A Hiker’s Heaven in Bavaria & Tyrol

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According to a local saying in Berchtesgaden, Bavaria, “Those loved by God are brought here”–a sentiment easy to understand as the Bavarian Alps can seem like heaven on Earth.

Our family on one of the Backroads hikes, Bavarian AlpsFor my family (myself, my Backroads husband and our toddler), it’s our favorite place in the world to play and relax. We live nearby in central Germany in a traditional, multigenerational home–and if it weren’t for the pull of being close to extended family, we would move to Bavaria in a heartbeat.

I was over the moon when we received the green light to develop a Backroads Walking & Hiking trip in Bavaria and Tyrol, from Salzburg to Munich. Not only could we bring guests to this gorgeous and relatively unknown corner of the world, but for me personally it would be that perfect combination of work and pleasure.

The reasons why are many.

The landscapes–snowcapped mountains, crystal clear lakes, alpine meadows bursting with wildflowers, shady forests–are both inspiring and soothing. And then layer the history into all that natural beauty–the whimsical castles of Bavarian kings, Napoleon’s advance through the region, the eerie remains of Hitler’s mountain retreat, the filming of The Sound of Music, a mysterious stone circle said to contain a natural force field and long-standing traditions from alpine farming to World Cup skiing. At the end of a day of hiking here, I feel exhilarated, exhausted, refreshed and with a lot to think about.

Backroads picnic spot in the Bavarian Alps

And it’s just so easy to be active outdoors here. The Bavarian and Tyrolean Alps have the best infrastructure imaginable with miles and miles of well-marked trails of all difficulty levels, mountain alms (traditional huts for rest and refreshment) to soak in views and savor local specialties, and outstanding hotels and restaurants to return to at the end of the hike. All three of the Backroads properties have extensive spas and two of them feature Michelin-starred restaurants to round out a great day of hiking.

Hiking in Bavaria and TyrolThe people I’ve met along the way have also quickly become friends. I’m really looking forward to introducing Backroads guests to our local partners. Take Sabine, for example–a private Tyrolean chef who will prepare a meal for us in her garden. When I first met Sabine she greeted me with a warm smile, squeeze of the arm and a twinkle in her eye; we had an instant connection. And that was cemented after tasting her fresh apricot cake. It’s the best I’ve ever had (even better than my German grandmother’s–and I didn’t think that was possible). Her personality and food perfectly reflect the gemütlichkeit (coziness) of the region.

I originally thought that designing this trip would be easy. I was wrong. The difficulty lay in choosing between the myriad of amazing hikes, cultural experiences and superb properties. I’ve never experienced such luxury when creating a trip in any other place in the world. So I hiked and hiked and hiked, stayed in beautiful properties, and met many interesting local guides and experts (tough job, I know) until I had a well-balanced trip that highlights everything the region has to offer.

Now I can’t wait to bring Backroads guests to Bavaria and Tyrol on our new Salzburg to Munich Walking & Hiking trip. Come join us. I’d love to show you around.

Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian Alps of Germany

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Cat McNally

Cat McNally

Trip Leader at Backroads
Cat grew up on a blissful little island in Lake Ontario (on the Canadian side), and did everything she was supposed to – volunteered, played sports, went to graduate school, landed a great job in public service, and was “settled.” Then she found Backroads. Now Cat is 12 years into her Backroads career and still going strong. She has worked in 19 countries, wearing many different hats along the way (both literally and figuratively). Always a Trip Leader, she also works in Trip Development and on the Hiring and Training Team. Today, she and her husband balance their work at Backroads with raising their toddler. They have a home base in a tiny village in the German countryside, where they spend about half the year. The other half they can be found out-and-about exploring the world.
Cat McNally

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