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Picturesquely situated, Lake Königssee is framed by the mountains and offers some of the most idyllic and best places to visit in Bavaria

8. January 2022 - Anika Semmer

Best Places to Visit in Bavaria – 50 Favourite Places and Insider Tips


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Rock labyrinth, Mount Doom, fairy-tale castle: surprisingly many unique best places to visit in Bavaria are unknown even to Bavarians. And then there are world-famous favourite places that are so impressive that you have to see them in your lifetime. Bavaria is rich in great sights and offers completely different excursion destinations that are just waiting to be discovered. 

Crystal-clear lakes, majestic mountains, idyllic valleys and forests and breathtaking gorges – scenically, Bavaria has more to offer than almost any other federal state. Some of the most beautiful German cities – famous and surprisingly unknown – with their picturesque old towns, magnificent buildings, castles and gripping stories are located in Germany’s largest federal state. And then the state offers popular attractions like Legoland, treetop trails, thermal spas and amusement parks.

Whether you’re with family, as a couple or with friends looking for places to visit in Bavaria, you’ll find several excursion options in this listing that are just what you’ve been looking for. All 50 are perfect for a day trip – some cities and regions offer enough for a weekend trip or short holiday. In addition to absolute highlights, you’ll also find insider tips and personal insider tips and recommendations.

I lived in Bavaria myself for 10 years, in Upper Bavaria and in Franconia, and have already visited most of the best places to visit in Bavaria presented here. Every year I spend at least a week in the Allgäu and Franconia, two of the most beautiful holiday regions in Germany in my opinion. If you are looking for activities in cities or specific regions, you can find ideas for excursions in Allgäu and other regions and cities in other articles.

50 Best Places to Visit in Bavaria That Are Really Special

The boathouse at the Königsee is one of the most beautiful photo motifs that an excursion in Upper Bavaria can offer

In the Berchtesgaden National Park lies the Königsee, which offers some insane photo motifs

Bavaria is the largest federal state and is located in the south-east of Germany. In the south it has high mountains and Alpine foothills. In the north, low mountain ranges such as the Fichtelgebirge and the Bavarian Forest dominate the landscape. I have sorted the excursion destinations geographically according to the parts of the country and their districts.

First up is Franconia, which has so many historic towns worth seeing that it was very difficult for me to limit myself. Then comes Upper Bavaria, in the middle of which lies the Bavarian capital Munich. Next comes Eastern Bavaria, whose excursion tips I have divided into destinations in the Upper Palatinate and Lower Bavaria. Lastly come my favourite places in the Allgäu and in Bavarian Swabia, home to some of the most impressive best places to visit in Bavaria.

Romantic Franconia: The 15 Most Beautiful Franconian Places

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a medieval town in Franconia worth a visit

The Plönlein in Rothenburg ob der Tauber even graces the Lonely Planet Germany

Picturesque old towns with half-timbered houses and spire towers, magnificent palaces and castles, idyllic valleys, wooded hills and bizarre stone formations: Franconia’s towns and natural landscapes are so beautiful and varied that they lend themselves to many day trips, weekend breaks and discovery tours. Some of Franconia’s most beautiful best places to visit in Bavaria are located on the Romantic Road and the Castle Road and are famous sights beyond Germany’s borders, while others are real insider tips. Or have you ever heard of Dinkelsbühl, which some people call the most beautiful town in Germany?

There is also a lot to offer in the way of culinary delights: Fantastic Franconian wine, countless good breweries and brewery pubs with brewed specialities, three in a Weckla and ox shreds and gingerbread are typically Franconian.

The 15 most beautiful Franconian best places to visit in Bavaria are sorted by the districts of Lower Franconia, Middle Franconia and Upper Franconia: the first 4 excursion destinations are in Lower Franconia, 5-9 in Middle Franconia and 9-15 in Upper Franconia. They are all worth exploring and there are many a personal insider tip.

