Eight beautiful Bavarian day trips you can’t miss

Bavaria’s beauty is unrivalled: from Alpine lakes to quaint medieval towns, the most southerly Bundesland has it all.

Eight beautiful Bavarian day trips you can't miss
A couple goes on a gondola ride in Bamberg. Photo: DPA

Whilst all of Germany’s Bundesländer (states) offer a range of sites of natural and man-made beauty, the combination of the Bavarian Alps, a long-tradition of wealth and stunning architecture means that Bavaria possesses of some of Germany’s most beautiful destinations.

As such, Bavaria – Germany’s geographically largest state – has countless day trips to offer for visitors of all ages and interests.


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Nestled in the Alps, Walchensee is a gem of sparkling turquoise blue waters which stand in contrast to the dark green of the surrounding alpine forests. During the winter, the snow-capped mountains provide visitors with the chance to partake in winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. In summer the lake offers windsurfing and sailing and WWII aircraft wrecks in the depths of the lake make it a popular spot for keen scuba divers.

If you would rather stay high and dry, walks on the mountainside provide stunning views of the lake and the surrounding alps. Walchensee’s own rickety Herzogstandbahn (gondola lift) takes you to the top of the mountain, from where you can embark on a number of walks. Alternatively, soak up the sun and gaze at the sapphire waters below whilst enjoying a beer and Kaiserschmarrn at the restaurant on the mountain.


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Located in the Upper Franconian region of Northern Bavaria, this quaint Bavarian town provides picturesque views and uncommon beer.

As well as its romantic cobbled streets and timber framed buildings, Bamberg is famous for the speciality of Rauchbier (smoked beer). This beer gets its named from the distinctive smokey aftertaste caused by the specific brewing process.

Another unique aspect of this town is the Altes Rathaus (old town hall), half of which features a baroque fresco and the other half is a timbered building, with both parts located directly on a bridge. Although this town is quintessentially German, along the river fishermen’s houses from the 19th century make up the so-called Klein Venedig (Little Venice).

Linderhof Palace

Just like the world-famous Neuschwanstein castle, Linderhof Palace was built by the eccentric Bavarian monarch, King Ludwig II, in 1886.

Like Neuschwanstein, Linderhof Palace is also located in the Alps, providing the castle with a backdrop of stunning mountains. However, less well-known than Neuschwanstein, Linderhof is not packed with tourists, and tours of the castle last longer and cost less than at Neuschwanstein.

The rooms inside the palace are as majestic as the natural surroundings making it easy to see why this was Ludwig’s favourite residence.


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Whilst not technically in the southern German state, Salzburg is easily reachable from much of Bavaria, and well worth hopping over the border to Austria for. Named Salzburg (salt fortress) after the salt mountains which funded the city’s opulent buildings, this city combines natural and man-made beauty.

A visit to the Hohensalzburg fortress delves into Salzburg’s past and also offers the best views of the city from above. Schloss Mirabell’s Mirabellgarten is famous for its feature in the Julie Andrews classic ‘The Sound of Music,’ and is well worth a wander through in the spring or summer to see the wonderful fountains and the garden’s beautiful flora.

Head to Café Sacher, at the Hotel Sacher, to indulge in the typically Austrian Sachertorte. Eduard Sacher, the hotel’s founder, was the son of assumed inventor of the original Sachertorte, Franz Sacher. As such, it would seem rude to not sit down at this hotel on the banks of the River Salzach and enjoy the delicious chocolate cake.

Partnachklamm gorge

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Garmisch Partnachklamm is the ideal place to don your best hiking gear and grab your walking sticks. Famously, Partnachklamm is the site of the 1936 Olympic ski jump, however it also boasts of one of Germany’s most breathtaking sites of natural beauty.

Partnachklamm’s shaded gorge is the starting point for a plethora of alpine walks and wandering under the ragged rocks as water flows through the narrow gorge is an indescribably magical experience.

Whether you visit in the winter when stalactites and stalagmites dramatically blanket the sides of the gorge, or in summer when the hazy sunlight filtering through the gorge gives the rushing water an ethereal quality, you will be sure to return home raving about this site’s natural beauty.

Bavarian Forest National Park

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The Bavarian Forest National Park is Germany’s first and largest national park and the range of activities on offer reflect the park’s size. Wander through the Treetop Walk to see the forest from a different perspective and end at the 44m high tree tower which gives visitors extensive views of the forest and, on a clear day, the Alps.The entirety of the tree top walk and the tree tower is suitable for wheelchairs and prams.

Another unique experience is the Tierfreigelände (free animal area), where 40 domestic animal species including bisons, wolves, wild boars, lynxes and bears, live in a sprawling animal enclosure which closely resembles the animals’ natural habitats. The lack of visible barriers means its as close as you will get to seeing these animals in the wild in Germany.

