BEST PLACES IN BAVARIA TO VISIT – THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES
- 1 BEST PLACES IN BAVARIA TO VISIT – THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES
- 1.1 Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- 1.2 Eibsee
- 1.3 Wurzburg
- 1.4 Neuschwanstein Castle
- 1.5 Munich
- 1.6 Nuremberg
- 1.7 Augsburg
- 1.8 Königssee
- 1.9 Kehlsteinhaus/ Eagle’s Nest
- 1.10 Breitbachklamm
- 1.11 Zugspitze
- 1.12 Garmisch-Partenkirchen
- 1.13 Hintersee Lake
- 1.14 Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden
- 1.15 Dinkelsbühl
- 1.16 Bad Reichenhall
- 1.17 Linderhof Palace
- 1.18 Füssen
Bavaria is probably the most beautiful state in Germany – full of historical sights, cute towns and villages, bustling cities, and great scenery. If you are wondering about the best places to visit in Bavaria, this post is for you.
Coming from the northern part of Germany (Bremen), I hate to say it, but, yes, Bavaria is probably the most beautiful state in Germany.
Located all the way down in the south of Germany, bordering Austria, it isn’t a place where I would visit regularly.
However, after I had already visited places like Munich, Nurnberg, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, I decided it was time to road trip Bavaria. And, yes, this part of Germany is picturesque.
Given its size (it is the biggest state in Germany), I do not even claim to have seen all the top places in Bavaria, but I have gotten around, and here are my tips for the most beautiful places.
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Okay, let´s get started about the most beautiful places in Bavaria.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
This place is probably the prettiest town in Germany. It is as picturesque as it looks in pictures, and Rothenburg doesn’t disappoint. I got to visit twice and, admittedly, there are not that many places and attractions. If you are a fast traveler, you might be done in a few hours.
But I still recommend staying in Rothenburg at least for a day. Many tourists come here as a day trip in summer, so try to come early in the morning or stay overnight. This way, you don’t have to fight your way through the crowds.
It is a popular stop on the “Romantic Road“ – a popular road trip in Germany with the most romantic towns and castles along the way.
Walk the town walls, and enjoy the cobblestone streets, pretty buildings, and great views. Enjoy a snack in the cutest cafe in Germany, too. Where to find that cafe? Click here for a detailed travel guide on the cutest town – Rothenburg. I suggest staying here a full day (though you could rush and see the top places in 3-4 hours).
From Rothenburg ob der Tauber, you can visit Wurzburg and Dinkelsbühl quite easily.
Pretty lakes are only found in Switzerland and the Dolomites? Not really. There are some beautiful lakes in Bavaria that can keep up (well, almost) with them. Eibsee is one of them.
Eibsee is close to the town of Garmisch-Patenkirchen in the very south of Bavaria and lies at the height of almost 1,000 meters.
If you like hikes but are worried about possible hikes that come with mountain lakes, don’t be. You can get here by car or public transportation. It takes just a few minutes to get to the lake. However, I really recommend walking around the lake because it shows its prettiest colors at the other end.
It takes about 90-180 minutes (depending on your walking speed) to walk around the 8 km lake shoreline and see the lake from the best angles.
If you visit Eibsee, you can combine it with a trip to Zugspitze (close to Garmisch-Partenkichen). I suggest planning in 2-5 hours for Eibsee (including some breaks).
Another beautiful city, and probably the friendliest city I have ever come across in Germany, is Wurzburg (or Würzburg in German).
But I actually don’t recommend visiting Wurzburg for its friendly people. The town is known for its baroque and rococo architecture, and wine lovers will also have some fun here.
It is home to a gorgeous castle, the Würzburg Castle, and an interesting fortress, Marienberg Fortress. The old town and the Marienbrücke are more tourist sights in Bavaria.
With a population of over 120,000, it is one of the bigger cities in Bavaria.
If you are short on time, I suggest staying in Wurzburg for a day. The city is located in the northern part of Bavaria and is often the starting or ending point on the Romantic Road. I suggest planning a full day for this pretty city. Read my 1-day Wurzburg itinerary.
Yes, this is a princess’s dream come true, to visit Neuschwanstein Castle in the very south of Bavaria and it is surely one of the top places to see in all of Germany. While I had seen images of it, it took me forever to figure out where exactly to find it.
The castle is probably the most famous attraction in Bavaria, and it was built on a hill above the village of Hohenschwangau in the 19th century. The former king of Bavaria, Ludwig II, wanted to use it as a place for his retreats, so he paid for the building with his own money.
Unfortunately for him, he did not get to see the finished version because he died shortly before its completion.
While he couldn’t admire his own castle, about 1.3 million visitors do each year. Find all-important travel information for Neuschwanstein Castle here. I suggest planning in 3-5 hours for this castle alone (but there is a lake and some more sights, like another castle) and a full day for this area.
Munich, Bavaria’s beautiful capital and the second biggest city in Germany and a perfect city-break in Bavaria.
