You are looking for a winter holiday in Bavaria. Do you fancy night skiing in Bavaria? Open-air ice skating or golf on a lake, followed by sampling local malt whiskies in the warmth of a fire pit.
Things to do in Bavaria for winter
The first snowflakes fall in Schliersee and the surrounding areas, making it a winter wonderland. Here are our top four picks for winter vacations and travel to Bavaria.
Bavaria, Germany: Where to Stay?
Bavaria is an extensive region. There are many interesting things to do in the region. This guide focuses on the eastern portion, with Berchtesgaden as its center. However, the western part is also interesting, centered in Garmisch-Partenkirchen . Both towns are great places to base yourself while exploring the region.
It all depends on what area you want to explore. If you want to stay in a more urban area and only do day trips, you can base yourself in Munich. It is possible to stay for several weeks in this area and not see everything. So pick your top destinations and build your Bavarian itinerary around them!
Winter tours in and around Bavaria (from Munich).
My favorite way to travel is by road. If you aren’t comfortable driving in the icy conditions, you might consider joining a tour. Perhaps you prefer to learn from a guide as you travel. You can choose to take a tour for either of these reasons. These tours allow you to visit many of the attractions on this Bavaria itinerary.
- Neuschwanstein Castle Neuschwanstein Castle is well-known as the model castle of Cinderella’s castle. If you have the time, it is worth visiting.
- Salzburg Although technically not Bavaria, but just across the Austrian border, Salzburg is a charming and compact European city that’s perfect for a day trip. Sound of Music’s “Do Re Mi” song is the most famous.
- Munich Walking Tour Most people visit Munich as their first stop. It’s rich in history and well worth the effort to get to know.
- Berchtesgaden, Eagle’s Nest – In winter this tour does not visit Eagle’s Nest because of poor visibility. It instead goes into the salt mines which is why this area is so well-known.
- Zugspitze – Germany’s highest peak. I haven’t been there but it’s on my bucket list. It is possible to take a cable car up the mountain and look out from the top.
- Konigssee – This beautiful lake is surrounded by mountains and offers a variety of stunning hikes. A boat ride can take you to the church on the other side of the lake.
The town’s focal point is Schliersee lake. All eyes are on her. It’s popular for swimming, motorboat racing, and other watersports. The lake freezes in January, making it an ideal destination for open-air ice skating (and golf) during the winter. If the lake isn’t frozen, you can ice skate at Oberland Stadium’s natural ice rink.
Although “Mad King Ludwig II” may have been eccentric in choosing a fairy-tale-inspired neoRomanesque style for the castle he chose, it was a brilliant choice. The towers and spires rise from a rocky crag high above a forest and lake with a view of the Bavarian Alps beyond.
It is widely recognized as the inspiration behind Walt Disney’s theme park castles. The inside is just as spectacular as when it is viewed from the bottom. The Throne Room, Singers’ Hall, and other rooms are lavishly decorated, some might even say too extravagant, with themes drawn from opera, heroic legends, and romantic literature. The windows offer breathtaking views of the Alps.
Marienplatz and Frauenkirche, Munich
Bavaria’s capital, Munich, is the third-largest city. It also hosts many of the top tourist attractions in Germany. It is located on the banks of the River Isar and close to the Bavarian Alps. This is a great place to start exploring Bavaria.
Marienplatz is a great place to begin. It is the large square in the center of the city, whose entire side is dominated by the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall), a magnificent neo-Gothic facade.
Every morning, the glockenspiel is a giant clock with moving figures that perform at 11 am and 5 pm from March through October. It draws a large crowd every day. The Old Town Hall’s stair-stepped façade forms one end of the huge square. Behind it, the twin-domed towers of Frauenkirche, which is the Cathedral of Our Lady, form the other.
Fischerei Bistro – Delicious local seafood on the shores at the Tegernsee. Entrees $11-$39
Herzogliches Tegernsee – A lively beer hall located in an old monastery. This spot is known for its Laugenbrezeln, traditional pretzels made from lye and salt. People-watching is also a highlight. Entrees $8-$15
Luce d’Oro: Schloss Elmau’s Michelin-starred restaurant offers sophisticated, yet accessible food and a huge wine selection. Entrees range in price from $26 to $57.
Nurnberger bratwurst Glockl am Dom A loved institution, known for its wood-grilled Nurnberger sausages as well as fresh Helles beer. The decor is remarkably unchanged since King Ludwig II. Entrees $8-$32
Restaurant – Verena Merget, a chef from Bavaria, serves up delicious Bavarian cuisine in this sky-blue home with 200-year-old wall murals. Entrees from $23 to $46,
Restaurant Uberfahrt – Enjoy regionally inspired food in a modern setting in this Michelin-starred restaurant in Bavaria. Get tasting menus starting at $266
Linderhof Palace – Although the Venus Grotto is currently closed for restoration, the formal gardens surrounding this Rococo-19th-century Schloss in Bavaria Alps are just as captivating as the rooms. Tickets start at $10
Wallberg – This mountain boasts the longest toboggan run in Germany and offers breathtaking views of the town and lakes below. For breathtaking views of the alps, take the gondola up any time of the year. Lift tickets start at $12
Zugspitze – Nearly 10,000ft above sea level, this country’s highest peak offers year-round tobogganing with natural snow, equipment rental, rustic restaurants, and a host of other facilities. Lift tickets start at $52.
Bavaria’s snow skiing is an unforgettable experience that can be enjoyed by all ages. During the wintertime, floodlit skiing is available at the ski resort in Spitzingsee-Tegernsee. You can book this experience for races, corporate retreats, and events every Thursday and Friday from 6.30 to 9.30 pm.
