The Ostallgäu Travel Guide - PDF

2 Ostallgäu Travel Guide The Ostallgäu Travel Guide A Handy Guide to the Most Pristine Place on Earth Table of Contents Chapter I: Ostallgäu, Bavaria, the True Bavaria... 3 Ostallgäu? Never Heard of It!...

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2 Ostallgäu Travel Guide The Ostallgäu Travel Guide A Handy Guide to the Most Pristine Place on Earth Table of Contents Chapter I: Ostallgäu, Bavaria, the True Bavaria... 3 Ostallgäu? Never Heard of It!... 3 How Do I Get There?... 4 Chapter II: Must-See and Go-to Places in Eastern Allgäu... 5 Castles, Castles, Castles!... 6 Neuschwanstein... 6 Hohenschwangau... 7 Herrenchiemsee... 8 The Linderhof... 9 King s House on Schachen Natural Sights The Highest Point in Germany Tegelberg Mountain Ice Blue Waters Chapter III: Exploring the Old World Füssen: Let Your Adventure Begin Schwangau: Home of the Most Famous Castle in Bavaria and Much More Holy Grounds Chapter IV: The Scenic Route The Romantic Road Refreshing Trails and Historical Sights Great Stops Along the Way Via Claudia Augusta Travel Roman-Style Chapter V: A Journey for Foodies... 21 3 Ostallgäu Travel Guide Chapter I: Ostallgäu, Bavaria, the True Bavaria Ostallgäu? Never Heard of It! Everyone knows that looking for the perfect vacation destination can sometimes become a bit of a headache. There are so many different places to go on the planet. There s the beach, the mountains and the city. The adventurous tourist might want to consider a different route when planning the honeymoon or the next family vacation and take a leap away from the ordinary. Imagine pristine mountains surrounded by bright green fields and ancient castles masked by fog in the distance. Ostallgäu, Bavaria is the stuff of fairytales, a charming district of Germany dotted with tranquil lakes and picturesque views. It is one of the most beautiful regions in Europe and millions of visitors a year cannot be wrong. For one, Germany is one of the safest destinations in the world and the country offers diverse activities and sights that are sure to satisfy even the most hardcore tourists wanting to get the most for their money. Second, Ostallgäu has many things to offer tourists. For those who love to hike and breathe in fresh mountain air, to those who cannot wait to see the real Neuschwanstein castle built by the mad king Ludwig II., Ostallgäu is the vacation destination for you. The long culture and rich history of Bavaria contributes to a one-of-a-kind trip where you have all your bases covered from sights to food. Bavaria was part of the Weimer Republic, now Federal Republic of Germany, in More commonly known as Eastern Allgäu, the area is 1,395 km 2 (538.6 sq mi) long, encompassing the towns of Buchloe, Füssen, 4 Ostallgäu Travel Guide Schwangau, and Marktoberdorf. Ostallgäu was particularly special to the Bavarian kings and two of them built famous castles there. This huge area is filled with forty-two municipalities. A good number of them were founded in the Middle Ages. Tours around Allgäu offer visits to historic towns like Memmingen, where the first declarations of human rights or The Twelve Articles of the Black Forest was first read. This is but a taste of what you can do in Ostallgäu. The area is famous for amazing views of the surrounding Alpine mountains, including the Ammergebirge Mountains and the Allgäu Alps. This mountain range also includes Germany s highest peaks, a great draw for the passionate mountaineer. The Alps, as the name suggests, are covered in snow year round. Whatever time of the year, these mountains are a must see. Do not forget the sunglasses, as the snow can be blinding in full sunlight. There are variety of sights and activities available for the eager tourist. Everyone will find something to tickle their fancy. Have a picnic near the largest lake in the district, the Forggensee. Follow the hiking trails and conquer the highest mountain in Germany, the Zugspitze. Summers in Bavaria are particularly mild and cold because of the proximity of the mountains, great for swimming, hiking or even golf. The villages of the Eastern Allgäu also offer traditional winter activities like skiing, snowboarding and of course, the hot chocolate drank by the roaring fire while watching the sun go down over the mountains. Get off the beaten track and meander down ancient roads to. Bask in the Alpine sun and soak up a little bit of culture along the way. Enjoy delicious meals while watching the sun set over crystal clear, ice blue lakes. That is Ostallgäu for you. How Do I Get There? The Ostallgäu region can be found in Bavaria in southeast Germany. Austria, the Czech Republic and Switzerland share its borders. 