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Along the German Alpine Road

By: Cityseeker
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Known colloquially in Germany as the Queralpenstraße, this holiday road is not only one of the most scenic routes in all of Germany but also the oldest of its kind. The route winds exclusively through the Bavarian Alps and passes by some of Germany's most famous natural and manmade landmarks. Below is a list of sights that are bound to lure you on a wondrous journey along this world-famous Alpine roadway.


Oberammergau

Oberammergau is a charming Bavarian village tucked away in the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. For more than 380 years, the village has been putting on Passion Plays, a tradition that has continued as a result of a legendary vow. Mounted every ten years at the historic open-air Passion Play Theater, the plays attract many offbeat wanderers from all over the world to the sleepy town. Oberammergau is also famous for its wood-carving heritage along with being home to traditional craftsmen families, including potters, glass painters, and sculptors. Dotted with quaint cafes and local artisans' shops, Oberammergau is a beautiful mélange of art, tradition, and culture that awaits to be explored.

Oberammergau, Germany
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Ettal Abbey

Among the largest of its kind, Ettal Abbey is an active Benedictine abbey. Though it was established by Emperor Ludwig in 1330, it is the Baroque designs of the architect Enrico Zuccalli after 1744 that laid the foundation for the beautiful structure that stands today. Featuring a stunning façade, the monastery is regarded as one of the most prominent sacred destinations in the area. Visitors can visit the bookstore to peruse the titles on display, stroll through the picturesque monastery garden, or explore the distillery that produces the famous Ettaler Kloster Liqueur. Guided tours of the complex are also offered.

Ettal, Germany
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Werdenfelser Land

Located in Upper Bavaria, the Werdenfelser Land cradles a rich assemblage of natural and historical treasures. Named after the Werdenfels Castle, the region's prosperity during the Middle Ages has earned it the moniker of "Golden Land'. Stretching from Mittenwald to southern Farchant, certain parts of the mighty Bavarian Alps are a part of this picturesque region. Blessed with verdant valleys and castle ruins, the region is made up of several quaint Bavarian towns like Krun, Ettal and Murnau, to name a few.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
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Zugspitze

Not only is Zugspitze the highest mountain in Germany, but it is also the highest summit of the Wetterstein Mountains. The mountain towers at an impressive height of 2,962 meters (9718 feet) above sea level. A famed ski region, the area surrounding Zugspitze has a variety of activities and attractions on offer for both skiers and non-skiers. Cable cars run up the mountain, offering visitors a chance to take in spellbinding alpine views from this iconic peak.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
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Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a spa and ski town in the Oberbayern region of Germany. The town was originally made up of two separate towns, Garmisch and Partenkirchen, but have been brought together and functioning as one since 1935, when they were merged for the 1936 Winter Olympics. A premier destination for winter sports, this little town has a lot to offer visitors. Ski resorts and spas abound in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and Germany's highest mountain Zugspitze is accessible from here. There are plenty of opportunities to explore nature, go hiking, or simply relax at a world-class spa while taking in the stunning Alpine scenery.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
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Karwendelgebirge

The shallow lagoons of a primordial ocean formed the basis for the Alps. The Karwendel chain arose through tectonic displacements of the marine limestone deposits 200 million years ago. Since then wind, sun and water have weathered the stone. This has resulted in craggy peaks, steep rock faces and formations, such as the Vomperloch tributary valley which is popularly called the 'Grand Canyon' of the Karwendel Alpine Park. Hikers and mountain climbers will be rewarded with extraordinary views and wild unspoiled natural settings, but must also take rather difficult tours upon themselves.

Scharnitz, Austria
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Walchensee

A stunning spot of turquoise dominates the alpine landscape wedged between the Heimgarten and Herzogstand mountains. This is the stellar Walchensee, one of Germany's largest and deepest lakes. Endowed with spectacular natural beauty, the lake forms the habitat of various native flora and fauna, including crayfish and other migratory birds. With ample opportunities for hiking, picnicking, and other water sports, Walchensee is a must-visit attraction along the German Alpine Route.

Kochel am See, Germany
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Kochelsee

Lake Kochel lies at the periphery of the Bavarian Alps, in the municipality of Kochel am See as well as the Schlehdorf town. Its name comes from the Latin for cone, cocula, and it was created by the Loisach-Isar glacier. The glacial lake lies on the river Loisach and is surrounded in part by forests and in part by a bog-land. A spectacular natural formation, the scenic environs of the lake are ideal for hikers and outdoor lovers.

Kochel am See, Germany
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Benediktbeuern Abbey

With roots dating as far back as the 8th Century, Benediktbeuern Abbey is among the most revered religious edifices in the region. Spanning centuries of history, the monastery, which was consecrated to Saint Benedict and Saint James, serves as a residence for the Salesians of Don Bosco. A cultural symbol, various events, community services, festivals, and concerts are held here. The abbey comes to life during the Christmas and Easter celebrations, when locals and tourists alike flock to the grounds in large numbers.

Benediktbeuern, Germany
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Tegernsee

Located south-east of Munich, Lake Tegernsee has been a magnet for tourists for many years. The lake nestles at the bottom of a range of mountains which rise up from the water's edge, among them Wallberg and Risserkogel. Hikers will be well and truly in their element here, while those looking to relax will enjoy the lovely route to Schliersee. The lake is classified as a 'Zungenbecken' in geographical terms, also known as a tongue basin, and is believed to have been evolved during the ice age. Now part of a popular recreation area, the lake also serves as a point for boating activities.

Tegernsee, Germany
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Schliersee

Located about 10km east of Lake Tegernsee, Lake Schliersee is smaller, more romantic and just as popular with day-trippers. In the summer, tourists flock to the villages dotted around the lake for swimming, walking, cycling, boat-trips and health spas, as well as for skiing in the winter. Despite all that, the lake has remained relaxed, because of heavy restrictions on construction at the water's edge, so that the walk around the lake is still relatively unspoilt. The lake is surrounded by high, forested mountains, which are perfect for hiking. At the end of an energetic day, several restaurants and pubs tempt visitors in to sample their delicious (fish) suppers. The easiest way of reaching Lake Schliersee is by train and information is available at the main railway station.

Schliersee, Germany
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Herrenchiemsee New Palace

The Herrenchiemsee New Palace is one of the most intriguing places to visit on the island of Herreninsel. Drawing inspiration from the Palace of Versailles, the Neo-Baroque castle was built in the 19th Century. Commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, the palace was his way of showing admiration not only for the Palace of Versailles but also the French monarch King Louis XIV, as indicated by the resplendent Hall of Mirrors. Intricate marble carvings, chandeliers and gilded designs in the Rococo style, ballrooms, and bedrooms reflect the grandeur of the royal Bavarian life. With sprawling gardens embellished by fountains and marble sculptures, the palace is bound to evoke awe among visitors.

Chiemsee, Germany
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