Whether you are looking for scenic mountains and lakes or picturesque towns & castles, the Bavaria region of Germany will have it all for you. Located in southern Germany, Bavaria is the perfect region to explore as you get a little bit of everything that the country has to offer.
This guide will go through a one week Bavaria itinerary that will focus on the Bavarian Alps.
So, whether you want to reach the highest point of Germany or you want to enjoy walking through some charming towns, this itinerary will go over it all and more.
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1) Bavaria Itinerary Overview
The Bavaria region of Germany is located in the southeastern part of the country. It is home to big cities like Munich and Nuremburg, and also smaller mountain towns like Garmisch Partenkirchen and Berchtesgaden.
→ This itinerary in particular will be focusing on southern portion of Bavaria, closer to the Bavarian Alps.
During my time in the country, I wanted to see more of the beautiful natural landscapes that Bavaria had to offer, so that is what I devoted my trip to.
→ Altogether, the itinerary will just be heading to the two Bavarian towns of Berchtesgaden and Garmisch Partenkirchen, with a day trip to Salzburg (in Austria).
While there are certainly more places to travel to in Bavaria, I feel that visiting 2-3 places is the perfect amount for a week of exploring.
→ Of course, if you have more time to spend in Bavaria, you can certainly add on more places (both near the Alps and in the bigger cities). You can still use this Bavaria itinerary as a starting point though as you put together your trip.
→ For the purposes of this itinerary, you really can be arriving from / departing to a whole array of places.
During my trip, I combined Austria and Bavaria into one longer 2+ week itinerary. So, before and after my time in Bavaria, I was also exploring some nearby Austria regions.
This may be the case for you, or you may be coming in from the main German hub of Munich. Either way though, this should not affect the overall itinerary much. Rather, you will just need to understand your arrival and departure points according to your travel plans.
→ During the duration of the trip, you will be traveling between and within cities. While public transport is an option, I would recommend renting a car during your time in Bavaria (more on this soon).
→ From a time of year perspective, this itinerary is best to be done in the summer months (June to September).
If you are trying to fully immerse yourself in the nature part of Bavaria, the summer is going to be your best bet when it comes to mountain weather (and swimming weather).
2) Bavaria High Level Itinerary
Below you can find the high-level day by day Bavaria itinerary.
The first day of the trip will be getting yourself to Berchtesgaden. So, whether you are coming from Munich or a nearby place in Austria like Hallstatt, you will just need to make your way to Berchtesgaden from there.
It is then 6 full days of exploring Bavaria, before departing from Garmisch Partenkirchen. Again, you could be heading out from Garmisch back to Munich, or continue your time in Austria to a place like Innsbruck.
There are really several options to choose from when it comes to places to visit before/after your time in Bavaria.
- Day 1: Arrive & Travel to Berchtesgaden
- Day 2: Berchtesgaden
- Day 3: Berchtesgaden
- Day 4: Salzburg
- Day 5: Garmisch Partenkirchen
- Day 6: Garmisch Partenkirchen
- Day 7: Garmisch Partenkirchen
3) Renting a Car
As I mentioned before, renting a car would be my recommendation when it comes to transport within the region.
While you can take busses or trains around, it does make things easier to just have your own rental car.
This not only helps when getting yourself between towns, but it also helps when exploring places nearby these towns.
Not everything is located within walking distance of the city center. Rather, you may need to drive further outside the towns to reach lakes, trailheads, or other attractions.
Another reason to rent a car is so you can always be on your own schedule and switch things up as need be. You will not need to worry about bus/train timings and can more so go at your own pace without worry.
When it comes to renting a car, I would highly recommend checking out Rentalcars.com for potential options.
By going through Rentalcars.com, you will have the chance to compare car prices among a variety of rental companies, and choose the best option for you.
4) Bavaria Accommodation
Accommodation for this Bavaria itinerary should actually be pretty simple.
Since the itinerary is focused on the two main towns of Berchtesgaden and Garmisch Partenkirchen, those will be the only places needed to book a hotel.
You will want to book three nights in Berchtesgaden (Nights 1,2,3) and three nights in Garmisch Partenkirchen (4,5,6). Depending on what your plans on for day 7/8, you may need to book one additional night in GP too.
Below I have highlighted a few highly rated and reviewed options for both towns. Feel free to take a look at them and reserve your spots once you know your travel dates.
Garmisch Partenkirchen Hotels
5) When to Visit
When it comes to the Bavarian Alps, the main time of year you will want to plan your visit is in the summer months (from June to September).
While you can certainly visit at other times of year, it may not be possible to take part of some hikes or swimming activities due to snow cover and colder temperatures.
