Getting off the train and up the mountain

The three most beautiful hiking trails in Upper Bavaria: after arriving comfortably by train, it’s straight into the nature adventure.

From Munich to the peaks of Upper Bavaria – entirely free of weekend traffic, but lots of relaxing before and after the journey. Anything is possible with the train. Our hikes begin and end at different stations in the area. The trails, which vary in difficulty, are recommended by experienced hikers: we have made the selection together with a team from the mountaineering magazine, Bergsteiger.

Hörnle-Überschreitung (crossing the Hörnle mountain, 1,496 m)

Equipped with hiking boots and plenty of water, even less-experienced hikers can take on the Hörnle Überschreitung (crossing the Hörnle mountain) hike. To warm up, there is a short section from Unterammergau that is flat, all the way to Kappl. The trail there is beautiful and easy, and leads you over wide meadows and up to the Mittlere Hörnle mountain. You’ll always have a view of the Ammergau Alps, which form a cordon to the south. You will reach the peak in about two hours. You can now enjoy the entire view to the north, over the flat Alpine foothills with the Murnauer Moos bog – and if visibility is good, even see all the way to Munich. The hike continues northwards and remains relatively easy, either over the Vordere Hörnle mountain, or past it, towards the Hörnlehütte cabin. The sun terrace offers an abundance of breathtaking scenery, and you can sit there while enjoying dishes such as Käsespätzen (traditional German noodles with cheese – around EUR 9) or apple strudel (about EUR 5) – a well-earned reward. From there, you can descent down to Bad Kohlgrub. If you would like to spare your knees and take it easy, you can take the Hörnlebahn chairlift and glide comfortably into the valley (the descent costs EUR 8).

Duration: 4 hours, about one hour less with chairlift, 9.5 kilometres, 660 m altitude

Arrival: From Munich main station, there is a train towards Unterammergau every hour, with a change at Murnau towards Oberammergau (travel time: 1:34 hours). The journey back from Bad Kohlgrub is also every hour, with a change at Murnau towards Munich.

Round trip hike on the Kramer mountain (1,985 m)

A top-class panoramic trail above the rooftops of Garmisch-Partenkirchen; we only recommend this trail to experienced hikers though. An altitude of 1,300 metres is no walk in the park, and the nearly six hours walking time it takes to complete this hike should only be taken on by experienced enthusiasts. The path leads uphill from Untergrainau station, which requires you to be sure-footed; in return you are treated to consistently beautiful panoramic views, straight up to the Stepbergalm cabin. You will have covered a good two thirds of the ascend by then, and the delightful Hirtenmakkaroni (“shepherd's macaroni”, about EUR 7), or Kaiserschmarrn (shredded pancakes, about EUR 8) are sure to be welcome invigoration. A ridge way with a view of the Zugspitze leads the last leg up to the Kramer peak, with its unparalleled 360-degree view. Important: it can get hot on south-facing ascents, so make sure to bring plenty of water! The descent leads you over the Grasberg mountain and the St. Martin Hütte cabin. Hungry visitors can enjoy a hearty snack (between EUR 6 and EUR 15) or home-made cake (EUR 3.50) before tackling the final leg down to Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Duration: 6 hours, 15 kilometres, 1,300 m altitude

Arrival: From Munich main station the Werdenfelsbahn train leaves every hour towards Untergrainau (Travel time: 1:38 hours). The train back from Garmisch-Partenkirchen station leaves every hour towards Munich.

Hiking by the Osterseen lakes

You don’t need to travel deep into the mountains for a good hike. This journey leads walkers who don’t feel like climbing boulders and steep slopes through the picturesque Alpine foothills, south of Starnberger See lake, through untouched natural landscapes; views of the mountains are included. The journey into the countryside with 20 different lakes begins just behind Iffeldorf station. After passing some of the smaller lakes surrounded by marshes, and just before reaching the Großer Ostersee lake, you will come across one of the highlights of this hike – a short jetty leads into the Blaue Gumpe pool, from which you can see the crystal-clear, blue shimmering water it contains. The Blaue Gumpe feeds into lake. By the way: you should bring your swimming things in the summer. There are designated swimming areas for when you want to take a dip here and there around the trail. Finally, the well-developed and well-signposted trail leads to Seeshaupt by Starnberger See lake. Connoisseurs will be drawn to the Biergarten Lidl which is situated directly on the lakeside promenade. The Lidl family serves fish that they have caught themselves there (char with potatoes, around EUR 17). Tip: the hike is especially beautiful early in the morning or in the evening, when there are fewer other hikers. If you have an early start, you can add an excursion boat ride from the jetty next door to round out the trip, before heading home from Starnberg station.

Duration: 3 hours, 9 kilometres, 30 m altitude

Arrival: From Munich main station to Iffeldorf station, with a change in Tutzing towards Kochel (travel time: 45 minutes). Journey back from Seeshaupt station also with change at Tutzing towards Munich.

Other hiking tours in Upper Bavaria which you can reach directly by train can be found in the Bergsteiger booklet, “Zügig zum Berg. Die 10 schönsten Touren direkt vom Bahnhof" (Up the mountain in a jiffy: the 10 most beautiful tours directly from the station) in the August 2018 edition of the Bergsteiger magazine.

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