The Würzburg Residenz is a masterpiece of southern German baroque and one of the most important sights in Bavaria from this era

Masterpiece of baroque architecture: the Residenz in Würzburg

  1. Baroque and residential city of Würzburg: Würzburg has enough to offer for a weekend trip! It really is worth visiting some of the magnificent baroque and rococo buildings and churches! First and foremost the Würzburg Residence, where renowned artists have achieved great things, including the largest continuous ceiling fresco in the world. The Würzburg Cathedral with its magnificent Baroque organ, the Marienberg Fortress, many churches and the city’s landmark: the Old Main Bridge, are also well worth seeing.
  2. Kloster Kreuzberg near Bischofsheim: On the western slope of the “Holy Mountain of the Franks” lies the pilgrimage monastery Kreuzberg and offers a fantastic view over Franconia, the Rhön, the Thuringian Forest and the Spessart. The monastery inn serves delicious home-brewed beer.
  3. Rosarium in Bad Kissingen: The rose city of Bad Kissingen has a rose garden with around 10,000 rose bushes and 130 rose varieties. From early summer onwards, the sea of blossoms offers an overwhelming sight. Germany’s only multimedia fountain is also located in the rose garden, where water droplets provide the screen for films and musical water choreographies
  4. Franconian Red Wine Trail in Churfranken: In the Middle Ages, Franconia was the largest wine-growing region in the Holy Roman Empire. Even today, Franconia is famous not only for its high density of breweries but also for excellent wines. The most beautiful hike is an approximately 77 km long long-distance hiking trail from Großwallstadt to Bürgstadt through the Main valley, which can be enjoyed in 6 stages.
  5. Nuremberg’s Old Town: Nuremberg’s long history dates back to the year 850. The picturesque Old Town with its half-timbered houses, the Imperial Castle, the imposing Gothic Church of Our Lady, the Albrecht Dürer House and many other historic buildings and churches still shows the wealth of Nuremberg’s merchants. Nuremberg is still famous for its gingerbread and toys. For those with more time to spare, there are highly recommended museums here: the Germanic National Museum and the Dürer House. The Reich Party Rally Grounds with its monumental buildings and streets are an important piece of German history for anyone interested in the events of the Second World War. With a population of around 520,000, Nuremberg is the second largest city in Bavaria.
  6. Hohler Fels near Happurg in Hersbrucker Schweiz: The Houbirg, Hohler Fels, in the Nuremberg region is one of the hiking highlights in Franconia and one of the special historical best places to visit in Bavaria. From the mountain you have a wonderful panoramic view of the Happurg reservoir and the rugged rock, and the vegetation is reminiscent of the Italian Trentino. Stone steps lead down to the hollow rock with its two arches and the cave. Findings prove that this cave has been used as a hunting station since about 6000 BC, in the Middle Palaeolithic. There are also remains of a Celtic oppidum, of which only remnants of the rampart are still recognisable, a castle stable and, as a sad part of history, the gallery, which was supposed to be built under inhuman conditions in 1944/45 as an armament factory but was never finished.
  7. The old town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber: A town like something out of a storybook. Many films have been shot in Rothenburg ob der Tauber and the Lonely Planet Germany travel guide features a picture of the Plönlein. Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of the must-see destinations in Bavaria. Within the completely preserved city wall, the picturesque old town with its largely preserved buildings from the Middle Ages lies above the Tauber valley. This town, which is well worth seeing, is one of the highlights of the Romantic Road. Particularly worth a visit is the Pfingstwiese, a historical festival at which the locals dress up in medieval costumes and hold a medieval festival with the “Meistertrunk” as the highlight. Medieval flair at its best!
  8. Old town of Dinkelsbühl: Nobody knows Dinkelsbühl, Rothenburg ob der Tauber is world famous. Absurd! The small medieval town is also surrounded by a city wall and offers pretty alleys with historic buildings where it seems as if time has stood still. Outside the town wall, a path leads around the town and offers wonderful views again and again. The people of Dinkelsbühl also dress up medieval every year and celebrate the local festival Kinderzeche, which dates back to the 30 Years War.
  9. Marked rock formations in Franconian Switzerland: Typical of Franconian Switzerland are the bizarre rock formations that tower up like needles and are remnants from the Jurassic Sea. Of the many hikes, I recommend the approximately 13-kilometre hiking tour from Gößweinstein to the rock village and rock gate, it takes about 4.5 hours. The Franconian Shweiz is one of the best places to visit in Bavaria where there is so much to discover that a day trip here is actually too short: 185 castles and palaces, around 1,000 caves and a wonderful landscape in the north of Bavaria are to be found here. You can drive through the whole of Franconian Switzerland in about an hour. Franconian Switzerland has the highest density of breweries in Bavaria, so there are great opportunities for beer lovers to go brewery hiking here!
  10. The old town of Bamberg: Around 2400 listed houses form a historic townscape that has grown over more than 1000 years. The imperial cathedral, which is well worth seeing, towers over the three historic town centres: mountain town, island town and gardener’s town with their beautiful corners. A visit to Bamberg must include a stop at one of the famous Sternla or Schlenkerla breweries, which serve smoked beer as a speciality.
  11. Griess celler in Geisfeld: In the district of Bamberg near Strullendorf is one of the most beautiful beer cellars in all of Upper Franconia. It is a rustic Bavarian restaurant with a terrace that offers a magnificent view of the valley. From the upper seats you can enjoy the sunset over the fields
  12. Cellars Forchheim: Beer from Forchheim breweries and hearty Franconian cuisine are available in the world’s largest beer garden in a relaxed atmosphere under trees. In an underground labyrinth with kilometre-long corridors, the barley juice has been maturing for over 400 years! In the past, beer was served in the cellar and drunk where it was stored: in the cellar. The pub was then built on top of the cellar. The Annafest, which takes place for a fortnight every summer and at which not only beer is drunk, but also danced and celebrated, is particularly lively.
  13. Rock labyrinth at the Luisenburg near Wunsiedel: A gigantic sea of granite stones forms the largest rock labyrinth in Europe. It is located in the Fichtelgebirge and you can wonderfully explore the unique landscape with caves, gorges and the 300-million-year-old granite stone boulders while hiking on the circular hiking trail.
  14. Main valley from Ebensfeld to Lichtenfels: Idyllic flowering meadows, rugged rock formations, picturesque villages characterise the scenically beautiful Main valley. Impressive cultural sights are the Banz Monastery and the pilgrimage church of Vierzehnheiligen with its 75-metre-high tower.
  15. Staffelberg in Upper Franconia: One of the biggest attractions in Franconia for nature lovers and hikers. From the striking rocky crest at 539 metres, you have a breathtaking panoramic view over the Main valley.

