In the most southern part of Bavaria and the southwesterly regions of the Allgäu you will find some of the most outstanding sights in the whole state. And the region has many culinary offers to delight visitors as well. Those who love an exciting drive with lots of hairpin bends and marvellous views must definitely put this tour through the Allgäu and on to Lake Chiemsee at the top of their itinerary.
The routeThe route starts in Oberstdorf, where some of the peaks of the Allgäu Alps soar above a height of 2000 metres. There are numerous lakes in the surrounding area, all of which are at different altitudes. From the village it is possible to reach any number of delightfully picturesque high valleys, which are extremely popular starting points for hikers setting off into the mountains. Slightly to the north you come to Sonthofen, which was voted “Alpine Town of the Year” in 2005. Then you turn off for Bad Hindelang, which is home to the picturesque Hotel Prinz-Luitpold-Bad, which opened its doors over 150 years ago and is famous far beyond Bavaria for its medicinal springs.
And here it is: The end of the village marks the beginning of the Oberjoch Pass. At an impressive 1178 metres high, you can now look forward to the first real hairpin bends of the day. By the time you reach Kempten, you’re ready for a break. Along with the Burghalde with the Allgäuer Burgenmuseum (Allgäu Castle Museum), the open-air stage and the scent garden, the historic Town Hall and the former Residence with Hofgarten (palace gardens) and orangery, a visit to Germany’s only hard cheese affineur is not to be missed.
About one hour’s drive away and easily the number one attraction in Bavaria: Neuschwanstein Castle at Füssen, which rises up impressively against the backdrop of the Tannheim mountains. You absolutely must pay the castle a visit, but make sure that you plan sufficient time for this.
The route continues along the German Alpine Road, taking you through breathtaking countryside in the direction of Oberammergau. Near to the town of Ettal you will find Linderhof Castle, where King Ludwig II spent several years of his life. It’s a little smaller than Neuschwanstein Castle, but it is beautifully furnished with magnificent gold decorations. The Abbey in Ettal is also well worth a visit, particularly as it has its own brewery.
Where’s the next stop? In Garmisch-Partenkirchen of course. This is where you set off for Lake Kochelsee, navigating the second extremely winding pass known as the Kesselbergstraße to descend to LakeWalchensee (still 858 metres above sea level). Yet before you head off in an easterly direction, we recommend that you take a break in Klais. This is where you will find the hotel Das Kranzbach at the foot of the Zugspitze – an impressive building in the style of an English country house and nowadays one of the best-known wellness hotels.
Past Sylvenstein and Tegernsee, you continue along wonderfully twisty country roads until you come to Prien on Lake Chiemsee. Take a boat across to the island of Herreninsel, where Herrenchiemsee New Palace definitely deserves a visit. It is said to have once been the Bavarian version of Versailles.
- Oberstdorf: Garni Hotel Geldernhaus and Das Freiberg
- Bad Hindelang: Hotel-Prinz-Luitpold-Bad
- Klais: Das Kranzbach
- Rottach-Egern am Tegernsee: Bachmair Weissach
Tips for excursions
- Royal palaces: Neuschwanstein Castle, Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee
- Unique Allgäu cheese: Thomas Breckle und Martin Rößle, Germany’s only hard cheese affineurs
- State exhibition "The Myth of Bavaria" in Ettal Abbey from 3 May to 4 November 2018