5 Ostallgäu Travel Guide Once you have decided that Ostallgäu is the perfect destination, the easiest way to get there is by plane. Flights can be catered from within Germany, normally a flight from Munich (within Bavaria) or Frankfurt. There are also flights available from neighbouring border countries like Austria and Switzerland. Many tour companies offer packages that include tours, lodging and airfare. Other airlines offer direct to Munich or Frankfurt flights. Once you get there, there are alternative options for transport. If travelling from within Germany or Europe, the speedy train system is another option for visitors who wish to spend time enjoying the countryside. Germany prides itself on the modernity and speed of its train system. You are guaranteed to get to Ostallgäu on time. Another more leisurely way to get around the country is by car. German roads are maintained and in excellent condition. Car rentals are available in most cities, which require either an EU license or international license. Also, most car rentals have other branches where you can easily leave the car without having to return it. If you decide to go ahead and travel by car, remember to familiarize yourself with German driving laws. The bus system is also notoriously efficient, with some tours mainly going around by bus or shuttle service. However, some lines in rural areas only run once a day, so planning is essential for a hassle free trip. Because they are major tourist destinations, the municipalities and towns within East Allgäu are quite efficient and cater to every kind of tourist. For those who really want a unique adventure, stagecoach destination rides are also available! 6 Ostallgäu Travel Guide Chapter II: Must-See and Go-to Places in Eastern Allgäu It is your first day in Ostallgäu. You are standing by the window of your wonderfully antique inn, sipping some hot chocolate. Outside, the sun is shining down on the Alps. If it is summer, hikers dot the green landscape. In winter, you see skiers flying down the slopes. One of the worst things that can happen when you are on vacation is not having an idea of where to go. Most hotels will gladly arrange a tour or trip for you to point you in the right direction. It also helps to know what you want to see. Are you the type of person who would be happy traipsing around museums and castles? Do you want to spend the day in the snow? Knowing what you want will help make your vacation experience the best one you will ever hand. However, you could get lost and not know where to go. Here is a helpful guide to let you know what you cannot miss when you get to Ostallgäu. Castles, Castles, Castles! The region is famous for the beautiful castles that pepper the landscape. Most of these castles were built by the royal family of Bavaria and have been standing since before the 19 th century. Collectively, these sites attract over 3 million tourists a year. Neuschwanstein Neuschwanstein peers over the village of Hohenschwangau and is one of the major tourist attractions in Ostallgäu. People actually go there just to see this over the top creation. It is but one of the palaces built by Ludwig II of Bavaria, who is most remembered for his contributions to art. He was also known as the Mad King of Bavaria, due to a supposed mental illness. However, Ludwig II is beloved in Bavaria. He was a people s king and loved to talk to the common people. 7 Ostallgäu Travel Guide Take a look at the castle and you will see why people thought he was mad. This castle is absolutely the most beautiful in the world. It looks like someone took it directly out of the pages of a story book. A short hike will bring you up to the castle and take a look down and you will definitely know the meaning of the term take my breath away. The castle was inspired by the operas of Richard Wagner and designed by a stage designer and an architect. Its influences include Gothic, Romanesque and even Byzantine architecture. Think turrets worthy of Rapunzel, courtyards with a great view of the night sky and lavishly designed interiors. It was one of the first castles to have telephone lines and automatic toilets. The famous Hall of Singers is a popular attraction. If you happen to visit in September, buy a ticket to the world class classical concerts that are staged annually. It is too bad that Ludwig never completed the palace. Ludwig II passed away before the workers could finish it. It was originally designed to hold over 200 rooms but only 15 were ever completed. After the king died, the castle was opened to the public. Once, people were actually allowed to just go wherever they wanted. Now, there is a 35-minute guided tour that will show off the best in 19 th century architecture and one of the most perfectly preserved palaces of the time. Although the Neuschwanstein was never completed, it was but one of the many palaces Ludwig built during his reign. Hohenschwangau Before the Neuschwanstein was even built, Ludwig II spent his childhood in another amazing must-see castle, the Hohenschwangau. This palace was built by his father Maximillian II in the 19 th century. It was built on top of an ancient medieval fortress known as the Schwanstein, already ruined by the time King Maximillian rediscovered the area. 8 Ostallgäu Travel Guide The Honeschwangau comes off as the still-pretty but not extremely gorgeous cousin of the Neuschwanstein. If they