When I think of Europe, I think of castles, cobblestones and wine. Bavaria has all of them!
Located in southeast Germany, the state of Bavaria is home to the city of Munich and arguably some of the best scenery in the entire country. Think: rolling green hills, lush gardens, lakes and those famous castles perched high above it all, looking down on the quaint villages nestled in the hills below. While most people head straight to Munich to take part in the fun of Oktoberfest, even a day trip out to the countryside is well worth your while.
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One of the perks of heading out means you get to drive down the world-famous autobahn, which is Germany’s federal expressway connecting the entire country. The roads technically have no speed limit, although there are advisory speed limits posted of 130 km/h—which is still pretty fast! But as there are so many lanes of traffic in each direction which are kept in fantastic condition, it is actually quite safe.
The main highlight of a trip into the country is of course, the castles. Over a million people a year visit Neuschwanstein Castle, which is arguably the most famous. Fans of Disneyland might recognize it, as it’s what the Disney castles were modeled after! Perched high on a hill, surrounded by stunning scenery, it is absolutely mind-blowing that something of that size was built in the first place. Let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be the guy who had to haul all the bricks up there!
The former home of King Ludwig II, visitors are now free to tour around the grounds, or head inside to check out the rooms as part of a guided tour. Admission is 12€ or free for those under 18-years-old, but most be bought in the nearby village of Hohenschwangau, which is also where you’ll park.
Another fantastic option is to pay a visit to Schloss Linderhof, aka Linderhof Palace. The expansive grounds feature a bright white palace, fountains, lots of green space and statues—originally modeled after the Palace of Versailles in France. The terrace gardens and park make for lovely photo-ops, especially if it’s a sunny day. The surrounding scenery is also stunning, as the palace is surrounded by huge mountains covered in bright green trees and the steep rock face.
Be sure to take in the Temple of Venus, which is perched on a hill opposite the palace. The Greek temple features a life-size figure of the goddess, made entirely out of marble.
If you want to head inside, you must book a guided tour, which are conducted in German or English and lasts about half an hour. Admission is 8.50€ for the palace and park buildings.
How to get there: It’s easy to get to the countryside, whether you decide to drive yourself, hop on the train or go as part of a tour.
Click here for directions to Neuschwanstein Castle.
Click here for directions to Linderhof Palace.
Must do: Rent a car if possible, so you can say you’ve driven on the autobahn!
Money saving tip: Buy a discounted Bayern ticket, which allows for unlimited train travel within Bavaria–even over to Salzburg, Austria. It can be used on all local and regional trains, and gets even cheaper if you’re travelling with a larger group.
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