Hiking in Germany & Austria – Tyrolean Alps & Bavarian Beauty

According to a local saying in Berchtesgaden, Bavaria, "Those loved by God are brought here." This sentiment is easy to understand since 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, multi-generational 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 new 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 love introducing Backroads guests to the locals who join us throughout our journey. Take Sabine, for example--a private Tyrolean chef who prepares 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 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 felt we had an incredible trip that  truly highlights everything the region has to offer.

Now I treasure bringing Backroads guests to Bavaria and Tyrol on our new Salzburg to Munich Walking & Hiking trip. I hope to see you here! I'd love to show you around.

Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian Alps of Germany

6 Responses

  1. Patricia cunningham

    Cat-with you designing it, I’m sure it will be great! Best of luck with your new project (and great to see a picture of your family!)

    • Cat McNally Cat McNally

      Thanks, Patti! There are also family and breakaway bike trips for you and the kids, too. 😉

  2. Betsy McB

    I know it’s early but, in 2020, probably May or June, would it possible for Backroads to modify this trip so that ‘A Hiker’s Heaven in Bavaria and Tyrol’ can include tickets to the Oberammergau Passion Play? Thank you.

    • Cat McNally Cat McNally

      The Oberammergau Passion Play is also on my 2020 list of adventures!

      If the 2020 performance schedule is similar to the 2010 schedule, then unfortunately, the timing doesn’t work out well during the trip. However, it could work very well post-trip. Our Backroads trip concludes on a Friday with a walk around Neuschwanstein Castle in the morning and then a bus transfer to Munich. Instead of taking the bus to Munich, you could arrange transportation from Neuschwanstein Castle (or the nearby town of Fuessen) to Oberammergau (about 1 hour). This allows you to settle into Oberammergau and attend the Friday evening performance. On the following day (Saturday), you could then make your way to Munich.

      Some timing to consider – tickets will go on sale for the Passion Play sometime in 2017 (the actual date is still unknown), and Backroads should have the dates for the 2020 trips posted in early 2018. May is still too early in the season for our Bavaria & Tyrol hiking trip, but June is perfect.

      If you have any further questions, feel free to contact a Trip Consultant.

      Happy adventure planning!


  3. Beejal sanghvi

    Hey Cat, this looks like a lovely trip. I’m traveling from India to Bavaria in mid May 2018. Is the weather too wet and dreary for hiking or are there chances for clear skies and great views of the alps?


    • Cat McNally Cat McNally

      Hi Beejal,

      It IS a lovely trip and region! So glad you are making it to this corner of the world.

      In mid-May, the weather can go either way, there is a chance of lingering snow at the alpine levels, and some of the cable cars and alms may not be open. That’s why we wait until June to start our Backroads trips. That said, May has the potential for some lovely hiking, and if you are flexible to both alpine or valley routes, and have some bad-weather back-up options (i.e. staying at a spa hotel), then I’m sure you will have a great time.

      Happy travel planning!


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