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Welcome to Bavaria: Tips and Trips


Welcome to Bavaria!

Germany’s biggest state boasts beautiful sceneries, quaint towns, delicious food and fantastic outdoor activities year-round. Below, you will find a list of attractions from museums and golf courses to hikes, castles and castle ruins separated by region but they are all in a comfortable driving distance from each other so don’t shy away from adventuring beyond your Landkreis-border.

If you’re looking for kid-friendly activities and attractions such as playgrounds, parks and public pools, check out this post. Of course, all of the activities below are suitable for families as well.

Pavlo Baliukh / shut

cars

Near Grafenwöhr:

Looking for events in the area? Click here!


Grafenwoehr is in Bavaria’s Upper Palatinate region. This  small town has a long military history and still hosts a nice military  community today. You’ll find lots of tips on what to do in the  Grafenwoehr region as well as some recommendations for downtime  activities with kids in this article.

  • Culture and Military Museum
    Did you know that GI Elvis Presley was stationed in Grafenwoehr and gave the only private concert known of in Europe at Micky Bar despite the stage ban? If you want to learn more about Grafenwöhr’s culture, history and what part the military played in it, the Kultur- und Militärmuseum Grafenwöhr (Culture and Military Museum) is the right place to start. Fun fact: the original piano Elvis played on is displayed at this museum as well! Their exhibits are divided into two parts, one for the culture and one for the military contents. On the second floor, you can take a look at their complex exhibit “Soldier’s life – fascination and fate”.
    Call 09641- 85 01 to ask for guided tours of the museum (on the history of the Training Area) or guided city tours  (history of Grafenwoehr) in English before your visit. Find out more about the admission here.
  • Water Tower
    The town’s landmark can barely be overlooked – the water tower is 43.5m (142.7ft) tall and stands high above the surrounding flatlands. It was built in 1910 by architect Jürgen Sievers and features a romantic Swiss style, information boards on site will provide you with pictures of the tower throughout history, as well as more information on its different purposes in German and English.
  • Weekly Farmer’s Market
    Grafenwöhr’s weekly farmer’s market takes place on market square (Marktplatz) every Thursday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Regional products like cheese and meat as well as fresh produce can be purchased here.
  • Volcano Adventure Park
    Maybe you or your kid(s) are into volcanoes? Just a 15min car ride away from Grafenwoehr you’ll find the Vulkanerlebnis Parkstein (Volcano Experience Museum Parkstein), where you can take a look at their permanent exhibit to find out about the volcano in Parkstein and how it influenced local history. You can take a look at the rock cellars for free from 8AM to 8PM daily, or get a ticket to the museum (adult tickets are 4.50€, children up to 6 years are free of admission, a family ticket is 11€).
  • Other Nature Parks
    The museum is located inside the cultural- and community center, where you can also gather extensive information on regional tourist attractions like the Nature Park Northern Upper Palatinate Forest and the Geopark Bavaria-Bohemia.
  • Classic Car Museum
    If you’re into classic cars, historic Formula One race cars, or sports cars and still looking for a weekend activity, why not take a short trip to Speedtreibhaus (“Speed Hothouse” Classic Car Museum) in Hirschbach? It’s a quick 35-minute drive away from Grafenwoehr and was only recently founded in 2015 by classic car lover Horst Linn. You can marvel at the museum’s collection of historic sports and race cars including brands like Ferrari, Renault, Peugeot, Salmson, and many more. When you’re tired of all those stunning cars, wander into the museum’s coffeeshop for refreshments. Opening hours are Saturdays from 2-7PM and Sundays from 1-7pm (you can, however, call them at +49 160 478 68 20 to schedule special opening hours or events even). Kids below the age of 6 are free of admission, kids from 6-14 are 3€ per ticket, adult and teenager tickets are 6€ (more on admission here).

Near Vilseck

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Vilseck is a historic small town in the East of Bavaria only twenty minutes from Grafenwöhr. With only a bit more than 6,000 inhabitants and gorgeous ancient architecture, it’s a wonderful destination for a romantic day trip with plenty of things to do and see for the whole family.