went to a party together, the Neuschwanstein would probably get all the boys. However, this castle has gorgeous scenery around it, among them the gardens designed by Queen Marie of Prussia. The classic gothic turrets are a great draw and the interior tour of the castles is well worth the money. Take the tour and experience Ludwig II s childhood home. All four stories of the main castle were reserved for the king and queen. Ludwig and his brother spent most of their time in the annex. Most tours begin in the small chapel near the entrance and end of course, in the former servant s quarters/gift shop. Herrenchiemsee Located in the middle of Bavaria s biggest lake the Chiemsee, this palace is actually a two in one deal. The Altes Schloss (Old Palace) is actually a converted monastery that has been standing since 765 AD. This Benedictine monastery was the hub for religious activity in the region until it fell in disuse in the 19 th century. 9 Ostallgäu Travel Guide This is the second most famous palace constructed by King Ludwig II. He extended the grounds by building the Neues Schloss (New Palace). Like Linderhof, it was meant as a tribute to the Versailles and was designed in Neo- Baroque fashion. Once inside, you will be treated to the Hall of Mirrors and get a chance to see the largest Meissan porcelain Chandelier in the world. The most interesting feature of this castle is that it is surrounded by a gorgeous lake and extensive gardens. Like the Neuschwanstein, the king passed away before he could complete all 70 rooms. The Linderhof The Linderhof Palace, Bavaria s answer to the Versailles, can be found further southwest. The palace is like a mini-version of the French summer palace, although there are notable differences in the designs. Ludwig was known as the Night King, and like Versailles, had an enormous bedroom built that faced north instead of east. 10 Ostallgäu Travel Guide Do not forget to take a look at the Tasso room, where Ludwig spent most of time while the Neuschwanstein was being built. The room s most striking feature is the ceiling, designed to look like the star-studded night sky. King s House on Schachen For those determined to complete the tour of the palaces, you can also visit the King's House on Schachen, where the King celebrated his birthdays and anniversaries. This palace was originally meant to be a hunting lodge. The standout part of this palace is the Turkish room, an incredible Oriental-inspired room that takes up the entire top area of the castle. Outside, the palace may not look much but the interiors well make up for it. The major attraction of this humble palace is the extravagant garden that features over 1000 Alpine plant species. Natural Sights Once you are done making rounds of the castles, Ostallgäu offers a nature experience unlike anything else on the planet. The land is absolutely blessed with beautiful weather and charming landscapes. The terrain makes for breathtaking backdrops, perfect for photo opportunities. But you should not miss your chance to experience nature firsthand. The Highest Point in Germany The Zugspitze is the tallest mountain in Germany, towering over the Alps at 9,717 feet (2 962 meters) above sea level. It is found near the Austrian border. Unlike other mountains such as Everest, it is actually easy to reach the summit, even for those who have never climbed a mountain before. Hiking are open during the winter and summer. The climb can take 2 or 3 days from base to top. Hardcore climbers can get there in a few hours. There are different routes available, from easy hikes to challenging routes for veteran climbers. Snowboarders and skiers can often be found on the slopes of the mountain. A premier ski resort named Zugspitzplatt caters to winter visitors. 11 Ostallgäu Travel Guide For those who wish to reach the summit without the sweat and burning muscles, cable cars are available to take you to the top. Whichever way you decide to go, the climb will most definitely be worth it. The view alone is worth a thousand words. The Linderhof palace is found near here, and other attractions include Ettal Abbey and a beautiful violin museum. Tegelberg Mountain Another famous mountain peak in Bavaria is the Tegelberg Mountain, famed for the exceptional cable car ride. Imagine sitting in a cabin as the mountain looms up in the window. Eat a hearty meal at the restaurant on the peak before skiing or hiking back down. The Tegelberg is near the town of Füssen. Extreme sports enthusiasts can hang and paraglide to their hearts content. Navigating walking routes using Nordic 12 Ostallgäu Travel Guide sticks is a favorite pastime or you can choose to bike and hike. If you need a little bit of history to round out your day, Ancient Roman baths were discovered near the base of the mountain and these are now open to the public. Ice Blue Waters There are two lakes worth a visit. The first is Lake Chiemsee, mentioned above as the site of Ludwig II s beautiful Herrenchiemsee palace. There are a total of five islands on the lake: