It is a widely-held truth that the best route to wellness is through mountain air and a tranquil setting — and it is a Germany-wide held truth that the Bavarian Alps are the best place for this. A spa hotel near Germany’s southern border with Austria promises crisp mountain lakes, wonderful hiking trails, first-rate spa centers, and much more.
Where to stay at a spa hotel in the Bavarian Alps? Top destinations at a glance:
Allgäu: Picture-perfect Alpine landscapes
© Hotel Oberstdorf
Allgäu has the fairytale, classically Bavarian mountain scenes that you’re probably looking for: the Alps jut up in extreme severity from the lovely Alpine foothills, the lakes are sprawling and crystal clear, and the hospitality is warm and often carried out in a Dirndl. Securing the especially beautiful southwestern corner of Germany, Allgäu is also home to the famous fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle, in addition to a suite of other equally fantastic castles and castle grounds, among them the otherworldly Hohenschwangau. A spa hotel nearby in Füssen, which is also the ending point of the famous Romantic Road, or on lake Forggensee promises to keep the royal spirit alive: the rooms are airy and spacious, breakfast is enjoyed on the open-air patio, and the saunas are hot and restorative. Also in Allgäu is the truly awesome Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain — opt for a cable car ride up to the peak at 2,962 meters for 20 minutes of unforgettable views. The charming villages that dot the Allgäu Alps and speckle the base of the Zugspitze are characterized by traditional Bavarian eateries, idyllic atmospheres, and spa hotels that boast complete luxury in hotel-run breweries, heated outdoor pools, and/or innovative regional cuisine. Anywhere you stay in Allgäu is bound to have a view to write home about, an old-world ambiance, and myriad opportunities for hiking, skiing, and other wellness-oriented activities.
Berchtesgaden: Pure beauty and history
© Klosterhof – Alpine Hideaway & Spa For a particularly warm and beautiful welcome to all that is the Bavarian Alps, head to Berchtesgaden — from the out-of-this-world beautiful Königssee, the historically relevant and amazing Eagle’s Nest to the stunning Berchtesgaden National Park and the fascinating Salzbergwerk. The spa hotels in Berchtesgaden are created to provide the most therapeutic experience possible; one can feel this most potently with a coffee or cocktail on the patio overlooking Mount Watzmann, on a mountain bike ride, or during a long stint in the sauna to start the day. The ambiance of these establishments is meant to leave you feeling fresh and taken care of. The glacial lake Königssee is what you think about when you think about natural beauty — blue-green bliss and towering grey peaks as far as the eye can see. Take a boat trip across the crystal-clear water to experience this spectacle in its full. Just a few minutes away is the historically-charged Eagle’s Nest, which was built as a meeting point for members of the Third Reich, including Hitler; the history of which is illuminated in Dokumentation Obersalzburg, also nearby. From the “Summit of Power,” one can enjoy panoramic views of the whole of Berchtesgaden. A spa hotel tucked into the Bavarian Alps of Berchtesgaden and Berchtesgaden National Park is the perfect location to experience the unadulterated beauty and laid-back energy of the region.
Chiemgau Alps and Chiemsee: Wellness and hiking on the Bavarian Sea
Fans of winter sports, summer fun, and wellness-based stays should head to the Chiemgau Alps and Chiemsee, or the “Bavarian Sea." The castle-like or sprawling resort-style spa hotels boast modern design with a traditional flair, great locations in the mountains or with a view of them, and first-rate amenities like in-room fireplaces and lavish spa centers. Chiemsee is massive and beautiful, and is home to three islands, Herreninsel (gentlemen’s island), Fraueninsel (ladies’ island), which are both crisscrossed with lovely hiking trails, and the uninhabited Krautinsel (cabbage island). The area is primed for slow days spent biking and hiking around, breathing in the fresh lake air and taking in views of the surrounding Alpine landscape. Prien is the perfect location for a rejuvenating stay — the journey from this charming village to the lake via the cutesy Chiemseebahn train is an event in itself. Spend a day wandering the Herrenchiemsee Palace to get a feel for the royalty who once called this home, namely, Louis II, who also commissioned Neuschwanstein castle. With a view of the magical lake and the Chiemgau Alps as the backdrop, settle in for Käsespätzle, Knödel, or a Schweinshaxe (pork knuckle), and an ice-cold Bavarian beer before heading back to your spa hotel for an evening of total relaxation by the fireplace or in the jacuzzi.
Tegernsee: Leisure on the water
© Spa & Resort Bachmair Weissach Situated in Oberbayern, or Upper Bavaria, is Tegernsee, one of Germany’s favorites — totally beautiful in its bright blue grandeur and bright green surroundings, it is one of the top vacation destinations in Bavaria. The spa hotels lakeside were built for wellness, with balconies jutting out over the water, amazing saunas, and spacious outdoor or indoor pools. Tegernsee is where you’ll experience moments of true relaxation, as there’s not much else to do but take in the beautiful sights, appreciate the mountain and lake breezes, and lounge about in old-fashioned German establishments serving up fine Bavarian food and drink. A trip to this paradise is not complete without a leisurely boat ride out on the sea itself, a journey that’s sure to amaze. The secularized monastery on Tegernsee was once the summer residence of the first king of Bavaria, King Max I. Joseph; now, history buffs can get their fill in the extensive library in Tegernsee Abbey, which contains manuscripts and prints from the time of the Benedictine monks. Great also for a stay with the family, a spa hotel provides options for everyone, among them indoor swimming pools, various saunas and steam baths, chance for riding, sailing on the lake, skiing, or even kid’s clubs.
The Bavarian Alps are, like all of Germany, surprisingly well connected by train. Even some of the smaller mountain villages can be accessed via a local train from Munich or other larger cities in the region. You can also fly into Munich and rent a car there, but if you do, try to avoid picking it up directly at the airport as the airport rental agencies charge exuberant fees. You can take a train into town and pick one up there.
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