Exploring Bavaria…beyond Garmisch
I am so excited to be working on a new series of blogs, “Exploring Bavaria…beyond Garmisch.” Thanks, Heather for the creative name. One of my favorite things to do is push myself out of my comfort zone, this trip was definitely it! Other than knowing the vicinity of Germany and staying in this area briefly a few years ago, I knew nothing about this stunningly, gorgeous destination. So, after a weekend in Tegernsee, Bayern (Bavaria) I am thrilled to share with you about the beauty of this part of the German Alps those beyond Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some GP, Oberammergau, Ettal and Linderhof, but to discover a completely new area of Germany was AMAZING!
On the suggestion of one of my German neighbors, I decided to visit Tegernsee for my daughter’s 22nd birthday. Also, since we were celebrating Heather’s birthday and saying “see ya soon, farewell for now” to my sweet friend, Frances it turned into a “girl’s weekend” of exploring, relaxation and restoration.
Traveled by TRAIN – THE WHOLE WAY!!
This was the first time I’ve done the Quer-Durchs-Land-Ticket or Cross-country Train ticket (Deutschebahn) and the Schönes wochenende Ticket, or Good Weekend ticket(Deutschebahn) for our whole journey. Since both tickets are good for five people, it is best to go as a group to split the cost. If you leave on a Friday, you’ll need to purchase both tickets for the weekend. Both tickets are for REGIONAL and LOCAL transport only, they do NOT include any FAST or ICE (Inter-City-Express) trains.
- Cross-country ticket – this ticket must be purchased if traveling during the work week (M-F), these two REGIONAL tickets are for use all over Germany and begins at €44 first person and 8€ each additional person. This ticket is an all-day ticket and can not be used for more than one day.
- This may sound weird but YOU MUST PRINT off this on-line ticket and write the passengers name on the ticket itself. Yes, HAND-WRITE their names on the ticket – you will purchase it for 5 though – the ticket will indicate for how many.
- You have to carry this ticket with you – an electronic or Qwerty ticket will not be accepted for multiple travelers
- Good Weekend Ticket – this ticket is good for all day Saturday until midnight on Sunday for ALL OVER GERMANY (most parts – see details on their website.) This ticket is good for most modes of transportation, except ICE (fast train.) You can use the S-bahn’s, busses, etc. for most of Germany. This ticket begins at €40 for the first person and €4/additional person up to 5.
- Again, write the names of all multiple passengers on the printed ticket
- Print this ticket out BEFORE you go ~
One of the best reasons to travel by train is the many, many STAUs (traffic jams) we have here in Germany. It is typically a four-hour drive to Tegernsee, as it was the regional train brought us there in about five hours of travel time and we enjoyed a comfortable ride through Germany to southern Bavaria passing through Ulm, Augsburg and Münich.
If you are still a little hesitant on venturing out on the train, it’s o.k., I offer “How to learn the train in Germany” classes in the Stuttgart area. For more information and to sign up, click HERE.
**THEY WILL CHECK YOUR TICKETS**
- Be prepared and have your tickets ready, our tickets were checked on every regional train including the BOB (Bayerische Oberlandbahn)
- Have your passport(s) handy too ~ I needed to show mine (the ticket purchaser) on our way home
- Regional trains are typically not in the MAIN platform for bigger train stations like München or Berlin (you’ll need time to walk to the regional platforms) don’t dilly-dally. Although we had time Friday, we didn’t Sunday, they were snappy.
- Check to make sure the train to your final destination is running on the day you need it. Some trains DON’T run Sunday – check your schedule before you go ~
- Make sure you sit on a “#2” car unless you’ve bought First Class tickets
- Also, check your train (sign) to see if you are on the right train.
- Although we boarded the train from München to Ulm (on Sunday) the train stopped in Ulm and they asked us to de-board in Augsburg and move to the front of the train, were we continued on to Ulm.
