I am looking for a nice town in which to spend two nights in the Bavarian Alps. My wife and I will be travelling without children and we are looking for a place that is not too touristy but has a few restaurants, nice views and is a good base for exploring the region (Neuschwanstein, etc.) We currently have two nights booked in Unterammergau, but that looks a little too sleepy for us. We will be traveling to Munich from wherever we stay. Thanks very much!
If you'll have a car, consider Oberstdorf. It's a nice resort town... so, yes, touristy, but in a "base-for-mountain-sports" sort of way, not a "buy-cheap-trinkets-here" place. Garmisch-Partenkirchen is another good option for the same region.
I second Oberstdorf. It's easily accessible by train from Munich via Immenstadt. From Oberstdorf, you can get to the Austrian Kleinwalsertal by bus.
Another place I would suggest is Pfronten, but maybe it is too sleepy (whatever that means) for you. It's easily accessible by train from Garmisch or Kempten. I stayed here. Nice place with a popular restaurant. Use the Pfronten-Steinach station.
Another place, Mittenwald.
What time of year will your visit be? Mittenwald is our favorite in this area.
We will be visiting at the end of this month!
Nice!! I'd still say Miittenwald. Extremely picturesque village with an alpine backdrop. We stayed here for 2 nights in 5/05 and then 4 nights in 10/06. We visited again, from our base in Hall in Tirol, for the afternoon in early Dec. 2010.
Those sound like some good options.
I would add that Mittenwald also offers a high mountain cable car ride as an alternative to the Zugspitze, the Karwendel. I'm not sure why, but the peak here seems to be clear of clouds more often than the Zugspitze. Mittenwald, though, is a little heavier on the "buy-cheap-trinkets-here" type of tourism. And if you want to hike, your options aren't as interesting here unless you can manage a technical climb.
If you aren't there during ski/winter sports season, i didn't find Garmisch-Partenkirken overly touristy for a late spring trip. We were on the Partenkirken side and could easily walk to a cute commercial area dating to Roman times and the Wank Mountain/Wankbahn area from our hotel (went through some pleasant and cozy residential areas in the process)
And views are most excellent from pretty much anywhere in town that has a window.
Tergernsee area in the foothills of the Alps is quite nice as well. They have a good tourism infrastructure so it won't be too sleepy but its mostly oriented to German tourist so it won't be too overrun with knicknack shoppers either. There is a lot of nearby outdoor activities including hiking, biking or just cruising the lake. It is also very convenient with respect to transport to Munich (it's on the BOB train line). The only negative is it is not convenient for Linderhof or Neuschwanstein but otherwise it is a good base for the Bad Tölz area.
A word of caution about the Bayerische Oberlandbahn (BOB). They do not accept Eurail or German Rail passes! However, they do accept the Bayern-Ticket, and they have a variety of Tageskarten for their network or combined with Munich.
The Bayerische Oberlandbahn is a network starting in Munich and running south to Holzkirchen, then branching in three parts, going to 1) the Spa Town of Bad Tölz, or 2 ) Tegernsee, or 3) Schliersee and Bayrischzell. Near Bayrischzell is the little village of Osterhofen, from which you can take a cable car to the top of the Wendelstein (at 6000 ft, nowhere near as high as the Zugspitze, but the highest point around and a great view nevertheless).