  • Weekly Farmer’s Market
    The closest Wochenmarkt to Vilseck is in Grafenwöhr and takes place on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Burg Dagestein
    Dagestein Castle is one of the oldest buildings in the city, dating back to the 12th century with original wall paintings from the 14th century and newer additions from the 17th century. The viewing platform offers a lovely view of the old town. You can also book the castle as a venue for celebrations of all sorts. A virtual tour is also available for rainy days or global pandemics. For more information in English, click here.
  • Public Outdoor Pool
    Städtisches Höhenschwimmbad features two large slides and multiple pools for different ages. Admission costs €3 per adult and €1.50 for anyone under 18; annual tickets available.
  • Hiking
    Many hiking trails start in around Vilseck, the longes ones are listed here and range from 13 to 32km. These signposted paths will offer stunning views as they take you through forests, across rivers, wild meadows and past a quaint little village from time to time. The list gives detailed instructions regarding levels of difficulty and length as well as where to start, where to stop for lunch, what to look for and more.
  • History Museum
    The Türmermuseum is the first of its kind in all of Germany and highlights the town’s history with a focus on ‘Türmer’, watchmen, people who had numerous tasks in keeping the town safe and entertained up until the 20th century, with educational plaques and historical artefacts. It’s open Friday through Sunday and on holidays. Group tours can be booked for other dates as well. Visit their website for more information in German.
Golfing tips for Americans in Germanysculpies / shutterstock.com

Near Hohenfels:

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Hohenfels is a small town in the Upper Palatinate region, Bavaria. In the Hohenfels region you’ll find lots of natural reserves  as well as a couple of lakes and uplands. This article has lots of  tips on what to do in and around Hohenfels (spoiler alert: there’s  lots of castles!) plus recommendations for downtime activities with  kids.

  • Medieval Castle
    If you want to see a piece of local history, take a walk (or drive) to Burg Hohenfels (Hohenfels Castle – Am Schloßberg 17-19, 92366 Hohenfels). The castle was built in the 12th century by the aristocratic Hohenfels family to serve as an ancestral seat. The castle was destroyed and re-built several times throughout history, however all that is left of it today is one of the former two castle towers. You can hike up the hill for a closer look as it is accessible to the public at all times. Access for strollers and wheelchairs is not provided. Visit their German website here.
  • Castle Ruins
    You can get what is probably the best view over the region’s lush green landscape by hiking up to the Schöneberg Castle Ruins (92366 Hohenburg) located within the confines of the JMRC Hohenfels. It is a bit of a steep hike towards the ruins, so you should probably have some stamina, nevertheless a great adventure to bring your kid(s) on! You can find access to the tree-covered surrounding area of the ruins between Vormarkt and Haagweg streets, I’d recommend using Google Maps or a map of the area for better orientation though. Visit their German website here.
  • Medieval Castle and Museum
    For a vibrant look into medieval culture and more regional history, take a short drive of 20mins to enchanting Parsberg Museum and Castle (Burgstraße 24, 92331 Parsberg). The history of this castle complex reaches back to the 13th century but the castle itself is in immaculate condition. You can even book it for events or weddings! The lower part of the castle, built in the middle of the 17th century, hosts a large museum nowadays. The exhibits will give you an insight into the development of the region as well as the everyday lives of people from pre-history to early modern times.
    Note that the museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Kids up to 10 years are free of admission, teenager/student/senior tickets are 1€ and adult tickets are 2.50€. You can get a free audio guide by downloading their app (works on IOS and Android, smartphones and tablets), just look up ‘Burgmuseum Parsberg Audioguide’ in your app store of choice. Visit their German website here.
  • Ranch-Style Beer Garden
    If you’re looking for a beergarden with character in the region, Fichten Ranch (Fichten 2, 92366 Hohenfels) is the spot for you. A popular meeting point for bikers and classic car lovers, log cabin style FichtenRanch offers home-made cakes, coffee, and BBQ specialties. Parking is available in front of the building, it’s wheelchair accessible, kid friendly and has outside seating. There’s occasional live music and country music evenings as well! In case you’re taking the trip out here on your motorcycle, FichtenRanch has a repair shop for smaller repairs, cleaning options for your helmet and visor, and you can leave your bike in their shed for free overnight. Please note that FichtenRanch is cash only! Visit their German website here.
  • Cinema
    If you want to go to the movies, Starmexx Erlebniskino (Starmexx Cinema Experience – Im Naabtalpark 48, 93133 Burglengenfeld) is a good choice! It’s a short 18-mins car ride from Hohenfels and shows current movies, arthouse movies, and English OVs in six modern cinema halls. They’ve also got a café. Check out their German website for the program. Note that Starmexx is cash only, they do however have an ATM in the entry area.
  • Golf
    Visit Golf Schmidmuehlen‘s website to become a member of their gold course.
Geoff Goldswain / hu

Near Garmisch-Partenkirchen

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Garmisch-Partenkirchen is in the very south of Bavaria. This region is as close to Austria as they come and popular with tourists year-round. Historically, Garmisch-Partenkirchen was home to many German writers, among them Kurt Tucholsky and Michael Ende; nowadays it’s more known for being a mountain bike and especially winter sports region.