Located more towards the south of Bavaria, it is also a good base to use when heading to other tourist attractions in Bavaria, but the city itself is full of gorgeous places.
Fun things to do in Munich include: visiting the pretty market square (Marienplatz), the Munich Residence, the Town Hall, the Englischer Garten, the Viktualienmarkt, and the Asam Church.
Of course, people love the Oktoberfest as well (can you believe the last time I was in Munich was at the time of the Oktoberfest, and I still skipped it?).
Munich is a city full of sights. You spend days and weeks here without getting bored. If you have less time, you should plan a full day to explore Munich. Check out my Munich winter guide.
Nuremberg is one of the bigger cities in Germany, and the second biggest city in Bavaria, with a pretty medieval old town. So, exploring the old town on foot is the best thing to do. Such pretty, old, and colorful houses make a perfect stop for any photographer (or Instagram addict).
Visit the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle) and look for the numerous statues and fountains throughout the city. Nurnberg is also known for having one of the best Christmas Markets, so if you are in Bavaria at the end of November/ December and enjoy some mulled wine and gingerbread.
Augsburg is another city to add to your Bavaria itinerary. It is the oldest city in Bavaria and the second oldest in Germany! With about 300,000 inhabitants, it is also the third biggest city in Bavaria, making it a lively and fun place to see.
Medieval houses, a market square with an ancient town hall, the Fuggerei (the oldest social settlement in the world), and the fancy Maximilianstraße – there are many attractions to visit.
However, the most charming and off-the-beaten-path way to discover Augsburg is to stroll the canals and see the watermills. This also makes Augsburg unique, and it felt different than any other place in Bavaria.
Stay 1 day in Augsburg, and you will see the best places in the city.
Near the Austrian border, you will find the clearest lake in Bavaria – the pretty Königssee.
Most of the lake lies in the Berchtesgaden National Park, which makes it a protected area. While boats cruise the lake, the water is so clean that you could even drink out of it, thanks to those boats being electric.
Add some hiking and a boat cruise to your Bavaria list. This way, you will see the St. Bartholomä, a popular pilgrimage church and, according to the boat captain, one of the most photographed buildings in the world (not sure about that, though).
Obersee – which is just behind the Königssee – is reason enough to do the boat cruise. Get out at “Salet“ boat station and, after a ten-minute hike, you have the next treat for your eyes.
If you do some hiking (around Obersee) and go on a boat cruise, I would suggest a full day at Königssee.
Here are the best hotels to stay near Königssee – my base was in Bad Reichenhall, which is great, but so is Berchtesgaden. From these two places, you can get to some major Bavaria attractions quickly.
Kehlsteinhaus/ Eagle’s Nest
The Kehlsteinhaus, in the area of Berchtesgaden, is known for two reasons: its great views of the beautiful scenery and for being built during the NS dictatorship, where politicians of the NS regime later made decisions.
According to the official website of Eagle´s Nest, it wasn’t a present for Hitler´s 50th birthday, though it was often and falsely said to have been.
After the initial idea of destroying the building after the Second World War, it was decided to leave it intact.
Now, you can either hike up or take a special bus to get up and learn about its history – and, of course, enjoy the view. Unlike many other places I have mentioned here, Kehlsteinhaus is actually closed during wintertime and only open from mid-May to mid-October.
This Bavarian attraction is located near Berchtesgaden – and it is also a popular day trip from Munich. If you hike up (and down), I suggest planning for a full day. If you take the bus to get up and do some hiking at the peak, 3 to 7 hours should be enough. Visiting here is one of the best places to visit in Bavaria – whether you’re into history or just enjoying time outdoors.
There are several gorges in Bavaria, but I will talk about that one since I only visited one of them. The Breitbachklamm is a gorge close to Garmisch-Patenkirchen and one of Bavaria’s best places for outdoor lovers.
It was created by the Breitbach River and is one of the deepest gorges in the Bavarian Alps.
For an entrance fee of about 5€, you can hike the gorge. Along the 2.5 km path, you will pass roaring waterfalls and fast currents. There are some steps and uphill hiking included, but with proper shoes, this is a nice walk – especially in summer, when it gets hot in the cities.
Breitbachklamm is closed for almost two months in November and December, but the pictures during wintertime always look amazing.
It is great to visit from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and I spent about 2 to 3 hours here. Click here to get a good hotel deal in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Fancying a view from the highest mountain peak in Germany? The highest mountains are found in the Bavarian Alps, and the Zugspitze is Germany´s highest mountain.
Spoiled by mountain views in Switzerland, I was unsure whether I should pay the 55€ to go up the Zugspitze. I ended up not going because I wanted to have mountain views for that amount of money, and I wasn’t sure that the Zugspitze could actually deliver – on that day as it was a very cloudy day.
However, even though I didn‘t end up going, if money didn’t play a role or if the day has been really clear, then the Zugspitze, at an elevation of almost 3,000 meters, would be a point of interest for many tourists.
