Picture an image of a classic Bavarian town in the Alps, do you have it in your mind? Perfect, chances are that Mittenwald, a southern Bavarian town right by the Alps, was exactly that image. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, one of Germany’s greatest poets, described Mittenwald as a “picture book come alive,” and it is, as not much has changed since then. Classic Bavarian-stlye houses line the city’s main street (Obermarkt) with ornately carved gables and stunning painted facades. Flowers blooming in front of the windows, with the town’s bells ringing in the background.
Mittenwald was once the staging point for goods being transported from Venice. Goods were carried aboard a raft from the Isar River to Munich. During the 17th century, the town also developed a new nickname – the Village of a Thousand Violins. Matthias Klotz studied under Nicolo Amati in Cremona, Italy and became a master violin maker. After his return to the village, Klotz taught half the men in the village how to create violins. To this day, when the weather is dry and sunny, you can see laundry lines of violins hanging out and developing their natural dark hue.
While Mittenwald’s natural beauty and history is part of what draws tourists to the city each year, there are many other attractions that make the city and its surrounding areas very attractive on your next trip to southern Germany.
Things to See and Do in Mittenwald
Altstadt, or Old Town, in Mittenwald is a must-see for any tourist visiting town. Of course, it’s hard to miss this historic part of town as the town is pretty small itself and old town lies right in the middle. In Old Town, you’ll find charming sidewalk cafes and have the chance to see the painted buildings firsthand, simply a small traditional Bavarian town.
Providing you’re not afraid of heights, Karwendelbahn is a another attraction if you’re traveling to Mittenwald. The cable car brings you to the top of the mountain Karwendel to go skiing, hiking or simply enjoying the view. A large telescope as well as an exhibition sharing information about the nature can also be found at the top of the mountain.
At the Geigenbaumuseum, or Violin building Museum, you’ll learn how violins are made and get an inside look into a violin maker’s workshop and the history of violin making in the town. It’s a small museum, but well worth the visit. The museum started in 1930 and is based off Mathias Koltz’s legacy as a violin maker.
If you’re keen on seeing some nature on the way, Ferchensee Lake is another stop which should be on your go-to plan. A hiking trail will take you on a journey around this picturesque lake that boasts fantastic mountain views and while you’re at it, you can take a small dip into the lake as it’s good for swimming. If you prefer not to walk, a bus service is also available that can take you from Mittenwald to the lake. Don’t’ forget to stop by the nearby café before you head back to town.
Lautersee is another beautiful lake near Mittenwald that offers towering mountain views. Nearby, you’ll find two restaurants and a hotel where you can relax with a cup of coffee and enjoy the views of the Alps.
St. Peter and St. Paul Church
Behind the altar in this 18th century church is a carving of Matthias Klotz’s name, which he carved himself. Many of the ceiling frescoes also depict angels playing flutes and violins. The church is largely considered one of Bavaria’s most important rococo structures.
If you’re into both nature and larger towns, the nearby town Gamisch-PartenKirchen is the place for you, a mountain resort town that borders Austria.The town sits near Zugspitze, the largest mountain in Germany, which rises nearly 10,000 feet.
Garmisch-PartenKirchen is known for its natural beauty with attractions like Aussichtsplattform AlpspiX topping the list of things to do in town. This viewing platform sits just above the Alpspitzbahn lifts with a 1,000 meter vertical drop. The AlpspiX viewing platform is a must-see for anyone visiting this region.
Other nearby attractions include:
- Freilchtmuseum Glentleiten, which gives you a glimpse into how people lived in the past. This village appears to be frozen in time.
- Riessersee, a romantic lake with unreal views of the Alps and nearby forests.
- Auf der Pirsch nach Hirsch where you can see deer feeding out in the open.
Garmisch-PartenKirchen makes for a great day trip if you’re staying in Mittenwald or planning a road trip through the south of Germany.
The Drive from Munich to Mittenwald
Most tourists visit Mittenwald via Munich either by train or by car. If going by car, the drive will take approximately an hour and a half, and you’ll be traveling on A95. Along the way, you’ll pass by many quaint villages and towns while enjoying beautiful scenic views. If you’re coming from the south, you have the Austrian city of Innsbruck just a number of miles away
Munich, Garmisch-PartenKirchen, Mittenwald and Innsbruck
If you’re visiting southern Bavaria, northern Italy or Austria, Mittenwald is one of those small towns that is well worth its trip. This charming town truly is one of the most beautiful towns in the Bavarian Alps region that combines nature, culture and tradition.