Herreninsel, Frauninsel, Krautinsel, Schalch and two islands without names. The bright blue waters of the lake are a stunning contrast against the pure white Alps in the winter and the entire area is covered in green during summertime. The lakes are the setting for many different activities. In the summertime, tourists can choose to take a luxurious river cruise known as the Chiemsee- Schiffahrt, which includes a tour of the palace. You can also take a cable car and explore the Alps from above. If you visit Lake Chiemsee in the wintertime, the surrounding islands bustle with winter activity. Skiing and sledding are popular. An annual Christmas market can help you find a perfect souvenir. People love visiting Frauninsel to see the monastery. You can explore the Seeon Abbey and the town of Traunstein, Pope Benedict XVI s hometown. Lake Forggensee is the other famous lake that you should take the time to visit. It is the largest lake in Bavaria with a total area of 16 square kilometres. Anyone who loves water sports will not be able to resist the pristine surface of this man-man lake. Cruise along the blue water on a leisurely boat trip or camp out in five-star campgrounds built specifically on the lake shore. It is also worth exploring by foot. Visiting either of the lakes will definitely fill a couple of days. Round out your tours by sampling local cuisine and some great German beer. 13 Ostallgäu Travel Guide By now, you already know that Ostallgäu will definitely get you your money s worth when it comes to mountaineering sports such as hiking, skiing, sledding, hang gliding and paragliding. Depending on the destination you choose, you can even indulge in some water sports while visiting the great lakes of Bavaria. Eastern Allgäu is famous for its beautiful and challenging golf courses. There are 21, count them, 21 golf courses in this part of the country alone. There are driving ranges as well as full 18 hole courses available for golfers of all ages. If you play your cards right, you can even play multiple courses for free. Just ask your hotel if they have the Oberstaufen-Plus Golf Ticket. Now that you know where to go, get that camera and give yourself a lot of time to explore the sights and the places. Do not forget to pack your bikes and skis! 14 Ostallgäu Travel Guide Chapter III: Exploring the Old World A major reason why people like to go to Bavaria is to get a taste of history. Some people like to visit to trace their roots, others to see how people used to live in the time before electricity. Going to Ostallgäu can also mean that you will go back in time. Visit towns preserved in full Middle Age glory, ancient churches and monasteries and check out museums dedicated to old world arts like violin and lute making. Füssen: Let Your Adventure Begin One of the most attractive features of Eastern Allgäu and Bavaria in general is the state of the towns. Most of their villages and towns are remarkably wellpreserved and recognized for their cultural significance. Experiencing old Germany can be a little like traveling back in time, except that now all the toilets and restaurants are modernized. One such town is Füssen, which has been around for 7 centuries. That is 700 years, longer than some countries have been around! The town is showstopper because it is simply breathtaking. Sitting on the banks of Lech River and surrounded by mountains, Füssen is traditionally the starting point of most Bavarian journeys. Stay within the town and explore the Hohes Schloss or High Castle built by prince Bishops of Augsburg church as their summer retreat. Do not ignore this beautiful example of Gothic architecture, built in It now houses the local government offices. The Rittersaal (Knight s Hall) is known for its dramatic coffered ceiling. The castle also has a wonderful collection of Gothic art for those who just love to see paintings and sculpture. Check out the Benedictine monastery nearby, founded by St. Mang in the late 8 th century. This should serve to only wet the whistles of the most culturehungry tourist. Luckily, Füssen also boasts the oldest fresco in Bavaria and a spectacular basilica. The Füssen Heritage Museum, found within the monastery itself, celebrates the 1000 year history of the abbey. 15 Ostallgäu Travel Guide The most famous display is the Füssen Dance of Death. This eerie portrayal of people dancing with skeletons can leave even those with the hardest of hearts shaken to the core. For those who are not so interested in history, Füssen is also famous for its wellness spas. Around Europe health spas are a definite mainstay. Füssen s famous Kneipp or hydrotherapy spas offer a variety of services from massage to rehabilitation treatment. Take a bus to get to the famous Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles to experience the swankiest palaces in the country. From Füssen, one can also choose to go on with the Romantic Road and enjoy a different take on the good old tour. Schwangau: Home of the Most Famous Castle in Bavaria a
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