It’s no secret that we both love our city breaks but, there are times when, even we want to get away from everything and explore the natural wonders that places have to offer.
With our tent in tow, we can often be found seeking out new hiking trails, wandering lesser known paths, to find the perfect peaceful stop where we can enjoy our lunch whilst looking out over spectacular views hoping to catch a glimpse of a rarely sighted bird or animal.
For us, a weekend in the countryside really is the ultimate way to switch off and truly relax.
Nature All Around Us
Living in Italy, it is fair to say that we have our pick of beautiful locations. Lake Garda, for example, is stunning and we do feel blessed to be able to call it home, however, even now in April, the crowds are starting to form and the calmness and tranquillity of our surroundings will soon be lost to the hordes of tourists due to arrive for their summer breaks.
So when we want to get away from it all, where do we head?
Just five hours from Lake Garda, Bavaria in Germany is an area well worth visiting. From the soaring mountainous peaks of the Alps, to the fertile green forests and the stunning fairytale castles and villages, this part of the country is truly magical.
As long as you keep one foot in the real world while the other foot’s in a fairy tale, that fairy tale is going to seem kind of attainable. (Aaron Sorkin)
With its world class wines, history and chocolate-box medieval houses that make people stop and stare, from history buffs to hikers; there is something in this region for everyone.
For us however, we particularly enjoy the area around Königssee where we can get away from the crowds; a place where we can reconnect with nature.
5 Natural Wonders to Visit in Bavaria
#1 Königssee (also known as King’s Lake)
Holding the accolade of being one of Germany’s deepest and cleanest Lakes, Konigssee is one natural wonder you really must visit when in Bavaria. Bavarian Royalty, leaders and even Eva Braun, Hilter’s wife for all of 40 hours, have been known to visit this crystal clear alpine lake.
Located in Berchtesgaden National Park, the walk to the lake is suitable for all ages and levels of fitness and once there you can either partake in one of the many watersports on offer or hop on the electric boat that takes visitors past the stunning vertical mountain facades surrounding this picturesque part of the world.
Photography Tip: Make sure when taking photos of the lake you look for reflections in the water. One of the best ways to capture the essence of the lake is to look for the perfect place where the mountain tops are fully reflected back at you.
Known as the ‘Grande Dame of the Alps’ this mountain range near Bad Reichenhall is one of the most beautiful. Rising up to 1,100 metres, you can either hike should you wish to or take what is believed to be the world’s oldest cable cars up the mountain side in less than 10 minutes.
From the top of the Predigtstuhl, you can see the Watzmann massif and the Hochkalter, the Reiteralm, the central High Alps as well as the Tyrolean and Chiemgau Alps.
Sometimes, on a really clear day you can also see as far as Munich, Salzburg and the Bavarian Forest.
Once on top of the mountain, why not take the time to have a leisurely lunch at either the restaurant or the more rustic alpine hut before deciding how to descend from this wonderful natural escape.
If you truly want to experience this at its best, our suggestion would be to head up first thing in the morning before the crowds start to form in the summer months.
Photography Tip: This is the time when you want to make sure as much of your scene is in focus as possible. It’s difficult, but in your photos when you are at top of the mountain range you want others to see exactly what you see when you return back to sea-level. Therefore the simplest way to do this is to choose a small Aperture setting as the smaller your aperture the greater the depth of field in your shots. This does mean that you need to compensate either by increasing your ISO or lengthening your shutter speed in order to get that perfect photo.
#3 Wimbach Gorge walk
Whilst we do enjoy the vistas from the top of a mountain was also like to experience stunning scenery from the ground up occasionally. Wimbach Gorge in my opinion is one such place that should be experienced in this way.
With peaks reaching in excess of 2,700 metres, wandering through this gorge will give you a true sense of Mother Nature’s abilities and thankfully today that is now possible thanks to the wooden walkways that have been constructed. However, be warned, this is not a walk in the park and our advice is to take some wet weather gear with you, because chances are you will get wet thanks to the strong rapids and waterfalls that you will pass.
Photography Tip: To capture a waterfall like a pro you will need a sturdy tripod and a slower shutter speed, this will give the impression that the water falls smoothly making it appear more silky.
#4 Hoher Göll mountain
Not for the faint hearted, this mountain range straddles the border between Bavaria and Austria and stands at an impressive 2,522 metres. This is the place where experienced hikers and rock climbers come to get away from it all and believe me the chances of running into a crowd here are slim.
For those less adventurous, Kelsteinhaus is well worth aiming for. Still sitting at an elevation of just over 1,800 metres, this rocky outcrop is still a bit of a trek but for those that do not own a pair of hiking boots do not despair, there is also a road leading up to the point which opens each year when the tracks are clear.
For history buffs of World War II, this is a must visit location. Kelsteinhaus or the Eagle’s Nest (http://www.kehlsteinhaus.de/en/) as it is known, is actually a Third-Reich House built at the summit of Kelstein which was presented to Hilter on his 50th birthday.
Photography Tip: Don’t be afraid to get up close to the Kelsteinhaus to really capture the detail. We often feel that we need to capture a building like this in all its glory from a distance where all the scenery can still be seen, whilst of course, is fantastic. But sometimes the spirit of the building can only be captured up close. Get abstract, take a photo from a strange angle, you never know , it may just become your favourite shot of the day.
#5 Mount Jenner Cable Car
Seriously, there is no better way to see to the impressive breathtaking scenery of the Bavaria Countryside than the Mount Jenner Cable Car.
These two person gondolas offer amazing views in peace and quiet across the Berchtesgaden National Park. From its high often snow-capped peaks to its brooding forests and craggy cliffs the views you will gain from simply sitting back and relaxing are truly remarkable. For around 30 minutes you will be able to enjoy the sights of over 100 high peaks as you rise to over 1,800 metres. Whilst this may not be the best experience for those that have a fear of heights, it will give you a unique opportunity to photograph the surrounding area from a unique perspective.
Photography Tip: Shooting through glass is tough even for really experienced photographers, and whilst some cameras do have a function that allows you to do this others don’t, so consider getting a polarizing filter for your lens as this helps to rid the shot of reflections.
Is Bavaria Just a Summer Stop-Off?
Whilst the activities above are aimed more to the coming summer months, do not discount Bavaria in during the harsher seasons for this is where some of the best skiing takes place. Whether you are a skier a snowboarder or prefer to spend more time in the spa and saunas this is an area packed full of winter-time activities, making it a perfect holiday destination, no matter what time of year you choose to visit.
If exploring this area of Bavaria is appealing to you, then why not check out Inntravel, a company that helps take the hassle out of arranging a trip for you. What we really like about Inntravel is that whilst they help to arrange your tours, they are self-guided which means that you have the flexibility and freedom to travel at a pace that suits you.
Have you been to Bavaria? Perhaps there is a mountain range or a gorge that you feel we should visit? We would love to gain more tips about this area so please leave your comments below.
This article has been written in collaboration with Inntravel as part of their #NoFilterAdventure Campaign. As always however, all words and opinions are our own.