Scenic Bavarian Drives

To see a country, to REALLY see a country, get in a car and take a nice long afternoon drive. In Bavaria, one such pastoral drive connects a series of farms and villages with the majestic Alps watching over them. Kochel, a lake area with beautiful scenery and views, for example, is where the Herzogstandbahn is.

Very near Kochel, roughly a 20-minute drive, is Urfeld, a small village on the Walchensee Lake. One can eat lunch overlooking the lake at Cafe am See, a small local restaurant offering great German sausages, beer and, of course, the relaxing view. There is a walking trail around the lake, starting near the restaurant, and heading up into the forest, on the back side of the lake. The entire drive around Kochelsee (Kochel Lake) and Walchensee (Walchen Lake) is beautiful and filled with views of nature, lakes and small villages.


Between Kochel and Urfeld be on the look out for a tiny, charming church on the right,and take out your camera. It is a both beautiful and quaint. This drive offers a real view of Bavaria and is good route to reach the Alps.

For those wishing to take the train instead of driving, there are stops in Mittenwald and Kleis that will get you to the Karwendel Bahn mountain cable car to explore the Bavarian Alps for a day.


Another day trip option is to go through the beautiful Bavarian town of Murnau and Oberau and on to well known Garmish Partenkirchen. Bavaria is filled with charming villages. Stops along the way will bring you to green fields where cow bells can be heard and the bleat of sheep is all that breaks the tranquil silence, as you take in the Alps.


Traveling in Bavaria

Bavaria By Train and Car

Traveling in Munich and Bavaria offers visitors a chance for big city exploration as well as a taste of  village life.  The trains are exceptionally clean, reasonably priced, on time, comfortable and fast.  Munich is the launching point for travel to Bavaria — both by rail and for car rental. Make a note that getting into and traveling through Munich can be a challenge. Munich is no different from any other metropolitan area, it’s busy at rush hour. If you opt to rent a car as I did, I suggest departing the city at an off time such as Sunday morning or after the morning commute has finished.  My drive into Munich from the airport took nearly and hour and half during evening rush hour.

Trains into and out of Munich

The best and most expedient travel from the airport into the city of Munich is to take the S1 train toward Ostbahnhof. This commute is approximately 45 minutes. The one way or round trip tickets can be purchased on the way out of the airport at a Deutche Bahn ticket machine for ( as of this writing) 11 Euro. This ticket also allows visitors to use the public transport for the remainder of the day, (Ring routes only- which covers the vast majority of the tourist areas.) For a regular day pass for touring the city by S-Baun the ticket price is 5.60  Euro.

Munich’s Main Station

The train station itself is amazing.  It offers at least two wifi options, including free wifi at Starbucks. There are excellent  food options; sit down cafes, stand up sandwich stands, ethnic food and a small deli/grocery. There are also several newstand type shops and multiple bakeries.  There are restrooms which include include showers for a fee. After figuring out the floor plan and where things are located, one can spend a good deal of time comfortably in the train station. The main station in Munich offers train departures for Bavaria, as well as around Europe.


A Deutche Bahn long distance train.

 Bavarian Villages

There are many quaint villages throughout the region. Pedestrians and bicyclists are more prevalent in Germany and drivers need to be aware of their presence.  A lot of old fashioned charm can be found by simply walking, talking to locals, and shopping local purveyors. The photo opportunities are seemingly endless.


A rainy fall day in Bavaria.

The Alps are a breathtaking backdrop to the rustic, old world feel of Bavaria. They feel like the guardians of an uncomplicated rural life.


A view of the Alps from Bavaria.

The food is excellent. ‘Fresh’ is the word. There is little need for stocking a fridge or larder. Within walking distance in the villages you will find local, farm fresh food to bring home daily. Butchers, bakeries and cafes will entice you in with mouth watering window displays.


Local German Bread

If chocolate is your weakness, Europe is your place! From German Ritter Sport bars to Lindt Swiss chocolate your options are exceptional. Taking some home is the perfect way to finish your visit to Bavaria.


Lindt Chocolate Bears

Photo of the Week: Beautiful Bavaria

Garmish, Germany

A beautiful building in Bavaria.

mural bavaria

One of many beautiful murals I saw painted on buildings in Bavaria.

The Bavarian Alps; Karwendel Bahn

A Day Trip in the Bavarian Alps

When I think about the fact that I wasn’t initally that keen on taking the cable car to the top of the the Bavarian Alps I shake my head. It was the most amazing day I experienced in Bavaria.

Bavarian Alps

The Bavarian Alps

View Larger Map

This map of the Bavarian Alps gives you a feel for the area. It also (when zoomed in a bit) shows where the Bavarian Alps go into Austria.

Walking in the Bavarian Alps

The bavarian alps

At the top of the Karwedel Bahn (A ten minute ride to reach the station and the view, 2244 meters above sea level.) visitors can make a 30 minute walk to the area where the “Austrian Alps” officially begin. There is a clearly marked path and when you reach the “Austrian Alps” the area is designating with a large sign. It is a goregous look out area with a bench for resting. It is absolutely worth the walk, even in the 32 degree temperatures I walked in. If you walk straight there it is certainly a shorter walk; I stopped over and over for photos and to just take in the absolutely breathtaking views. Be aware there are no guard rails and you have to use common sense and caution when walking in some areas.

The Karwedel Bahn Visitor Center

Karwendel Bahn visitor center

I took this view of the Karwendel Bahn station from the cable car as we ascended to the top of the mountain. the portion hanging out over the cliff is a small museum.

Take Time to Take in the Alps

Give yourself time to really absorb the beauty of what you are seeing. I initially thought an hour would be plenty of time, especially with the cold conditions. I stayed nearly three hours. I spent nearly an hour outside walking and taking pictures. I also spent about 20 minutes in the musuem/visitors center. By the way dogs are welcome on the Karwendel Bahn and in the visitors center/museum. The German’s really rock in that respect. They allow animals to go nearly everywhere. As I walked around the very small museum there was a visitor with his dog nearby.

An Unexpected Wedding
When I arrived at the Karwendel Bahn station I had an unexpected surprise. There was a wedding taking place outside on the mountain. The wedding party was taking photos when I arrived. I caught the bride and groom in a single shot as they walked further up the mountain to take pictures. They were dressed in traditional Bavarian attire. They later held their reception in the restaurant overlooking the alps where I had lunch.

Wedding Bavaria

Hiking and Camping in the Alps

For the hearty and willing there are hikes from one hour to several days. There are marked trails and huts reachable from the mountain top station. For those considering a hike or overnight stay at one of the huts there is a sign at the bottom of the mountian, at the initial Karwendel Bahn station that shows which mountain passes are open and which areas are closed due to inclement weather.

Whether you are simply wishing to enjoy lunch with a view of the alps, or are hearty enough to hike this is a day trip worth the time.

The Karwendel Bahn operates every 30 minutes.
Adults $ 22 Euro
Children $13.50 Euro
Family $46.00 Euro (Irrespective of the number of children.)