Accommodations – Der Westerhof
After doing a little research I found a spa hotel, the Berghaus – Der Westerhof that looked perfect for us. I did use booking.com to make the reservations because I was unsure about our actual dates. However, once I made the reservations, I called the hotel personally to adjust our reservation and add personal full-body massages.(€75/55 min) Ask for Florian. Everyone is super friendly at the front desk, Gabriella and Mr. Siebert helped us a lot with maps, what to do and what to see.
The resort was once a retreat for Benedictine monks and was built in 742. This renovated and restored relaxation facility had the best of amenities. Our rooms/studios were about €140/night and slept two. They included a kitchenette, balcony with amazing views, and the most incredible breakfast I’ve had since we’ve arrived here in Europe. It included bacon and eggs, homemade Berliners (doughnuts) and a Chef slicing fresh prosciutto for our pleasure. YUM!
The hotel’s overlook is breathtaking. Literally. My friends and daughter now have a saying, “Wen, Mom… a 17 minute walk on Google Maps IS NOT a 17 minute hike in the ALPS.” I learned a valuable lesson, but we had quite an adventure, right? We should have taken the FREE shuttle offered by the Westerhof from the train station but tired of sitting on the train and needing some crisp, clean air, I made everyone trek up the mountain.
However, once we arrived the schlep was worth every step.
The Westerhof also has a sauna and spa that is free to guests, there are four different spa rooms, one Swiss and two hot rooms overlooking the valley, oh, and a foot bath. After our massages on Saturday, we all fell asleep in the rest area afterwards. Judging from the cleared room after I awoke, my snoring must’ve scared everyone away. I was pretty chill.
Clothes are optional in the spa area ~ so be aware of this if you plan on taking little ones. Quite normal for our German friends, you might find yourself in for a different kind of adventure. Cameras and phones are not allowed. Aren’t you glad?
Tegernsee has so much to see on what they call the “little” lake that we just didn’t have enough time to do it all. One of the highlights and something I plan to save up for is the Hot-Air Balloon rides you can take from Bad Wiesee just across the lake from Tegernsee. We happened to be there during the festival ~ I know tough luck, right? With over 40 balloons flying high I couldn’t stop snapping pictures!!
Other winter activities – here is a list of just a few sports and fun for everyone in the Tegernsee area.
- Winter hiking
- Cross-country skiing
- Downhill skiing
- Snow tubing
- Ice skating
- Hot Air balloon rides
- Horse and buggy rides
- Guided tours
Staying at the Westerhof included the Tegernsee Tourist Card. If you are unfamiliar with these sweet little gem tourist cards they are INCREDIBLE. Thirty services and businesses in the Tegernsee resort area participate and they include discounts, in some cases FREE entrance (like the town museum) into many attractions. HERE is more information, make sure you use it though to gain all the benefits!
Walk the promenade
Ostiner Stub’n – Gmünd – WEBSITE
- Gabriela from der Westerhof made reservations and arrangements for the shuttle to take us to dinner, this was an excellent perk.
Bräustuberl – WEBSITE
- This wonderful, traditional brew house and restaurant is quintessential Bavarian. Right from the pretzels (€1.10) served at your table to the meals. Our table enjoyed a Hax’n (pork knuckle) special, white würst (the kind you peel), potato soup with würst and of course Nürnberg sausages soaked in cherry wine. The brewery has out door seating as well, but filled up even during the summer months. The prices were quite affordable and everyone was dressed in lederhosen and drindl. The service was impeccable as well as the decor.
All I can say is after a relaxing weekend in this part of Bavaria I can’t wait to go back again. Maybe next time, Bayerischzell or Schliersee or maybe just the other side of the lake, Rottach-Egern or Bad Wiessee. With so many beautiful places nearby and literally just a relaxing and affordable train ride through the countryside, what’s stopping you? Stay tuned for another upcoming adventure as I explore Bavaria…beyond Garmisch.