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Day Trip: Bavarian Alps


If you drive just 30 minutes south of Munich, the landscape quickly becomes rural. An hour further and you're in midst of the Bavarian Alps, whose piece-de-resistance, the Zugspitze, rises to a proud 9,718 feet in the Wetterstein mountain range. The towns that are located at its foot are some of southern Germany's quaintest: Garmisch-Partenkirchen might be the most famous but it gets crowded and overrun with visitors, so head to the smaller Mittenwald and/or Krün instead.

If you can combine touring in this area with a stay at Schloss Elmau, an ideal day's itinerary would include: a hearty breakfast at Elmau, followed by a hike towards Mittenwald right from the foot of the castle. It's a beautiful, two-hour walk through stunning nature, passing two lakes: the Ferchensee and the Lautersee. At the latter, a number of hostelries and restaurants beckon with great terraces and hearty menus.

Have lunch at the Lautersee Alm but skip dessert and coffee, as you will have this in the quaint town of Mittenwald. Continue your hike – from the Lautersee, it's another 30 minutes until you reach the town. Head to the Obermarkt Café (Obermarkt 24), housed in a building whose beautifully painted façade is a showstopper. Or indulge in an authentic Italian gelato at Eiscafé Venezia (Obermarkt 36). There are a number of quaint shops in Mittenwald, so it's a fun place to wander.

If you're still up for more hiking, the town of Krün is another two hours north. (If you're staying at Elmau, a pick-up can also be arranged.) For a special meal, book a table at the Post Krün, one of southern Germany's most renowned restaurants for traditional Bavarian cuisine.

There are many other incredible hikes in this area; the lovely concierge team at Schloss Elmau can help craft itineraries for any fitness level.

Written by Simone Girner

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