With its interesting blend of gorgeous scenery, distinct culture, and fun festivals, Bavaria is deservedly probably the most popular and famous parts of Germany. Famed for all manners of delights, including beer, sausages, skiing, and fanciful leather shorts, Bavaria is an iconic German destination filled with unique character.However, because the largest state in Germany, it provides so much more than people give the place credit; with intense amounts of culture and history flowing through its veins, Bavaria is home to a wealth of historic landmarks, UNESCO Heritage Sites, majestic music spectacles, fantasy castles, glistening lakes, and magical scenery straight out of a fairytale book. Thinking about sampling some superb specifics in that dream Germany trip? Then why not take a look at these wonderful things to see and do in Bavaria?
10 The Greatest Party in Europe: Oktoberfest Festival, Munich
Taking place over 16 to 18 days round the end of September or early October every year may be the biggest Volksfest on earth. The world-famous Oktoberfest draws in approximately six million people annually who descend in their droves to find out probably the most incredible beer-laden events the world has seen. Among Bavaria's most esteemed cultural festivities, this lively 200-year-old party has inspired its own international branches elsewhere in other countries. However, no matter how many other nations hold their very own Oktoberfest as an homage to the original, the best home of this boozy celebration is Munich – where the largest Oktoberfest occurs every year.
Think huge steins of beer, lots of characterful locals donned in lederhosen, and glorious Bavarian food within this massive Munich mega-party, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Also, foodie heaven, Oktoberfest's favorite German delicacies served in its various tents include Käsespätzle, Weißwurst, candied almonds, and pork knuckles among many others. What's more, there are also tons of traditional dancing and live music performances through the festival. Naturally, this enormous event can become quite loud and vivacious at times, so anyone fancying a break in between downing liters of frothy beer and dancing around the tables will find some respite within the Oide Wiesn area, where they are able to check out some of the preserved (and slightly more peaceful) older traditions of Oktoberfest.
9 Whizzing Winter Sports, Zugspitze
Germany's highest mountain of Zugspitze peaks at 2,920 meters above sea level, that makes it an epicenter for skiers not only to Germany, but also in Europe. As an exceedingly prolific place for winter sports – such as skiing, snowboarding, and tobogganing – it hosts the highest ski resort in the country with its 20 kilometers of pistes blanketed by natural snow coverage for approximately 6 months of the entire year.
Additionally, Zugspitze is not about skiing; visitors who aren't so keen on the thrill from the slopes can also have a fantastic time here surrounded by showstopping views. There's the highest church in Germany here, a number of mountain restaurants, an igloo village, and mesmeric vistas of three of Germany’s glaciers. Hikers will also love this a part of Bavaria; with a range of trails up to the summit peppered with food joints and lodging along the way, the trek to the peak can take everything from a few hours to a couple days with respect to the route and every adventurer's stamina. Fear not, for the unfit of folk can opt for a scenic cable car ride to the peak instead.
8 Magnificent Musical Performances At The Breathtaking Bayreuth Festival
What finer (and fancier) way to savor Bavaria and it is captivating culture than attending an opera festival that celebrates a legendary German composer? The annual Bayreuth Festival offers that exact opportunity, showcasing the magnificent pieces of the nineteenth-century composer, Richard Wagner. Actually, it was indeed Wagner himself who suggested a festival for his operas, and therefore, this formal, yearly event was birthed. His spectacular performances are locked in the Bayreuth Festspielhaus (Festival House), in which a gorgeous rococo-style theater is housed in its interiors. Interestingly, the entire building was erected for that sole reason for hosting Wagner's shows – even Wagner himself helped manage its construction.
Every summer, the fine establishment begins the month-long festival of Wagner's music and attracts a large number of his fans from all corners of the globe. The revered event is really popular that competition for both accommodation and tickets can get fiery – and it is not unusual for that ticket waiting list to become years long. Therefore, it's absolutely essential to book tickets, hotels, as well as restaurant reservations well ahead of time should attending this Bavarian sensation be on the cards.
7 Historic Hohenschwangau Castle
Among Germany's most seductive castles is Hohenschwangau Castle (or Schloss Hohenschwangau as it is known the german language) – a nineteenth-century palace located in the small village of its namesake, Hohenschwangau, near Fussen town. Historically, the castle was the childhood home of King Ludwig II of Bavaria and was built by his father, King Maximilian II who allegedly inspired Ludwig to build the encompassing enchanting Neuschwanstein Castle as well.
Reached through the local village, by passenger bus, or a more historically accurate mode of transport, horse-drawn carriage service, both Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein castles are simple to access and are well-served by local transportation. History buffs or anyone thinking about uncovering these castles' intriguing pasts and Ludwig's penchant for frills and fancies come in their element on the tour of the two – an experience that is available through various local operators.
6 Fairytale Fun At Neuschwanstein Castle
The sibling fortress of Hohenschwangau Castle, Neuschwanstein Castle, is the baby of King Ludwig, who constructed it as a personal retreat and in honor of the aforementioned German composer, Richard Wagner (some of the rooms within are in fact inspired by Wagner’s operas). And that is not the only prominent inspiration stemming in the regal property; funded from Ludwig's own fortune (along with some hefty borrowing), this fairytale castle's exterior provided the muse for Disney's Magic Kingdom, that is unsurprising given its dreamy architecture and magical aesthetic. Plus, its surreal location and heart-stopping panoramas may have lent some inspiration to Disney, too.
