Oberammergau
It takes a village!

Geranium-decorated houses, church and an inn. Lots of local culture, traditional costumes and brass band music. These alpine villages are easy to reach by train and bus and are ideal starting points for outdoor activities in the mountains around them

Reading time: 15 minutes

10 Charming Bavarian Mountain Villages

1

Mountaineers Village: Kreuth

Kreuth, south of Lake Tegernsee, has just under 4,000 inhabitants and was first mentioned in a document in 1184. It lies at 800 metres in the valley of the Weißach River, one of the most important valley landscapes of the northern edge of the Alps. The village is surrounded by the Tegernsee Mountains and the Mangfall Mountains. The village has been a "climatic health resort" since 1971. The nearby Wildbad Kreuth, a classicist building, with its sulphur spring was used as a spa until 1973.

Kreuth bears the title of "mountain climbers' village", which requires a sustainable approach to the scenic and cultural heritage. Hikers, mountaineers, climbers or mountain bikers can enjoy flower fields and floodplains, gentle mountain slopes, challenging peaks and spectacular rock faces. The highest peak is the Halserspitze at 1,862 metres.

Other hiking peaks: Hirschberg (1,668 metres), Risserkogel (1,826 metres) and Rossstein and Buchstein (1,698 / 1,701 metres). Alpine club huts invite you to stop for refreshments: Tegernseer Hütte (1,650 metres), Gufferthütte (1,575 metres) and Lenggrieser Hütte (1,338 metres). The nearby Lake Tegernsee with its recreational opportunities is recommended as an excursion destination. The four-day hut tour around the mountain village is a special experience!

Reachable by train and bus
kreuth.de

Alphorn player Hans Thaler near Bayerischzell, below the Wendelstein mountain

2

Versatile: Bayrischzell

The beautiful townscape, known from the German TV series "Frühling", and the quiet location without through traffic are not the only plus points of Bayrischzell. The village of 2,000 inhabitants is situated at an altitude of 800 metres in the Mangfall Mountains in the district of Miesbach, at the beginning of the Leitzach Valley and at the northern exit of the Ursprung Valley, which leads all the way to Tyrol. You can also reach Bayrischzell directly by train from Munich. From the baroque village church you have a beautiful view of the Wendelstein, whose summit can be reached on foot or by cable car.

The Sudelfeld  pass, part of the German Alpine Road, leads up to an attractive and versatile ski area. In the valley, a wide network of cross-country ski trails awaits skaters and classic skiers. Worthwhile hiking destinations include the beautifully situated mountain lakes Soinsee and Spitzingsee which is also a skiing area in winter, as well as the highest mountain in the area, the 1,884-metre-high Rotwand. Many alpine pastures and huts invite you to stop for a bite to eat.

In summer, the nearby Lake Schliersee is a great place for swimming, stand-up paddling or boating or you can refresh yourself in the village's own open-air alpine swimming pool. Gliders take off from Geitau airfield, paragliders from Oberes Sudelfeld. The many people in traditional costume that you see in the village are striking, after all, the "Gebirgstrachten-Erhaltungsverein" (Mountain Costume Preservation Society) was founded in Bayrischzell in 1883. The first of its kind in Bavaria!

Reachable by train
bayrischzell.de

Kräuterlehre bei einer geführten Wildkräuterwanderung

3

Sun Valley: Jachenau

The village of Jachenau lies at an altitude of just under 800 metres between Bad Tölz and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, east of Lake Walchen and south of the Benediktenwand (1,801 metres). The community with its approximately one thousand inhabitants is a scattered settlement with many parts, the parish church of St. Nikolaus is in the Berg district.

"Jachenau" is also the name given to the 15-kilometre-long green valley of the Jachen River in which the village lies. Due to its west-east orientation, it enjoys continuous sunshine from morning to evening in summer and is therefore also called "Sun Valley". In summer and autumn, hikers are attracted by exciting destinations and catered alpine pastures, the Benediktenwand crossing is a particular highlight for those who are in good shape. Tip: You can learn a lot about nature on guided wild herb walks along the Jachen.

Herbal products are available at the village shop. Cyclists and mountain bikers will find delightful tours for every taste. Swimming and water sports of all kinds can be enjoyed at Lake Walchensee. In winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoe hiking are favourite activities.

