The Best Towns to Explore in the Bavarian Alps


After spending a few days in Munich, it was time for some nature. Luckily, Germany has some of the most beautiful mountains in the world.. who knew? The Alps are a sight to see and shouldn’t be missed; these are a few of the best towns to explore in the Bavarian Alps.

Eibsee in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. One of the most beautiful towns in the Bavarian Alps

1. Kochel

I wasn’t planning on stopping in Kochel, however, the train from Munich stopped in Kochel and did not continue onto my desired destinations. I was pleasantly surprised to find the most quaint and adorable mountain town ever.

Where To Stay In Kochel, Germany

Hotels are relatively expensive considering Kochel is a very small town. However, if you’re set on a hotel stay, I would recommend staying at Hotel Waltraud. It is exceptionally cheaper than any other hotel I investigated in the area and the employees at the front desk were helpful.

A few German houses located in the Bavarian Alps.

There are also several beautiful Airbnbs in Kochel. Simply search for Kochel Am See and find listings for this area.

If you’ve never used Airbnb, I highly recommend it. Use this link to get $40 off your first stay!

Where To Eat In Kochel, Germany

The savvy traveler in me is coming out for this post. Eating out is always a great way to get to know a city, but when you’re on a budget, restaurants aren’t always part of the plan.

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When I was in Kochel, I cooked for myself the entire time and was not disappointed. An awesome supermarket in Kochel to buy fresh food is called PENNY-Markt Discounter. This store reminded me of Aldi because they had the best deals ever. You can find PENNY-Markt Discounter directly next to the train station.

What To Do In Kochel, Germany

Check out Kochelsee! The lake has some of the clearest water you will ever lay eyes on and it’s nestled right into the mountains. The easiest way to get to the lake is by walking. It is approximately a mile and a half to walk from the downtown train station to the lake. I’ve heard the boat rides on the lake are wonderful, too!

2. Walchensee

Directly next to Kochel, you will find Walchensee. To get to Walchensee, simply take the bus from downtown Kochel; this will bring you up and over the mountain pass. The aquamarine waters of the lake will instantly put you in awe and make you realize why you decided to venture there in the first place.

Where To Stay Near Walchensee, Germany

Two of the best options for staying near the lake is in a guest house or camping. I recommend taking a peek at Gastehaus Seehof. This is an incredible apartment-style guesthouse with sweeping views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

Walchensee from the top of Herzogstand in southern Germany

Want to get even closer to the lake? No problem! Pitch your tent right on the shores of Walchensee with Camping Walchensee.

What To Do In Walchensee, Germany

Hike, hike, hike! Only my most favorite activity ever.

Herzogstand is one of the most popular mountains to climb in the area. The view of Walchensee from the top of Herzogstand is unbelievable. The climb itself starts out a bit steep but levels off as you go. It’s approximately two to three hours in length depending on your speed.

Jochberg is another popular hike in the area allowing views of both Walchensee and Kochelsee. The hike is approximately ten kilometers, however, the hike is decently easy.

Getting to both of these hikes is simple; the local bus stops at both trailheads along the lake.

If you aren’t keen on hiking or aren’t up for the trek, take the cable car all the way to the top of Herzogstand to get the best views of Walchensee below.

3. Garmisch-Partenkirchen

I was advised to stop in Garmisch-Partenkirchen while exploring the Bavarian Alps and I’m sure glad I did. Garmisch is predominantly a ski town, mixed with some awesome summer adventures, too. This southern German town had everything I could’ve wanted: hiking, small-town bars, beautiful lakes, and amazing people.

Eibsee in Garmisch, Germany. Zugspitz, the tallest mountain in Germany in the background.

Where To Stay In Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

I couchsurfed during my time in Garmisch, however, if this isn’t your scene there are many, MANY alternatives.

Being a ski town, Garmisch is full of hotels, ranging from ritzy stays to budget hostels. You can also find Airbnbs in this area and have an entire home or apartment to yourself.

What To Do In Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

Garmisch is filled to the brim with amazing outdoor activities. The first thing you’ll want to do is check out Eibsee, a majestic lake surrounded by dense woods and some of the tallest mountains in the Bavarian Alps.

A reflection off the lake in Eibsee. Best towns Bavarian Alps

While at Eibsee, walk around the entire lake on the designated path. The views change so dramatically at every angle that a walk around the entire lake path is necessary. The walk is easily doable by people of all ages. Bring water and a small snack on your trek and if you are still thirsty or hungry by the end, there is a restaurant near the bus stop.

You can easily get to Eibsee via bus or if you’re feeling determined, you can walk. It’s a six-mile walk from town.

Partnach Gorge is an amazing natural wonder found in Garmisch. This deep gorge is a must-see while visiting the Bavarian Alps.

Wank Mountain is another hike to explore and it’s conveniently located right in town. At the top of Wank Mountain, you will get an amazing overview of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Zugspitze in the background of Eibsee. Best towns Bavarian Alps

Zugspitze is the highest mountain in Germany. The ski resort offers a ride to the summit via cable car for any of those interested. I didn’t get the chance to go up, but I have heard that it’s worth every penny. 

The Wrap-Up: The Best Towns in the Bavarian Alps

The Bavarian Alps are often overlooked by the French and Swiss Alps. The less-crowded mountain range proved to have some of the most beautiful sights in all of Europe. If you’re in the area, be sure to visit the best towns in the Bavarian Alps and experience the incredible nature that southern Germany has to offer.

Continue your travels through the European Alps and visit Interlaken, Switzerland next!

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