A Safe Road trip to Bavaria, Germany during Covid-19

Photo by Simon Migaj on Pexels.com
The Eibsee Lake, Bavaria Copyright by Kanika Gupta
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The Obersee Lake in foggy summers

It was a thoughtful journey of two couples, me and my husband, and a companionable pair who were actively waiting for the signals to turn green for traveling within the European Countries during the Corona outbreak worldwide. Another important concern was to follow the Guidelines and the necessary tips before booking a summer trip. Following a few informational links, it was clear that Germany falls under code yellow and we need to strictly trail around with certain measures such as using mouth and nose masks at public places ( WC, Petrol stations, public transport), using hand sanitizers and staying 1.5-meter distance away from others.

Countryside Bavarian Alps

Since we were free from any flu symptoms, it was time to scroll the bucket list and plan a thorough itinerary crossing across the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in Southern Bavaria and the radiant romantic road, Germany. It was end of July when we fastened the seat belts to navigate through the fascinating lakes, mountains, castles and fanciful towns while exploring the countryside bordering Austria – Germany. Ultimately the most awaited road trip to 350 km long romantic route in southern Germany began in the early morning for a 10 hour’s drive from Amsterdam to the first place of our stay in Gästehaus Heiss Sonnbichl 3, 6633 Biberwier, Austria completing the enthralling journey of about 850km.

Day 1 – Fussen town, Neuschwanstein, Eibsee lake 

With an exciting smile on our faces, we turned on the car wheels towards the medieval city center of the Fussen town that embraced the southern end of the romantic road. We could feel a leisurely and captivating ambiance around the shops, open restaurants, cafes, museums, and unique frescoes. The Neuschwanstein, the fairy tale castle was in the vicinity(5 min drive), so we booked a horse cart service(€4 per person) in the downtown that seemed to be packed with souvenirs, resorts, parking, bus station, a huge crowd of tourists and a far-sighted view of the castle. You can also book a guided tour to get inside the castle to appreciate the typical historic creation but to avoid hassle standing in an unending queue for tickets, we chose to take an exterior view of the castle which was spectacular and quite a primitive simulation of a castle from Disney classic. The spare time was dedicated to the upcoming natural wonder, the gorgeous Eibsee lake, Grainau. The simple hike along the turquoise-colored, translucent natural waters washing through the foot of Zugspitze mountain was literally mesmerizing. It was simply soothing to have a fascinating landscape view while strolling around the enticing alpine lake of South Bavaria. 

Museum der stadt, Fussen
Horse carriage ride to Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
The castles of Bavaria

Day 2 – Hiking trail to Alpspitze

Keeping in mind the weather forecast (sunny, 27-31°C), we checked out for an interesting hike(level- moderate) to Northern limestone Alps, Alpspitze, 2,628 m. It was just a 45 min drive to the base Hammerbasch village and a 10 min walk to the Alpspitzbahn cable car up the mountain( ticket cost – €17.50 per person). We were welcomed by the AlpspiX viewing metal mesh- platform, restaurants, and seating deck after an enthralled ascent through the lush green valley. Few hours of sightseeing, photography, and refreshments, it was time to march downhill 8.5 km along the Höllentalangerhütte to continue towards Höllentalklamm Gorge and back to Hammersbach. The trek began in the scorching sun and ended up walking through the river streams, waterfalls, tunnels and caverns. The melting glaciers dropping and roaring of the boulders was a phenomenal epitome of pristine nature, adventure, and romance in cold tumbling showers in a hot humid summer.

Timings for the hike- 3.5 hours descent

Alpspitzbahn cable car ticket showing extended metal platform
Waterstream, Hammerbasch village
Hiking trail to Alpspitze
Edge of the hiking track, Alpspix
Caves, Hollentalklamm gorge
Bene Throne

Day 3 – Konigssee Lake, Obersee lake, Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden 

Just an hour’s drive and a quick walk-through attractive shops displaying vintage clothing, antique crystals, and sparkling stones on each side of the road, we reached the Boat dock for purchasing tickets. The quiet electric ferry rides you gently through the serene beauty of the majestic lake and emerald fjords cuddled in the arms of gigantic alpine alps. It was a feeling of lying peacefully in the lap of mother nature when we encountered Christlieger Island, numerous boathouses, and the Falcon Stone memorial across the poised lake. Another impressive part that drew our attention was when the boat’s captain told about the world’s famous echo chamber and demonstrated it by playing trumpet. We could actually hear the reverberating sounds played by the man. We got off the boat at the first stop, the Church of Saint Bartholomä, spent some time traversing the grounds and hopped back again into the final ferry boat that landed us to Salet where you can take nature’s call in restrooms and relax under restaurant huts. It took a 10-minute walk from the ferry dock to reach the secluded crystal- clear lake, the Obersee. What an awestruck moment for each one of us to witness such an incredible and heavenly piece of earth, the drizzling raindrops, and fog draped mountains added to the theatrical scenery. We dedicated 5 hours completely to the place taking pictures and swimming in the lukewarm waters(15°) in Obersee. We headed back and eventually decided to visit St. Sebastian church in Ramsau village. Again a picturesque place with a riverside church and a spellbound bridge in front of the ReiterAlpe Mountain range. 