Reachable by train and bus
jachenau.de (only in German)

Wallgau municipality

4

Picturesque: Wallgau

In the upper Isar valley in Werdenfelser Land, 15 kilometres east of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Wallgau lies at an altitude of 866 metres, surrounded by the Karwendel Mountains, Ester Mountains and Wetterstein mountains. The village has about 1,400 inhabitants and looks back on 1250 years of history. Rustic farmhouses and façades decorated with artistic so called Lüftl paintings, real eye-catchers! – give it its typical Upper Bavarian charm.

Traditions are kept alive with many festivals, traditional costumes and Bavarian folk music, from the setting up of the maypole to the St. John's fire and the driving down of the mountain pastures. Between Wallgau and the Sylvenstein reservoir, the Isar is a real wild river, constantly changing its course and creating a unique landscape. Walking and cycling routes lead to alpine pastures, lakes and peaks. The hiking network is extensive, the paths lead through untouched, original mountain landscapes.

Tip: The easy Magdalena Neuner Panorama Trail leads from the town hall to the Maxhütte mountain inn and, in addition to information about the successful biathlete's career, offers magnificent views of the mountain panorama. Also beautiful: the small Krepelschrofen, Wallgau's local mountain, and the beautiful old farmhouses at its foot. There are also numerous lakes to visit in summer (see also Krün).

Reachable by bus and train
wallgau.de

5

Pearl of the Isar River: Lenggries

Surrounded by mountains, Lenggries lies at an altitude of just under 700 metres in the beautiful Isar angle south of Bad Tölz and not far from the Karwendel Mountains. The town's name is derived from "langer Gries", the huge gravel banks in the riverbed of the Isar. To the east rise the Tegernsee mountains, to the west the local mountain, the 1,555 metre high Brauneck, a well-known hiking and skiing area.

The alpine landscape around Lenggries is diverse: high moors, lush green meadows, forested mountains and rugged rock. There is a wide range of activities on offer, from the natural outdoor swimming pool to the bike park and the high ropes course. The nature around Lenggries is a hiker's paradise with many alpine pastures and mountain huts. The highest mountain is the Schafreuter in the Karwendel at 2,106 metres. In the south lies the fjord-like Sylvenstein reservoir with opportunities for swimming, stand-up paddling, kayaking and more.

Traditional costume is still a matter of course in Lenggries, particularly impressive to experience at festivals such as Corpus Christi or Leonhardi. The festivals are always framed by singing and brass music, which can also be experienced every week at the spa concerts. You can find out a lot of interesting facts about Lenggries in the local history museum on the town hall square.

Reachable by train
lenggries.de

Municipality of Krün in Alpenwelt Karwendel

6

Pebble Region: Krün

Like neighbour Wallgau, Krün has a long history. The village was first mentioned in 1294. It shares with Wallgau the Upper Bavarian charm with its Lüftl paintings, baroque village church with onion tower and cultivation of customs. But here’s something you can only find here: The Obama bench in front of the town hall, where the American president and Chancellor Merkel paused for pretzels and wheat beer during the G7 summit in 2015!

In summer, ten wonderfully clear lakes, including Barmsee, Geroldsee or Grubsee, refresh bathers. And on the Isar Nature Experience Trail you can learn a lot about flora and fauna and rafting. On the pebble nature trail along the Isar – ideal for families! – amateur geologists learn interesting facts about the region. Children can play with the pebbles.

If you continue along the Isar towards Wallgau to the Auhütte (Mountain hut), you can taste the innkeeper's home-baked bread and enjoy the view of the Isar valley and the Wetterstein mountains. Like Wallgau, Krün is an ideal starting point for alpine hiking or mountain bike tours into the Karwendel, Ester, Wetterstein and Soiern mountains. In winter, you can cross the wild river landscape on the Canada cross-country ski trail.

Reachable by train and bus
kruen.de

AlspiX: Viewing Platform on the Alpspitze

7

Spectacular: Grainau

Southwest of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, at the foot of the almost 3,000-metre-high Zugspitze massif, Grainau is 758 metres above sea level, an ideal base for hikers. The high alpine landscapes of the surrounding area with their forests, lakes and rock worlds are considered the most spectacular hiking region in Bavaria: Karwendel, Estergebirge, Wetterstein or Ammergau Alps, the choice of tours is huge. The level ranges from family hikes to via ferrata. If desired, mountain railways make the ascent and descent easier, alpine pastures and huts invite you to stop for a bite to eat.

A must is, of course, the Zuspitze. Alpinists go on foot, but you can also "ascend" with the new cable car or the rack railway. The view from the Alpspix platform on the Osterfelderkopf below the Alpspitze is breathtaking. In summer, the crystal-clear Eibsee lake is a great place to swim.