Of course, it would not be Bavaria if there were not a number of hiking trails. A significant amount of the dense forest is untouched by man, making it a must-see for nature lovers.


The Zugspitze is the highest point in Germany and the panoramic view from this peak shows the alps in four different countries.

Even in the height of summer the Zugspitze is covered in snow, but walks up to the peaks are manageable. If you don’t fancy hiking up the 2,962 metres above sea level peak then the Seilbahn (cable car) will you transport you directly to the top. During the winter months it is possible to partake in a number of activities such as tobogganing, snowboarding and skiing. For an even more spectacular view, take to the sky and paraglide over the hundreds of mountain peaks which are visible from the Zugspitze.


This small town in Bavaria is renowned for its Christmas markets as well as its preserved Medieval façades which have earned it UNESCO World Heritage Site status. With its well-maintained architecture from the 12th century, walking through Regensburg can really feel like a step back in time.

When in Regensburg, a visit to ‘The Historic Sausage Kitchen’ is a must. This restaurant does what it says on the tin and apparently sells 6,000 sausages daily. It is rumoured to be the oldest continually open public restaurant in the world having served sausages to its guests for over 870 years.

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Explore Austria: Mauer, a charming wine-hiking spot on Vienna’s outskirts

Catch the very tail-end of the wine season and autumn foliage in one of the lesser-explored corners of the Austrian capital: Mauer.

Explore Austria: Mauer, a charming wine-hiking spot on Vienna’s outskirts
Beautiful views and cosy taverns await you on the edge of Vienna. Photo: Catherine Edwards

Wine-hiking is an autumn must-do in Austria, and although the official Wine Hiking Day (Weinwandertag) that usually draws crowds has been cancelled two years in a row during the pandemic, it’s possible to follow the routes through beautiful scenery and wine taverns on your own.

Mauer in the southwest of Vienna is one of the routes that is mostly frequented by locals.

The footpath takes you through scenic vineyards. Photo: Catherine Edwards

You can reach this part of the 23rd district using Vienna’s public transport, and you have a few options. From the Hietzing station on the U4 line, you can take the tramline 60 or bus 56A. The former will take you either to Mauer’s central square or you can get off earlier at Franz-Asenbauer-Gasse to start the hike. If it’s too early in the day for wine just yet, you could start your day at the small and charming Designo cafe (Geßlgasse 6).

Otherwise, the residential area itself doesn’t have much to see, but keep an eye out as you wander between the taverns later — there are some beautiful buildings.

To start the hike, head west along Franz-Asenbauer Gasse, which will take you up into the vineyards, growing some red wine and Vienna’s specialty Gemischter Satz or ‘field blend’, which as the name suggests is a mixture of different types of grapes.

Photo: Catherine Edwards

The paved road takes a left turn, but the hiking route follows a smaller path further upwards. Here you’ll have magnificent views over the whole of Vienna.

If you stick to the official hiking route (see a map from Weinwandern here) you can keep the whole route under 5 kilometres. But more adventurous types don’t need to feel limited.

You can also follow the Stadtwanderweg 6 route (see a map here) either in full, which will add on a hefty 13 kilometres, or just in part, and venture further into the Mauerwald. If you do this, one spot to aim for is the Schießstätte, a former hunting lodge offering hearty Austrian meals.


In any case, you should definitely take a small detour to see the Wotrubakirche, an example of brutalist architecture from the mid-1970s built on a site that was used as a barracks during the Second World War.

Not far from the church is the Pappelteich, a small pond that is not only an important habitat for local flora and fauna, but a popular picnic spot for hikers. Its only water supply is from the rain, and due to climate change the pond has almost dried out in recent years, prompting the city to take action to boost its water supply by adding a permanent pipe.

The church is made up of over 150 concrete blocks. Photo: Catherine Edwards

What you really come to Mauer for, though, are the Heuriger or Viennese wine taverns. 

The most well-known is Edlmoser (Maurer Lange Gasse 123) which has previously been named as the best in Vienna. Note that it’s not open all year so check the website, but in 2021 it should be open between November 5th and 21st, and is also serving the goose that is a popular feature on Viennese menus this time of year.

Tip for translating Heuriger opening times: look for the word ausg’steckt, which is used by those taverns which aren’t open year round. They will also often show that they’re open by attaching a bunch of green twigs to the sign or front door.

Buschenschank Grausenburger. Photo: Catherine Edwards

Also worth visiting are cosy Buschenschank Grausenburger (Maurer Lange Gasse 101a), Heuriger Wiltschko (Wittgensteinstrasse 143 — located near the start of the hiking route, this is a good place to begin your tour) and Heuriger Fuchs-Steinklammer (Jesuitensteig 28).