Munich, Bavarian Alps, Salzburg trip reccommendations
June 13, 2017 4:13 AM   Subscribe

At the end of July, we're doing a trip based on this blog post, with a few amendments - looking for ideas of things to do and see along the way that aren't featured in the blog post.

We'll be spending three nights in Munich, driving to Garmische Partenkirchen where we'll stay for four nights, and then driving to Salzburg and staying there for two nights before returning to Munich to fly home.

Looking for:

-recs on food/drink/interesting museums and sites in Munich. Likes: Hearty food, good beer, history (both natural and regular), science, tech, shopping for cookware and "antiques" (AKA interesting junk) but not clothes or chain stores. We're staying at a hotel near the station which is about £100 (€120) per night, but I'm not crazy about what the area looks like on Google street view. If anyone has a suggestion of something for a similar price in a nicer area that would be great too.

-Driving to Garmische Partenkirchen - anything to stop and look at along the way, including castles, gardens, historical sites and buildings, short walks, good places to eat.

-Garmische Partenkirchen - food, drink, shopping in the town, walks of up to a few hours (nothing requiring more equipment than a decent pair of boots and some water) and day trips anywhere within an hour's drive. I particularly like walks through woodland and anything water-adjacent.

And then the same sort of recommendations for the drive from Garmische Partenkirchen>Salzburg, and recommendations for Salzburg itself.

Thanks in advance!
posted by cilantro to Travel & Transportation around Germany (13 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Deutsches Museum and Englischer Garten in Munich. Königssee and Kehlsteinhaus in Berchtesgaden.
posted by fmnr at 5:18 AM on June 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I moved to Garmisch-Partenkirchen from New Jersey a year ago, and this is the question I've been praying to answer. You're going to have a great time.

In Munich, there are a number of beer halls / breweries you could check out. There's also the English Garden, which has a big biergarten you might enjoy. (On preview: Yes.) You will not have a problem finding hearty food! I haven't spent a ton of time in Munich, though, so I'll focus my recs on Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

I'll split my discussion of shopping up into Garmisch vs. Partenkirchen. They're technically merged, but there are two distinct centers that each have their own personality.

The shopping in Garmisch is pretty good considering the size of the town, I think. Things are concentrated in the area from Marienplatz through the Am Kurpark pedestrian zone, past Mohrenplatz, and out past the park entrance/plaza/fountain area through Chamonixstrasse. There are a number of outdoor clothing/equipment stores if that's your thing (Sport Conrad is the biggest, then there's Jack Wolfskin—think North Face but with a cooler name). If you want to spend big on traditional dress (trachten)—lederhosen and dirndl—then Grasegger is the place to go. Even if you don't buy anything, I suggest going in there and looking around. Their stuff is absolutely gorgeous. Cheaper trachten can be had at Inntaler Trachtenwelt, although that's outside the main shopping area. They will still run you over a hundred Euros, though. For normal everyday fashion, my wife loves Kult, and there are a few more shops like that I'm not so familiar with.

I've spent less time in Partenkirchen, but you will definitely want to walk through the historic quarter there (Ludwigstrasse). It's beautiful and has some shopping.

Depending on the exact dates you're in town, you may intersect with Garmisch Festweek, which starts July 29. There's a big procession of a bunch of local traditional clubs, with marching bands and kids and adults in their best trachten, I believe that day. Then the rest of the week there's an Oktoberfest-style beer tent set up. That's absolutely something you should go see if you can.

For normal food & drink, the traditional Bavarian fare is widespread. My wife and I like Mohrenplatz and Wolpertinger a lot. There's also Zum Steirer Sepp, which is more expensive but offers a little extra on top of the usual. Wherever you go, if you want hearty, at some point order Schweinshaxn. It's usually translated to English as "pork knuckle," but it's a lot tastier than it sounds. Then of course you have various wursts and schnitzels as well. If you want a bit of American food, I'd suggest The Local Cure. It's a 15-minute walk outside the main downtown of Garmisch, but I like the prices and quality better than the recently-opened Shaka Burger Shack at Marienplatz.

For walks/hikes, the Garmisch-Partenkirchen tourism office has a good list of suggestions at the Tour Planner. Here are some of my favorites.

Up the Kramer mountain to St. Martins-Hutte. Before you get to the top, the view aren't great unless you detour to the Kriegergedächtniskapelle, which, do that because it's pretty interesting. The hike up to St. Martins-Hutte will get you sweating, huffing, and puffing, but of course at the top you can get some beverages and Bavarian food, along with excellent views.

Walking to the Riessersee is also nice—much less strenuous, and satisfies your water-adjacent preference (twice if you go up or come down past Aule Alm. There's a hotel and restaurant on the Riessersee as well.

The Partnachklamm (Partnach Gorge) is mentioned on the blog post you linked to, but it's worth reiterating how cool that walk is (and of course also water-adjacent, although you're somewhat high above it). After you're through, you can continue up the mountains on the left or right if you want something more strenuous. As an alternative, you can take the Eckbauerbahn to the top of the Eckbauer mountain (for—you guessed it—Bavarian food, beverages, and great views). From there, you can walk down off the mountain and through the Partnachklamm. (Buy your tickets at the "front" of the Partnachklamm after you're through.)

The Eibsee is in a nearby town called Grainau, maybe a 20 minute drive (or a hellish 45 minute bus ride). There is a walking trail all around the lake, and at any point you can crawl down to the rocks or beach and get in the water if that's what you're feeling. There is of course a cafeteria and biergarten there.

