The magnificent Alpine Road in Germany? This road passes through some of the most picturesque rolling hills, lush meadows, towering trees, charming towns and calming lakes that leave you mesmerized. Not to mention you are surrounded by the German and Austrian Alps. The Alpine Road is 450 kms from Lindau on Lake Constance in the west to Schönau on Lake Königssee in the east.

The Ultimate Driving Route through the German Alps

How do I begin to describe the magnificent Alpine Road in Germany? This road passes through some of the most picturesque rolling hills, lush meadows, towering trees, charming towns and calming lakes that leave you mesmerized. Not to mention you are surrounded by the German and Austrian Alps. The Alpine Road is 450 kms from Lindau on Lake Constance in the west to Schönau on Lake Königssee in the east. And, this was our journey. I hope you enjoy the ride!

Our road trip began in southeastern Bavaria…

We arrived in Munich and drove 75 minutes to  Ruhpolding. This small town is famous for hosting the World Biathlon Championships not once, but four times. It’s nestled in the German Alps and offers the most incredible views, not to mention the array of outdoor activities at your doorstep. As our home-base for four-nights, Ruhpolding is the ideal location to explore the nearby Berchtesgaden National Park, Lake Chiemsee and Salzburg in Austria.

We stayed in a 1-bedroom  traditional alpine chalet. The interior features traditional alpine elements mixed with contemporary furnishings. The white pine wooden walls and exposed beams with sloped ceilings and skylights. Click here to book your stay. 

Stay at Unterberg Airbnb in Ruhpolding Germany | Best Airbnb Properties around the Globe
The best part of the place we stayed? The incredible west facing views of the valley and Chiemgau Alps of course! It was the perfect way to end a busy day of sightseeing by simply watching the sun slowly dip behind the Alps. Magical!
The best places to go…
Bad Reichenhall
Visit the spa town called Bad Reichenhall in southeast Bavaria, Germany | The Ultimate Driving Route through the German Alps
Visit Bad Reichenhall, a picturesque spa town, only a 20 minute drive from Ruhpolding. It features a charming Altstadt (old city) and a beautiful garden park right in the middle of the city. There are lots of cute shops and dining options. This is a destination appealing to locals as well as tourists.
Berchtesgaden National Park
Germany | Exploring Berchtesgaden National Park |
The beautiful emerald green Lake Königssee is 7 km long and almost 2 km offers the most incredible views of the steep mountains that surround the lake. On the electric 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. 
Exploring Berchtesgaden National Park in Germany |
St Bartholomew’s Church is a Roman Catholic pilgrimage church that sits in a picture-perfect setting on the edge of Königssee. The church stands out because of its beautiful baroque architecture, with its red onion domes roof and the rugged Alps providing a stunning backdrop. This is the one of two stops the electric boat brings visitors to.
The last stop the electric boat makes across Königssee is Salent. From there you walk a short distance until you come upon one of the most stunning views ever – Obersee (translated as Upper Sea). It is a smaller, but equally pristine lake.
Salzburg, Austria
Views of the Salzburg Fortress. An easy day trip when you are in southeastern Bavaria
Go to Salzburg, Austria! Only a 40 minute drive from Ruhpolding you can't not take advantage of seeing this beautiful city. Visit the birthplace of Mozart, see the baroque architecture of the Altstadt (old city), or tour Salzburg's fortress for sweeping views of the city.

On the road again, now heading west…

Leaving from Ruhpolding  and driving west takes you through three spectacular mountain passes with panoramic views – the Griessneralm, the Wochenbrunneralm and the Kitzbühlerhorn. The drive is indescribable. Aside from the incredible views you will see from the road, there are two  villages worth stopping for. 

Reit im Winkl
The Ultimate Driving Route through the German Alps takes you through the most picturesque views
A small village worth a stop 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. 
Bad Tölz
Bad Tolz, Germany a quintessential village in the German Alps full of traditional shops and with the Isar River flowing through | The Ultimate Driving Route in the German Alps
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. This town is the perfect spot to relax over a delicious meal. There are so many eatery options that line the old town.

The mid-way point…

Our second home base was Garmisch-Partenkirchen. These are two towns sit at the base of Mount Zugspitze which has a soaring elevation of 2,962 meters. Historically they were two separate towns, but now considered one. It’s a large area, offering so many choices in accommodations, shopping, eateries, and activities. Click here to book your stay. 

The best places to go…
The typical Alpine town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria Germany
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. 
The typical Alpine town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria Germany
In Partenkirchen, walk through the historic Ludwigstraße where you will find wonderful Lüftlmalereien (painted murals) telling a story of the past inhabitants’ lives.
Innsbruck, Austria
Innsbruck Austria, a alpine town full of year-round activities.
Yes, only an hour away is Innsbruck! All around, towering over you, are the mountains. The jagged rock spires of the Nordkette range are incredibly majestic and are your backdrop for this beautiful alpine town. Being surrounded by ski slopes during the winter and mountainous hiking trails during the summer makes this a must-see destination for any adventurous traveler.
Visit Germany's highest mountain, Zugspitze
The biggest draw to this area is to visit Zugspitze. At 2,962 metres above sea level, the Zugspitze is the highest mountain in Germany and home to three glaciers.

