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Overview

Bavaria’s landscape of craggy Alps and picturesque Alpine villages of painted house fronts and onion-domed churches seem to have been designed for winter. A blanket of white turns every view into a postcard, and winter activities such as horse-drawn sleighs and cross-country skiers gliding across the meadows just complete the picture. In December, Kristkindlmarkts – Christmas markets – bring a warm glow to cities and villages. More than a dozen spring up in Munich alone and the spa town of Bad Reichenhall and the island of Frauenchiemsee both have major Kristkindlmarkts.

As soon as snow falls in the Tyrolean Alps, thoughts turn ...

Bavaria’s landscape of craggy Alps and picturesque Alpine villages of painted house fronts and onion-domed churches seem to have been designed for winter. A blanket of white turns every view into a postcard, and winter activities such as horse-drawn sleighs and cross-country skiers gliding across the meadows just complete the picture. In December, Kristkindlmarkts – Christmas markets – bring a warm glow to cities and villages. More than a dozen spring up in Munich alone and the spa town of Bad Reichenhall and the island of Frauenchiemsee both have major Kristkindlmarkts.

As soon as snow falls in the Tyrolean Alps, thoughts turn to Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the other ski resorts south of Munich. The tallest of Germany’s mountains is Zugspitze, whose pistes, glacier and snowfields are accessed via a rack-railway from Garmisch. Non-skiers can ride this and the higher Eibsee cable car to the summit for panoramic views of the Bavarian and Austrian Alps. Built for the 1936 Olympic Games, the Olympic Ice Stadium hosts ice-skating, ice hockey and curling. The Allgäu region has the most combined ski terrain, with 310 miles of trails. One ticket, the Allgäu-Tirol-Kleinwalsertal Super Snow ski pass provides access to 35 cable cars and 200 ski lifts covering eight winter sports resorts. It’s not all about downhill, or even skiing: winter walking and snowshoe hikes are popular, too.

Barbara Rogers
About the Expert

Barbara Radcliffe Rogers has written or coauthored more than 30 guidebooks, including The Portugal Traveler, Drive Around Portugal, City Spots Munich, City Spots Helsinki, City Spots Stockholm, Eating New England, and the Maine section of Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

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Barbara Rogers for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    December through mid April is the best of the ski season, slightly longer at the highest elevations.