Southern Germany is not only the country’s most economically strong region; it is also the home of some of its most picturesque attractions. It is a location where you can see the black forest, the Alps, and the many rivers like the Danube, Rhine and Rhone. Throughout the region, fairy tale castles adorn riverbanks, wineries grow grapes for some of the world’s finest vintages, and sheer mountains shimmer on the horizon. Here is a look at some of the top sites that Southern Germany has to offer:
This hybrid town was united by decree in 1936 by Adolf Hitler so Germany could host the Winter Olympics. Today, the town is one of the nation’s most famous ski resorts. Winter sports like skiing and snow boarding are popular here, while in the summer the trails are full of hikers and mountain bikers. Garmisch-Partenkirchen sits along the Austrian border about an hour from Munich and can be reached by car or by train. The Romantic Road travels between here and Fussen and is perfect for a day trip in either direction.
Linderhof is the only Schloss out of three that King Ludwig II of Bavaria completed in his lifetime. His intended to spruce up the already existing lodge but ended with a scaled down version of Versailles Palace. Of special interest are the Hall of Mirrors and the Peacock Bedroom. He lived in seclusion in this palace hideaway for much of his life. In honor of Wagner, Ludwig built a fantasy grotto partway up the mountain behind the palace based upon Wagner’s opera, Tannhäuser.
This glacial lake is one of Europe’s largest and sits along the border of the three nations of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The lake is a great opportunity to see both historic and natural wonders. Beautiful mountain vistas, orchards, vineyards and wetlands are all easy to find along the Lake Constance (Bodensee in Germany), in addition to a number of castles and monasteries. Three different ferry routes are also available between the major cities on the lake, from Germany between Freidrichschafen and Konstanz or Romansburg in Switzerland, and between Konstanz and Meersburg. There is also a train route around the lake with stops at all of the points of interest.
This Bavarian city was an important royal home for many centuries of prince-bishops. The Baroque palace, Wurzburger Residence, is one of Europe’s most ornate examples of this style of architecture, and has been considered one of the continent’s finest royal homes. Of special note are the fresco paintings and elaborate staircase inside the palace. Also of note in town is the church, which is one of Germany’s oldest, and built directly atop an eighth century pagan temple. Finally, some of the wineries here have been in business since Roman times. It is worth spending time on the property, or at least buying a bottle.
Grimm’s fairy tales come to life in this region known for its legends. This small mountain range is known for its timepieces, both watches and cuckoo clocks, and has a number of craftsmen who have built them for generations. The hilly terrain, lovely lakes and wooded trails of the Black Forest are great for hiking and mountain biking in the summer, and for excellent ski slopes during the wintertime.