Alpenwelt Karwendel: Hiking, swimming and cycling in Bavaria
Beautiful mountain lakes, lush alpine pastures, various hiking trails and traditional festivals: Alpenwelt Karwendel in Upper Bavaria is always worth a visit, especially in spring and summer when the rest of the snow has melted.
Families will enjoy the spectacular scenery as much as highly active sport fans and nature lovers. The region is considered to be an El Dorado for cyclists, hikers and families, says Judith Fidler, marketing representative at Alpenwelt Karwendel. In the upcoming months, visitors can certainly expect a wide range of exciting activities.
Anyone who sees the region’s idyllic landscapes for the first time will feel enchanted. “In March and April, thousands of crocuses and gentians will allure visitors: a spectacle in violet and white in front of the backdrop of the mountains”, Fidler says. At this time of the year, the first cabins located in the lower parts of the region are already open, so that the hiking season can immediately start. At pleasant temperatures and with the first rays of sunlight warming the skin, hikers look forward to walk along the trails, while admiring at the beautiful scenery.
The unique panorama of the Bavarian Alps
“The position of this region is truly unique: the Bavarian Alps, which include the Karwendel, the Soiern Mountain Group, the Wetterstein and Ester Mountains, surround the river Isar like a garland,” Fidler explains. “In Alpenwelt Karwendel, it is possible to go hiking at three levels: from easy walking and hiking trails, where you will never feel out of breath, to moderately challenging sporty tours, to the high Alpine climbing tour, which is suited for passionate mountain climbers.” All in all, there are about 700 kilometres (435 miles) of well-maintained hiking trails in this region. Those who would like to take a short cut can use a gondola to Karwendel’s top station or the Kranzberg chairlift instead. The latter transports visitors to the barefoot hiking path for example, which consists of 24 stations. Alternatively, one can choose the route to the summit as well, where hikers get to see the breathtaking panorama of the Bavarian Alps and the high Isar Valley.
Those, who want to enjoy stunning landscapes by bike, or are looking for another fitness challenge besides hiking, should try cycling and mountain biking. Whether you prefer a ride at a leisurely pace or some racing fun, Alpenwelt Karwendel is the place to go. The region is also popular with world class cyclists and a popular starting point for the legendary Transalp in Bavaria. “All in all, there are more than 25 bike tours around Mittenwald, Krün and Wallgau,” Fidler says.
In spring, children also have the chance to discover the mysterious Leutascher Geisterklamm (Leutasch Ghost Gorge) in Mittenwald. If they are lucky, families might even meet some ghosts, goblins and dwarfs. In fact, many of the area’s best attractions seem to be aimed at families. Therefore, cycling tours, an adventure playground and the barefoot hiking route are added activities.
The eyes of heaven
With its spring in the Karwendel range of the Alps in Tyrol, the wild river Isar also flows through Mittenwald, Krün and Wallgau. Its valley is known for rare flora and fauna too and fans of Kneippism will have the chance to walk through its dewy grass. The beautiful scenery also offers 12 different mountain lakes and bathing lakes. “Therefore, visitors can combine mountaineering with swimming on vacation,” Fidler says. “Locals call these mountain lakes ‘eyes of heaven’ due to their blue-green colour.” Even Angela Merkel and Barack Obama enjoyed the beautiful scenery during the G7 summit in Krün last summer. “Anyone who is looking for an active, yet recreational vacation, will feel comfortable here,” Fidler explains. “Instead of big hotel chains you will find guesthouses led by families.”
Gamsbart Olympics and a running of the oxen
Alpenwelt Karwendel is considered to be very authentic, Fidler states. “Here, people literally live tradition. This year, there are a couple of celebrations coming up, for example in June, there will be a festival week in Krün.” On the occasion of various anniversaries, visitors can experience plenty of Bavarian music and learn about the locals’ traditions. This also applies to the neighbouring community Wallgau, where another festival week will take place in August. “Then, locals are going to arrange their first Wallgau running of the oxen,” Fidler reveals. In September, they will start to bring the cattle down from the mountain pastures: a spectacle that attracts the crowds every year. “With our Gamsbart Olympics in October, we have planned another special event,” Fidler adds. The so-called Gamsbärte consist of a tuft of hair traditionally worn as a decoration on trachten-hats in alpine regions. Until then, visitors can, first of all, enjoy all the other traditions and activities that are possible in spring and summer.
TEXT: NADINE CARSTENS | PHOTOS: ALPENWELT KARWENDEL
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