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Why not enjoy some independence, with the flexibility of a self-guided holiday? You'll benefit from our quality research and support, but you can pace your holidays as you wish.
Download the detailed trip notes for everything you could possibly want to know about this trip, including detailed itinerary and full kit list.
A spectacularly picturesque area with soaring mountains, lush green valleys, forests, lakes and pretty villages.
Sitting outdoors on top of the Zugspitze (ca. 9000 ft.) enjoying the stunning views and eating Apfelstrudel and drinking Löwenbräu on a gorgeous September afternoon!
N/A: self guided.
I would advise decent walking boots, and poles if you use them, and waterproof jacket and trousers as it can certainly rain here. Take insect repellant and bite cream too. The area is photogenic so a good camera with plenty of memory is a must. I forgot mine!!!
Make sure you have the extensive trip notes as the walks can be quite complicated. Due to an oversight we didn`t receive ours and would have been at a loss, but another member of the group who we became friendly with shared hers. This issue has been resolved with Exodus and we still had a wonderful time. The paths are well signposted anyway and, as mentioned in another review, the recommended routes can be customised to suit your own tastes.
I did this trip with my daughter Ruth Keir who has also written a review. We were very lucky indeed with the weather, it was quite hot and we avoided being out in two spectacular thunderstorms. The family-run chalet-type hotel was delightful and typical of the area. The rooms were spacious, comfortable and well-equipped. The hotel provided wi-fi at 5 Euro per device per week. The food was Bavarian in style and had many local specialities. It was mostly delicious with generous portions, although they struggled initially with vegetarian dishes.
The hotel staff were all friendly and helpful and most willing to resolve any issues.
The walks were varied in terrain and length and we were delighted with the ones we chose. The scenery was always worthwhile and the notes pointed out many extra little detours and places of interest. You were never far from a pub (Gasthof) or cafe or restaurant and most of the staff could understand clear English if not all spoke it, so the longer walks could be broken up with a beer or Radler (shandy) or two.
As well as the Zugspitze which was reached by funicular railway from Garmisch-Partenkirchen (say that after a couple of beers!), then cablecar, the other must-see is Neuschwanstein castle. It is simply spectacular outside though not so much inside as it was never finished. It is best photographed from the Maria bridge (Marienbrücke) about 15 minutes walk away. The bridge was mobbed and we didn`t stay one minute longer on it than we needed! The castle is reached by bus from Oberammergau and must be pre-booked either online or at the tourist office a day or two in advance. It was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and we spent the week finding out about his bizarre life. He also owned Linderhof palace which is in one of the walks and is definitely worth seeing inside.
The Zugspitze should be visited early in the day as it gets overrun later on. It cost 51 Euro return each from G-P, Neuschwanstein cost 13 each and Linderhof about 9.
Oberammergau itself is beautiful with many frescoed buildings. Woodcarving is a local speciality worth investigating. The town has many restaurants but we only ate out once or twice as we were so well-fed at the hotel.
I would thoroughly recommend this trip as it is entirely up to you how much walking you do, although you will miss some wonderful scenery if you don`t do any. The local public transport is well-organised and the tourist card you are given at the hotel gets you free bus travel.
A lovely week walking through the meadows and mountains of Bavaria. Local brew went down a treat. Let down by lack of walking notes however....
Completing a 21km walk round the Staffelsee and having a well earned beer to celebrate! A beer at the top of the Zugspitze (highest mountain in Germany) was also great - can you see a theme emerging here?!
Myself and my Dad did this as a self guided trip.
I booked this trip as a self guided option mostly owing to disorganisation and there not being much else left for my chosen week. I think self guided has the potential to work really well but we only got a lot out of it by borrowing the extensive walking notes from a Headwater client. This trip is offered jointly with them. All the other people on the trip had booked with Headwater and had excellent notes. The level of detail was impressive but necessary. The Germans are very into outdoor activity and the 'wanderwegs' - walking routes- are well signposted but you need to be able to find the start and know which bus to get etc. On average per 4 hour walk the Headwater notes had 2 full A4 pages of information. They also had 1 or 2 boot notes for different abilities and lots of local information. The Exodus trip notes were as per this website and totally useless! If I was going self guided again I'd be likely to book with Headwater for this reason I'm afraid.
The taxi driver collecting us at the airport also had a Headwater sign so look out for this if you don't see an Exodus one.
The hotel was a lovely family run place in a traditional Bavarian wooden house which looked like a cuckoo clock. The food was excellent however one of the Headwater clients was a vegetarian and struggled. I think she went some way to furthering the cause of vegetarianism in Bavaria during the trip but bewarned!!
The hotel gave provided a tourist card which allowed free local bus travel which was excellent.
The tourist information office was very useful too.
The scenery is amazing and we were lucky with the weather. Look out for mossie bites :(
We visited Neuschwanstein which was beautiful. Everyone talked about how steep the walk up to the castle was but unless you are very unfit I don't really see what the fuss was about, you're on a walking holiday after all! The tour of the inside was a bit of a waste of time however unless you are really into Wagner inspired wall decoration. King Ludwig's story is interesting and worth finding out about. There is a hair raising bridge round the bad of the castle 'Marienbrucke' which offered fabulous views for classic photos albeit amongst a hellish tourist scrum. Book your visit online at least one day in advance, the tourist info staff will do this for you if you ask nicely.
Linderhof palace was worth a visit and part of one of the walks.
The church in Oberammergau apparently has amazing interior paintings but we walked by it every day without realising!
Zugspitze is worth a look but go early as it gets really busy.
Considering adding a couple of days in Munich at the end.
This trip gives you the opportunity and freedom to set your own itinerary, use your own initiative and have more contact with locals. A delightful destination that may be quieter than at first supposed.
Standing on top of The Kofel and taking-in the stunning panorama. Don’t let the dire warnings in the walking notes put you off - it’s undoubtedly high and a scramble to get to the top but if you do the ‘overtaking manoeuvre’ described in the notes, and you’re reasonably able-bodied and sure footed, it’s well worth the small detour.
Consider making use of the local Tourist Information office - they’re very helpful and can book tours for you. We used them extensively including booking our tickets for Schloss Neuschwanstein which, considering the massive length of the queue for un-booked tickets at the castle when we arrived, was definitely a good move and highly recommended. Pre-booking the guided tour enabled us to pick-up our tickets as soon as we arrived at the castle and then go off and look at other things prior to our timed entry.
All the walks (we did) were on well signed paths and were easy to find and follow. However, some of the walks described in the walking notes descend over fairly uneven ground with some tricky tree roots at times - walking poles might be advisable.
On our trip the hotelier gave us each a (returnable) Guest Card which gave us free travel in the Ammergau Alps area on RVO-Buses plus reduced entry into many of the local sites (Linderhof for example) plus reduced charges on the mountain lifts. Our excursion to Schloss Neuschwanstein was done on public buses that were entirely free! We used the buses because the train was out of action during our visit due to long running maintenance. The trains were replaced a bus service, but there was a cost to use them - using the public buses provided more flexibility and was free. Have I mentioned the free bus transport?
During our visit (Aug/Sep 2013) Oberammergau was quiet (apart from the afternoons when the excursion coaches seemed to call in). There is no night-life. We wandered into the town for a drink one evening at about 21:30 and the only place open was the posh hotel by the church; this is not a bad thing - just an observation.
If Exodus have organised the transfer from the airport for you, make sure you’ve confirmed where you’ll be collected. We waited at arrivals - our taxi driver waited at the airport exit!
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