Alpine Adventure in Bavaria

Bavaria’s lakes, mountains and culture could be home to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games By: Janeen Christoff
St. Bartholomew’s Church is only reachable by boat.// © 2011 Bavaria Tourism/Holger Kenngott
St. Bartholomew’s Church is only reachable by boat.// © 2011 Bavaria Tourism/Holger Kenngott

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Upper Bavaria Tourism
This month, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission arrived in Munich, Germany, to inspect the sites that would be used in a potential 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Munich, in collaboration with Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Berchtesgadener Land, has applied to host the Olympic Games.

With the bustling city of Munich at the base of a snowy wonderland, Upper Bavaria and the Bavarian Alps provide an ideal backdrop for a variety of snow-inspired activities. 

Munich is cold in the wintertime but, for a city that is gearing up for a Winter Olympics bid, this is a good thing. While temperatures in February hover around the 30s and the 40s, the city offers many sightseeing activities that are fun in the snow. One not-to-be-missed activity in the city during the winter months is skating on the ice-coated canal that leads to the Nymphenburg Palace. On sunny days, hundreds of skaters turn out to skate along the frozen lake and the canal, as well as compete in Bavarian-style curling.

After skating, clients can warm up by exploring the inside of the palace or wander through the palace's extensive gardens and sample the regional cuisine.


Home to world-class skiing in the Bavarian Alps, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which recently hosted the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships, offers challenging slopes and Bavarian charm and is also a popular German spa resort. The two cities of Garmisch and Partenkirchen were joined for the 1936 Olympic Winter Games and are home to the legendary ski run, the Kandahar, as well as the famous New Year's Ski Jump.

Regardless of its international appeal, the town holds onto its Bavarian identity. Visitors who stroll along Ludwigstrasse and Fruhlingstrasse will see numerous wall murals that are painted on the facades of houses, hotels and restaurants. The paintings illustrate stories that feature local people, the region and its traditions.

While visiting Garmisch-Partenkirchen, clients should stop by the 1936 Olympic exhibit,"ìThe Flip Side of the Medal," which explores the dark side of Germany's Olympic past when the nation was ruled by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime.

Outdoor sports are of great importance in Germany, both in the winter and the summer, and Rupholding is a hot-bed of activity when it comes to one of Germany's favorite sports -- biathlon, a combination of rifle shooting and cross-country skiing. The region is home to the Biathlon World Cup and will host the BTU Biathlon World Championships in 2012 at its world-renowned training facility, the Chiemgau Arena. In the U.S., the sport of biathlon doesn't receive much attention but, in Germany, it's one of the most popular winter sports, turning out sold-out crowds. The arena, which has a seating capacity of more than 14,000 people, is the perfect spot to catch world-class biathlon action.

For visitors, Rupholding is a cross-country skiing mecca with an extensive network of groomed trails that extend out more than 37 miles. To have a truly Bavarian experience, clients should ride the Rauschberg Cable Car to the top of Rauschberg Mountain. Apart from the stunning vistas of the Alps, visitors will find plenty of hiking trails and interesting artwork. Clients can hike to the famous Adam's Hand sculpture -- and, if they are lucky, they can also hear some traditional yodeling.

Berchtesgadener Land
Schonau am Konigssee is located in the heart of Berchtesgadener Land and was the home to the 2011 FIBT Bobsled World Championships. The track at Konigssee was one of the first artificially refrigerated sliding tracks and has hosted numerous world championship sliding events. This year, the U.S. women's bobsled team took home a second-place medal at the World Championships. Germany took home a first-place trophy, and Canada came in third.

Apart from attending a bobsled, luge or skeleton event, tourists to this region shouldn't miss a boat trip on Lake Konigssee to see St. Bartholomew's Church, which is only reachable from the water. The Baroque-style chapel is distinguished by its two onion-shaped domes and red roofs. In good weather, clients can also head up to the Kehlsteinhaus, also known as the Eagleís Nest. The famous lodge was built for Adolf Hitler and was used to entertain political figures. Now, the lodge serves as an exhibit and visitors can learn about the National Social dictatorship in the Obersalzburg through the documents on display.

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