At the end of August we took a once in a lifetime trip to Bavaria. Driving from lake to lake, campsite to campsite and crossing the border from Germany to Austria many times, we hit the roads, connected with nature and explored to our hearts content.
For our trip we were lucky enough to work with Roadsurfer, who gifted us a van which became our home for the week. We christened her Freda and we can honestly say the trip wouldn’t have been the same if we stayed in hotels every night. Having the freedom of a van and the road trip lifestyle suits Bavaria well.
Our road trip took us seven days and it literally was the most amazing adventure ever – if we do say so ourselves…
Disclaimer: In this post we haven’t gone into too much detail about each destination as there’s a lot to get through. However, you can read more about our favourite places here Coming Soon.
On our first day in Germany we touched down in Munich Airport early doors and headed straight to pick up our van, soon to be known as Freda, from Roadsurfer. The Munich pickup point is only an hour away from the airport on public transport, so we jumped on a train and then a bus, arriving in no time.
After a guided tour of Freda and signing a few documents, which took around an hour, it was time to hit the road. Our first stop: Lidl… less than five-minutes down the road.
Similar to Supermarket Sweep, we raced around Lidl buying all our food and snacks for the next couple of days, focusing on food easy to cook in the van – unlimited packets of Tortellini. Once the fridge and cupboards were full and we’d settled our rumbling stomachs, we headed straight to our first stopover: Fussen.
The drive to Fussen took about an hour and a half and takes you through some beautiful scenery. At first we had amazing sunshine, quickly followed by a quick downpour as we arrived.
Our first task in Fussen was to find a place to camp for the night. Luckily Roadsurfer had recommended the parking app park4night, the app lets you know about all the camping areas available in the area – a mixture between campsites and ‘wild camping’.
If we’re honest, we camped both in campsites and ‘wild camp’ during our trip – our first night in Fussen was a wild camping night. We found a parking area along the side of the road by the river Lech, just down from Forggensee lake, where we turned Freda from a van to a bedroom and snuggled down for the night.
Top tip: Roadsurfer will provide you with pillows and a duvet so you don’t need to worry about bringing these, or a sleeping bag, on your trip.
After a cosy first night we were up early to head to Neuschwanstein Castle. We drove to Hohenschwangau, around 15-minutes away from where we camped to find a car park for the day. There are many car parks in Hohenschwangau, each costing €6.00 for a car and €8.50 for a camper all day.
Our first port of call was Marienbrücke, the well-known bridge which overlooks Neuschwanstein Castle, around a 30 to 40-minute hike from Hohenschwangau. Arriving at 7:30am we pretty much had the bridge to ourselves, minus one or two other people – if you arrive past 8:30am you’ll be greeted by hoards of other tourists.
Next, we carried on walking over the bridge to the other side to find a less well-known viewpoint recommended to us by Kylie and Scott from Love Hard Travel Often. Trusting Google Maps to find the coordinates (47.5551690,10.7503320) we arrived and it is well worth it.
Afterwards we walked to the castle itself to take a closer look at the architecture before heading back down. Once back in Hohenschwangau we walked to fields on Colomanstrabe for view of Neuschwanstien Castle in the distance.
Once we’d had our fill of the castle it was time to relax. We headed back to Freda to make ourselves some packed lunch, put on our bikinis and prepare for an afternoon of relaxation.
Next to Hohenschwangau is Alpsee Lake, we walked round to the lefthand side until we came to Alpseebad Hohenschwangau, an adorable lake club where you can sit in the sun, relax with a book and swim in the lake – plus it is only €3 entry.
Although we would have loved to spend all afternoon at Alpseebad Hohenschwangau we had our eye on Lake Plansee in Tyrol, Austria. Only a 35-minute drive away it was the perfect place to spend the rest of the afternoon, before sunset. Plus, it made a nice little detour on our journey to our campsite for the night near Eibsee Lake in Germany.
By the time the sun was setting we were on our way Eibsee Lake, an hour drive from Lake Plansee to Camping Erlebnis Zugspitze our home for the next two nights.
On our third day we were heading to the top of Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany. Zugspite tickets do not come cheap at €48 each, but we think it is well worth it and if we’re honest, a full on day out.
The ticket includes one ascent and once descent from the top of Zugspitze, usually completed in one round trip. To ascent to the top we took the Cable Car Zugspitze from the carpark next to Eibsee Lake, this takes you to the top of Zugspitze where you’ll find the viewing platform – 360° incredible views over Eibsee Lake and the glaciers below.
Next, we hopped on the Gletscherbahn cable car which took us down to the glacier. Here is where you’ll feel like you’re on another planet! We explored the glacier, relaxed in the sun and ate our packed lunch.
Once we had our fill and felt like heading back down to planet earth we completed our trip by jumping on the cogwheel train to Eibsee train station: Bahnhof Eibsee.
From Bahnhof Eibsee we headed back to Freda and drove back to Camping Erlebnis Zugspitze to grab an early dinner and change before exploring Eibsee Lake for sunset. Only around a 20-minute walk from the car park at Eibsee Lake we found the perfect spot/ rock to watch the sun set for another day behind the mountains.
We left Camping Erlebnis Zugspitze bright and early as we wanted to explore more of Eibsee Lake. We spent the early morning walking around the whole lake – which takes around two-hours overall – taking photos, watching others paddleboard and making friends with the local ducklings.
