Austria & Germany: Bavaria & the Tyrol

Guided Walking Tour, Austria and GermanyGuided Walking Tour, Austria and Germany

Austria & Germany

Bavaria & the Tyrol

overview

Brisk mountain air refreshes as you walk the scenic Alpine paths through rolling valleys and picturesque hamlets. Each village offers a new delight, such as King Ludwig’s extraordinary Schloss Linderhof castle with its Venus grotto, gardens, and tapestry chambers. Historic churches like the 18th-century Wieskirche, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the 14th-century onion spires of St. Bartholoma dot the mountain­sides. High trails in Alpach lead to soaring views, wildflower meadows, and tumbling waterfalls, while charming mountain villages like Neustift offer homemade lunches in Tyrolean tradition at centuries-old erbhof farmhouses. Indulge in kaffee and kuchen (cakes) at local cafés; sip fresh German ale in a beer garden. Hear flugel­horns at Echo Wall on the emerald waters of the Königssee, and browse the medieval riches of Innsbruck. Kick up your heels at an evening of Bavarian music, and don’t miss the special Sound of Music tour showcasing Salzburg’s unique history.

2014 Downloadable Itinerary

2015 Downloadable Itinerary

Activity Level
Easy to moderate;
4-8 miles daily
Meet
Munich, Germany
Depart
Salzburg, Austria
Reading List
Recommended
pre-trip reading
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From our blog

Guided Walking 
8 days, 7 nights Trip Includes 

Trip Includes

  • Two expert, local guides (for groups of 8 or more), with you 24/7
  • All meals except for 2 dinners; local wine or beer included with dinners
  • All accommodations (with private bathrooms) while on tour
  • Transportation from the meeting to the departure point
  • Entrance fees and special events as noted in the itinerary
  • The unbeatable and cumulative experience of the Country Walkers staff
per person double occupancy
Solo surcharge + $0
 

2014 Single supplement + $450
2015 Single supplement + $475
Call 800.234.6900 to book this trip.

REQUEST RESERVATION
Number of Travelers
Total in your party
Price From
per person double occupancy

Call 800.234.6900 to book this trip.

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Itinerary and Accommodations

Days
Destination
1
Mittenwald
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2
Mittenwald
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3
Neustift
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4
Neustift
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5
Schönau am Königsee
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6
Schönau am Königsee
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7
Schönau am Königsee
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8
Schönau am Königsee
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Day 1

Mittenwald

Arrival in Munich. Transfer to southern Bavaria. Linderhof Castle and Wieskirche visits. Mittenwald guided tour; 2-3 miles, easy

You meet your guides in Munich and drive an hour south out of the valley and into the Ammergauer Alps, home to two of King Ludwig’s famous fairytale castles. The first stop is Schloss Linderhof, Ludwig’s only fully completed castle, built in homage to Louis XIV. Here you tour the manmade Venus Grotto (inspired by a scene from a Wagner opera), the interior, and the extensive gardens.

Nearing lunchtime, a half-hour’s drive brings you to Wies, home to the magnificent Wieskirche (“Church in the Meadow”). Built in 1746 by the artist Dominikus Zimmerman, this secluded UNESCO World Heritage site is a masterpiece of Bavarian Rococo architecture, and a destination for pilgrims, who are drawn to a wooden statue of Christ, said to cry real tears. Arriving at a traditional Bavarian-Swabian restaurant just opposite the church, you enjoy a first lunch of hearty regional specialties, such as Bavarian Schweinebraten―roast pork accompanied by potato dumplings and cabbage.

Following lunch and a guided tour of the Wieskirche, just over an hour’s drive takes you to the outskirts of Mittenwald, a charming Bavarian village nestled in the German Alps and your home for the next two nights. From the outskirts of the village, you descend into town on foot, your view framed by the mountain backdrop of the Karwendel massif. Described in 1786 by the German writer Goethe as a “living picture book,” Mittenwald features narrow lanes leading into the historic town center with its elegant shops, open-air cafés, homes adorned with overhanging eaves, flowering balconies, and colorful wall paintings―a local art form called Lüftlmalerei dating from the 18th century. While most of these elaborate frescoes are based on biblical themes, others recount the rich history of the area and portray the peaceful everyday life of mountain folk. At the heart of town stands the 18th-century parish church, one of the finest churches in the Bavarian Alps. Just outside the church is a memorial to Matthias Klotz, who introduced violin making to Mittenwald in 1684, making the town one of the world’s most important centers of this highly specialized craft.

