Munich has something for everyone, whether you’re a history lover, enjoy wandering through decorative baroque palaces and churches or even just drinking all the beer you can get your hands on. But Munich is not only a fascinating centre of German history and culture, it is a gateway to the Bavarian region and beyond. These awe-inspiring nature sites are just a short train ride away from the city centre...
A two and a half hour train ride away from Munich lies Berchtesgaden, a town nestled in the Bavarian Alps. A short bus ride from the Berchtesgaden Hauptbahnhof takes you to the Königssee, the King’s lake. Hop on one of the boats which glide through the deep green water (claimed to be the cleanest of a lake in Germany!) and look up at the tree-covered flanks of the mountains that surround it and marvel at the snow-capped peaks in the distance.
The boat stops for a moment as the driver plays the trumpet, I sat there in awe as the music echoed through the silence of the valley. If you can go the full way to the stop at Salet, then do. But if, like me, you’ve had a mishap with transport and are lacking in time, St Bartholomew’s Church (which is closer) is more than enough. This gem of a place cannot be missed on your travel list.
If you’ve ever wanted to visit an ice cave, then this is your chance, or if like me, you didn’t even know an ice cave was a thing, then now is also your chance because it’s pretty incredible and this one is the biggest in the world. Werfen is a small town just over two hours from Munich and in another country entirely, Austria. The fact that it takes that much time to get from one country to another in Europe will never cease to amaze me (I’m from Australia alright!). The journey to the ice cave is laborious, involving a bus ride, a walk, a cable car and another walk up a mountain, but don’t be disheartened because when you step inside the freezing world of the cave it’ll all be worth it.
Still in Werfen once you’re finished with the otherworldly experience of the ice cave, a medieval fortress is waiting to be explored. Although this isn’t strictly a nature site the views of the mountains are glorious and, even better, there are birds of prey flying demonstrations throughout the day.
Situated on the top of a hill and surrounded by mountain peaks that look as if they’ve received a dusting of icing sugar, the imposing fortress is home to a cacophony of birds of prey including falcons, eagles, vultures and hawks. The castle has a history of falconry and watching the majestic birds swoop and hover against the impressive backdrop made me feel like a medieval monarch!
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