Germany Road Trip: Alpine Road

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German Alpine Road:
Experience The Oldest Touring Road in Germany

Ask any driving enthusiast what their dream driving trips are, and the odds are good that the German Alpine Road in Germany's Bavaria region will be high on most of those lists. Along with the Autobahn and Fairytale Road, the German Alpine Road holds a special place in most drivers' hearts, specifically because it offers some of the most scenic driving in the world.

Plans for the German Alpine Road were first drawn up by the German Touring Club in 1932. Construction on the road began in 1933, and by 1939, 172 miles were completed. Today, the road spans 270 miles that begin at Lindau on Lake Constance near the border of Switzerland, and end at Berchtesgaden, a mountain village just shy of Salzburg. Along the way, there are long stretches of roads that follow the Austrian border. These scenic miles will take you past 25 castles and fortresses (including the famous Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau, and Linderhof castles), 21 lakes, and 64 Bavarian mountain towns - a pretty impressive collection of sights, indeed.

The sublime nature of this journey and impeccable, German-engineered roadways make this the perfect excuse to rent a German luxury automobile for your tour. This expanse of road complements the silky-smooth ride and whisper-quiet performance of Germany's top high-end autos, and as a result, you'll be sure to enjoy a driving experience unlike any other. Hop in your German rental car and let the road take you on a magical journey through the Alps.

Germany Road Trip Planner: The Alpine Road

Germany Road Trip Planner Driving Distances
Locations Distance (Km) Estimated Time
Munich Airport to Lindau 209 1 Hour, 44 Minutes
Lindau to Immenstadt 55.2 47 Minutes
Immenstadt to Wieskirche 94.4 1 Hour, 35 Minutes
Wieskirche to Benediktbeuren 91.8 1 Hour, 37 Minutes
Benediktbeuren to Reit im Winkl 118 1 Hour, 57 Minutes
Reit im Winkl to Berchtesgaden 69.1 1 Hour, 15 Minutes
Total: 637.5 8 Hours, 55 Minutes

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Germany Alpine Road Trip Day 1: Starting Your Trip in Lindau at Lake Constance

Your German Alpine Road trip begins in the quaint town of Lindau on the shore of Lake Constance. The easiest way to get into Lindau is to fly into Munich Airport where you'll be able to collect your car rental from Auto Europe.

When you're in Lindau, plan on taking a walking tour of the area for a wonderful free way to experience the locale. Lindau is a very small and walkable city, even to the point where it is best experienced by foot. You'll want to see everything there is to see in this town so for now, enjoy Lindau in the best way possible - on foot or by bike!

There's nothing quite like walking through Lindau and taking in the incredible architecture. From the 20-foot-high Der Bayerische Löwe (the Bavarian Lion), to the Altes Rathaus(The Old Town Hall), to the Mangneturm, the harbor's oldest lighthouse, one attraction leads to another and then to another. Lindau also happens to be the perfect starting-off point for a day trip in your car rental that's spent visiting some of the towns scattered among the neighboring harbors, including Bregenz, Konstanz, and Friedrichshafen.

Lindau also has a vibrant street market where you can buy all manner of wares to get yourself ready for your trip, from locally sourced foods to fun souvenirs. There's also a medieval town center with buildings and architecture that can instantly transport you back in time.

After enjoying a delicious dinner at one of Lindau's excellent restaurants, like Wissingers im Schlechterbrau, Gasthof Alte Post, Gasthof Alte Post, or Zur Fischerin, you're going to want to head back to your hotel so you can rest up for a day full of driving. Luckily, there are several hotels in Lindau that offer exceptional service and comfort. Among the city's highest-rated are Hotel Bayerischer Hof, Hotel Garni Brugger, and the Insel-Hotel.

Upon rising in the morning, you can pick up your German car rental and start your once-in-a-lifetime drive of the German Alpine Road by getting on the B32.

Lindau Map

Map image and directions courtesy of Google Maps

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Alpine Road Day 2: Immenstadt, Wieskirche, Benediktbeuren

After leaving Lindau bright and early and driving for about an hour, you'll come to the beautiful town of Immenstadt. The city has long been a tourist trap for skiers, hikers, and others who are in love with mountainous outdoor activities. But it also has two wonderful museums, the Hofmühle, which is housed in a former mill, and the Mountain Farmers Museum.

Throughout the city are dozens of other Wieskirche Cathedralhistorically significant buildings and prime examples of seventeenth century architecture. Some of the must-see attractions in Immenstadt are the ruins of Laubenbergstein Castle, and Schloss Königsegg. And if your trip is taking place in July, then there's a good chance you may be in Immenstadt for the town festival, the Allgäu Triathlon, or the Cheese and Farmers Market.

Next up on your German Alpine Road trip is the cathedral of Wieskirche near the town of Steingaden. Since it's located about an hour east of Immendtadt, you should be able to make the trip to Wieskirche on the same day in your rental car. The cathedral is home to some of the most glorious examples of Rococo architecture anywhere in the world. From the end of June through the beginning of August, the church hosts concerts that simply must be experienced if you're passing through during that time of year.
Lake WalchenseeAfter experiencing the majesty of Wieskirche, it is only another hour's drive in your rental car from Auto Europe, before you arrive at your next destination, Wallgau. Wallgau is a picturesque mountain village with farmhouses that date back to the 16th century. Nearby is Walchensee, Germany's largest mountain lake, and its highest Alpine lake. Chair lifts to Herzogstand are available if you're interested in a one-of-a-kind bird's-eye view of the lake.