  • History Museum
    Museum Werdenfels (Ludwigstraße 47, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen) is a regional history and folk art museum, open year-round from Tuesday to Sunday 10AM-5PM, parking in the underground parking garage is free for 2 hours. Adult tickets are 4.50€, kids to the age of 14 are free of admission. The museum is wheelchair accessible for the most part.
  • Richard Strauss Museum
    Richard Strauss Institut (Schnitzschulstraße 19, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen) hosts a museum in honor of the famous musician which is open year-round from Monday to Friday 10AM-4PM (closed on holidays). Regular tickets to the exhibition are 3.50€, reduced tickets are 2.50€.
  • Music at the Park
    Musik im Park is an outdoor live music event, taking place every year in summer. It’s free of admission and there’s lots of different genres being played (click here to find out more about the program, the PDF version has an English translation). Locations differ: Michael-Ende-Kurpark in Garmisch, Kurpark Partenkirchen, Mohrenplatz, Kaffeehaus Krönner and Rießersee – to find out more about the locations, click here.
  • Classical Music
    The internationally renowned Richard Strauss Festival takes place every year in June. There’s various artists, ensembles and orchestras that will make any lover of classical music very happy. Ticket prices may vary, depending on which event you’d like to see. Click here for the program.
  • Jazz
    Germany’s southernmost jazz club, jazzGap e.V., play concerts in various types of jazz (though mostly Modern Jazz) throughout the year, check out their program here. If not displayed otherwise, concerts take place at Katharinenhof (Zugspitzstraße 86, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen).
    Bonus tip: you can buy tickets to lots of different smaller events in Garmisch-Partenkirchen online on this website.
  • Walking
    Take a picture-perfect walk along Frühlingsstraße (spring road) in historic Garmisch (82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen), free of admission and open to the public year-round.
  • Partnach Gorge
    Excursion to the unique landmark Partnach Gorge (German: Partnachklamm), dogs on a leash are welcome too! The gorge is open daily from 6AM-10PM June-September and 8AM-6PM October-May. Admission is 6€ for adults, children ages 6-17 are 3€. The official website has a PDF flyer in English for you to download, you can also get more information in English (how to get there, what shoes to wear) on trips to the gorge here.
  • Golf
    Play golf at one of 23 golf courses, the season lasts from April-November. Find out more about the local golf clubs, levels of difficulty and the Driving Range by scrolling down here.
  • Skiing
    Skiing is a popular winter sport in the region and there’s two amazing resorts for you to choose from, find out more about Garmisch-Partenkirchen’s slopes here.
  • Spas and Wellness
    Here’s a list of 12 hotels with spa and wellness areas in the region, including lots of 4-sta-ones. Click on any of the hotels listed to find out more about admission, opening hours and their amenities (sauna, steam bath, thermal water, infrared cabin etc.).
    Visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen’s official website in English for many more tips on athletic, relaxing and interesting activities in the region.
  • Bouldering
    Boulderhalle Garmisch provides 160m2 of indoor climbing and 130m2 of outdoor climbing fun plus a small beer garden. Opening hours are 4PM-9:30PM on Tuesdays-Fridays, 2PM-7PM on weekends and holidays. Admission is 8€ for adults (non-members) and 6€ for kids up to the age of 14. You can rent climbing shoes for 3€ per pair while you’re there as well as chalk bags for 1.50€ (just ask at the counter). Children under the age of 14 must be escorted by a parent to boulder here!

Exploring Outside of Bavaria

There is a tremendous amount to see and do whilst you are living in this very beautiful region of Germany. But perhaps you want to venture a little further afield? Visit our other city and country pages to get tips and recommendations for things to do and places to visit in:

Featured image by Alena Stalmashonak / shutterstock.com

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