Exploring the Beauty of Bavaria
Bavaria, Germanys largest landlocked state is situated in the southeast corner of the country and borders Austria and the Czech Republic. This remarkable state is one of Germanys most popular and historic tourist destinations, thanks to its mix of impressive landscapes, huge festivals, and distinctive local culture. Bavarians are extremely proud of their culture, including their languages and amazing architecture. Some of the most beautiful towns and scenery in Germany are in located in Bavaria, including spectacular mountain peaks, grand imperial palaces, rolling hills and romantic castles. There are officially two flags of Bavaria: the striped type and the lozenge type, both of which are white and blue. The flags are historically associated with the royal Bavarian Wittelsbach family who ruled from 1180 to 1918. Although the official currency is the Euro, many villages here are embracing regionalism by paying for goods and services with local currencies, such as the Gulden. To enhance your knowledge of Bavaria you should 100% complete GG Treasure Hunts online Bavaria wanderlust treasure hunt!
Munich, Bavaria’s lively capital is home to centuries-old buildings, numerous museums, Oktoberfest and Hitler lived here from 1920-29. It is one of the most walkable cities in Europe and is best seen in its vibrant beer halls during the summer. The Marienplatz Square is one of the busiest landmarks in central Munich, dating back to the early 12th century. There are plenty of photo opportunities here thanks to its gothic buildings, stone gargoyles and a centrepiece column topped with a statue of the Virgin Mary. During winter a massive Christmas market is held here. The Eisbach river has a man-made wave in it, which is extremely popular among river surfers. Surfing competitions have been held here and its super fun to watch! BMW, which stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengeselleschaft, translating into Bavarian Motor Works. Interestingly, its headquarters are in Munich and there is also a BMW museum you can visit.
Oktoberfest is the world’s largest Volksfest, held annually in Munich. It’s a sixteen-to-seventeen-day festival running from mid to late September to the first Sunday in October, with more than six million people from around the world attending. It was first held in 1810 in celebration of the marriage of the prince of Bavaria. Oktoberfest 2021 will be the 187th festival. Locals call it the Wiesn, which translates to the meadow, as it takes place on a giant meadow – the Thersienwiese. Most individuals wear traditional costumes to the event, such as Dirndl, Tracht and leather shorts. It doesn’t cost to enter the festival or tents, but you’ll need some spare cash to splash on beer. Beer prices average between £9 and £10, depending on which tent you are in. This is a festival that you cannot miss and if you don’t like beer, there are other activities to do including rollercoasters and places to eat.
Often known as the ‘Disney Castle’, the picturesque Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th century historic palace positioned on the green Alps, overlooking the village of Hohenschwangau and lake Alpsee. Construction began in 1869, commissioned by King Ludwig II as a private retreat. Ludwig was known by Bavarians as the Fairy tale and the Mad King; he ended up spending the whole of Bavaria’s budget to build castles he envisioned in his dreams, such as the Neuschwanstein Castle. It is one of the greatest castles in Europe and one of the world’s foremost tourist attractions. The architecture follows a medieval style, and the interior of the castle is whimsical, ornate and vibrant. Unfortunately, only around fifteen rooms of the planned two hundred were completed before Ludwig’s mysterious death. The castles dainty turrets, romantic views and cylindrical towers make this the perfect castle for a princess, which is why it inspired Walt Disney’s vision of Sleeping Beauty’s and Cinderella’s castles. Walt and his wife visited the castle whilst on vacation and it was so magical, he had to put his own spin on it. You can also admire the castle on a guided tour for approximately £11 or visit the multiple hiking spots in the area to see the castle from a different perspective and appreciate the beauty around it.
The Bavarian Alps
The Alps are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies entirely in Europe, stretching across eight Alpine countries. The Bavarian Alps are a part of the Alps, located in Germany near the border of Austria, known for skiing and hiking. The region is considered one of the most beautiful landscapes of Germany and ranks as one of the most scenic places in all of central Europe. The highest peak and mountain in Germany is the Zugspite, situated north of the Alps, south of the town of Garmisch Partenkirchen. Whilst in Garmisch Partenkirchen you can look forward to 625km of slopes; it is home to the most popular ski resort. Whilst skiing you will be able to explore the wonderful rustic mountain villages, traditional wooden farmhouses and cosy eateries. Indulge in the ultimate winter sports classic, schnitzel and chips – best enjoyed with a large stein of beer. Expect a laid back, peaceful atmosphere, far away from the crowds and full of Bavarian charm. There are plenty of chalets and scenic hotels to stay in and various other activities for non-skiers, such as paragliding, hiking and tobogganing.
Hiking in the Bavarian Alps is easy as the pathways are well maintained, and the signposts are clear. There is a fine network of trails, including the hike around the majestic Lake Eibsee, the Eagles Nest and Wallberg. The Eagles Nest is home to Hitlers ‘tea house’ which he built on this lonely cliff in the 1930’s to welcome high ranked guests. The Bavarian Alps are a dream for any mountain hiker, with breath-taking panoramas and stunning flora and fauna.
Dachau Concentration Camp & The Nuremburg Trials
This state is a wonderful place, however it has some dark history lurking about, such as the Dachau Concentration Camp. Situated Northwest of Munich, Dachau was the first Nazi concentration camp constructed shortly after Hitler became chancellor of Germany. Opened in 1933 on the 22nd of March, this camp was initially intended to hold political prisoners and was functional for twelve devastating years. In April 1945 the camp was liberated by the US Army. There is a memorial site, which stands on the location of the original Dachau concentration camp, opened to the public in 1965. It is free to enter, and thousands of individuals visit each year to learn about what happened there and remember those who were imprisoned and died during the Holocaust.
The Nuremburg trials which ended in 1946 were conducted by an international tribunal made up of representatives from the US, The Soviet Union, France and Great Britain. They were the first trials of their kind in history, as they indicted defendants on charges of crimes against peace, war and humanity. The trials are remembered by many as an important development in how justice is carried out for crimes on both international and state levels.
Best Bites in Bavaria
Bavarian cuisine includes many meats, knödel dishes and often uses flour. Due to the state’s rural conditions and chilly climate only crops such as beetroots and potatoes grow well here – making them a staple in the German diet. The rich and filling food of Bavaria is great for soaking up all the beer you will consume… so you can drink even more. One food that is a must try when you visit is the Weisswurst, a traditional breakfast sausage made from minced veal and pork back bacon (it’s basically a white sausage). They are usually flavoured with parsley, lemon, onions and cardamon, served with a pretzel and mustard. Pretzels are additionally a common Bavarian snack. They are hearty, doughy twists studded with salt, often accompanied by a few steins of beer. Bavarian pretzels are thick with a soft inside and have a deep brown outside, from baking in lye. A popular fast-food dish is currywurst, it consists of a steamed, then fried pork sausage typically cut into bite size pieces and seasoned with curry ketchup – something I really want to try! As suspected the Bavarians consider beer to be their national beverage; this place really is the land of beer. The consumption of it here is well above average and astonishingly the locals like to class it is as food or ‘liquid bread’.