I used to drive warp speed through Germany because I figured I could do better than ‘just Germany’ in my limited anount of vacationtime. But damn was I wrong. And judgemental. So these days I don’t skip out on all the beauty Germany has to offer anymore. Because I that it is have come to realize that it is truly stunning. We have visited roaring waterfalls, breathtaking gorges and rugged mountainareas. So in an attempt to make it up an give this country the credit that it deserves, I wrote down my five absolute highlights of the southern area. I’m so sorry for underestimating you Germany, thanks for proving me wrong!
Königssee and Jennersummit
The Königssee is one of the most touristic highlights of Berchtesgaden. Many people claim that it is Germany’s most beautiful Alpine, Every year millions of tourists come out to visit this beautiful mountainlake and take the ferry to visit the magical islands. The lake is located in Berchtesgaden National Park; right between the daunting walls of the Watzmann Glacier and the Jenners summit. I found the lake to be absolutely beautiful; the water is mesmerizing and the mountain backdrop is just awe-inspiring. However, it is also highly touristic. The place is flooded with people so I decided to find some quiet higher up. I hiked the 6 – hour trail to the Jennersummit; a demanding and steep mountainpathway with over 1600hm. However, you’ll be rewarded with unparalleled vistas of the lake. We could’ve taken the cablecar up though, but where is the fun in that!
Where to start: you can visist both the lake and the surrounging mountains from the Königssee parkinglot. This is the startingpoint of many trails.
In Bavaria you’ll find one of Germany’s most rugged mountainarea. This major mountainrange lies on the border with Austria and is often overlooked by tourists. But don’t let the location on the map deceive you; these mountains are far wilder and rugged than you would expect. Although peaks in the Karwendel barely top 2500m, I was blown away by their technical difficulty and the amount of breathtaking trails this place had to offer.
Where to start: Popular starting points for hikes are Mittenwald, Scharnitz, Seefeld, Pertisau, Hall or Eng.
This was hands down my most memorable highlight of Germany. EVER. The Hollentallklamm is located in Garmisch – Partenkirchen and is one of the most visited sights in the area. It takes some effort to get there but it is well worth the sweat and exhaustion. As the walls close in around you, you’ll notice that the temperature drops 15 degrees. The trail is carved out of the rocks and takes you into the depths of the gorge. The powerful display is overwhelming and will immediatly make you see why it’s called the gorge from Hell; it’s cold, slippery and freezing glacial waterfalls are falling down onto the trail. Try to grasp this powerful beauty and harvest it into your soul. You can find more pictues of this stunning hike in my Heavenly Hell blogpost.
Where to start: The trail to the gorge starts at the parkinglot. A steep path will take you through up to the entrance of the gorge. Make sure to wear sturdy shoes; it is a fairly demanding trail and flipflops won’t get you there. It’ll take you around 90 minutes to get to the entrance of the gorge. Well worth the effort though, I promise you!
You’ll find many gorges in the south of Germany. In addition to the Hollentallklamm, the Partnachklamm is also well worth a visit. This 700m gorge will take you along explosive waterfalls, waterrapids and mindblowing rockformations. The deafening sound of the water keeps growing louder and really adds to the somewhat treathening armosphere. You’ll cross the river a couple of times, crawl through pitchblack caves and get soaked by glacial waterfalls. The gorge is easily accessible and will make for a family-friendly hike.
Where to start: The trail to the gorge starts at the Olympic Stadium. It’ll take you about 20 minutes to get to the entrance of the gorge.
Eibsee and Zugzpitze
The Eibsee might very well be one of the most visited lakes in Germany. And with good reason, because this lake was definitely a highlight. The eibsee is located at the base of Germany’s highest mountainpeak; the Zugspitze. This area is home to many beautiful trails, ranging from easy loops around the lake to challenging mountaineering experiences. The landscapes are breathtaking and will leave you in awe. I highly recommend the loop around the lake, you will be rewarded with unparalleled views of the adjacent alps. There are several hiking trails to the top of Zugspitze, each varying in difficulty levels, but most taking eight to ten hours (one way) to complete. Or you can take the cablecar to the summit of the Zugspitze, where you will find yourself stunning panoramic views of the alps.
Where to start. From Grainau you can follow the signs to the Eibsee. You can leave your car at one of the parkinglots and start your trips from there.
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