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Bavaria in September 2020

My husband and I and two adult children are traveling to Bavaria in September 2020. We will have five nights total in the area. We want to go to Munich and Oktoberfest for two nights, and then spend three nights in the countryside. We're looking for help with the countryside part of our trip. Our interests are: lakes, hiking, taking a cable car up the Alps or foothills, beer gardens/beer halls, and mainly small villages to explore without a lot of tourists. We are open to taking a train or renting a car - whichever makes the most sense. We'd prefer to stay in one place for all three nights if possible. There are so many options that we're getting overwhelmed. Does anyone have recommendations about traveling from Munich to any of these areas: Chiemsee area, Rosenheim, Oberstdorf, Walchensee area, Kochel, Murnau am Staffelsee, Simsee area, Rothenburg, Bad Tolz, or the Konigssee area? Vielen Dank!

Posted by
882 posts

Our interests are: lakes, hiking, taking a cable car up the Alps or foothills, beer gardens/beer halls, and mainly small villages to explore

This sounds like Tegernsee to me! It's closer to Munich than the other areas you mention and contains all of what you list as interests. It is popular with local day trippers from Munich but it won't be crowded with foreign tourist even during Oktoberfest. To get there use the BOB train.

The lake has several small villages surrounding it which are joined by bus (free if you are staying in the area), a foot/cycle path and ferries across the lake (renting electric bikes is a great way to get around the area. It is close enough to Munich using the BOB train (they have a combo BOB-MVV ticket) that you can go into the city have some fun and come back the same day if needed, also public transportation around the lake is usually included with your hotel. Since it is a touristy area there is a lot of good infrastructure for visitors. There is a great Brewery/Restaurant right on the lake, Bräustüberl Tegernsee. If the weather is nice you can take the cable car up Wallberg and hike to a hut in the mountains for nice lunch. There is also lots of hiking trails into the nearby hills.

One neat thing to do is head one valley over by bus (30min) or by foot (3 hours) to Schliersee and visit the Markus Wasmeier Open-Air Museum (within walking distance of the train station in Schliersee).


Posted by
1767 posts

If you want to avoid crowds skip Rothenburg. The Konigsee is a natural lake in the Berchtesgaden Land and is surrounded by mountains making it the most dramatic of the lakes you mentioned. Bad Tolz looks like a fairy tale town, but is located in the opposite direction so it's a bit out of the way
You can get to Berchtesgaden by train that requires a transfer in Salzburg (1h 30m) and 1h to Berchtesgaden. If you haven't seen Salzburg yet, it's worth an early morning departure from Munich and you can store your bags at the train station. When leaving the station turn left and follow the river until you reach the old town. To learn more go to

Posted by
5511 posts

Trains from Salzburg to Berchtesgaden continue well into the evening. The 22:29 train is direct and arrives at 23:34.

And while it's possible to transfer in Salzburg to reach Berchtesgaden, it takes longer than the more common transfer point, which is Freilassing (in Germany.)

I suggest you rely on the German Railways site for your train information:

For "small" and mountain lifts in the Alps with hiking, you probably can't do better than Mittenwald.

A guide to the sights there:

For evening entertainment, beer and traditional food, take a short train ride into Garmisch-Partenkirchen for Bavarian Evening at the Fraundorfer Inn:

The Walchensee (lake) is nearby and there's a mountain lift there too:

You can expect some level of crowds in these places. It's not as though the Alps are a big secret - and September is a nice month to travel.

Posted by
5697 posts

Assuming from your question that you already have accomodations nailed down in Munich -- otherwise you may have a big surprise coming.

Posted by
1767 posts

Hi Russ, yes I just realized I forgot to change my time to the evening hours on and was coming in to fix it, thanks.

Posted by
9 posts

Just want to say thank you to all who took time to offer suggestions. This is all very helpful information. I'm looking into all of this. Your help is very much appreciated!

Posted by
840 posts

Reit im Winkl and Aschau im Chiemgau (Kampenwand lift). Oberaudorf and Bayrischzell (Wendelstein cog train and lift) are nearby too. Slip south to Kössen, Austria for the lift and views of the Wilder Kaiser. Relax near the Walchsee. Mostly German tourists. No big bier halls I'm afraid, but plenty of nice small Gasthaus. Rent a car.

Posted by
5343 posts

We lived in Augsburg for four years and I visited the Oktoberfest three times. Loved it. Book you lodging early, Munich can book up easy. If you can't find lodging in Munich, try Augsburg, only 50 miles west of Munich.

You listed so many great places to visit and you only have five nights, with three in the countryside. Chiemsee is closer to Munich and can be done on a day trip. We drove there, but you may be able to train there.
Bad Tolz is farther south, that is a nice area, but considering the other places, I would not suggest that area. Also, not sure how you get there.

The Romantic Road and Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a great place to visit, a preserved Medieval walled town. There are other Medieval walled towns on the Romantic Road, check this link out.
The first visitors were friends and families of the American soldiers stationed in the large bases in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg but the idea of the trail from Würzburg to Füssen soon became wildly popular.

It's not too hard to see the reason for the popularity - despite the modern roots of the idea, the tour combines the historic cities of Würzburg and Augsburg with the three medieval walled towns of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Dinkelsbühl and Nördlingen, and then finishes off with the tourist highlights of Neuschwanstein Castle and the Alps.

These days coach parties from all over the world can be seen at the most popular stops along the way, the route signs along the way are in German and Japanese, and in 2010 the Romantic Road celebrated its 60th birthday.

Posted by
583 posts

Two years ago we were in Bavaria in September with our two adult children as well. We had more time than you, but we did Munich, Rothenburg and Salzburg. I would absolutely not skip Rothenburg. I kept reading about the crowds there, but that is not what we experienced at all. The only crowds we came across were the one night we did the Night Watchman Tour. Otherwise it was people milling about, but not crowded at all. It was very pleasant and we were there for 3 nights. Loved it!!!