P.S. You might have heard about the damaged cable car, so while there is no cable car you can use, you can still use the funicular to get up Zugspitze.
The Zugspitze is easily accessible from Garmisch-Partenkirchen and can be easily combined with a trip to Eibsee.
This famous ski resort town in Bavaria consists of Garmisch and Partenkirchen and is one of the most popular places to visit amongst tourists worldwide.
It is also a popular base if you want to visit the Zugspitze, the Eibsee, or Partnachklamm (another gorge), as the town centers themselves don’t have many attractions.
There are some pretty buildings and lots of flower pots around in the town center, and if you enjoy luxury shopping, then Garmisch-Partenkirchen is your place.
Also, in the region of Berchtesgaden, there is the beautiful Hintersee Lake. It is a mountain lake with great views of the mountain ranges and the Zauberwald forest.
To enjoy the lake from all different angles, go on an easy 45-minute walk around the lake. On your way, you will find boards with info about different artists who were inspired by this lake.
While I visited in early fall, this is probably also great to visit in winter and summer. You can even rent a rowboat and have fun on the lake.
The lake is located in beautiful and quiet scenery. You can combine it with many different hikes – and in summer you can swim in the lakes and enjoy some water sports activities. So, you could spend between 1 to 8 hours here.
A good base is Berchtesgaden or Bad Reichenhall. Click here to get the best rates for your accommodation in Berchtesgaden.
Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden
Okay, this might seem like a bit of a mouthful – Ramsau bee Berchtesgaden.
But in my defense, I was really smitten when I passed this beautiful St. Sebastian Church, and the bridge that is just in front of the church – and the mountains in the background – seemed to be the icing on top of an already pretty place.
It felt so idyllic and pretty, and it reminded me of how beautiful road-tripping Bavaria can be. It is situated north of the Berchtesgaden National Park, and if you are in the area (Königssee or Hintersee), this is a great stopover.
I did not see much else to do except strolling and taking pictures, so it is really not a place to spend hours. However, I was smitten though it is small and there is not much to do per se.
The historic town of Dinkelsbühl is the best-preserved medieval town in all of Germany. Apparently, only one window glass was destroyed during World War II – nothing compared to many other German cities, towns, and villages.
Colorful, semi-timbered houses and the Gothic Minster of St. George (one of southern Germany’s most impressive hall churches) are just some examples of its history. Strolling the old town is probably the best thing to do here.
If you are a fast traveler, a few hours will be fine to discover the best of the best-preserved medieval town in Germany.
Cute Bad Reichenhall! This place was base on my last five days, and I had always wondered why the name was so familiar to me. Once I was there, I figured out that I sometimes buy my salt from “Bad Reichenhall, “which was why the name was so familiar. Anyhow, this little Alpine town is really picturesque and a perfect place to relax and explore the area of Berchtesgaden.
The town itself has several pretty gardens, like the Royal Spa Garden, and the small but fine town center with its market square. You can also find out a lot about the history of salt production in Bad Reichenhall.
When I visited places in and around Berchtesgaden, Bad Reichenhall was actually my base. Staying here is not as handy as Berchtesgaden itself (and gosh, the tax per night with 3,20 € is really high), but I loved it and would probably stay here again if I don’t find a great hotel deal in Berchtesgaden itself.
Linderhof Palace is another beautiful castle with a gorgeous garden in front of it. It is located close to Ettal Abbey. King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who also built Neuschwanstein Castle, actually got to see the result of this one, the smallest of his three castles.
Like Neuschwanstein Castle, you can go inside for an entrance fee, but strolling the garden is free. It is probably the nicest garden in Bavaria, even though there is a lot of construction work going on and the construction cranes spoil the idyll.
You can go for longer hikes around the castle and enjoy lush mountain views.
You can get here from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Füssen or Munich.
Another picture-perfect little town to visit in Bavaria is Füssen (or Fussen), in the very south of Bavaria. It is often overlooked, as it is at the end, or beginning, of the Romantic Road, and visitors head to Schloss Neuschwanstein and then home or to Munich.
However, this pretty town has numerous historic and colorful buildings, like the Hohe Schloss, which used to be a summer residence for bishops and is now a museum, or the monastery Benediktinerklosters St. Mang.
Also, stroll the river and enjoy the views from the Theresienbrücke and the Lech River. Here are more tips on what to do in Fussen.
If you are into interesting bridges, head to the Walderlebniszentrum Füssen, where you can walk the 480-meter “Baumkronenweg“ for an entrance fee.
Here are a few more places in Bavaria that I haven’t visited yet, but which are high on my list, and you could add to your list “the most beautiful places in Bavaria” too. These places are:
As you can see, Bavaria has a lot to offer – it surely is one of the prettiest states in Germany and should be on your Europe itinerary.
I hope this post has helped you get a good impression of the most beautiful and best places to visit in Bavaria, and the travel tips help you create your own trip.
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