Arriving at your hotel, a former post office along the town’s main pedestrian street, there is time to unpack and relax before gathering for a welcome cocktail and orientation meeting, followed by a dinner of regional specialties at the hotel.

Post Hotel Mittenwald

Mittenwald, Germany

A former post office dating back to 1632, this charming Bavarian-style chalet hotel offers the finest lodging in town, two restaurants, sun terrace, indoor swimming pool, and Finnish sauna. Located on the main pedestrian street of Mittenwald, it is within walking distance of the town’s many shops, restaurants, and cafés.

Day 2

Mittenwald

Mittenwald to Elmau; 5 miles, easy. Elmau to Klais; 4 miles, easy

Following a buffet breakfast, you set off on foot for the day’s walk into the neighboring Elmau Valley. Strolling past the picturesque homes of Mittenwald, you soon arrive at the outskirts of town and begin a gentle yet steady ascent through the woods alongside the Laintal Creek and past small waterfalls. The narrow trail soon opens up to a wider, packed gravel track and the Elmau Valley. Stretched between the Wetterstein and Karwendel mountains, this scenic valley is lined with pristine timber forests, wildflower meadows, brooks, and lakes.

You break for lunch at the historic Ferchensee Inn, a family-owned institution for over 85 years. Seated on the outdoor terrace overlooking Lake Ferchensee (weather permitting), you may choose from a number of local specialties―perhaps a dish of delicious homemade dumplings or freshly caught trout.

This afternoon, you have the option of transferring back to Mittenwald to relax, browse its many shops, or possibly visit the Geigenbaumuseum (Museum of Violin Making), housed in one of Mittenwald’s oldest and most charming houses. Alternatively, you may continue on the four-mile afternoon walking option that passes the Elmau and Kranzback castles, ending in the enchanting village of Klais. Arriving at a cozy café, you are welcomed by our friends and bakers, Claudia and Wilfried, onto the panoramic terrace for a Kaffee mit Kuchen break (coffee and cake). Klais is home to Germany’s highest intercity train station, where you board a train for the eight-minute scenic ride back to Mittenwald.

Dinner this evening is on your own; you may choose from a range of restaurants or welcoming beer gardens offering Bavarian specialties or international dishes, all a short walk from the hotel.

Post Hotel Mittenwald

Mittenwald, Germany

A former post office dating back to 1632, this charming Bavarian-style chalet hotel offers the finest lodging in town, two restaurants, sun terrace, indoor swimming pool, and Finnish sauna. Located on the main pedestrian street of Mittenwald, it is within walking distance of the town’s many shops, restaurants, and cafés.

Day 3

Neustift

Transfer to Neustift. Stubai Glacier Walk (optional and weather permitting); 1 hour, moderate, 1,000-ft. elevation loss. Neustift countryside; 2-4 miles, easy

Today a 1½-hour drive delivers you across the border into Austria, where you venture south into the Stubaital Valley, home to craggy mountain peaks and the mighty Stubai glacier. The drive through the Stubaital takes you past tranquil farm meadows, mountain slopes forested with larch and pine, thundering waterfalls, and the traditional Tyrolean villages of Schönberg, Mieders, Telfes, Fulpmes, and Neustift. Reaching the end of the broad valley, you board the Stubaier Gletschebahn gondola for a ride up 10,500 feet to the “Top of the Tyrol.” From the summit observation deck, a stunning panorama unfolds with views of the Ötztal mountains (including the second-highest peak in Austria), to the Stubaier Alpen, and the Dolomites. Here you are met by a local glacier guide and begin the descent on ice to the mid-station (crampons are provided). For those not inclined to participate in the glacier walk, there is an option to take a return gondola ride to the base.

