Spend your day in the serene mountain landscape of the Bavarian Alps, where you can take in panoramic views, walk among brightly painted houses and traverse a deep gorge among sparkling waterfalls.
You’ll begin your day in Munich, driving down through the forested countryside to the mountains. A cable car will sweep you to the top of Herzogstand, which offers great views of this part of the mountain range. Continue to the resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, site of the 1936 Winter Olympics. You can walk cobblestone streets among ornate houses painted with frescoes, then take a tour of the stadium.
Finish your day by walking down to Partnach Gorge, a national park where a mountain stream has carved a deep, winding slot through the rock that extends for 702 m (2,303 ft). The paths through the gorge give you a safe way to view the natural wonders, including rapids and waterfalls that freeze to the walls in winter.
Your guide will meet you at your hotel in Munich and begin your drive into the Bavarian Alps. While the Alps in Germany are not the highest part of the mountain chain, they do rise suddenly from the green foothills, creating surprising views.
On your way, you’ll pass through some of Bavaria’s deep forests, quaint farming villages and tiny painted roadside chapels. This land is also dotted with lakes, including the glacial Lake Kochel or Kochelsee, which sits up against the base of a mountain and reflects its peak in its glassy surface.
You’ll make a stop in the town of Walchensee, based around another large and popular lake of the same name. A cable car will take you from town up to Herzogstand, a mountain peak that gives you panoramic views of the range around you. The restaurant at the top is a great place to get coffee and take in the views, or you can take some time to walk the trails.
When you come down, you’ll continue your drive over the mountains to the resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, on the Austrian border. The town is best known for having hosted the 1936 Winter Olympic Games in the early years of the Nazi regime, though the darker aspects of how Hitler used the Games to advance his agenda did not fully emerge until the Summer Games later that same year.
The tiny town — actually a combination of the two market towns of Garmisch and Partenkirchen — was incorporated as part of preparation for those Olympics, somewhat to the separate towns’ dismay. Today, it serves as a popular ski resort and host of several Alpine events.
The old town streets of the Partenkirchen side are lined with brightly painted houses, many decorated with frescoes, gold leaf and other ornamentation. You’ll have some free time here to wander among them and get lunch if you like. Afterward, you’ll drive to the nearby stadium to see the site of some of the Olympic events.
A short walk away is Partnach Gorge, a national park where a river has cut a deep, narrow slot through the mountain rock. The well-tended path leads you past waterfalls, rapids and still pools. At the end of the path is a place to sit and admire the views.