The resort is first-class and offers a variety of adrenaline-filled activities for all ages. There’s also a mini-snow-park for children, as well as cross-country trails, toboggan runs, and excellent facilities.
The local Schilersee whiskies are also available to keep you warm. You can even visit the local distillery, ‘Slyrs Destillerie’ in Schilersee to see how this classic elixir was made. This local liquor is distinguished by the use of Northern Bavaria’s high-quality barley and pure alpine spring water.
It’s a win-win situation. You can also choose to ride a horse-drawn carriage or travel through the many bars of Schilersee. Mulled wine is also available.
Castles Of Germany
Some things shine better in winter, such as Neuschwanstein castle, a 19th-century romanticist. It is said to be prettier and quieter during winter because there are up to 6000 visitors per day in summer. The palace is located on a hilltop above Hohenschwangau, near Fussen, in southwest Bavaria.
It was built by Ludwig II of Bavaria to be a retreat and honor the Richard Wagner operas. This castle is the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle. It is also the most photographed building in the country. Germany is known for its fairy-tale castles.
Neuschwanstein castle, which has been preserved and renovated over the years, is a must-see for anyone who loves history, romance, and fairytales.
The Bavarian Alps and Zugspitze
Bavaria’s Zugspitze forms part of the Wetterstein Alpine mountain chain that spans the border between Austria and Germany. Surrounded by steep valleys, its 2,962-meter eastern summit is reached by cable car from Eibsee, or by the Bayerische Zugspitzbahn cog railway, a trip that begins in either Eibsee or in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
You can take the cog train to the Zugspitzplatt from where you can take a short cable car ride to reach the summit.
This mountain is Germany’s highest and most popular. There are many trails to choose from for casual walkers and hikers. Those who don’t want to climb steeply can also ride up or walk down.
Nymphenburg and Residenz – Munich’s Royal Palaces
One of Europe’s most impressive palaces is the Munich Residenz. It has been the home of the electors, dukes, and kings from Bavaria for many centuries. The royal family relocated to Nymphenburg in the summer, where they found a beautiful country palace surrounded by stunning gardens.
The huge complex of the Residenz in-town has seven large courtyards. It also contains three main sections: late Renaissance Alte Residenz, the Konigsbau, and the Festsaalbau (Banqueting Hall) which overlooks the Hofgarten.
Residenz Museum now houses the magnificent 16th-century Antiquarium. Highlights to visit here include the Treasury, the Court Church of All Saints (Allerheiligen-Hofkirche), and Cuvillies-Theater, along with the old courtyards and the beautiful Court Garden.
Rothenburg and The Romantic Road
The three medieval walled towns of Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber, Dinkelsbuhl, and Nordlingen are highlights of a driving route that winds scenically through the rolling countryside of Bavaria and northern Baden-Wurttemberg.
Rothenburg, with its picturesque streets lined with half-timbered homes and shops marked by intricately wrought iron signs, is one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval cities.
The walls that surround the Old Town seem to keep it from falling into the Tauber River below. Kathe Wohlfahrt’s Christmas Village is the most popular shop in the town, and it’s open all year.
It’s no surprise that King Ludwig II favored Linderhof Palace. It is adorned with extravagant ornamentation but its small size and location among cool green forests give it a more intimate and livable feel.
The Hall of Mirrors and the Audience Chamber, which Ludwig used as a study, will be visible. The two tapestry Chambers, King’s Bedchamber, and the Dining Room are also included in the tour. You’ll also hear tales about this eccentric king during the guided tour.
You will need to take a tour of the Venus Grotto, Ludwig’s magnificent man-made cavern. However, you can also explore the beautiful gardens and grounds on a self-guided basis. Here you’ll find both formal and landscaped gardens as well as fountains and pools and the Moorish Pavilion.
The oldest imperial city of Regensburg is located at the northernmost point of the Danube. It is joined by the River Regen, which can be navigable all the route to the Black Sea.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Regensburg’s medieval Old Town is made up of churches and aristocratic residences from the 13th to 14th centuries. The Stone Bridge that crosses the Danube is 310 meters long and was constructed in the 12th Century. It is a marvel of medieval engineering.
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The city’s central square is the 13th-century Cathedral of St. Peter, which is also known as Domplatz. It boasts a stunning west front and delicate twin towers that mark the skyline of the city at 105m high. The interior is notable for its stunning 14th-century stained glasses and the figures from the Annunciation dating back to 1280.
Enjoy a hike through the Partnach Gorge
One of Bavaria’s most dramatic natural wonders, the Partnach Gorge is a narrow crevasse cut into the solid rock by the Partnach River in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Its formation was millions of years old. The rushing river carried the meltwater and debris from the Schneeferner Glacier, which is located on the Zugspitz plateau to the gorge’s current depth of 263 feet (80m).
The river’s edge has two trails that lead you under the rock walls and past waterfalls, rapids, and pools. The lower trail is easier; the higher one traverses the 699-meter (2 293-foot) canyon. It has tunnels no more than six feet high.
Passau and Danube
Passau is located at the Austrian frontier, near the intersection of the Danube & the River Inn. It is known for its flat-roofed, 17th-century, Italian-style homes linked by flying buttresses. The Oberhaus fortress and Mariahilf church are just a few of the highlights of the Old Town. They are also known for their charming stepped lanes that lead down to the rivers.
The Domplatz is home to St. Stephen’s Cathedral. It is surrounded by the houses of old canons. The stunning Baroque nave and cathedral’s Late Gothic Eastend date back to 1407. Residenzplatz is also worth a visit, which includes old homes and the Neue Residenz, a palace built by the New Bishop (Neue Residenz), in 1772. It houses the Cathedral Treasury as well as the Diocesan Museum.