Since this itinerary will have its fair share of hiking and outdoor involvement, I would recommend taking part during the time of year that is best for that sort of activity.
Of course, if you want to do some skiing, or visit during shoulder season, that can be an option too. Just note, you may not be able to take part of everything mentioned in this itinerary.
There are a few things I wanted to note regarding Bavarian Alps weather in general:
→ Since we are talking about mountains here, the weather can be hit or miss. Some days may be nice and sunny with clear views, while other days may be rainy with overcast clouds and no views.
→ I would recommend being flexible with your itinerary and move things around as you see fit with the weather forecast. If one day you are supposed to go on a hike in the mountains but the weather isn’t cooperating, maybe swap that day with one where you are visiting a gorge or walking around town.
→ Another important thing to note in the summer months it can be pretty standard to see clearer mornings with afternoon clouds and rain showers.
If you are taking part of a hike, be sure to head out first thing in the morning to have the better weather to hike in (always be sure to check the forecast though!).
6) Bavaria Itinerary Map
Below you can find the map of the Bavaria itinerary route I will be going through.
Not only have I included the route here, but I have also pinpointed all the various highlights that you can take part of along the way.
7) One Week in the Bavarian Alps
Now that you have some good background knowledge of the Bavarian Alps and the itinerary, let’s talk about a day by day overview of the trip.
Remember, feel free to move things around as you see fit based on preference and for weather related reasons.
Also, be sure to check out many of the linked guides that I have included in this itinerary. If you want to learn more about a particular hike or experience, these guides will give you a much more detailed overview of what to expect.
Day 1: Arrive & Travel to Berchtesgaden
The first day of your trip to Bavaria will mostly be a travel day as you make your way to Berchtesgaden. As I mentioned earlier on, you really can be coming in from a whole variety of places nearby.
If coming in from Munich, expect the drive to be around just over 1.5 hours. On the other hand, you may be coming in from somewhere in Austria, like Hallstatt. Expect that drive to be just over an hour long.
This very well may mean that you can have a full day exploring the place you are coming from, before heading out later in the afternoon to arrive in Berchtesgaden.
Once you have made it into Berchtesgaden, I would recommend spending your afternoon / evening exploring the charming Bavarian town and walking alongside the riverfront.
You will find the main city center propped up on a hillside, so do expect a little bit of uphill walking if you aren’t staying directly in the town center.
You can then take a stroll by the water as you enjoy the beautiful river with the Bavarian Alps out in the background.
After a day of traveling to and exploring Berchtesgaden, it is time to rest up for a couple of exciting days around the area.
Day 2: Berchtesgaden Hiking
For the next two days it is time to explore what Berchtesgaden has to offer. It does not really matter if you do these days in order or swap things around.
My advice would be to do the hiking on the better weather day though as the trail mentioned does go higher into the mountains.
One of my all time favorite hikes that I have took part of is a hike called Kleine Reibn, which starts from the top of the Jennerbahn cable car.
The hike not only gives you the chance to enjoy the views from the Jennerbahn summit, but you also get to hike up to the Schnebstein summit, visit alpine lakes, and get tremendous views of the surrounding Bavarian Alps.
This is a longer hiking trail coming in at around 15 km / 10 miles, so do expect this to be a full day activity.
Start off the day by heading to the Jennerbahn parking lot and taking the first cable car up at opening time. The cable car has two stops, so you will want to get off at the second and final stop.
From there, you can enjoy some time enjoying the views from the top of the cable car and even head up on the detour towards the true summit of Jenner mountain. After that, it is time to start the circular route around the Bavarian Alps.
The route heads towards the Schneibsteinhaus mountain hut, Schneibstein summit, Seeleinsee lake, the Priesbergalm mountain hut, before finally ending at the Jennerbahn middle station.
Along the way you will have views of many other Bavarian peaks such as the famous Watzmann mountain across the way.
Once you reach the middle station, you can then hop back onto the cable car and back down to the parking lot to end your day.
I would recommend reading the Berchtesgaden hiking guide to learn more about this particular trail and what to expect out in the mountains.
Day 3: Konigsee & Eagle’s Nest
On your second day in Berchtesgaden, you can head to the most visited attractions of the Konigsee Lake & Eagle’s Nest.
While the lines can get quite long for both of these places, I would recommend starting out with the lake.
If you arrive at Konigsee Lake first thing in the morning, you will have the best chance to avoid the crowds and enjoy the lake in a more peaceful manner.
The first boats usually head out between 8:00AM – 9:00AM depending on time of year. You can also purchase tickets online beforehand to guarantee your spot and not need to worry about purchasing when you arrive.
