GERMAN ALPINE ROAD 🇩🇪
The German Alpine Road in the Bavarian Alps (german: Deutsche Hochalpenstrasse) is Germany's oldest holiday route. Travelling the route is a wonderful experience all year round.
The route is made of 450 scenic kilometres (280 miles) running parallel to the Austrian border between Lindau at the Bodensee (Lake Constance) in the west, all the way to Lake Königssee near Berchtesgaden in the east of Bavaria. Literally ending only a stone throw away from the baroque town of Salzburg.
Carving its way past numerous shimmering lakes, green meadows, gorgeous alpine panoramas, rugged mountains, magnificent castles, rejuvenating wellness resorts, sun-drenched meadows, lush valleys and rustic farms.
The scenic road trip is truly introducing you to the stunning Alpine landscapes and the uniquely rich Bavarian culture in the south of Germany. Beer gardens, lederhosen, green pastures, glimmering lakes, fairylike castles and traditional villages: Bavaria is sprawled with numerous charming things to discover along the way.
Along the route iconic attractions are featured, like a number of magnificent castles. For example the 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace: Neuschwanstein Castle — also Germany's most visited attraction.
The German Alpine Road is easy to travel, even for nervous drivers. Lanes are wide, speed-limits are generous and with the good built quality an enjoyable journey is guaranteed. Occasional hill climbs and a few twists paired with fast sweeping straights make the road a real pleasure to drive.
For driving purists we recommend to divert off the German Alpine Road occasionally and cross border into Austria to upgrade your driving experience here and there with on of the high alpine passes close by.
A BIT OF HISTORY
The oldest touring road in Germany follows the journey as the Bavarian King Maximillian II conducted in 1858. 21 years later in 1879 the publication of a historical travel log spoke about the route.
It was in 1927 that the medical officer Dr. Knorz had the idea to connect the valleys along the Austrian-Bavarian border and said: „The transition of the Bavarian Alps, from Lindau to Berchtesgaden, is outstanding beauty which the travelling public should see."
Later Hitler made the road one of his prestige projects and had the German Touring Club drew up plans by 1932. A year later the first constructions took place and existing streets were included, other parts built completely new.
By 1939 approximately 275 km / 170 miles of road were complete. During WWII the project lost importance to the regime and it was only in 1960 that the full 450 KM were finally completed.
Start off at Lake Constance that is shared among Germany, Austria and Switzerland at the lake side town of Lindau and drive into the Allgäu Mountains via curving, twisting roads.
Near Oberstaufen pass the crystal-clear waters of the alpine lake of Grosser Alpsee followed by the stunning Oberjoch Pass with 106 bends and a stunning panorama over the valley waiting for you at the top.
Continue via Wertach to Grüntensee Lake and Pfronten, known for the healing medicinal hay, herbs, and plants.
Three lakes — Weissensee, Hopfensee and Forggensee are inviting you for a stroll or a short swim before reaching the romantic town of Füssen.
The highly eccentric King Ludwig II of Bavaria did built his Hohenschwangau Castle, and the absolutely most beautiful castle in the world, Neuschwanstein Castle into the town.
Further down the route in Upper Bavaria explore the many beautiful Baroque churches and monasteries, especially the Church of Wies.
After passing the beautiful facade paintings of Oberammergau we recommend to make a short loop into Austria and follow the shores of Lake Plansee to the ornate Linderhof Palace. Another palace built by Ludwig and the only one that was completed during his lifetime.
Next on your itinerary should be the Benedictine Ettal Monastery before you reach Germany’s highest mountain: Zugspitze.
Shortly after you will pass the highly popular ski-resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and enjoy views of the Karwendel mountains before you drive via Lake Walchensee towards Bad Tölz.
Continue on following the border of Bavaria with the Austrian Tyrol to the beautiful setting of Lake Tegernsee. The rich and famous of Bavaria live here for a reason.
Nearby is the steep Sudelfeld Pass and the Tatzlwurmstraße (eight kilometers / five miles) leads you to the pretty village of Oberau in the deep Inn Valley and Nussdorf am Inn. Arguably Europe’s most beautiful village!
At Chiemsee you can take a ferry and set over to Castle Herrenchiemsee. Also King Ludwig II’s heritage.
For those who want to try the German Autobahn you can leave the Alpine Road for a bit and skip a few of the smaller towns into the stunning Berchtesgaden Alps.
Königssee translates to the King’s Lake. Soak in the beauty of the lake that is agreed by most travellers to be the most stunning in Germany. Don’t miss a cruise across the lake to the pilgrimage church of St. Bartholomew.
A short drive away you can visit Eagles Nest near Obersalzberg, Hitler’s former mountain retreat and learn about WWII in the local museum.
It might sound odd, but we recommend to finish the journey over the German Alpine Road in Austria. At the baroque town of Salzburg to be exact and built in the drive along the Rossfeld-Panoramastraße, Germany’s highest scenic road.