Gorgeous Upper Bavaria: The 15 Most Beautiful Best Places to Visit in Upper Bavaria

Indispensable in a top list of excursion destinations in the Allgäu is the breathtaking Partnachklamm.

Glittering icicles in the Partnachklamm

In the middle of Upper Bavaria lies Munich, the “white sausage capital” with the worth seeing Viktualienmarkt, Marienplatz, Nymphenburg Castle and enough sights for a short holiday.

Many fantastic lakes, Germany’s highest mountain, magnificent castles and monasteries and breathtaking gorges as well as quaint typical Upper Bavarian mountain villages with onion-roofed churches and Lüftlmalerei make Upper Bavaria one of the most attractive holiday regions in Germany. Germany’s only national park in the Alps at the foot of the Watzmann is also a pure natural paradise.

From a culinary point of view, a visit to at least one of the rustic beer gardens and breweries is an absolute must. Hearty pork knuckles, Obatzter, Müncher Weisswürste with pretzels and sweet mustard, liver dumpling soup and Dampfnudeln are typical Upper Bavarian delicacies.

The 15 most beautiful Upper Bavarian best places to visit in Bavaria start in Munich, a city about which I could give many excursion tips because I lived there for several years. Then come some of the most beautiful lakes around Munich to Berchtesgaden. Finally come some of the most beautiful destinations in Germany in the German Alps, which are among my absolute favourites.

Munich, the capital of Bavaria, is one of the must-see destinations in Bavaria.