Not far away is the refreshing Höllentalklamm gorge, which can be reached from the eastern end of the village, or the Partnachklamm gorge a few kilometres further on. In winter, the entire outdoor variety is available to active people: Ice skating, cross-country skiing, tobogganing, curling, ski tours, snowshoeing, winter hiking and of course alpine skiing. The latter in two areas at once: Zugspitze and Garmisch Classic.

Reachable by train
grainau.de

Mountain village Ohlstadt

8

Relaxing: Ohlstadt

For thousands of years, people have settled on the edge of the Alps between Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the lake paradise of Staffelsee, Kochelsee and Walchensee. In Ohlstadt, situated at an altitude of 665 metres at the foot of the Heimgarten (1,790 metres) and in the valley of the Loisach River, finds even go back to the Celts. Today, guests find peace, relaxation and plenty of nature in the pretty village with its two baroque churches. Flat, charming hiking trails such as those in the Murnauer Moos (marsh) alternate with mountain tours, for example up to the Heimgarten with a catered mountain hut.

In summer, a solar-powered outdoor pool offers refreshment. In winter you can go cross-country skiing, ice skating, curling or tobogganing. Novice skiers can try their hand at a practice slope with a drag lift. Ohlstadt became famous for its successful bobsledders, who won a gold medal in Sapporo in 1972. Famous artists such as Max Beckmann and Ludwig Ganghofer were also guests in the village.

The painter Friedrich August von Kaulbach (1850-1920) even had a villa built for his summer retreat. Today it houses the village museum. Remarkable: For over 600 years, Ohlstadt was a centre of whetstone making. The quartz-containing stone was extracted from nearby quarries. In Ohlstadt or in the Glentleiten open-air museum (excursion tip!) you can visit a whetstone factory.

Reachable by train
ohlstadt.de (only in German)

View of Oberammergau from Mount Laber

9

With Passion: Oberammergau

The world-famous Passion Play village lies in the valley of the Ammer in the Ammergau Alps Nature Park at an altitude of 800 metres. It is easy to reach by train. Oberammergau is widely known for its Herrgottsschnitzer, woodcarvers who create works of art with Christian religious motifs, and house façades ornately decorated with the so called Lüftl paintings, such as those on the Mußldomahaus, Pilatushaus and Forsthaus. The baroque paintings depict Christian or everyday themes. The parish church of St. Peter and Paul is a fine example of southern German baroque.

Oberammergau is an ideal starting point for hikes from easy to challenging and for cycling tours. The Kolben chairlift and the nostalgic Laberberg cable car take guests comfortably up to heights full of views! Other activities include archery in a forest course, kayak and canoe tours on the River Ammer, fishing at Lake Soier and more.

Für Kulturinteressierte: Tagesausflüge führen zu den berühmten Königsschlössern Linderhof und Neuschwanstein sowie zur Wieskirche, ein UNESCO-Weltkulturerbe. Die Passionsspiele finden seit mehr als 350 Jahre regelmäßig alle zehn Jahre statt, zuletzt 2010. Und 2022 werden die Spiele von 2020 nachgeholt.

For those interested in culture: day trips take you to the famous royal castles of Linderhof and Neuschwanstein and to the Wieskirche (Pilgrimage Church of Wies), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Passion Plays have been held regularly every ten years for more than 350 years, most recently in 2010. And in 2022, the 2020 games will be made up for.

Reachable by train
ammergauer-alpen.de/oberammergau

Bad Kohlgrub

10

Healthy: Bad Kohlgrub

The village in the Ammergau Alps, at an altitude of a good 800 metres, is the highest moor spa in Germany. The local mountain is the almost 1,600-metre-high Hörnle. Thanks to hiking trails – also in winter –, a chair lift, a catered mountain hut, a prepared natural toboggan run and a ski slope as well as a ski touring ascent trail, the mountain is an attractive destination for outdoor enthusiasts all year round.

In addition, there are about thirty circular hiking trails in the surrounding area, including a moorland nature trail with a meditation area, and numerous cross-country ski trails in winter, such as the Große Rochusrunde between Bad Kohlgrub and the Soier lake. In the spa park, a herb bed with eighty plants, a Kneipp basin and a small barefoot path await visitors.

The alpine mountain pine moor of Bad Kohlgrub (and neighbour Bad Bayersoien) provides a valuable natural remedy: Moor baths or moor packs are administered in the spa and bathing establishments. These relieve the joints, have a positive effect on the whole organism and cause a deep warming of the body.

Reachable by train
ammergauer-alpen.de/bad-kohlgrub

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