How to do Bavaria & How to do it Right
The ultimate guide to navigating Southern Germany - the right way.
I may be a little biased here, but you can't really get much better than vast mountains, great beer, amazing food, and extensive history.
Germany has a lot to offer. The country may not be as popular as Italy or Greece in Europe but frankly, I have NO idea why!
I grew up going to Germany... it's practically my second home so when I say I could have some biases... I don't. However, I can tell you a whole list of reasons of why you should go, when you should go, what you should do, and what to eat!
"Bavaria" is the southern part of Germany and the largest state in the country with Munich as the capital. Bavaria has a pretty interesting history as it used to be a part of the Holy Roman Empire and after a few wars and revolutions it became a kingdom in the 1800's, later joining Germany in 1871. The history of Germany and its surrounding nations are actually quite interesting and I could go on and one, however, I won't bore you with any more history... Let's start out with the FOOD!
Bavarian staples not only have influence from Germany, but Austria as well. In the south of Germany you'll find yourself having a lot of hearty options that mostly include pork and some kind of dumpling.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Schweinehaxe: This is a bone in pork shank that is slow braised and served with either potato dumplings or mashed potatoes. (Pronounced sh-vine-a-hox-eh)
Leberkase: I'm not going to tell you the direct translation of this item but basically, it is a kind of sausage meat loaf and it is served either by itself or on a roll. It is also typical to find it in types of "salads." And I say "salads" like grandmothers in the south east would say... something with a lot of mayonnaise ;) (Pronounced Leh-bir-kay-zeh)
Jager Schnitzel (or any kind of schnitzel): This is a thinly breaded pork dish that is either pan or deep fried and served with the traditional Spaetzle and red cabbage. (Pronounced yay-ger shnit-sil)
Knockwurst, Weisswurst, Bratwurst, etc. Served with Sauerkraut, Spaetzle, and red cabbage with a side of brown, grainy mustard. (Pronounced nock-vurst, vice-vurst, braht-vurst)
These are just a few favorites.... and if you live in Georgia, make sure to stop be The Village Corner. They are a family owned German restaurant serving German specialities for almost 50 years! They not only have great food but that have an extensive bakery selection made in house and home brewed beer in their gorgeous tavern. Located in Stone Mountain.
Now when is the best time of year to go to Bavaria?
The south of Germany is best visited in the summer months. They can get a lot of snow and if you have dreams of hiking high into the alps and enjoying the alpine lakes, you might want some warmer weather to be able to thoroughly enjoy everything Bavaria has to offer. I suggest going between End of April - Mid October. That way you can enjoy Octoberfest in September/October too ;).
What can I NOT miss when in Southern Germany?
There is SO much to do! Here is a quick list of the must-do's when you're on a trip. If you click on the hyperlinks in the suggestions, it will take you to Viator where you can book a tour!
Explore Munich & the BierGarten
Watch the Rathaus-Glockenspiel. It It puts on a show Daily at 11 am and at 12 pm, and from March to October additionally at 5 pm
Go to a museum or go on a walking tour. If you are particularly interested in WWII and the Holocaust, you can pay your respects at Dachau working camp with a guide.
Do a food tour or cooking class, experience a pub crawl, and visit as many bakeries as possible!
Spend a couple of days in the country side to see the alps and go on a hike.
See a few castles: Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau, Linderhof Palace, Herrenchiemsee New Palace, and more.
See Germany's tallest mountain: Zugspitze. It is difficult to hike but you can take the cable car to the top and there is lots to do - including a nice restaurant with a gorgeous view!
Spend some time at one of the Alpine "Sees." These are really just large Alpine lakes with crystal blue water from the snow runoff from the mountains. They sit like bowls at the base of mountains and there are usually towns surrounding them. You can swim, boat, paddle board, kayak, picnic, etc.
Indulge in a spa treatment in the alps. My favorite is Kristal Therme that overlooks Kochel am see. They have They have 5 different saunas, countless pools, other wellness packages, a swim up bar, an amazing spa, a restaurant, and indoor and outdoor pools with water slides that are great for all ages/families... I go here every time I go to Germany!
So how long should I stay?
Anytime I send someone to Europe, I encourage a minimum of 10 days with travel. This gives you approximately 7.5-8 days on the ground to enjoy the destination. If you are only doing the south of Germany, this would be a great duration. However, Bavaria neighbors some pretty amazing countries including Switzerland, Austria, and Czech Republic. You could do a day trip to Prague or to Salzburg, Austria. In this case, I would add in a few extra days depending on how action packed you want your schedule to be.
Where should I stay?
When doing a split stay in Bavaria, I suggest staying a few nights (2-3 nights) in Munich and the other days in the country side. Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a great option. Not to mention, you could totally get away without renting a car, however, it might save you a bit of time if you did rent one. Once you leave Munich, you can pick up your rental car from the Bahnhof (train station) and head to the country.
Where to stay in Munich:
4 & 5 Star Properties:
Sofitel Munich Bayerpost. A 5 star property with a wonderful location to the Marienplatz.
Hotel Lamier Hof . An exquisit boutique hotel located at the heart of the Nymphenburg Palace and wonderful location.
The Platz Hotel is also a wonderful option!
Budget friendly & Hostels. I always book my hostels through Hostel World. They're the best!
Still have questions?
Look no further! I'm here to help. You can fill out our Travel Inquiry Form and I would be over joyed to help you plan your trip to Germany. After you fill out the form, I'll send you an email to set up a FREE consultation to talk about all of your hopes and dreams for your trip. Let's get started on your trip today!
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