the traveller

Know Munich like the back of your hand, but have a whole day to explore its surroundings? Here are a few ideas for those who want to discover the region. For families with children, head down to one of two parks: BergTierPark Blindham or Wildpark Poing.

Apart from countless attractions for the little ones, such as swings, trampolines and slides of all shapes and sizes, in these small nature reserves you’ll have the opportunity to stroke deer and fawns. Pick up a bag of seeds, which you can buy at the entrance, and you’ll make some new, inseparable four-legged friends.

Burghausen Castle
Maibaum (greasy pole), Aying
Wildpark Poing

For beer lovers I recommend a trip to Aying, 16 miles (25 km) south of Munich. This small and characteristic area is home to the brewery of the same name. Ayinger has been produced here since 1876 and is one of the best beers in all of Germany (taste is taste, give it a try and let me know what you think!). You can visit the brewery with a guided tour in German, English or Italian. To find out more, go to (ayinger.de). Head towards the centre of the region to see the tallest Maibaum in Europe. A bit like the English Maypole in its looks, the Maibaum is a symbol of fertility and good luck and is hoisted on the 1st May each year with a village party in almost all town squares in Bavaria.

If you love the peace and quiet of lakes, you won’t be disappointed. Munich is surrounded by lakes of all sizes, all of which you can swim in. Pay a visit to Tutzing, about 25 miles (40 km) from Lake Starnberg. Once a small fishing village, today it offers many leisure activities: golf courses, sailing and windsurfing schools, as well as cafés and restaurants on the water that are never over crowded. Cross the village on foot, keeping the lake close by, and don’t be surprised if you come across a fifty-odd-year-old Asian-looking fellow, dressed in an eccentrically scruffy manner, with plenty of tattoos and just as many bodyguards in tow. He is Maha Vajiralongkorn, the King of Thailand. Passing through, he became so intrigued by Tutzing that he has made it his second home, or rather palace. He bought Villa Sorberg and its 1.4 acres (5,600 m2) of land for the modest sum of €12 million.

Continuing on south, along the shore for a further 3 miles (5 km), you’ll find Bernried, where the Buchheim Museum awaits you. A unique museum, the Buchheim is the fruit of Lothar-Günther Buchheim’s passion for art. Buchheim was an author (the film of his best-seller, “U-Boat War”, has been translated into 18 languages), director, painter, editor, adventurer and patron. The museum houses the works and collection amassed by Buchheim during his travels. Artefacts include expressionist masterpieces, ethnic, contemporary and simply bizarre art, such as theatre and circus relics. The museum’s collections are so colourful and different from one another that they have earned the title “museum of fantasy”.

Continue towards Garmisch-Partenkirchen (34 miles/55 km further south), the characteristic town and birthplace of author Michael Ende. Don’t miss out on one of nature’s marvels: Partnachklamm, a 260-foot (80-metre) deep gorge that winds along for almost half a mile (a kilometre). You can walk it on foot, in summer and winter (partnachklamm.eu). If you prefer snowy vistas, you may want to go to the top of the highest summit in Germany, Zugspitze (9,700 ft/2,962 m). It can be reached by a rack railway and cable car (zugspitze.de). On clear days, you’ll enjoy a breathtaking view of the Swiss and Austrian Alps, while the more daring can take the Alpspitzbahn and walk on the AlpspiX, a footbridge over the void. A small tip for you: even if the temperatures down in the valley are summery, make sure you take a coat as it’s not unusual to be surprised by a snow storm at the summit. For lovers of expressionism, don’t miss a stop-off at the Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider) museum in Murnau castle and/or the Franz Marc museum on Lake Kochel. They are very close to each other, just 19 miles (30 km) from Bernried along the road to Garmisch.

Burghausen Castle
Lake Starnberg, Tutzing

If you want to take a trip to the Middle Ages, I recommend two areas that escaped bombing during the Second World War, both of which retain a charm from another time. Begin at Wasserburg am Inn, about 37 miles (60 km) east of Munich. As the name suggests, it’s a village on the water, or rather more than that. The Inn, a tributary of the Danube, wraps around the place like a belt, with the town shaped like a drop of water on its banks. Easy to walk around, Wasserburg is a Medieval open-air museum. If you’re lucky enough to come here in summer, there are two days when Wasserburg is worth a visit after sunset: the festival of light, in which the village is lit up to perfection thanks to colour effects, projections and laser shows, and the night-time flea market.

In Burghausen, 30 miles (50 km) from Wasserburg, sits the longest castle complex in the world, at 3450 ft (1051 m). The fortress is so well maintained that it was the setting for films such as “The Three Musketeers”, “The Baron of Münchausen” and “Vicky the Viking”. For jazz lovers, the Internationale Jazzwoche Burghausen, the international jazz week, is a must. Since 1970, it’s been held in mid-March and plays host to the greatest jazz musicians in the world.

Did you sing “Old MacDonald had a farm” as a child? Well, here’s your chance to visit the farm, found in Glonn, just 22 miles (35 km) south of Munich. In 1986, after working in a slaughterhouse in the United States, Karl Ludwig Schweisfurth became aware of how food production was becoming more and more like an assembly line. He decided to go back to Germany, where he bought and renovated an old disused farm and founded the Herrmannsdorfer Landwerkstätten. “At the heart of our work here is the rediscovery of a long since lost farming culture. We care for resources such as the land, water and plants, and respect our animals. This is the only way to create good, healthy food”. Take a seat in the Biergarten and sample some of the products on offer. The farmyard is littered with sculptures and children’s games, and it’s not uncommon to feel your ankles being pecked at by hens strolling between your legs. Pay a visit to the roasting house too. You’ve never had a better espresso!

Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Wasserburg am Inn

Feeling refreshed? Time to visit an old manor, Gut Sonnenhausen. You’ll feel like you’re in an episode of “Downton Abbey”. The house is only open to the public for events, concerts or private parties, but the courtyard and the park are accessible to all. Climb the hill via the path and sit back on one of the benches to enjoy sunset.

Just one last tip before I leave you to discover these enchanting places. Along the provincial roads, in the summer months you’ll see immense expanses of flowers. In these fields, marked with a yellow sign with the red inscription Blumen (flowers), grow tulips, dahlias and sunflowers, depending on the time of year. Stop and, using a knife, pick what you like and pop your money in the box. You’ll never find more fragrant flowers in any florist.

Wildpark Poing
Garmisch-Partenkirchen

altri percorsi

  • the storyteller

  • theintellectual

  • the socialite

  • the sporty type