Round trip ferry cost- Adults- 16.90€ per person, the boat is every 15-30 min on the stops till 6:00 pm. 

Useful Tips: Double-check the time for the last boat to depart from the Salet. 

Electric Ferry Boat, Konigsee lake in Berchtesgaden
Church of Saint Bartholomä with onion red rooftops, Berchtesgaden
Europe travel to Nature, Der Obersee
Mesmerizing Obersee lake
Waterfall and Alps reflection on the crystal clear Turquoise Obersee water

Day 4 – Romantische strasse, Dinkelsbuhl

After checking out from Airbnb in the morning, our new day began with the rocking music beats in the car that was rushing through the green and golden terrains, vineyards and sunflower fields towards the theme route, the Romantic towns of Germany. The first destination was Augsburg, which is famous for the history of Fuggers, a rich family of bankers or merchants who built Fuggerei, the world’s oldest social settlement. Keeping a close look at the maps, the next stop probably was romantic Strasse and medieval towns of Dinkelsbuhl, a free monarchical city with unusual yet magnificent street plans that were never actually planned but grown organically. Spending our day around the magnificently colored structures, cathedrals, lofty gates, and endless green fields along the romantic road of Germany, we then headed to the next place to stay in Marktbergel, Germany.  After an amazing dinner, we chose to go out for a pleasant night walk around the homestay. 

Tip: You can appreciate the colors of the street houses more during the dusky twilight.

Romantic Strasse, Germany

Terrains alongside the Romatic road, Germany

Day 5 – Plonlein, Rothenburg ob de tauber

With a nostalgic feeling, we packed our bags again and followed the route towards our home in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Luckily, our desire to hold another trace of memories from Rothenburg ob de Tauber decelerated the car in Plonlein which was known for the yellow, tilted timber-frame house at the entrance with a fountain. The place was so rich and charming, that wherever we stood for pictures, it seemed like a photography spot. This place itself led to a historic double road bridge, the tauber bridge with two rows of arches and apple trees on its way. And with this, it was time to bid adieu to Romantic road at Wurzburg. We were carrying bundles of ever cherishing memories of magical landscapes and tons of fun we had during our stay.

Plonlein, Rothenburg ob de tauber
Rothenburg ob de tauber
Souvenirs Shop
The Tauber Bridge
Wide- Open streets, Rothenburg

You must have noticed that most of our stay was booked in Austria while the main trip destinations were mostly in Germany so that we could experience and cherish Austria’s countryside way of living as well.Here, I have some helpful tips for curious travelers.

Essential backpack items:

  • Identity card: Passport/ Residence permit
  • Phone chargers
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste
  • Hand sanitizer
  • 10-12 face and nose masks or scarf
  • Trekking poles/ sticks
  • Sun protection lotion
  • Medicines- Paracetamol, pain relief gel or spray, band-aids
  • Eatables- Burgers, bread, bread spread, jam, tea bags, butter cake, veggies, fruits 

Non- essential items:

  • Bluetooth speakers
  • Playing cards
  • Camera
  • Umbrella  

Driving tips:

Do not forget to carry your valid driver’s license, fuel card, vehicle RC card. Also make sure you have easy access to GPS or navigation apps (Google Maps, Waze).

Before entering the Austria motorways border, buy and display a toll vignette(sticker) at any major border crossings into Austria or at larger petrol stations (cost is € 9,40 for 10 days) or get digital vignette online to avoid a toll fine of €120.

You can also rent a car at genuine rates from Goldcar.

Hiking tips:

Wear Lightweight hiking shoes and don’t miss grabbing trekking poles/ sticks, water bottles, sun protection lotion, energy bars or drinks.

Personal tips:

Use of ‘Splitwise app’ to keep the record and distribute the expenses amongst the group of friends. Save your planned itinerary and a list of important stuff on ‘keep notes’ mobile app. 

What we missed?

Swimming in a natural bathing city of Salzburg in river Taugl, near Kuchl town due to heavy rainfall.  

Mittenwald village amidst the alpine peaks and painted cottages. 

Total group budget:

€1,134.87(excluding fuel)

Travel with extreme care. Stay safe and healthy!

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