Munich is centrally located in the Alpine foothills

  1. Bavarian capital Munich: A Weisswurst (white sausage) at the Viktualienmarkt, overlooking the city from the Alter Peter and walking to the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), a walk from the Stachus via Marienplatz to Odeonsplatz, then into the English Garden and a stop at a typical Munich brewery pub: If you are in Munich for the first time, you will only be able to see the best-known sights, despite the packed programme. Nymphenburg Palace with its beautiful park is an excursion destination in itself. Museums that are well worth seeing, such as the Pinakotheken and the Deutsches Museum, are great for rainy days. Don’t miss Café Dallmayr with its in-house roasting and homemade fresh chocolates! It’s also worth visiting the Olympic Park with its futuristic architecture, which offers a great view of the city and, on a clear day, even as far as the Alps.
  2. Tutzing beer garden on Lake Starnberg: You can philosophise and have a hearty snack with a cool “Mass”, a good “Obatzda”, radishes and pretzels right on the water at Lake Starnberg. In Upper Bavaria there are several beer gardens right on the water’s edge, which are perhaps the most beautiful Bavarian way of life. Beer gardens are part of the DNA of every Bavarian.
  3. Wellness oasis Therme Erding: In Erding, not far from Munich, lies the largest thermal spa in the world, which is really worthwhile despite the steep admission price. For me, a visit at least once a year was absolutely essential when I lived in Bavaria. Turquoise water, palm trees, cocktails in the pool and a terrific sauna landscape with a great programme and wellness oases let you come down wonderfully. But there are also a whole 27 water slides in the associated adventure pool, where you can spend the whole day on 2,700 metres. Therme Erding is the destination in Bavaria for everyone for whom a whole day of wellness is pure joie de vivre.
  4. Bräustüberl Weihenstephan: The beer garden in the middle of the campus of the Chair of Brewing Technology on Weihenstephaner Berg offers a great view over the town of Freising and the countryside. As the oldest brewery in the world, the Weihenstephan State Brewery has been brewing beer for almost 1000 years, now many different varieties. Before or after the stop, you can still stroll through the pretty town of Freising and let the excursion come to an end.
  5. Place of pilgrimage and economic asset Andechs Monastery: Since the Middle Ages, many people have made an annual pilgrimage to Andechs. Back then, a relic was the main reason, today it is the highly praised beer for many. The 1.5-hour hike from Herrsching up the mountain to Andechs Monastery through the shady Kiental valley is recommended. Once there, there is the pilgrimage church, magnificently decorated inside in Rococo style, the brewery and a traditional monastery inn. There you can also buy monastery schnapps, freshly baked bread, pretzels and freshly prepared local delicacies to take home.
  6. Bavaria’s largest lake with magnificent castle: Fantastic nature, the Kampenwand, caves and a magnificent castle: Bavaria’s largest lake, Chiemsee, offers several destinations in Bavaria that are well worth a visit. The most magnificent of these is Herrenchiemsee Castle. Lake Chiemsee lies picturesquely against the backdrop of the foothills of the Alps, and in the middle of the lake is the island of Herrenchiemsee. On it stands the most magnificent and last castle with its gardens, built by the fairytale king Ludwig II, whose 20 state rooms can be visited. He set himself the insane goal of surpassing Versailles Palace, which served as a model for Herrenchiemsee.
  7. Boating on Lake Königssee: In the Berchtesgaden National Park, Lake Königssee is nestled in the mountains with its steeply falling rock faces. To explore the beautiful nature around the lake, you have to take an electric boat. It glides silently in about 35 minutes to the other end of the lake to the Salet stop. Only from there can you reach the picturesque Obersee, an amazing photo motif. The boat trip also includes the captain performing the famous Echso am Königssee and blowing the trumpet. It’s worth stopping at the church of St. Bartholomä on the way there or back and taking a walk to the ice chapel or along the lake. However, you should not miss the last ride, a private ride costs around 250 euros!
