Closing date: 19 Apr 2019
When it comes to Bavaria, the city of Munich always steals the limelight – but there’s so much more to this south-east German state than its capital. This is a land of mountains, countryside and primeval forests: a place so rich in natural beauty you’ll wonder how it remains so blissfully crowd-free. Munich is certainly a hotspot for short breaks, but in rural Bavaria you’ll want to linger much longer. Fortunately, Bavaria Tourism and Ruhpolding are offering a three-night mini-break in Ruhpolding for two people, including return flights from London to Munich, car hire and accommodation at the four-star Hotel Ortnerhof. Read on to find out more...
Whether you have three days or three weeks in Bavaria, you’ll soon discover it’s not enough. Spliced by the Danube and the Main, as well as hundreds of smaller rivers, the region has hiking and biking trails aplenty, as well as some great kayaking. In winter, skiers make a beeline for the Bavarian Alps, while in summer they’re heaven for hikers. The centrepiece of this mountainous region is the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak, and there are countless walking trails to choose from.
Cyclists are spoilt for choice, too. The flat, forested landscapes of eastern Bavaria make for easy trips, while the peaks of Upper Bavaria are catnip for mountain bikers and road racers – with more than 1,400km of trails in this area alone. For long-distance pedalling, the 450km Allgäu Circular Cycle Route is a treat, meandering through historic towns and countryside. Tackle the whole route or take advantage of the rail links to plan a shorter jaunt, exploring the castle ruins of Falkenberg and Eisenberg, or the serene Hopfensee and Mittersee lakes.
Vast swathes of Bavaria are covered in woodland: from the undulating beech and ash groves in the Bavarian and Bohemian Forests to the alpine passes of Upper Bavaria and Allgäu. It’s little surprise to learn that waldeinsamkeit, the act of spending quality time alone in the forest, is a strong Bavarian ethos. Local people retreat to remote wooden cabins in summer, walking on wild trails and foraging for fruit: a tonic for both body and mind.
Nature is so much more than a pretty backdrop though; it shapes livelihoods, provides food and drink, and inspires a wonderfully hearty attitude. You’ll enjoy a warm welcome wherever you go, whether you’re wine tasting in Franconia’s vineyards or relaxing at a cosy mountain guesthouse. And your hosts’ traditional dirndl dresses aren’t for show. Bavarians take pride in their heritage, wearing it – quite literally – on their sleeves.
The small alpine community of Ruhpolding – in an area often referred to as ‘Little Canada’ for its impressive mountain scenery – is the ideal base for your adventure. Off-grid and authentic, it’s Bavaria in a nutshell – and perfectly located for exploring the region.
You’ll find Ruhpolding south of Chiemgau in the Alps, close to Germany’s southernmost border, just over an hour’s drive from Munich. Not that you’ll feel close to the capital here. These peaks are laced with hiking and biking trails in summer, as well as some great wild swimming in the pretty Weitsee nature reserve. Winter brings perfect powder for cross-country skiing, as well as the Biathlon World Cup, which attracts top world polar athletes.
But you don’t need to be an adrenaline seeker to be awed by this incredible landscape: the high-altitude climbing and paragliding are fantastic, yes, but gentler thrills are to be had, too. Ruhpolding’s alpine pastures and mountain huts – known as alms – combine scenic strolling with a wide range of traditional food and drink. With buttermilk, handmade cheeses, farmhouse bread and plenty of schnapps on the menu, it’s always a delight to dine in these convivial retreats. Don’t leave without trying Ruhpolding’s local dish, butternudeln – balls of dough cooked in melted butter until golden brown.
After a long day out, look no further than Hotel Ortnerhof in Ruhpolding — where you will stay as part of the competition prize. Soothe your weary legs in the swimming pool, sate your appetite with its stellar restaurant and enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep in its bedrooms and suites. With a free ski bus, mountain views and local tours arranged directly in-house, this family-run hotel is always a welcoming home-from-home – just the ticket for your wild, wonderful Bavaria break.
Bavaria Tourism and Ruhpolding are offering a three-night mini-break in Ruhpolding for two people, including return flights from London to Munich, car hire and accommodation at the four-star Hotel Ortnerhof. For a chance to win, answer the following question:
How tall is the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak, located in Bavaria?
Or send your answer to the Wanderlust office (Wanderlust Publications Ltd, 1 Leworth Pl, Windsor, SL4 1EB) and state ‘more info’ if you want to be contacted by Wanderlust and Bavaria Tourism. The closing date is 19 April 2019.
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