In Wallgau, you can stop for the night at one of the many excellent hotels or bed and breakfasts in the town. The Parkhotel Wallgau is a particular favorite among travelers, but the Hotel Wallgauer Hof, the Gasthof und Hotel zur Post, and the Hotel Pension PAX also come highly recommended. There are some excellent restaurants in the town, as well, despite its small size. Local favorites include Gasthof Isartal, Golf Alm Wallgau, and Alpenblick, among others.


Immenstadt Map

 Map image and directions courtesy of Google Maps

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German Alpine Road Day 3: Tegernsee, Reit im Winkle, Ruhpolding, Berchtesgaden

The next leg of your journey on the German Alpine Road will take you to Tegernsee, which is located just an hour's drive from Wallgau. Tegernsee is home to a castle that was once a combined monastery and brewery. Beer is still served at the castle, despite it no longer being an active brewery. A tour of the castle is one of the must-see attractions on this stop of your tour through Germany.Tegernsee Village

Of course, a steamer trip on the lake or a scenic cable car ride is also a valid way to spend some time here. If you think Tegernsee looks affluent, you wouldn't be wrong. The town boasts some of the most expensive properties in all of Germany. But despite that prestige, the hotels and restaurants in the region remain relatively affordable, so don't hesitate to stop and park your rental car for an epicurean fill-up before you head back on the road.

Once you do get back on the German Alpine Road in your rental car, about an hour and a half later you'll come to another quaint Bavarian village called Reit im Winkle. Reit im Winkle has a plethora of small lakes peppered across its scenic landscape, making it the perfect place to stop for a picnic lunch.

Your next must-see location on this road trip is the enchanting town of Ruhpolding. During your visit in Ruhpolding, you simply have to earmark some time to visit the St. Georg church. The church is located right in the center of town, and it will no doubt be one of the most inspiring and picturesque churches you will see in your lifetime.

The final destination on your German Alpine Road trip is Berchtesgaden, which you will reach after a blissful 45-minute ride in your rental car, through some of the lushest valleys on the planet. Once you arrive in Berchtesgaden, you will be spellbound by the beauty of it all. A visit to the mountaintop gives you an unencumbered, panoramic view of the Alpine mountains, something that is truly a marvel to behold. Best of all, Berchtesgaden is a marvelous place to visit any time of year. In winter, it is a skier's paradise, while during the summer, it is a colorful and active resort of the highest quality.

Berchtesgaden National Park

History plays a large role in the fabric of Berchtesgaden. Arguably most famous for its unfortunate ties to Hitler and his Nazi regime, the Alpine village nevertheless has a cultural significance all its own, as detailed in the exhibits at the Konigliches Schloss Berchtesgaden Museum. Once the home of Crown Prince Rupprecht, the museum now stands as a testament to the man, showcasing his collection of sacred art, some of which was created by many of the country's most recognized artists. Another noteworthy museum in Berchtesgaden is The Heimatuseum. This museum is located in the Schloss Adelsheim, and its collections include some of the region's most treasured wood carvings.

High above Berchtesgaden on the northern slope of Hoher Goll sits The Obersalzberg. History buffs will recognize the luxurious mountain retreat as once being home to Hitler's chalet, the Eagle's NestAdlerhorst, or Eagle's Nest. The Obersalzberg is also home to the Hotel zum Türken, and today, visitors can take a round-trip bus ride to the former Nazi-run hotel for a small entry fee. The hotel is built over a labyrinth of bunkers and tunnels that were once used by Hitler and his Nazi generals. Trips to Hitler's Adlerhorst are also available. The luxurious retreat provides a remarkable view from the top of the mountain, and today, the structure features a full-size restaurant and refreshment rooms.

The hotels in Berchtesgaden do well to add a certain sense of authenticity to your trip. Many are outfitted with premium wood accents, fine accoutrements, and heavy beam ceilings, with the intent of giving guests the full Alpine experience. In addition, some hotels such as the Alpenhotel Denninglehen, offer the benefit of sweeping balconies for impeccable views of the surrounding mountain ranges.

Meanwhile, the Hotel Grünberger is conveniently located within walking distance of the train station, which will be a welcome feature should you be checking your German rental car in, and leaving the city by train. It also boasts private terraces that overlook the River Ache, an Internet café, and a full menu of wellness services.

Or, if you want the ultimate in authenticity, then the Hotel Wittelsbach is where you will want to stay. Built in 1892, this hotel is one of the oldest in the region, and as a result, it is also one of the most popular among visitors. If you want to enjoy the traditional furnishings and impressive mountain views of this stately hotel, then you're going to want to reserve your room well in advance of your trip.

Berchtesgaden Map

 Map image and directions courtesy of Google Maps

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German Alpine Road: Taking the Scenic Route Through Germany

From start to finish, it takes between six and seven hours to drive the length of the German Alpine Road. But with so many things to see, do, and experience along this glorious 270-mile stretch of road, it is best to break up the trip into three or four days. In fact, most people spend a day or more just in Berchtesgaden alone, and in truth, the scenic beauty on display all along this trip makes it easy for anyone to get delayed at any point, from Lindau on Lake Constance, to Schönau on Lake Königssee in the Berchtesgaden Alps.Berchtesgaden Mountains

Now that you've gotten the run-down on a drive along the German Alpine Road, including several of the must-see attractions, restaurants, and hotels along the way, you're well on your way to enjoying one of the best driving experiences in the world. With the resources provided here by Auto Europe, and our comprehensive travel guide, you'll have all the knowledge you'd ever need to guarantee the perfect road trip through the Bavarian Alps. When you're ready to really plan your trip, be sure to use our online booking form to rent a quality Germany car rental for your driving tour.

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