  8. Viewing peak Jenner: On the Jenner, an amazing view over the Berchtesgadener Land with Königssee and Watzmann awaits you. A particularly beautiful hike goes from Schönau am Königssee around 1200 metres in altitude to the summit. From the Hinterbrand car park, you can also take a shorter hike to the Jenner, which only requires 690 metres in altitude and 8.4 kilometres. But if you don’t want to hike, you can also take the Jenner cable car and ride up to the summit, which is around 1,800 metres high.
  9. Fateful mountain Watzmann: The Watzmann crossing is one of the most beautiful hiking tours in the German Alps, but it is demanding. Climbing and crossing the 3 Watzmann peaks is considered the royal tour of the Bavarian Alps and is only feasible for fit and experienced mountaineers. If you want to take it easy, I recommend the hike to the Watzmannhaus from the Wimbachbrücke in Ramsau.
  10. Original Old Town Oberammergau: Urige, Bavarian paintings on the house facades, carvings, onion domes and pretty alleyways with historic buildings. Oberammergau is a picture-perfect little town of 5,500 people where woodcarving has been a tradition since the Middle Ages. It is one of the destinations in Bavaria that is best known for the passion plays that take place there every 10 years. it is a wonderful place to stop for a bite to eat, stroll through the pretty alleyways and browse through the shops of the many artisans.
  11. Partnachklamm in Garmisch Partenkirchen: I have done more than a dozen gorge hikes in Bavaria, but the Partnachklamm has topped them all. In winter, it offers a breathtaking natural spectacle when the water streaming down solidifies into metre-long bizarre icicles. From the Garmisch Partenkirchen car park, it takes about 20 minutes to walk to the Partnachklamm gorge or take a horse-drawn carriage. The gorge is about 700m through tunnels and passages.
  12. Idyllic Linderhof Castle: Linderhof Castle is another magnificent building built by the fairytale king Ludwig II. The castle itself can be visited in the summer months, but the main reason to come here is the 19th century park surrounding the castle. It is rightly considered one of the most beautiful of its time!
  13. On Germany’s highest peak: On the summit of the Zugspitze, at 2962 m, you get a fantastic 360-degree panoramic view of around 400 mountain peaks. There is also Germany’s highest beer garden, although it can be mercilessly crowded during the holidays. The gondola ride up to the Zugspitz glacier is one of the most popular best places to visit in Bavaria and you should definitely buy tickets online in advance – otherwise you might not get one on site! Even more grandiose is the ascent on foot for experienced hikers or for the less experienced with a state-certified mountain guide.
  14. Wildly romantic Höllentalklamm: The Hammersbach cuts deep into the mountains and tumbles over boulders, tumbling and foaming into pools. The Höllentalklamm is the imposing big sister of the Partnachklamm and is only open in the summer half-year and only when the weather permits. The walls of the Höllentalklamm are almost twice as high as those of the Partnachklamm and the nature is spectacular. From the Hammersbach car park, you have to cover around 3 kilometres and 300 metres in altitude until you reach the gorge.
  15. Ridge hike from Heimgarten to Herzogstand: The ridge hike between the peaks of two of Munich’s local mountains offers a wonderful panoramic view and is not difficult. The hike starts at the car park of the Herzogstandbahn in the direction of Heimgarten and leads first to Heimgarten and then along the ridge on the Höhenweg to the summit of Herzogstand. The view from the summit of the Herzogstand is fantastic and you can stop at the mountain inn before starting the descent.