Once we had finished our morning exercise we drove 50-minutes to Lake Walchensee, made a packed lunch in Freda and walked to the edge of the lake to sunbath, read our books and swim in the deep turquoise waters.
After relaxing it the sun it was time to head to our next destination and home for the next two nights: Lake Konigssee.
Lake Walchensee to Lake Konigssee was the longest drive of the trip, taking around two and a half hours. If we’re honest we probably left Lake Walchensee a tad too late, meaning once we arrived in Konigssee we were unable to find a reasonably priced and available campsite for the night. Luckily, the park4night app found us an adorable, quiet camping spot in a car park at the beginning of a hiking trail which would be our home for the next two nights – it even had a toilet.
Top tip: Roadsurfer vans come with a sink, stove and fridge so you’re able to store all your food and cook in the van – especially useful when you’re wild camping in a carpark in the middle of nowhere.
On our fifth day we had another early start as we wanted to catch the boat from Konigsee to Obersee to the famous boathouse – well ‘famous’ on Instagram anyway. We parked Freda in Konigssee Parkplatz for €2.50 and bought tickets for the 8am boat, around €20 each, from Bayerische Seenschifffahrt Konigssee, Ticket Kasse.
The boat takes around one-hour and once we arrived we followed the signs to the boathouse, around a 15-minute walk. After the boathouse we continued along the path all the way around the lake – well as far as we could go until it became professional hiking territory.
We spent around two-hours overall in Obersee before jumping on the boat back to Konigssee. We would have stayed in Obersee for longer – we could have spent all day here – but it was time for our last hike/ very exciting adventure.
There are many hiking paths around Lake Konigsee, some official and some not so much. We heard about some natural pools which you can hike to using an unofficial path. Now, we know we shouldn’t break the rules and go beyond the barriers, but the pictures we’d seen looked absolutely stunning – and who doesn’t like a challenge?!
The route: Hike to Malerwinkel viewpoint and follow the signs to Rabenwand viewpoint. Once you arrive at Rabenwand cross the barrier and follow the abandoned path through the forest, parallel to kings lake. After around 40-45 minutes you’ll reach the waterfall, from here you can hike up to the upper natural pool or down to the lower natural pool.
In our opinion both are worth a visit, we first walked up to the upper pool and had a dip, then crawled back down to the lower pool for a swim and sunbath.
Disclaimer: This IS NOT an easy hike! We love a hike and even we found this stressful. You’re not walking on a protected path and sometimes you are walking past some steep drops. You will need proper hiking shoes and confidence. We believe the experience, the natural beauty and the views at the end were 100% worth it. BUT, it is completely up to you and whether you feel comfortable. Also, be prepared to come back with very, very muddy bums.
We left our cosy little camping spot bright and early as we had many parts of Germany to see on our way to our next destination: Hallstatt in Austria.
Our first stop was The Eagles Nest, Hitler’s base during part of the second World War and where him and his allies made many critical decisions. The drive took around 30-minutes from Konigssee to The Eagles Nest bus station, where you can buy your tickets for around €20 each and jump on a bus and then take the elevator which takes you up the mountain to The Eagles Nest.
We were really looking forward to learning more about the history of The Eagles Nest, so when we finally arrived we were very disappointed to find out it had been turned into a canteen, with only a tiny corridor and the smallest amount of information on the war. If you go on a good day then you’ll see some pretty impressive views over the mountains, but other than that, we can honestly say it is not worth going.
We actually ended up getting the bus back down earlier than our designated slot and continued our drive to Hallstatt, of course via Rossfeld Panorama Strasse, a road which has some incredible views over the surrounding mountains.
The drive from The Eagles Nest to Hallstatt with Rossfeld Panorama Strasse took around an hour and 45-minutes. Once we arrived we grab some lunch, explored the adorable little town and walked up to the Classic Village Viewpoint, also known as Hallstatt Postcard Angle on Google Maps, which overlooks the lake, church and town below.
After exploring every inch of Hallstatt in the afternoon we headed to our next stop on our road trip: Salzburg City. The drive takes around an hour and 10-minutes to Camping Kaserne on the boarder of Salzburg City.
Our seventh day was a day of no driving, leaving Freda at Camping Kaserne we took the bus from right outside the campsite into Salzburg City. The bus journey only takes around 10-minutes and a lot easier than finding a parking space.
We spent the whole day exploring Salzburg City, our top destinations include:
- Fortress Hohensalzburg
- Mirabell Palace
- Hellbrunn Palace
- Slaxburg Cathedral
After a busy day and about our third Schnitzel of the trip, we headed back to Camping Kaserne for the evening for our last evening in Freda.
On our last day we left Camping Kaserne early morning as we needed to drop Freda back at Roadsurfers in Munich between 9:00 – 11:am. The drive takes around an hour and 40-minutes so there was no time to hang around.
When we arrived back at Roadsurfer they gave Freda a quick once-over and then we were free to go. We were very sad to leave Freda behind and actually felt a bit weird heading to our hotel in Munich for our last few days. We were going to miss van life and honestly believe it is the best way to travel Bavaria.
So, if you’re considering a trip like ours then a campervan is the way forward and we can highly recommend Roadsurfer. Although Freda was gifted to us in return for promotion, we can honestly say the van was comfortable to sleep in, easy to drive and had lots of space for storage – we were even able to make our dinner in the van with Roadsurfer’s equipment.