Lunch is a short drive away down the valley at an inviting traditional Tyrolean alm (a working farm that provides meals for hikers), where an array of typical sausages and cheeses are laid out, as well as soup with dumplings and a thick berry pancake for dessert. Afterwards, you may decide to continue straight to your hotel in the charming mountain town of Neustift to enjoy the hotel spa facilities or to explore the streets and specialty shops of the town on your own. Alternatively, the afternoon walking option begins on the outskirts of town, passing by centuries-old working farms and mountain peaks, and arrives into Neustift by midafternoon. A short walk around this classic ski and hiker’s village concludes with a visit to its remarkable Baroque parish church. Tyrol’s second-largest church outside of Innsbruck, its rich interior is decorated with frescoes by well-known masters, and ornate metal headstones grace its graveyard.

You arrive at your hotel, a lovely Tyrolean property located just on the outskirts of town, with ample time to relax before reuniting for dinner at your hotel’s cozy restaurant.

Alpenhotel Tirolerhof

Neustift, Austria

A seven-minute walk from the town center, this elegant Tyrolean family hotel features a warm and inviting interior, all modern amenities, restaurant and bar, an outdoor swimming pool, and extensive spa area with numerous saunas, steam baths, lounge areas, and massage facilities.

Day 4

Neustift

Pinnis Valley and Besinnungsweg trail; 4-6 miles, moderate, 1,640-ft. elevation loss. Additional option of 1½ miles, moderate to challenging. Evening Innsbruck guided city tour; 1 hour, easy

Breaking from routine, you leave the hotel without breakfast and drive 20 minutes to the Karalm (a traditional alm) for a hearty country breakfast of eggs, cheeses, sausages, and homemade jams and honey served by your hosts, Maria and Armin. Situated on a high plateau in one of the most beautiful side valleys of the Stubai valley—the Pinnis Valley—the Karalm sits in the highest pastureland at the foot of the mountain massif of the Habicht or “Hawk Mountain” (10,750 feet), the highest in the eastern Stubai region.

From the Karalm (at an elevation of 5,730 feet), you begin a gentle descent of the Pinnis Valley, surrounded by a panorama of craggy peaks, alpine vistas and, along the smooth path, wildflowers such as Bavarian gentian and bluebells. A golden eagle may pass overhead and, with luck, you may spot mountain goats and marmots. Continuing on for a few hours, you arrive for lunch at the stunningly situated Issenangeralm at about 4,500 feet, with breathtaking views from the terrace, and a wide-ranging menu of Tyrolean traditional food, including fresh trout.

Afterward, from the inn, you continue along the wooded Besinnungsweg (“Trail of Reflection”)—as its name implies, a meditation trail with a series of benches, carvings, and boards inviting visitors to take a seat, breathe, and enjoy the beautiful views. Short (1½-hour) and longer (2½-hour) options are offered, both reaching their endpoint in Neder, on the outskirts of Neustift, where a transfer is provided back to the hotel.

This evening, after some time to relax back at your hotel, a half-hour’s drive brings you to the magical city of Innsbruck, appreciated for its combination of urban sophistication and Alpine charm. A guided city tour brings you across the Maria-Theresien Strasse, considered one of the most beautiful streets in Europe, and through Innsbruck’s picturesque medieval city center—other highlights are the Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof) and Stadtturm (city tower).

Following this stroll, you dine on Austrian classics, such as Wienerschnitzel and cheese dumplings, in the heart of the old city.

Alpenhotel Tirolerhof

Neustift, Austria

A seven-minute walk from the town center, this elegant Tyrolean family hotel features a warm and inviting interior, all modern amenities, restaurant and bar, an outdoor swimming pool, and extensive spa area with numerous saunas, steam baths, lounge areas, and massage facilities.

Day 5

Schönau am Königsee

Transfer to Schönau am Königsee. Alpbachtal; 2.5 miles, easy to moderate

Today you leave the Stubaital and drive along the wide Inn Valley to another Tyrolean side valley, the Alpbachtal (which takes its name from the Alpbach stream that flows through the entire valley). The walking destination for the day is Alpbach, voted Austria’s most beautiful village for its magnificent display of authentic Tyrolean architecture and flowers. Another “hiker’s village,” Alpbach offers endless walking options with numerous lifts and extensive footpaths. Today’s lunch features Tyrolean fare in an Alpine Erbhof, a centuries-old farmhouse that has been in the family for hundreds of years and is specifically designed to welcome hikers on their way.

