If you take the Werdenfels train to Middenwald, be prepared for a breathtaking journey as you travel past Lake Starnberg and through the Murnau moorland into the Bavarian Alps. Mountains stretch up to the sky left and right as the train winds its way through the valley past small villages with picturesque houses perched on the slopes, before reaching Mittenwald and its colourful house fronts.
Mural painting against an enchanting Alpine panorama
One of the first things you notice about Mittenwald is that there are no plain house fronts. Everywhere you look, you see paintings of people, animals, mountains, trees or the sky. These colourful houses and towers in the old town centre are like life-size picture books. The neat frescoes painted on the fresh lime plaster of the walls are known as "Lüftlmalerei" (air painting), and arose in the 18th century in many market towns along the trade route between Venice and Augsburg in the Upper Bavaria region. They show religious or folk stories, along with mountain and forest landscapes, creating the appearance of architectural extensions and decorative elements on these simple house walls.
The church of St Peter and Paul
One of Mittenwald's main baroque artistic highlights is the painted tower of the church of St Peter and Paul at the northern end of the Obermarkt high street. Originally built in the gothic style, it was changed to baroque architecture in the 1740s by the artist Joseph Schmuzer. Today, it is dedicated to the two patron saints of Peter and Paul. Inside the church, the ceiling frescoes and hand-carved Madonna from the 16th century vividly show visitors just how close the relationship between art and religion has been in the history of this region.
Violin Making Museum
Eagle-eyed visitors may notice the many violins that appear in the frescoes on the gabled houses. Long before the Alpine landscape and murals attracted the first tourists to the region around Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Mittenwald was famous for the production and trade of violins. Known as the "Mittenwald ladies", these instruments have been manufactured in family businesses here since the 17th century. One of these workshops is open to visitors. The Violin Making Museum is housed in one of the village's most splendid houses in Ballenhausgasse 3. This quaint workshop invites visitors on a journey of discovery through the history of craftsmanship in Upper Bavaria. Featuring exciting experience stations, you can find out about the different woods, materials and tools with all your senses. Visitors can also ask questions to a violin maker and watch them as they work.
The finest in regional cuisine
At the southern end of Obermarkt is the Marktrestaurant, where diners can enjoy playfully refined Alpine cuisine in the historic cellar or on the large terrace when the sun is shining.
Walks around Mittenwald
With its stunning location in the upper Isar valley between the Karwendel and Wetterstein mountain ranges, Mittenwald is also a paradise for walkers. From relaxing country strolls through the green forests and meadows to challenging routes for experienced climbers, there is something for everyone here. To the west of the town are walking paths leading past Lake Lautersee and the Launtal waterfall. Heading north-west, walkers can climb up the Hohen Kranzberg mountain, while the Karwendelspitze awaits to the east. You can find a detailed list of all walking routes, together with information on length, difficulty level and altitude here.
The historical centre of Mittenwald is just a short walk from the train station. Simply walk for around 450 metres along Bahnhofsstrasse until you reach the church on Obermarkt. The Violin Making Museum is located to the right, while the Market Museum is on the left at the other end of the street.
Hi! It's me, Bruno the dachshund. I'm a dog, so I love going for hikes, but they're best when there are loads of things to discover along the route. One of my favourite walks is the forest path between Mittenwald and the Lautersee lake. I got to learn so many new things about the forest, thanks to the tree quiz for instance. The hiking route also has a lookout for birdspotting and a hut full of woodland sounds.
Discover Bavaria with Bruno the dachshund and the DB:
More family destinations here.