Naturally, the castle resembles a medieval palace externally, however, its interiors were modernized with nineteenth-century technological innovations. A number of its time-period installations include an early type of heating or even a battery-powered bell system for calling castle servants. Any visitors planning to tour this castle and its earlier mentioned sister should also know this: it attracts one and a half million visitors annually, the majority of whom come during the peak summertime of June, July, and August. So, like many Bavarian attractions, it's important to make tour and accommodation bookings well beforehand to prevent long waits (or really missing out altogether).
5 Art Abounds At Alte Pinakothek, Munich
In addition to copious levels of German beer and something of the finest parties on the planet, Munich offers its visitors an uncommon opportunity to observe many masterpieces of historic artists. The home of one the oldest galleries in the world, Alte Pinakothek showcases around 900 paintings at any given time, with a huge portion of them owned by a legendary assortment of Old Master paintings. Fascinatingly, the specific gallery pertains to the time period from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century, the duration once the paintings within this collection are intended.
The collection boasts legendary classics, including Rembrandt's Self Portrait and the Virgin and Child by Leonardo da Vinci to mention just two. Furthermore, in addition to this collection and it is treasures displayed, the gallery has thousands more under its care. However, not every the paintings are on show, that allows variety each time people visit, and new works happen to be rotated into the mix. There are permanent exhibitions in addition to intriguing temporary displays that pop up from time to time, with guided audio tours available to help lead visitors with the fine establishment's magnificent gems within.
4 Amazing Alpine Scenery At Königssee Lake, Berchtesgaden
Lake Königssee boasts Germany's third-deepest waters and is often proclaimed because the country's cleanest lake. Beautifully situated in the Berchtesgaden Alps right near the Austrian border, the river and its crystalline alpine waters and stunning natural surroundings was a mecca for tourists and hikers, so to help preserve the peace from the place, the federal government has only allowed pedal, row, and electric-powered boats around the lake since 1909.
Indeed, what great job officials did in protecting it and it is serene pure beauty; it is a nature lover's dream and it is undoubtedly one of Bavaria's most photogenic, tranquil spots. Despite being so quiet, there's still plenty to complete; visitors can also enjoy guided boat trips, a few of which stop off in the twelfth century St. Bartholomä Church. It's also worth noting that there are no paths around the lake due to such sheer-and-sharp cliff faces, which means the only method to explore it's via boat (which isn't bad by traveler's standards!)
3 Marvel At Margravial Opera House
Referred to in German as Markgräfliches Opernhaus, the Margravial Opera Home is certainly one of Europe's number of surviving theaters in the 1700s. Originally built between 1745 and 1750, this Baroque opera home is an official UNESCO World Heritage building and it is a majestic remnant of its era. Although it has been renovated and restored recently, the establishment's interiors still reflect the enchanting old-world great thing about it is time, making it worth a visit even when just to witness its marvel and take in the climate.
Visitors are invited to join guided tours should they wish to go inside, and even though tours are solely available in German, there's a pamphlet handed out that details information and sights in English. Obviously, your building still functions as a theater to this day, and something of the very most enriching ways to experience it is by watching a performance. Therefore, travelers mustn't forget to check on and find out if there are any shows happening throughout their planned visit.
2 Eye-Catching Views At Eagle’s Nest
The Eagle’s Nest (known as Kehlsteinhaus the german language) was originally constructed to become a private meeting location for Nazi party members. However, in lieu of its shady history, it's now an attractive place to go for both locals and tourists and hosts a sublime restaurant complete with a beautiful beer garden. Perched up high on a rocky outcrop overlooking Berchtesgaden town, rumor has it that Eagle’s Nest wasn't particularly popular with Hitler due to his vertigo, but today's visitors seemingly benefit from the place and its awe-inspiring vistas over the serene landscapes nonetheless.
To reach the Eagle's Nest, it's possible to drive towards the Documentation Center Obersalzberg car park and hike there, which takes about 2 hours. Alternatively, one can catch public transit and take an elevator up to the top. Additionally, it is important to understand before booking a Bavaria trip that this spot is only open from mid-May towards the end of October throughout the summer and spring seasons. Hotels book up quickly throughout this time, so make sure to reserve accommodation early should staying overnight here be around the bucket list.
1 Discoveries Delight At Deutsches Museum, Munich
Guaranteed to be a legendary day trip for families and kids, the Deutsches Museum in Munich is an interactive science and technology center having a unique hands-on attitude and approach to learning. The inspiring property houses an enormous array of diverse exhibitions, featuring everything from astronomy and technology to marine biology and much more, and the best part of, the main focus here's all on interactivity. All activities and demonstrations are made to fully engage and immerse all of the senses for any truly spectacular educational experience like no other.
Open seven days per week, the Deutsches Museum and its entourage of immersive wonders in unmissable for anybody visiting Munich. And do not worry if those Deutsch language skills aren't quite as much as scratch – the majority of the exhibit information signs and placards are displayed in both German and English.