Time permitting, you visit historic Rattenberg, a tiny medieval town on the Inn River, famous for its glass-making tradition, that features museums, a pedestrian shopping zone, artisans at work, and another opportunity to relax over a refreshing drink.

In the late afternoon, returning back to Germany, you arrive at your country-style hotel in the Berchtesgaden area. Tonight, you dine independently, either enjoying your hotel’s excellent cuisine or dining at one of the restaurants in town, with guidance and transport from your guides.

Alpenhotel Zechmeisterlehen

Schönau am Königsee, Germany

Situated in a picturesque Alpine meadow outside of town, this lovely four-star property features comfortable accommodations with flower-filled balconies, a spa, and indoor and outdoor swimming pools.

Day 6

Schönau am Königsee

Lake Königsee and Berchtesgaden National Park; 4 miles, easy to moderate

The morning begins with a short drive to the Königsee, a deep fjord-like lake with emerald green water flanked by the Walzmann mountain range. Königsee, literally “King’s Lake,” is in the heart of Berchtesgaden National Park and was a favorite retreat of Bavarian kings for many generations. Riding in an electric boat, you glide silently for about five miles, stopping along the way at the famous “echo wall” to listen to the Flugelhorn (trumpet) played in a serene mountain setting. The boat also docks at the 17th-century pilgrimage church of St. Bartholomä with its onion domes and red-domed roof, built in Baroque style with a floor plan modeled on Salzburg Cathedral. Until the beginning of the 19th century it was the summer seat for the prince abbots of Berchtesgaden, later a hunting castle of Bavarian kings, and today an inn and restaurant. Off the boat, you begin a walk to Obersee, a small lake that was once part of the Königsee until it was cut off by a large landslide. Nearing the end of the meadow, the Hagen Mountains are reflected in the crystal clear waters of the lake. Continuing on for another 45 minutes, you reach the idyllic mountain pasture, Fischunkel, surrounded by a natural amphitheater. Depending on the weather and route chosen, lunch could be authentic Bavarian fare in a traditional alm or a trailside picnic lunch. An additional (optional) 30 minutes brings you to the Röthbach Waterfall―the highest waterfall in Germany―plunging 1,540 feet.

Retracing the route to the boat, the scenic hour-long ride returns to the lake’s opposite shore. Rounding off the day’s adventure, you drive into the historic center of Berchtesgaden for independent touring and strolling (with maps provided by your guides) before reuniting for a Heimatabend, a traditional Bavarian evening of music and dancing at a favorite and historic local pub. Beer has been brewed here since the 17th century, and it continues to flow accompanied by music, dancing, and huge platters of local specialties—“Prost!

Alpenhotel Zechmeisterlehen

Schönau am Königsee, Germany

Situated in a picturesque Alpine meadow outside of town, this lovely four-star property features comfortable accommodations with flower-filled balconies, a spa, and indoor and outdoor swimming pools.

Day 7

Schönau am Königsee

Ramsau Countryside and Lake Hintersee; 7 miles, easy to moderate, 600-ft. elevation gain and loss

The walk today starts in Ramsau at the Ramsauer Pfarrkirche church, one of the region’s most-photographed spots. Many painters, including amateur painter Dwight D. Eisenhower, have captured the beauty of this setting from the opposite side of the stream where you begin the walk. The route takes you through the Zauberwald (“Magic Forest”) with its garden gnomes, ancient trees, and moss-covered boulders. The halfway point is Lake Hintersee, a source of inspiration to many German artists at the end of the 19th century.

Nearby, lunch is served at a local inn, and later, the remainder of the walk takes you around the lake and into an open meadow with sweeping views of the Reiteralpe, Hochkalter, and Hoher peaks. You enter the forest once more and return to the starting point. There is plenty of time to relax at the hotel and indulge in the spa facilities before reuniting for a final celebratory dinner in the hotel’s dining room.

Alpenhotel Zechmeisterlehen

Schönau am Königsee, Germany

Situated in a picturesque Alpine meadow outside of town, this lovely four-star property features comfortable accommodations with flower-filled balconies, a spa, and indoor and outdoor swimming pools.