The 10 Best Places to Visit in Eastern Bavaria

Weltenburg Monastery is idyllically located in a bend of the Danube and is one of the most beautiful excursion destinations in Bavaria that you can reach by boat

Idyllic Weltenburg Monastery on the Danube

Endless forests, Europe’s second largest river and mighty mountains characterise rural Eastern Bavaria. Eastern Bavaria comprises the districts of Upper Palatinate and Lower Bavaria and borders Upper Bavaria to the west and the Czech Republic and Austria to the west.

The cultural hotspot of the Upper Palatinate is the cathedral city of Regensburg with its fabulous old town. The Upper Palatinate is also known as the castle country of Bavaria, built by rulers in the most beautiful places. Popular cultural attractions in Lower Bavaria are the three-river city of Passau and the medieval Traunsitz Castle near Landshut. In addition, there are special excursion destinations in Eastern Bavaria to discover, such as one of the most beautiful dripstone caves and castle ruins on granite rock towers.

The most beautiful excursion destinations in Eastern Bavaria are sorted according to the districts of Upper Palatinate and Lower Bavaria: Excursion destinations 1-5 are in Upper Palatinate and 6-10 in Lower Bavaria.

Leo von Klenze built the Valhalla to the east of Regensburg

King Ludwig I had the Valhalla built from 1842

  1. Cathedral city Regensburg: Regensburg has a beautiful medieval old town with colourful houses, the Gothic St. Peter’s Cathedral and the famous Stone Bridge, nice pubs and bars and many students. The old town has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2006 and was important as a trading town in Roman times and especially in the Middle Ages. Regensburg is worthwhile both for strolling and sightseeing and for a night-time pub crawl.
  2. National Monument Valhalla in Donaustauf: Imposing and mighty, a temple rises on pillars above the Danube. Valhalla is one of the most important German national monuments of the 19th century. It was erected by Ludwig I as a memorial to important German personalities, who were immortalised there with commemorative plaques or busts.
  3. Weissenstein Castle Ruin in the Steinwald:The Weißenstein Castle Ruin sits enthroned on the 863m high Weißenstein near Waldershof in the northern Upper Palatinate in the Steinwald mountain range. From the castle tower you have a wonderful view over the Bavarian Forest. Historically, the castle did not play a major role. What makes it unique and one of the most beautiful castles in the Upper Palatinate is its location: it is enthroned on bizarre granite rock towers, which were included in the base and walls of the castle complex during construction.
  4. Old town of Amberg: Around the small town of Amberg, the town wall stretches as a ring with its four historic gates. It has a beautiful old town with a historic market square, town spectacles and the electoral castle, which today houses the district administration office. The Vils flows directly through the old town, which is why some Bavarians also call Amberg the Venice of the Upper Palatinate.
  5. King Otto Dripstone Cave near Velburg: One of the most beautiful dripstone caves in Germany was discovered on the name day of the Bavarian King Otto and named after him. The King Otto Stalactite Cave is a natural karst cave and was formed in the Jurassic Malm. On a 40-minute guided tour, you can visit the fascinating interior of the hall cave with its stalactites.
  6. Great Arber in the Bavarian Forest: The “King of the Bavarian Forest” is called the Great Arber and lies half in Lower Bavaria and half in the Upper Palatinate. It is the highest mountain in this forest. The Great Arber has four peaks in total, which can be hiked from all sides along a network of paths. Alternatively, you can take the cable car up to the mountain station at Aberschutzhaus. A beautiful hike goes from Bodenmais via the Rieloch Falls to the summit of the Arber. he view from the main summit, the Richard-Wagner-Kopf over the Bavarian-Bohemian border area is fantastic.
  7. Boat trip through the Weltenburg Narrows to Weltenburg Monastery: Between Kelheim and Weltenburg Monastery in the picturesque Altmühl Valley lies an impressive Danube breakthrough in the middle of a nature reserve. By boat or a “Zille”, a traditional fishing boat on the Danube, you can experience one of the most scenic Lower Bavarian excursion destinations from the water from Kelheim to Weltenburg Monastery. The Benedictine monastery of Weltenburg is picturesquely situated in a Danube gorge and owns the oldest monastery brewery in the world and its dark beer has been awarded several times as the best dark beer in the world at the World Beer Cup.
  8. Castle Trausnitz in Landshut: Towering above Landshut is the imposing Trausnitz castle complex built in the Middle Ages, which experienced its heyday in the 15th century as the Bavarian ducal court of the Wittelsbach dynasty. The view over the roofs of Landshut alone is worth it! Ludwig X modernised it in the 16th century as a Renaissance palace – it has been rebuilt several times to this day. In modern times, it served as barracks, a prison for nobles, a military hospital and a cholera hospital. Today, you can discover beautiful details from the different eras everywhere at Trausnitz Castle, and it is one of the most beautiful castles in Bavaria. The castle is home to a Chamber of Art and Curiosities, which houses works of art from the Renaissance, much like the historical Chambers of Art and Curiosities.
  9. Tree treetop field trail in the Bavarian Forest National Park: A wooden skeleton in the shape of an egg stands in the middle of the forest near Neuschönau. At least that’s how it looks from a distance. The wooden construction leads steadily up to above the treetops and is equipped with adventure elements such as wobbly backs, balancing beams and rope bridges and information boards. At about half the height, you can enjoy the beautiful Bavarian Forest in peace and quiet until you reach the tree tower at a height of 44 metres, offering a magnificent view over the Bavarian Forest. You can stop for a bite to eat in the forest restaurant below the tree-top walk.
  10. Three-river city of Passau: The Danube, Ilz and Inn flow together in Passau from three cardinal directions and continue together in the fourth cardinal direction. This is not the case in any other city in the world! Charming alleys, baroque buildings and the historic St. Stephan’s Cathedral form the beautiful old town of the university city. Also worth a visit is the Veste Oberhaus, a medieval castle complex that towers over Passau, and the New Episcopal Residence with the cathedral treasury.

