The German Alpine Road

Monday, July 24, 2017



The German Alpenstrasse, also known as the German Alpine Road, is a series of roads winding through the Bavarian Alps. It features breathtaking sceneries, weaving through Bavarian towns and castles.

While researching for my Germany road trip last winter, I ended with two roads, the Romantic Road and the German Alpine Road. Unlike the Romantic Road, there were limited articles on the German Alpine Road, but the few articles promised spectacular sceneries.





I've made some changes to the original German Alpine Road, and included some parts of Austria. If you were to look at the map, the German Alpine Road is shown in pink. I've mapped out my road trip in blue and it included Innsbruck, Salzburg and Hallstatt.

I've included a video of the entire road trip at the bottom of the post so should you wish to see some of the footage, scroll all the way below :)

Hopfen Am See

Our first stop from Munich was to Hopfen Am See, a small town north of Fussen. The only reason why we ended up in this small town was because we were looking for an accommodation near the Neuschwanstein Castle.



While most people skip Hopfen Am See, this was one of my favourite places throughout the entire road trip. We found a really scenic place to capture some amazing photos. The best part about the place is that it's such a hidden gem, there is hardly any tourists around snatching the photogenic spots and you can spend hours just snapping away.



Honestly, it was a really lucky find for us. We arrived in the accommodation after nightfall and we never quite expect anything from this small town since nobody actually talked about it. And the next morning, we opened the curtains and saw this breathtaking view. It was definitely a great start to our road trip.



Neuschwanstein Castle

The picturesque castle, that has become the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty castle, is one of the most famous and visited castles in Germany.



To get into the castle, you have to get tickets at the ticket center before either walking up the mountain or opting the bus or horse carriage. Each ticket has a specific entry time that it follows strictly. We decided to stroll up the castle and it took approximately 20 minutes to walk up.
 

No photography is allowed in the castle but you can snap some photos for remembrance on the castle grounds.
 

And if you want the iconic photo of the castle that you see everywhere, there's a road that leads up to the bridge behind the castle. Something they don't tell you is that the bridge is filled with humans, trying to take a photo of the castle.



And if you were to turn around, the view is equally magnificent and you'll be able to see the other lesser-known castle with the Alps in the backdrop.


If you are feeling adventurous, you can even go off the beaten path and do a short climb up the hill after crossing the bridge to admire the castle from afar without crowds of tourists asking you to move out of the photos.

Innsbruck

After visiting the iconic castle, we drove down to Innsbruck. The thing about driving in Austria is that you need a vignette, a highway toll sticker. You can avoid paying for the vignette if you drive on small roads and skip the highways, but we figured we'll be driving in Austria for quite a bit so why not get the vignette?
    

Innsbruck, the Capital of the Alps, definitely lived to its name. The city is right in the valley of the Alps and everywhere you turn, you see amazing mountain backdrops against the buildings. I'm not a city girl but I've never been so in love with a city.



One of the things I look forward the most to visiting Austria was to get my hands on their wiener schnitzel once again. I absolutely love them when I last visited Vienna and I have been dreaming of returning to Austria to relive my tastebuds. And I lost track of the number of times I ordered wiener schnitzel while I was travelling there then.



Nordkette

Being right in the valley of the Alps, you are minutes away from Nordkette, a mountain range named the Jewel of the Alps. You can hop on the cable car (which is included in the Innsbruck Card) right from the city center and you'll be on the top of the mountains in 20 minutes.



The cable car takes you right to Hafelekar at 2256m. There, you can have your lunch on one of the many benches while overlooking Innsbruck. It snowed the night before we went up Nordkette so everywhere was white.



Once you've reached the end of the cable car, you can continue to do a short little climb up to the peak. Whether you decide to stop at where the cable car brings you or to climb to the top, the view is magnificent.



We were lucky because the weather was amazingly clear and we were greeted with an endless view of the Alps. There were occasions when the wind comes along, loaded with snow and ice, and can be quite piercing to the skin.



After the amazing view up in the Alps in Innsbruck, we were on the move again, heading East towards Salzburg. The roads along the way were beautiful and it snowed the night before, blanketing the whole place in white.



The beauty of road trips is that you get to stop at wherever and whenever you want. And that's when you find hidden gems along the way, away from the crowds and tourists.