The last part of our journey…

Leaving from Garmisch-Partenkirchen and driving further west to reach our final destination of Lake Constance. There are two small towns worth stopping along the way. 

Visit Oberammergau Germany a picturesque alpine town in the area of Garmisch-Partenkirchen
The lovely village of Obermmergau is worth a 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.
Fussen Germany, a picturesque German town at the end of the Romantic Road tour
You have to make a 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 on Lake Constance, and the end of the Alpine Road. 

As a holidaymaker…

Lake Constance offers travellers a resort town feel. With its wide open waterfront views, boardwalks and amazing gardens, making the end of our journey feel like you’ve had two holidays in one. Hopefully this has inspired your next trip destination to Germany!

The Alpine Road in Germany - 450 km through the Alps and picturesque towns. Check out this guide letting you know all the top places to visit.
The Alpine Road in Germany - 450 km through the Alps and picturesque towns. Check out this guide letting you know all the top places to visit.

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  • Jamie Italiane

    The only time I have been in Germany was only because Munich was the easiest place to fly out after a long European trip. I was very impressed by it. I would love to do this drive. I love the look of the clear water and the mountains remind me of the beauty of Norway’s fjords. Is this area far from the Black Forest? That is an area I have been interested in exploring.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Our journey started and ended in Munich, it’s not far from it at all. But if you do the drive, leave lots of time. We did it over 2 weeks, and that way it allows you lots of time to explore all the wonderful places along the way. The Black Forest is closest to Lake Constance, only a bit farther north. Hopefully you get the chance to do this trip one day. It truly is the ultimate road trip.

  • molly

    Germany has been on my list of go-to places for a long time! Beautiful scenery. Thanks for the tips including details of Airbnbs that you found etc.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Molly for stopping by and commenting. Hopefully one day you get a chance to go, and if you do, I recommend those Airbnbs.

  • Riana Ang-Canning

    What a beautiful road trip! I love those small German/Austrian towns and the big ones too. We did the drive from Salzburg to Munich but didn’t manage to make as many pretty stops. I remember reading about Berchtesgaden National Park but we didn’t stop for some reason. Will have to go back! And really want to check out Innsbruck too!

  • Gus Feliciano

    This looks like the most amazing road trip ever! I cannot wait to go back to Europe to be able to do a drive like this.

    I do have a giant soft sport for old european towns and this seems to cross all those boxes!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Then definitely you need to do this trip! It has so many cute towns to stop along the way. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Gus.

  • Emma

    I love how beautifully ornate so many of the buildings in this region are. That’s one of the reasons I really like Germany, and have always wanted to visit Austria too. Partenkirchen looks like the most adorable town. A road trip around here would be a dream

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Emma for stopping by and commenting. I’m so glad you enjoy this region of Germany as well.

  • Candy

    This is the type of road trip I absolutely love. Driving through such beautiful surroundings brings me so much joy. The village Reit im Winkl sounds like a hidden gem and so picturesque. The old-fashioned chairlift sounds pretty interesting.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Candy for your comment. I too gained a huge amount of joy doing this trip. It’s one that fondly sticks out in my mind. Hope you get the chance in the future to do it too.

  • Kevin

    Wow, as someone who hasn’t been to Germany before, I feel like in my mind I always associated those steep, jagged peaks with Switzerland. It’s very interesting to see some that Germany offers some similar Alps views and experiences as well, and I would bet for a better deal, too! St Bartholomew’s Church and the backdrop behind it look like a painting! I just looked it up and I see that it’s equally beautiful in the wintertime with a lot of snow on the mountains.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Kevin for your comment, and thanks for stopping by. Yes the Alps hug the border of Germany, Austria and then onto Switzerland. It is so amazing. I’m so glad to hear that this sparked some new inspiration for future travels.

  • Eric Gamble

    We loved Innsbruck! What an amazing area of the german alps. Here we took several trips around and rode the Alpine meiders roller coaster. I think when we return we would love renting a car and exploring more of the German Alps especially the Berchtesgaden National Park! That area looks absolutely amazing.. It may be one of our most favorite parts of bavaria for sure.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Eric for your comment. If you love Innsbruck, then for sure you’ll have to do this road trip. It is simply incredible!

  • Linda (LD Holland)

    We would definitely want to rent a car and drive through the German Alps. The sights along the way looked magical. I know it would take us far longer to do this route than we would plan. So many great small towns to see. The buildings in Garmisch look so charming.

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