The 10 Most Beautiful Best Places in Allgäu and Bavarian Swabia

Germany's largest state is rich in world-famous excursion destinations in Bavaria

Neuschwanstein Castle in Allgäu is one of the world-famous best places to visit in Bavaria

Idyllic old towns with half-timbered houses, splendid residences and magnificent buildings, fairytale castles, thundering gorges, picturesque lakes against the backdrop of the German Alps: Bavarian Swabia with the Allgäu is one of the most beautiful regions in the whole of Germany and offers many sights worth seeing. The romantic road also leads from Franconia to Füssen with some highlights that are known beyond Germany’s borders. One of the most famous is the snow-white fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein, which is visited by around 1.5 million people every year and is the epitome of romantic eclecticism, beautifully framed in a mountain backdrop.

Culinarily, you can taste the Swabian influence on Bavarian cuisine in Bavarian Swabia: Kässpätzle with mountain cheese and Krautkrapfen, Speckknödel, Flädlesuppe are typical of the local cuisine.

The most beautiful 10 Swabian best places to visit in Bavaria are sorted by excursion destinations in the south in Allgäu and in the north in Bavarian Swabia: Excursion destinations 1-7 are in the Allgäu and 8-10 in the Swabian part of the Free State of Bavaria.

The Nebelhorn in the Allgäu near Oberstdorf offers one of the most beautiful hikes in the German Alps

