How do I begin to describe the magnificent German Alpine Road (Deutsche Alpenstrasse)? This road passes through some of the most picturesque rolling hills, lush meadows, towering trees, charming towns and calming lakes that leave you mesmerized. The Road is 450 kms from Lindau on Lake Constance to Schönau on Lake Königssee. And, this was our journey – hope you enjoy the ride…
It began in the east with Lake Königssee, which is only accessible by electric ferry (or row boat or foot) taking you to St. Bartholoma, a small picturesque town on the lake. At 7 km long and almost 2 km wide it only takes 30 minutes to arrive and you are treated with the most picture postcard views of the steep mountains that surround the lake. On the ferry, tour operators stop about half way to play a trumpet (flugelhorn) to demonstrate the echo so that it sounds like as many as seven players. While in this area, visit Bad Reichenhall, a picturesque spa town that lies just outside of Salzburg and Berchtesgaden that has a charming Altstadt (old city) and National Park.
Leaving from here and driving west takes you through 3 specular mountain passes with panoramic views – the Griessneralm, the Wochenbrunneralm and the Kitzbühlerhorn. A small town worth a stop in is Reit im Winkl. There you will find rustic old farmhouses and chapels surrounded by fields, meadows, mountain views and cows. You may even want to take a ride on the old-fashioned chairlift from the Winklmoos-Alm to Dürrnbachhorn to take in these views from above. The icy turquoise river Isar leads you into the charming town of Bad Tölz. You will find an abundance of shop, cafes, restaurants with the traditional art murals adorning the facades of brightly coloured buildings of the main street.
Our second home base was Garmisch-Partenkirchen which is at the foot of Mount Zugspitze (2,962m). This is a larger town than others on the Alpine Road. In Garmisch, recommended areas to visit are Frühlingsstraße and the fußgangerzone (pedestrian-friendly) from Marienplatz up to Richard-Strauss-Platz where you will find traditional shops, restaurants and bakeries. In Partenkirchen, walk through the historic Ludwigstraße where you will find wonderful Lüftlmalereien (painted murals) telling a story of the past inhabitants’ lives. And, of course visiting the peak of Zugspitze is a must.
Leaving from there and driving further west brings you to the lovely little village of Obermmergau for a quick stop. Here, you will find an extensive amount of Lüftlmalerei (painted murals) depicting the history of Bavaria and religious stories. As well as, it offers some quaint traditional shops and restaurants. Further west is the infamous Neuschwanstein Castle. We, unlike every other tourist, did not make the stop as it was pouring rain with dense fog and didn’t feel it was worth going. But we did stop in Füssen, the picturesque town where the German Alpine Road meets the Romantic Road. This romantic, charming old town has almost an Italian flair with its market squares, street cafes and pastel coloured buildings.
Leaving Füssen you are immediately struck by the change in landscape. The Alps appear smaller, the land becomes flatter and the abundance of water is more prevalent. We are nearing Lindau which is a picturesque island of close to 70 hectors on Lake Constance. It appears to have a resort town feel, being surrounded by water, boardwalks and gardens which makes the end of our journey feel like you have two holidays in one. Hopefully this has inspired your next trip destination to Germany!