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Western foothills of the Alps -everyday customs

Sylvenstein reservoir near Lenggries © Tölzer Land Tourismus
The region covering the western foothills of the Alps, surrounded by the towering peaks of the enchanting mountain backdrop, is on the Austrian border in the south of Germany. It stretches to the south of Germany's second-longest river, the Danube. The river dominates the landscape with its deep valleys and many famous lakes. With a variety of castles, palaces, museums, abbeys, quaint brewery restaurants and typical houses adorned with Lüftl art, the foothills of the Bavarian Alps are a quintessentially German region, whose beauty is only surpassed by the traditional hospitality of the local people.
Monastic life on Lake Ammersee
Set in a picturesque location right beside Lake Ammersee near Munich is the famous Andechs Abbey. The wonderful food and beer from the abbey brewery, which even visiting heads of state have enjoyed, are not the only good reasons to stop off in Andechs. Originally the ancestral seat of the Counts of Andechs, the castle is now home to Benedictine monks. With its rococo-style abbey church, the "Holy Mountain" is one of the foremost pilgrimage sites in southern Germany. Just a few years ago, the abbey and church celebrated their 550th anniversary, an event that many people saw as an opportunity to visit Lake Ammersee and see the newly restored pilgrimage church. A real insider's tip for a relaxing break: spend a few days with the monks.
Oberammergau Passion Plays © Imago stock&people GmbH
Passion in Oberammergau
When strolling through Oberammergau, you'll be struck in particular by the magnificent Lüftl art on the buildings in the town. This illusionistic method of facade painting is typical of Upper Bavaria. One of the town's gems is the Oberammergau Passion Play Theatre, which seats 5,000. Renowned for its impressive size, it is also a popular visitor attraction. The Oberammergau Passion Plays performed here are known far and wide and have been performed for more than 360 years. Wood carving has been practised in Oberammergau for more than 500 years. At Pilatus House, you can watch the artists while they work. Just a stone's throw from Oberammergau are famous destinations such as Ettal Abbey, Linderhof Palace and Neuschwanstein Castle.
The winter sports resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen once hosted the Winter Olympics. The Olympic Ice Stadium was built in 1934 specifically for the event. In addition to sporting events, it now also hosts a number of cultural highlights. For some breathtakingly beautiful countryside, head for the natural monument that is Partnachklamm mountain gorge. Raging waters, deep ravines and an iron bridge dating from 1914, which stretches across the Wildbach river at a height of 68 metres, make this a spectacular natural feature and a popular excursion destination. More than 2,000 years old, the historic Ludwigstrasse in Partenkirchen with its cosy bars and small shops is the ideal place to spend a few hours shopping and strolling.
View of the Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain © Panther Media GmbH
Forming the border between Germany and Austria, the Zugspitze is Germany's highest mountain at exactly 2,962 metres and a magnificent winter sports resort. From skiing to ultra-modern action sports such as snowboarding in fresh powder snow - Germany's highest skiing area and its only glacial ski slopes are on the Zugspitze plateau around 350 metres below the summit. To get there, take the Bavarian Zugspitze railway which offers spectacular panoramic views. Enjoy a long walk on and around the Zugspitze, hiking through famous gorges such as the Höllental (hell valley). The Zugspitze offers a range of options both for professional sportsmen or keen walkers, and the ascent will be worth it for the fantastic views at the top.
State Gallery for Flemish Painting at Neuburg Palace in Neuburg an der Donau © BAYERN TOURISMUS Marketing GmbH
Baroque paintings
For lovers of the fine arts, a visit to the State Gallery for Flemish Baroque Painting is not to be missed. This offshoot of the Bavarian State Portrait Collection at Neuburg Palace on the Danube opened in 2005 and features works by famous masters such as Peter Paul Rubens and Anthonis van Dyck. Visit this former royal residence and enjoy all the pleasures of around 120 paintings.
Everyday Bavarian customs © Corbis
Amber nectar brewed according to tradition
The tradition of brewing in the western foothills of the Alps stretches back to the twelfth century. In summer and autumn, you can sample the variety of beers on offer at one of the many colourful beer festivals or in the beer gardens, which are popular with visitors and locals alike. The absolute highlight is the internationally renowned Munich Beer Festival. At the biggest German public festival, you can enjoy chicken, pretzels and a beer fresh from the barrel accompanied by traditional brass music. For dessert, you can enjoy some "Tölzer Prügel". Named after the tree trunks used for building rafts, these are sticks of melt-in-yourmouth praline.

Tradition and history

  • Fischerhochzeit (fisherman's wedding) festival in Tutzing
  • Historical salt trade in Traunstein
  • Dachau artists' colony (1890-1914)
  • St. Mary's Minster in Diessen
  • Votivkapelle chapel in Berg
  • Possenhofen Palace
  • Seefeld Palace
  • Lech
  • Historical Marktstrasse in Bad Tölz
  • Walchensee power station
  • Weihenstephan brewery
  • The Wieskirche Pilgrimage Church (UNESCO world heritage)
  • Baroque cathedral library in Freising

Hospitality and gastronomy

  • Fresh fish
  • Schrobenhausen asparagus
  • Neuburg potatoes
  • Bad Heilbrunn tea
  • Tölz Leonhardi schnapps

Romanticism and charm

  • Weddings in Eichstätt
  • Ilkahöhe hill, Tutzing
  • Palace garden, Starnberg
  • Weddings at Gasteig Villa in Utting/Holzhausen
  • Nymphenburg Palace in Munich
  • English Garden in Munich
  • Weddings at Grünau hunting lodge in Neuburg
  • Palace garden, Starnberg
  • Traditional fishing boat trips on the Danube

Countryside and scenery

  • Danube riverbank meadows
  • Donaumoos basin
  • Alpine meadows
  • Gorges and ravines
  • Moraine landscape in the Alpine foothills
  • Snowshoe trekking
  • Tobogganing and bobsleighing
  • Fossil quarries for amateur palaeontologists in Eichstätt