Feel free to check out the Konigsee website for the latest.
While the lake itself is beautiful to take in during a boat ride, you can also explore two places along the route – St. Bartholoma and Salet Obersee.
You can first take the boat all the way out to Salet Obersee, which should take just around an hour. You can then hop off the boat there and begin the walk towards the smaller Obersee lake.
Obersee is known to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the country, and here you will have the chance to take in the view and stroll the trail around the lake.
Once you had enough time by the lake, you can then head back to the dock and wait for the next return boat.
If you would like on the way back, you can also get off at St. Bartholoma, home to a church and some dining options.
Unless you are keen on visiting the church, I would say just enjoying the view from the boat may be enough for most. If you do get off at the church, you will need to wait for another boat to come pick you up.
It is then back to the starting point, where you can hop off the boat and get ready for part two of the day.
The Eagle’s Nest has a bit of dark history to it as it was once used by Hitler and the Nazis during WWII. Today, it stands as a tourist attraction, where people can dine at the restaurant and enjoy views from the hilltop.
The drive from Konigsee to the Eagle’s Nest should take just about 15 minutes, where you will be welcomed to a parking lot.
Tourists are not allowed to drive all the way up to the Eagle’s Nest itself, rather they must park at the lot and then be taken up/down by bus.
So, once you arrive at the parking lot, you can head to the ticket booth. As you purchase your ticket, they will give you a boarding time for you to hop onto the bus. You can also book ahead of time to guarantee your departure.
If you get there when it is very crowded, you may need to wait a bit until your time comes around.
The bus will then wind its way up the mountainside before reaching the main entrance to the Eagle’s Nest. Along the way, you should get some great views of the surrounding mountains and even catch a glimpse of Konigsee.
When you arrive up top, the first thing you will want to do is book your downhill bus (if you did not already book ahead of time online).
This will all depend on how long you want to stay up top, but 1.5-2 hours so be a good amount of time to set aside.
It is then through the tunnel and up the elevator, where you will be welcomed to the top of the Eagles Nest. Inside you will find a bar and restaurant, and outside you will have plenty of options to take in the views.
After spending time up top, head back down to the bus loading area, where you will then be taken down to the parking lot.
Here you will also have the option to head into the Dokumentation Obersalzberg, which is a museum about the area’s history during the war and also where you can explore some underground bunkers.
Day 4: Salzburg
It is now time to head out of Berchtesgaden and to the nearby city of Salzburg.
Remember, Salzburg is part of Austria so it is technically not in Bavaria. However, since it is so close and can so easily be added to an itinerary, I just had to include here.
The drive is just 30 minutes northbound from Berchtesgaden and once you arrive, you will need to park just outside the main city center. Since the old town area is car free, there are several parking lots that line the streets leading up to the area.
Once you are all parked, it is time to explore the town. Everything within the town is very walkable so you should have no issues getting from one place to the next by foot.
During my day trip in Salzburg, I ended up visiting the following attractions:
- Hohensalzburg Fortress
- St. Peter’s Abbey
- Franciscan Church
- Salzburg Cathedral
- Mozart’s Birthplace and Museum
- Mirabell Palace and Gardens
Learn More: Check out the Salzburg Day Trip overview up on the site for more
After a day checking out Austria, it is time to continue the drive onwards to Garmisch Partenkirchen.
The drive should take around 2.5 hours as you get yourself back into Bavaria and onwards to your second mountain hotspot of the Bavarian Alps.
If you have some time when you arrive, feel free to walk around enjoying another charming Bavarian town.
→ Check out some of these top things to do in Garmisch Partenkirchen, which I will dive into in the next section.
Day 5: Alpspitze & Hollental Gorge
During your first day in Garmisch Partenkirchen, you can focus your time on the Alpspitze mountain and the nearby Hollental Gorge.
There are many various hiking trails and things to do around Alpspitze, however I will walk you through what a full day can entail here.
You can start the day by driving the 10 minutes to the Alpspitze parking lot, where you can hop on a cable car upwards to the AlpspiX viewing platform.
The cable car does not get you all the way to the true summit of the mountain. Rather it takes you most of the way up, where you will be welcomed to a unique viewing platform built alongside the mountain.
While you can take on some shorter hiking trails around this area, you also have the option of taking a via ferrata route to the true summit of Alpspitze.
This will require an equipment rental for most people, but it will get you safely up the mountain.
If you are not familiar with via ferratas, I would recommend reading this thorough Via Ferrata guide I put together. Essentially though, it is a mixture between hiking and climbing, and this route in particular is a great one for beginners.
