkle is another typical Bavarian village that is known for its magnificent scenery and the many small lakes dotting the countryside.

St. Georg church is right smack in the center of Ruhpolding and one of the most beautiful churches you will see.  The drive from Ruhpolding to Berchtesgaden takes you through lush valleys with great mountain views.

Berchtesgaden Germany

Berchtesgaden Germany by Eric Sorenson

Berchtesgaden is probably most well known for its ties to Hitler but the surrounding area is home to beautiful mountains and a castle that was built in 1410.  This castle was home to the Wittlesbach of Bavaria until the son of the last King of Bavaria died in 1955.  While in Berchtesgaden you can visit salt mines or take the ride up to the Eagle’s Nest for amazing panoramic views. You may even opt for a trip to Konigsee where you could enjoy a motor boat around the lake which is surrounded by steep mountains.

From east to west, the German Alpine Road is a magnificent way to explore this beautiful region.


What is one of your dream driving trips?

A Beautiful Resting Place in Salzburg

As I stated in A Merry Cemetery in Romania, I find cemeteries fascinating.  I don’t have an obsession with death, I just find that cemeteries not only offer a unique view of a cities history but can also offer a very peaceful and beautiful haven amongst even the largest cities.St Peters Cemetery with fortress Salzburg Austria

While I was in Salzburg, I was lucky enough to spend time in St. Peter’s Cemetery and I found a beautiful and peaceful final resting place for many of Salzburg’s historic families of the past.

Nestled up against the Mönchsberg you will find St. Peter’s Cemetery.  Dating back to 1627 this is the oldest Christian cemetery in Salzburg and should not be neglected during your stay in this wonderful city.St Peters Cemetery Salzburg Austria

This cemetery is not sad or scary but would be a lovely place to spend eternity. . . or some time during an afternoon!  As you wander through you will be amazed at the beauty, the color and the serenity.  Each of the plots is still tenderly taken care of by family members.St Peters Cemetery with fortress and catacombs Salzburg Austria

This World Heritage Site is enclosed by beautiful wrought-iron on three sides and the Mönchsberg on the fourth making it a perfect home for the aristocratic families of Salzburg.  Among the families interred are Mozart’s sister, Nannerl, Joseph Haydn’s brother, Michael, and the architect of the cathedral, Santino Solari.

There are rumors that St. Peter’s Cemetery was the filming sight of the scene where the Von Trapp family hid behind the tombstones during their escape in the Sound of Music.  In actuality the scene was filmed in Hollywood but the cemetery was used as inspiration for the set.St Peters Cemetery 2 Salzburg Austria

Another interest tidbit is that the plots in the cemetery are rented which means if your relatives stop paying the rent your remains are moved to a nearby ossuary! There’s a reason to be nice to your relatives.View from Catacombs above St Peter's Cemetery Salzburg Austria

After enjoying St. Peter’s Cemetery make sure you take the stairs back in time to the Catacombs. Carved into the rock above St. Peter’s Cemetery the catacombs are worth a visit, if only for the views of Salzburg!  Be careful as you climb the very steep stairs on your way to exploring the rooms containing altars and frescoes from yesterday.  As you gaze out the windows, you will be amazed at the beautiful site unfolding before your eyes.


What cemeteries have you enjoyed while traveling?