When one imagines the southern German province of Bavaria, it’s likely that snow-capped peaks, steins of beer, fairytale villages, and picturesque landscapes spring to mind – and you would not be wrong. Bavaria is quintessentially German, and its Alps are no exception. Peppered with charming traditional towns, beauty hides around every bend and the sights are plentiful. From diving into a cool, crisp lake in summer to hurtling down well-maintained pistes in winter, hotels in the Bavarian Alps provide unparalleled comfort and luxury in the heart of this romantic region.
The Bavarian Alps: A selection of idyllic destinations to explore
Füssen: The start (and end) of the Romantic Road
The small Bavarian town of Füssen is the start and end point of one of Germany’s most picturesque driving routes. The Romantic Road is a 217 mile-long scenic route which runs from the medieval town of Würzburg to the Bavarian Alps in the south. The road is littered with gorgeous German towns, rural country roads, and ancient churches and castles all ending in Füssen. With its chocolate-box center and Gothic Hohes Schloss (Higher Castle), the town provides ample access to traditional German culture. It is also one of the gateways to the natural surroundings Bavarian Alps, perfectly situating you moments from sublime hiking trails and beautiful views. A luxury hotel in Füssen also places you within minutes from the iconic Neuschwanstein Castle. The former residence for King Ludwig II of Bavaria, Neuschwanstein’s Romanesque-Revival architecture has inspired artists since its erection in the nineteenth-century. It has famously served as the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle.
Winter sports in the Bavarian Alps
No matter which Alpine retreat you choose, you are bound to be within a short distance from some of the best winter sports facilities in Germany. Spend a cozy weekend in a boutique hotel in the village of Oberstdorf – Germany’s southernmost settlement. While revered for its excellent hiking in warmer months, winter provides access to 130 kilometers of downhill slopes within five nearby regions, as well as 76 kilometers of cross-country trails – so you’re guaranteed to find something to suit your pace of life. The village itself is full of character, combining modern attractions with a traditional and friendly sense of community. Close to the hamlet of Oberstdorf is Oberstaufen. Nestled in a sweeping Alpine valley, the Oberstaufen region also offers guests some exceptional winter sport facilities, including exceptional downhill skiing, cross-country, and snow-shoeing. It is also possible to explore the landscape with an exceedingly romantic horse-drawn carriage ride through the snow.
Tegernsee, Chiemsee, and Lake Constance
While skiing, snowboarding, and cross country is definitely part of any itinerary during winter, summer in the Bavarian Alps provides an equal bounty of exciting activities. One of the best ways to enjoy a blissful summer in the Alps is to spend your vacation in a luxury hotel next to one of Bavaria’s stunning lakes. Directly south of Munich is Tegernsee, an expansive lake surrounded by the foothills of the Alpine mountain range. Featuring a Benedictine monastery, cycling routes, plenty of spas, and year-round festivals, Tegernsee is a perfect summer spot for the whole family. Chiemsee is another well-loved lake in southern Germany, famous for the Herreninsel (or Men’s Island) which houses another of King Ludwig II’s palaces. Families and couples love to spend their time here jumping into the crisp, cool water and hiking the surrounding peaks and valleys. The largest of Bavarian lakes is located on the border with Switzerland and Austria. Known for its striking beauty, hotels on near Lake Constance will not disappoint. Adventure seekers can cycle its circumference on the 261 kilometer-long "Bodensee-Radweg" trail, while those looking to unwind can enjoy a delicious glass of Franconian wine while admiring the view from their five-star hotel nestled in the Bavarian Alps.