Highlight in the Allgäu: The view from the Nebelhorn

  1. Lindau Old Town and Harbour: Lindau on Lake Constance has a charming old town with pretty, colourful, crooked houses and winding alleys. The heart of the old town is Maximillianstraße with the beautiful Gothic town hall, Bismarckplatz and some of the oldest patrician houses from the Middle Ages. The town lies on the eastern shore of Lake Constance on a harbour island and its harbour with the lion and lighthouse and the beautiful harbour promenade is one of the most beautiful in Germany. In summer, Lindau exudes a Mediterranean holiday feeling with its boutiques and fashion shops right on the waterfront
  2. Up to the Nebelhorn near Oberstdorf: Oberstdorf in the Bavarian Alps is famous for the Four Hills Tournament and some of the most beautiful hiking and skiing areas in Germany. Hiking from Oberstdorf through the Oytal to the Nebelhorn is one of the most beautiful hiking tours in the Allgäu: thundering waterfalls, green valleys, mountain meadows with gentian and bellflowers and the rugged mountains, that is the beautiful Oytal. However, the hike is classified as difficult and requires surefootedness in places. At 2,224m, the panoramic view of the Alps, Oberstdorf, Sonthofen and Kleinwalsertal is breathtaking. Alternatively, you can take the mountain railway from Oberstdorf up to the Nebelhorn.
  3. Breitachklamm gorge near Oberstdorf: Over 8000 years ago, the Breitach river bored its way through the rocks during the glacial melt of the last Ice Age. The result is the impressive deepest rock gorge in Central Europe. From Oberstdorf you can easily reach the two entrances to the gorge and walk through the narrow gorge, which is about 2.2 kilometres long and has overhanging rock walls up to 100 metres high, in about 1 hour. The Breitach river thunders over rocky banks, gurgles in pools and the finest droplets of spray or ice crystals waft around you in the glittering light as you hike. In summer and winter, this beautiful natural monument is one of the most beautiful destinations in Bavaria and one of the most impressive geotopes in Bavaria.
  4. Eistobel in Westallgäu: In winter, the Eistobel, a gorge through which the Obere Argen flows, is an incomparable sight. For several months, the waterfalls often freeze into ice. In spring to autumn, the water gurgles in the middle of the gorge with its 130-metre-high rock walls in strude holes and the river roars over huge boulders and falls in several cascades about 70 metres into the depths. You can hike the approximately 5-kilometre-long path through the gorge in 2 hours, for the way back with some steep passages you should plan another 1.5 hours.
  5. King’s Corner in the Allgäu: Around Füssen, Pfronten and Schwangau, there are so many fairytale castles and fortresses worth seeing that the term Königswinkel (King’s Corner) came into being in more recent times. Not only the world-famous fairytale castle Neuschwanstein, the most famous castle of Ludwig II, is enthroned here amidst a breathtaking mountain backdrop. From Neuschwanstein you can see the yellow Hohenschwangau Castle and the High Castle at your feet. The ruins of Falkenstein Castle were also planned by the construction-minded Ludwig II as a castle, and the ruins of Hohenfreyberg and Eisenberg are also well worth seeing. All are worth a visit and offer magnificent views over the hilly landscape with the Forggensee and Alpsee lakes and the Ammergau Alps! The main attraction and the most popular of the best places to visit in Bavaria is Neuschwanstein Castle, which you can get a picture-book view of from the Marienbrücke bridge.
  6. Old town of Füssen and the Lechfall:In Bavaria’s highest town, Füssen, the Via Augusta, the German Alpine Road and the Romantic Road come together. Grandly situated at the foot of the Ammergau Alps, the Lech flows through the beautiful old town with its lovely colourful half-timbered houses, the Heilig-Geist-Spitalkirche and the Benedictine monastery of St. Mang, which is well worth seeing. From the Hohes Schloss (High Castle), which towers above Füssen, you have a magnificent view over the roofs of the town. The roots of the town go back to Roman times and it reached its first heyday under Emperor Maximillian I and played an important role in the Bavarian War of Succession. It is worth taking a detour to the Lech Falls with its turquoise water, along which you can walk on a natural path to Austria.
  7. Boating on Lake Forggen: Bavaria’s fifth largest lake is an artificial reservoir. From June to October it reaches its full reservoir capacity and lies in the middle of the dream landscape with the Alps and royal castles and the silhouette of Füssen. On a boat trip you can relax and enjoy the wonderful views in all directions. Lake Forggensee is particularly impressive at alpenglow.
  8. Pompous Fuggerstadt Augsburg: Augsburg is one of the oldest cities in Germany and became a powerful and influential trading city under the Swabian merchant dynasty of the Fuggers. Jakob Fugger was quite rightly nicknamed “the rich man”: by today’s standards, his fortune was around 300 billion dollars – that was around 2 percent of Europe’s gross domestic product at the time! Even the Medici looked pale in comparison. Augsburg is still home to the world’s oldest social settlement, which is one of the main sights of the Fuggerstadt: the Fuggerei with its lanes of terraced houses and the Fugger Museum. Even today, Augsburg citizens live here for an annual rent of 88 cents! The most beautiful sights in the old town include Augsburg Cathedral, the Town Hall with the Town Hall Square, the Lech Quarter, Weavers’ House and Town Market and the city wall with its five city gates. Next to the Red Gate is the world’s most famous puppet theatre: the Augsburger Puppenkiste. There are children’s performances there in the afternoon and an evening programme for adults.
  9. Harburg Castle: On the romantic road, the magnificent Harburg Castle towers over the town of the same name. It is considered one of the best-preserved, largest and oldest castle complexes in southern Germany and looks back on an eventful history. like hardly any other castle complex, the medieval defence system with battlements, loopholes and pouring holes and many buildings are still preserved in their original condition. The former imperial castle withstood battles, sieges and wars and served rulers as a seat of government and residence. Emperors and kings were guests here. Today, Harburg Castle and Palace has buildings from the Romantic, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque periods.
  10. Oldtown of Nördlingen and Nördlinger Ries: Around 15 million years ago, a meteorite struck, the impact crater of which is called Nördlinger Ries. In the Nördlinger Ries lies the pretty town of Nördlingen, which has a beautiful town centre with buildings from the Middle Ages. The old town is still completely surrounded by the city wall, which can be walked around. The best way to explore the old town is with a signposted historical tour, which leads to the most important sights.

Short, crisp and compact, these were 50 tips for excursions to my favourite places in Bavaria. One thing is for sure: There are still many castles and monasteries, historic old towns, natural monuments, peaks, gorges, hidden lakes and Bavarian specialities waiting to be discovered in the Free State. You can find our highlights in our recommendations for Bavaria activities. Exciting adventures await you not only in Bavaria, but all over Germany! On Abenteuer Freundschaft you will find our adventure tests, tips for outings and ideas for activities with friends, activities for two or with the family. Life is made for exploring with your favourite people! 🙂

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