Germany – A Family Travel Adventure in Bavaria
Germany was a magical travel adventure for our family vacation! We fell in love with the food, culture, and landscape. The German train system is amazing and took us everywhere we wanted to go (just pack light). Schnitzel, giant pretzels, beer, and sauerkraut rocked our taste buds. The Bavarian Alps took our breath away and the peaceful countryside captured our hearts. We will tell you all our favorite family friendly stops along our way.
We started our Germany adventures in Munich. We found an amazing apartment in Munich on Airbnb to act as our Hub. Each day we headed out to our different destinations using the train system. The U-Bahn is underground like a subway. The Straßenbahn is above ground and is good for quick stops around the city. We walked two blocks to the U-Bahn and took that to the Hauptbahnhof or Hbf (the main station). From the Hauptbahnhof we took day trips to Neuschwanstein Castle and Dachau.
We used the Straßenbahn to go to a few different beer gardens. Inside Munich’s central outdoor food market is the Viktualienmarkt. Another one of our favorites was Chinesischer Turm in the English Garden (Englischer Garten). The English Garden is near the University and is huge. The beer garden serves big steins of beer or lemonade, giant pretzels, wurst, curry wurst, pommes frites, and a new treat to us were Radi (a spiral-cut radish with salt) that is an Oktoberfest traditional and is eaten with beer. There is a fun playground for kids and we also kept a deck of cards with us to play games while we hung out.
You do not eat and run at beer gardens. Plan on relaxing and socializing with people from all over the world. The tables are all shared, so it’s easy to meet new people. There’s also a quick running river flowing through the park where everyone jumps in and floats. Be sure to bring swimsuits! Our kids (who are good swimmers) had a blast cooling off. It is has fast moving current and was around 3-4 feet deep, so not ideal for toddlers. Be prepared, there are lots of sunbathers enjoying the outdoors, some partially clad.You do not eat and run at beer gardens. Plan on relaxing and socializing with people from all over the world. Click To Tweet
Neuschwanstein Castle (also known as the Disney Fairytale castle) was about a two-hour train ride southwest of Munich. We bought the yummiest Baguette sandwiches in the train station for the ride. The bread and meats are fresh and delicious. You can also bring your own bottle of wine on the train. The German countryside view out the train window was green, lush, and breathtaking. When you arrive in the town of Füssen you need to catch a bus that takes you up the hill to the village of Hohenschwangau. Once there we bought tickets for a horse and buggy ride up the final hill to the castle. We also bought gelato cones for the ride. Our kids loved this! We took the tour inside the castle and saw King Ludwig II’s private chambers and beautiful cathedral. Afterwards we walked down the hill (without the buggy ride) and explored the Museum of Bavarian Kings. You don’t want to miss this museum. We learned so much about the history of Germany!
Visiting Dachau was one of the most unforgettable days in Germany. From Munich we took a 20 minute S-bahn to the town of Dachau. Upon entering the concentration camp, there are signs requiring respectful behavior, no laughing or joking. There is also no eating, so eat before you go. We had long discussions with our kids prior to visiting about what happened and what they might see. We all purchased the audio tour and spent a full day touring the camp. We listened to actual audio interviews of prisoners and soldiers from the day the US Army stormed the camp on April 28, 1945. I understood what happened during WWII more deeply than ever. I have also never felt so proud and thankful to be an American. Visiting Dachau was heart wrenching and life changing. Don’t miss it!!!The Bavarian Alps took our breath away and the peaceful countryside captured our hearts. Click To Tweet
After Munich we made our way on the main train to Berchtesgaden where we spent 3 days. Berchtesgaden was the most relaxing and enjoyable stop in our trip to Germany. We all wished we had spent more time here. We stayed at the Hotel Bavaria. They served the most amazing breakfast buffet every morning.The first day we toured the Salzbergwerk Berchtesgaden salt mines. The wooden slides in the Salt Mines were a blast! Another day we took the cable car up the side of the mountain and explored The Bavarian Alps. That day we hiked, raced bob sleds, and discovered the most amazing puffed pastry we have ever tasted at the Gasthaus Cafe Graflhoehe Windbeutelbaron. Lastly, we took a bus up the mountain to see Hitler’s hide out, The Eagles Nest. This was another powerful historical “must see.” We entered the Eagles Nest through the same tunnel and elevator that Hitler did. There is a museum called Documentation Obersalzberg at the bottom of the hill with films, newspapers, and photographs that cannot be missed.
Our last stop in Germany was Schwäbisch Gmünd. This enchanting historical town was like stepping back in time. There are actual fortifications from the last outpost of the Roman Empire still standing. The cobble stone roads, ancient buildings, and 18th century cathedrals felt like a fairy tale. We spent one day here eating schnizel, pretzels, and wurst, while hanging with locals and drinking beer.
Southern Bavaria Germany offers delicious food and beer, friendly people, relaxing hangouts, and history you cannot find anywhere else. It feels like a fairy tale and you’ll be charmed into coming back again and again.