Beyond Munich, capital of Bavaria counting 1.3 mio souls though often called a big village, and its sprawling suburbs: the Alps – home of many famous mountain resorts. Landscapes as in Visconti’s movie about the life of King Ludwig II, villages and towns that seem unchanged for the last 100 years except maybe for a few additional banks, gas stations and souvenir shops along the main town roads. Otherwise, the homo bavaricus has stayed pretty much the same: country shirt and richly decorated traditional jacket, leather pants with flowery suspenders (Lederhosen), felt hat garnished with feathers, goatee beards and many pins full of ornaments, little bells and trinkets. The costumes are worn on Sundays and even in Munich during the Oktoberfest season. Some take a raft, beer and music ride down Munich’s home river the Isar. On the other hand the sacred King of all Bavarians, Ludwig II, architect of almost all castles in the south of Munich of which Neuschwanstein (new-swan-rock) is best known for its role model for Walt Disney’s sleeping beauty castle. Wouldn’t you be dreaming to have breakfast on the castle’s terasse in company of Sissi, overlooking the best in natural Kitsch the Bavarian.
For most travellers this region of southern Germany bordering the Alps is the most quintessentially (and stereotypically) German. Bavaria is the land of Lederhosen and wood carvers, of giant stoneware mugs called Mab filled with Starkbier (dark bock beer) and houses painted with colorful frescoes. However, Bavaria is the most fancied state in Germany for purposes of vacationing and tourism. Its sceneries and cultural riches, the traditional Bavarian hospitality are the advantages are appreciated by the innumerable visitors from Germany and abroad. One of the biggest attractions is Munich’s yearly Oktoberfest but year round travellers can find festivals, great beer and lively music in the hundreds of villages scattered in the region. It is always interesting to spend some days in the surrounding of Nuremberg, Passau, Regensburg, Wurzburg, Augsburg or Bamberg – the cities offer cultural programs and nightlife, the countryside calm and relaxing atmosphere and beautiful landscapes. Several days could be spent just driving around stopping wherever you come across something interesting.
The variety of health resorts and spas of world-wide renown stretching from the Rhon Mountains to the Alps offer holiday-makers every facility for health and fitness. No wonder, therefore, that Bavaria welcomes nearly 22 percent of all international tourist traffic in Germany. Discover for example Berchtesgaden, Coburg, Fussen, Garmisch-partenkirchen or Oberammergau.
Tourism in the Free State of Bavaria has become an increasingly important economic factor, especially in areas with less potent economic structure. The total number of overnight accommodations in all hotels and private lodgings, with a total capacity of about 715.000 beds, amounts to nearly 93 million, inclusive also of camping sites. As regards international tourism, the Free State has also notably improved its standing. One in nearly five visitors comes from abroad. Traditionally most foreign tourists come from the USA, followed by the Netherlands, Japan, Italy and Austria.
If you haven’t seen enough yet of this interesting region don’t forget to pay a visit to Altmuhl – great wandering area, Bayreuth with its famous Wagner festivals or some world-known fairy-tale sites like Neuschwanstein or Rothenburg ob der Tauber along the Romantic Road. Don’t forget to visit the newly build Legoland Deutschlans near Gunzburg.