The Werdenfels Ruins are pretty interesting, and the walk up is through some nice woodland and past a pond. The marked route is probably easiest if you have a car. When my wife and I visited, we rode our bikes to the hotel downhill from the ruins (Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl), and then had to hike up a brief but steep section. The restaurant there doesn't have anything very substantial except for roast pork on Sundays/holidays, but the Kaiserschmarrn is excellent.

I know you said "minimal equipment," but you might up your enjoyment factor by renting an "e-bike." These are mountain bikes with an electric assist motor, and you can rent them by the day at several places in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. This place, for example, is marked in Google Maps as a ski shop, but in the summer it's an e-bike rental place ("E-Bike Verleih").

Okay, I think I should probably get back to work. If you want more Garmisch-Partenkirchen ideas, feel free to reply and/or MeMail me.
posted by dondiego87 at 5:25 AM on June 13, 2017 [11 favorites]

If you're going to Salzburg, you should tour the salt mine.
posted by maurreen at 6:41 AM on June 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you get a chance to attend a full concert Mass at Salzburg Cathedral, I highly recommend it! Looks like they are doing the Handel Theresienmesse on July 23 and the Mozart Credomesse on July 30. The Mozart mass was written for and originally performed in that cathedral; they are both pretty great. I got to hear the Mozart vespers and a Michael Haydn mass performed for Ascension Day a few weeks ago and it was very cool! YMMV depending on how you feel about attending mass in general and listening to homilies in German.
posted by mskyle at 7:54 AM on June 13, 2017

We went on holiday to Salzburg a few years back, and when looking for accommodation, found it was REALLY expensive in Salzburg itself, but much more reasonable over the border in Germany. So if you're driving from Garmisch to Salzburg you could stop short, in Bad Reichenhall, and stay in this luxurious imperial pile for the same price as a much worse hotel in Salzburg... It's a quiet resort full of elderly Germans taking the waters, if that appeals. Salzburg is then a short train ride away.
posted by altolinguistic at 8:43 AM on June 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

mrs. madcaptenor WILL NOT SHUT UP about the Deutsches Museum, and keeps trying to convince me that that alone is worth going to Munich for. She'll win just as soon as the airfare gods want us to go there.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:43 AM on June 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you have time, make your way to Imst and ride the longest sommerrodelbahn in Europe.

Alpine Coaster
posted by humboldt32 at 8:45 AM on June 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Adding a third vote for the Deutsches Museum in Munich - it's a really amazing exhibition of science and technology.

I was very impressed with the paintings of the Blue Rider group in the Lenbachhaus art museum.
posted by Azara at 9:10 AM on June 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Not to pile on, but the Deutsches Museum really is incredible. You know how guidebooks say "you can spend all day here and not see it all" about various things? The Louvre and the Deutsches Museum are the only places I've visited about which that is actually true.

We really liked Wirtshaus Zum Straubinger for dinner.

And we also stayed near the central train station in Munich - your google maps impression is correct, the area is not great. It's quick walk to the historic center, though, so if you can't find anything affordable that's more central, it's not the end of the world. We were at the Aloft and the room was huge and dead quiet, which was nice.
posted by something something at 9:15 AM on June 13, 2017

Oh also! Some of my family are in/around Walderalm right now and they seem to be having a blast and the instagram photos are gorgeous.
posted by mskyle at 9:48 AM on June 13, 2017

Sounds like a great trip!

Regarding sleeping Munich.: the area around the main train station is really not nice. It won't be dangerous to sleep there but if it were my vacation, I wouldn't want to spend any time in that area at all. Hotels can be very prices, so I'd go for an AirBnb. My friend rents out his place and I can wholeheartedly recommend it; ther area is perfect for visitors, it is super quiet and there is a great bakery for breakfast just across the street. If you want to check it out.

Two ideas for things to do in or around Munich, which I particularily love:

- bike tour to the Waldwirtschaft, a beer garden a bit outside of the city with many locals and a great atmosphere, especially on summer weekends. Bikes can easily be rented at several spots in the city.

- Go to the small town of Herrsching with the train S8 from the central station and then hike to the Andechs Monastery. The nature there is beautful, the hike easy, the monastery has a great view and delicous food.
posted by Fallbala at 9:55 AM on June 13, 2017

If you like Neverending Story, consider a tour of the Bavaria Filmstudios near Munich. You can ride on Falkor!
posted by Omnomnom at 10:21 AM on June 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I just returned from two weeks in Prague, Vienna and Milan. We drove from Vienna to Milan and stayed in Salzburg for a night. We didn't have much time there, but we did manage to squeeze in a visit to Schloss Hellbrunn, a bit south of Salzburg. This palace has lovely grounds and gardens, a zoo, and a museum, but we were there for two other things: the Wasserspiele (trick fountains) and a classic piece of movie memorabilia: the glass pavilion from the Sound of Music- think "16 Going on 17." (Note: the scene with the pavilion was filmed at Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, but the pavilion later had to be moved because the hotel was unable to cope with the tourist crush). We had a great time there! One tip if you go: don't wear flip-flops if you visit the trick fountains ... marble is very slick when it's wet.
posted by initapplette at 12:30 PM on June 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

« Older Non-Biblical Readings for an Infant Baptism   |   Who is the opposite of The Iceman (Wim Hof)? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.