If you do head up to the summit, you can then continue on the normal hiking trail back down to the top of the cable car station. Enjoy the down time and the view as you then rest up for the next part of your day.
On the other hand, if you do not want to take part of this via ferrata route, you can just take part of some shorter hiking trails around the top of the cable car station.
There will be several to choose from that all will have some beautiful views to enjoy.
From the AlpspiX platform, you can then follow the trail down the Rinderscharte route to the Hollental Valley.
The downwards hike has some jaw dropping views all throughout as you head closer down to the valley floor.
Once down there, you will walk by the Höllentalangerhütte, and then follow the river through the valley.
Soon enough you will be welcomed to the Hollental Gorge. The walk through the gorge is incredible as you have the massive rock walls on either side and the flowing river down below.
The gorge will then come to an end as the valley opens back up. From there it is through the forest and onwards to the town of Hammersbach.
Once in the town, you can simply walk back to the Alpspitze parking lot and then drive back to Garmisch.
Note: if you want to visit the gorge, you do not need to hike down from Alpspitze. An alternative would be to take the cable car back down, drive/walk to Hammersbach and do a round trip walk through the Hollental Gorge from there.
Day 6: Zugsptize & Eibsee
Next up is the tallest peak in all of Germany, the Zugspitze. There are two ways to go about a trip to the summit of the mountain. You can either take the nice and easy 10 minute cable car ride or take the 8+ hour hike.
These are two very different options, so you will have to decide what is best for you. The hike is no easy task and is even broken up into two days by many.
Learn More: If you do want to read more about the hike, check out the Zugspitze hike guide up on the site
Whether you hike up or take the cable car, you will be welcomed to a large viewing platform area high above the rest of the surrounding mountains.
The views in all directions will be never-ending as you get the best panorama landscape you can ask for.
Interestingly enough, the true summit of the mountain is just off to the side and requires a bit of a scramble to get to. You will find a line of people waiting their turn to get up to the true summit (and to the top of Germany).
For those that hiked all the way up, it can be quite a spectacle to reach the top and be welcomed to hundreds of tourists. Not only that, you will also then need to wait your turn to get up to the true summit.
Once you have had enough time up top, hop onto the cable car, which will take you all the way back down to the bottom of the mountain.
Be very careful here as there are two cable cars – one that goes down to Germany and one that goes down to Austria. Since the mountain sits on the border of the two, it can be accessed from either side.
At the base of Zugspitze you will also find the Eibsee Lake. This is the perfect place to enjoy a swim after a day of exploring Zugspitze. It will be an even more relaxing swim for those that hiked all the way up to the summit.
If you are up for it, you can even rent some boats or stand up paddle boards to spend some more time out on the lake itself.
After Zugspitze and Eibsee, you can then drive yourself (or take the train) back to Garmisch to end a successful day out in Bavaria.
Day 7: Partnach Gorge & Neuschwanstein Castle
During the final day of your Bavaria itinerary, you can head on over to the Partnach Gorge and the Neuschwanstein Castle.
The gorge is actually the beginning portion of the route up Zugspitze. So, if you ended up hiking the mountain the day prior, then you can probably skip this (or do it again!).
The Partnach Gorge is another beautiful gorge on the outskirts of the town. The parking area is just next to the Olympic Ski Jump – another highlight you will get to see along the way.
Once you reach the parking lot, you can begin the 20 minute walk towards the gorge’s entrance.
After paying the small fee, you will be welcomed to the flowing glacial river and the high walls on either side.
Enjoy the scenic walk along the pathways as you make your way further besides the river. The walk through the gorge itself should be another 20 minutes.
Towards the end of the gorge, the landscape really opens up. Instead of just walking right back towards the entrance, you can take a little bit of time to explore this area too.
It is then back through the gorge and to the parking lot (around 40 minutes all the way back), where you will end your time in Garmisch Partenkirchen.
To end your time in Bavaria, you can make the hour drive from Garmisch towards the Neuschwanstein Castle. The castle is perhaps the most famous in Germany and maybe the world.
The only way to visit the castle is by guided tour that should be reserved ahead of time. It is also important to note that no photography is allowed within the castle. You can take photos from the outside, but once inside no photographs are allowed.
If you want to take in some of those views from the outside of the castle, head to the nearby Marienbrucke, where you will get one of the best views in the area.
After a week of exploring Bavaria, it is time to finish up this Bavaria itinerary and head onto your next destination. Whether that be back to Munich or somewhere else in Austria like Innsbruck.
I hope you now have a better sense of how to put together a great one week Bavaria itinerary for your next trip. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to add them in below.
Also, don’t forget to check out the other Germany itineraries and guides up on the site. Have fun out there and safe travels!