Day 8

Schönau am Königsee

Transfer to Salzburg. Guided city tour; 3 hours, easy. Departure from Salzburg

A short drive returns you to Austria for a special “Sound of Music” tour featuring the history, architectural sights, and cultural highlights of Salzburg, along with some of the main locations used in the film. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, the city of Salzburg is well known for its association with the arts, in particular with music and its famous son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Upon completion of this tour, you bid farewell at the central train station, where you may continue your exploration of this fascinating city, or depart at leisure for your next destination.

 

Itinerary Disclaimer

Bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary, and the actual activities, sites, and accommodations may vary due to season, special events, weather, or transportation schedules. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance, and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and your experience. If you are currently booked on a CW adventure, an itinerary has been sent to you for your exact departure date. Please call CW at 800.464.9255 if you have any questions about the exact itinerary or hotels selected for any of our tours.

Guides

Christian Gleirscher

Born and raised in the Stubai Alps of Austria, Christian has always enjoyed playing and working in the mountains. He started his career in the tourism industry as a ski and snowboard instructor, and then became an accredited hiking guide. As a young adult, Christian was part of the Austrian National Team of Mountain Running, and has participated in several major marathons. Nowadays he divides his time between Austria and Poland, promoting his home region by attending trade shows, leading press tours, and collaborating with a local hotel and the Stubai Tourism Office.

Dominik Gleirscher

A native of Austria’s Stubai Valley, Dominik lives and breathes mountains. In the summertime, as an accredited hiking guide, in addition to guiding CW guests in the Bavarian and Austrian Alps, he is a member of the rigorous Tyrolian mountain rescue squad. He spends all his time on the mountains in the winter also—as a ski instructor and ski racing coach, as well as an examiner for both the Tyrolian and the Austrian Ski School Association.

Guest Comments

P. Sims, Texas, June 2013

As usual, CW met my expectations and am taking another one this September (this one will be my 13th trip). I love hiking and eating and CW plans everything so beautifully.

K. Barrowclough, New York, June 2013

Our guides were residents of our destination, which is so important. They knew the area so well and also knew many of the people we came into contact with. Having local guides is one of the reasons why we have traveled numerous times w/ CW.

J. Obee, North Carolina, June 2013

Our guide, Christian, was so accommodating and his passion for the area was inspiring! Every hike was a memorable experience:) The view from our room at each location was amazing! We also enjoyed our guides at King Ludwig's Palace, Innsbruck and Salzburg. This trip was for our 35th wedding anniversary and it could not have been better!!

J. Bauer, Michigan, September 2012

Christian and Dominick Gleirscher were the best guides we have experienced to date with CW! They love where they live and it was obvious that their relationships with others have enabled them to produce a tour that serves guests well! They worked exceptionally well as a team and are exceptional human beings. We had the good fortune to meet their father and see some of their other family members, including Barkley, Dominick's dog. It was an honor to be with them. 

G. Wood, Washington, June 2012

The quality of the itinerary was only exceeded by the professionalism and personal attention of our guides. The accommodations, the friendliness of the German and Austrian people, and the food were wonderful.

P. Matzek, Illinois, June 2012

Amazing alpine scenery. The most personable local guides imaginable. We had uniquely Bavarian and Tyrolean experiences on this trip!

G. Oberta, Texas, August 2012

This tour absolutely gave us a strong sense of place. The food, scenery, knowledge shared from our guide, and lovely walks through varied terrain all combined to make a wonderful tour that demonstrated the true essence of Bavaria and the Tyrol.

W. Clifton, Georgia, September 2011

This was the vacation of a lifetime!

J. Anderson,California, September 2011

Great guides and incredible scenery. Towering mountains reflected in mountain lakes, trailside lunches, and real Bavarian gemutlichkeit!

B. Harrison, Georgia, September 2011

Beautiful country, scenery, and history. Excellent guides.

M. Kirby, California, September 2011

This was a great tour on some of the most beautiful mountains and villages in the world.

L. Lake, Massachusetts, June 2011

As always, this was an excellent vacation with CW, from the walks, to the guides, to the food, and overall experience.

M. Bisenius, Virginia, September 2011

Walking through the Alps was an exceptional experience. The views everywhere were breathtaking, and the history of the region was evident everywhere.

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