We made a detour to Lake Schwarzsee in Austria. While the lake is not a popular spot, we were just looking for a place to have a scenic romantic walk and Lake Schwarzsee was a lovely place to do that. I can only imagine the place to be really pretty in Summer.



Berchtesgaden

The best stretch of the German Alpine Road is the last part towards Berchtesgaden. The scenic road was amazingly beautiful.

Berchtesgaden is a picturesque town in the Bavarian Alps. South of Berchtesgaden, you can find Eagles Nest, also known as Hitler's summer hideout. The Eagles Nest is closed in winter so there was no way we could actually visit it.
    


Konigssee, one of the most beautiful lakes in Germany, is another spot to visit if you're driving along the road. Famous among tourists, it can get pretty crowded especially during Summer.
 

You can hop on the boat ride in Konigsee which takes you across the lake. We had a pretty bad weather for a boat ride but we still decided to give it a go, since we have already travelled so far for it.



The fog did give our photos a different vibe and feeling to them. However, we could hardly see anything when we were out in the lake as the windows were engulfed in fog. It was a pity though, since we were expecting really beautiful views of the lake and the Alpine cliffs.



The boat ride has two stops along the lake and we got off at the St. Bartholomew's Church. There was really nothing much to be seen in the area and I wouldn't allocate too much time for this place.



Salzburg

We drove to Salzburg after spending our day in Berchtesgaden. Salzburg, known as the birthplace of Mozart and the setting for The Sound of Music.



Salzburg's old town, Altstadt, can easily be explored by foot as most attractions are within walking distance. There are so many places to visit in Salzburg. Mirabell Palace and Gardens, Hohensalzburg Castle, and Salzburg Cathedral are some of my favourite points of interest.



When we were there, they had Christmas markets in Residenzplatz and it was so beautiful to walk around with the Christmas air.



Hallstatt

One of my favourite stops from the road trip was Hallstatt. Hallstatt is just a quick drive from Salzburg, which makes it a perfect day trip option. 

Along the way to Hallstatt, there are also a couple of scenic towns, St Gilgen and Strobl, that may be worth spending a few moments there. 



It's so easy to lose track of time in Hallstatt as you make your way through the town, admiring the 16th century Alpine buildings. There are plenty of cafes in the town but we never really found a place with exceptional food or service.



We decided to go for the Skywalk, which sits 350 meters above the town Hallstatt. There's a railway up to the Skywalk but it was not opened in Winter. Thus, we hiked our way up, with much difficulties trying to find the entrance to the hiking path.



I honestly wasn't expecting to be hiking anything that day because I wasn't paying attention to the itinerary for Hallstatt. Thus, I was in really bad footwear for hiking.



We also never expected the path up to be covered in ice. It was so slippery, both on the way up and down, and we have both fallen down countless times along the way. Doesn't help that it was dark when we were making our way down.



The views were rewarding, even before you reach the top of the Skywalk.



And as you make your way higher, you can see the entire Hallstatt town overlooking the Alps and lake.



And finally, the Skywalk, rewards you with a breathtaking view of Hallstatt and the Alps. I'm expecting this place to be pretty crowded when the railway is working but since it was winter and everything was closed, we had the whole Skywalk to ourselves.

It makes a lovely place to watch the sunset too and while the sun was rather shy that day, we managed to catch the skies changing and it was a beautiful sight.



Hallstatt was our final stop as we made our way back to Munich the next day, ending our 8 days road trip across the Bavarian and Austrian Alps.

I've been on a couple of road trips and I think this has to be one of my favourites. It was such a scenic drive and there was never a moment when we were disappointed with the scenery or place.

If you would like to check out how our road trip went, video's below :)



Thank you for reading and if you have any questions on my trip, feel free to contact me :)

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2 comments

  1. Hi Michelle,

    Lovely blog you have. Enjoy reading it. I heard Germany has no speed limits. Is it true? If it is, how was your experience driving with no speed limits like? Is it safe?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sam,

      Yes, there are no speed limits on German highways. It can get pretty scary at times because everyone is travelling at such fast speeds. However, the highways are wide and generally straight so it was easy to drive along. Just be really careful and do not make any sudden lane switching as cars may appear all of a sudden.

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