In December 2015, we decided to spend a week in Bavaria, in the small village of Lenggries. We’d been there several years earlier for a walking holiday and loved it so much that we decided to go again – this time with our son. We ‘sold’ him a skiing holiday, which turned out not to be a skiing holiday at all, but we still had a great time…
Our Bavaria fix
We, as a family, need a Bavaria fix every now and then – just as much as we need to fit in a trip to the North Sea in the summer. That winter, we really fancied some typical Bavarian cosiness just after Christmas, and spent a week in Lenggries over the new year. It’s located south of Munich on the Isar River, and close to the picturesque town of Bad Tölz.
Even though there’s always a greater chance of having snow in December, it’s far from guaranteed. Anyway, we took our chances and packed our suitcases with warm clothes and our skiing gear.
Lenggries is quite easy to reach by public transport if you’re travelling from Munich. With only one change in Munich – from the S-Bahn to the BOB train (Bayerische Oberlandbahn) – it takes around two hours to get to Lenggries. The trains are comfortable and much cheaper than in the UK. The best way to buy tickets is online at www.bahn.de or via the App to avoid using the (often) confusing ticket machines. My husband and I always end up having our first argument standing in front of one of these machines not knowing what to select! If you know of a country that has clear, easy-to-use ticket machines, do let me know! 😊
A Bavarian ‘Gasthof’ is a synonym for cosiness
Lenggries has a quaint centre, which includes a typical Bavarian church that we Germans call a ‘Zwiebelkirche’ (literally translated onion church, because the top of the church looks like an onion). We didn’t book anything posh because we prefer the cosiness of a traditional Bavarian Gastof, which is fairly similar to an inn. A Gasthof usually serves traditional food and we really enjoy playing board games in the ‘Gaststube’, which is the restaurant. This time we opted for a 3-star ‘Der Altwirt’, which offers basic but nice rooms and a very cosy Gaststube.
The Isar River is on the doorstep
Lenggries is located on the Isar River, which flows from the Karwendel Alps, through Austria and Germany. After a decent buffet breakfast, we would often go for a walk along the river and my son always enjoyed playing on its banks; throwing stones into the water, playing with rocks or collecting sticks. Luckily the sun came out on several days, making our walks through the stunning nature that little bit more enjoyable.
I know it might not be very exciting for everyone, but I love being outdoors in nature and seeing my son using his imagination to play with the sticks and stones or whatever else he finds as he explores. In my opinion, it’s essential for children to be outdoors in nature. It’s good for their mental and physical wellbeing and provides a good balance to our mega busy, technology-dominated lives. And it’s not just good for children!
Great for cycling
Another day we headed off to Sport Sepp, a shop that would normally be hiring skiing gear at this time of year. Due to the surprisingly mild December, the owner told us that he’d stored all the winter gear away and got the bikes out to hire instead. As a family, we love cycling – so, we hired some bikes and set off for Bad Tölz, around 11km from Lenggries. The cycle track was flat (perfect for little legs) and part of it took us along the Isar River and through some stunning scenery.
Bad Tölz is an old spa town and well-known for its health and spa treatments. I like the pretty high street with its historical buildings and traditional murals painted on the front of the houses. The town centre has a few nice shops and plenty of restaurants and cafés. If you happen to be in Bad Tölz on 6th November, you’ll be able to watch the traditional Saint Leonhard horse-back procession. Visitors can enjoy the horse-drawn carriages, traditional costumes, music and a whip cracking competition to celebrate Saint Leonhard, the patron of horses.
Another highlight in winter, and perfect for the whole family, is the Bad Tölz Christmas market. This year, the market is open between 22nd November and 24th December 2019. I always recommend combining a trip to Bad Tölz with a trip to Munich as the train connection is very straight forward and it’s easy to go to Bad Tölz just for the day.
Brauneck is Lenggries’ local mountain
Brauneck is Lenggries’ local mountain, which has an altitude of 1,556m. Apparently, the German skiing legends, Martina and Andreas Ertl, as well as other skiing champions like Michaela, Hilde and Annemarie Gerg appreciate this ski resort. In fact, Martina Ertl originally comes from Bad Tölz.
Brauneck Mountain – we’re back!
Having already been to the area on an autumn walking holiday a few years earlier, we were really looking forward to returning and seeing it in the winter. A big part of our days out is to always include some nice pit stops along the way and the panoramic restaurant on top of Brauneck Mountain is just perfect.
This time we took the Brauneck mountain railway to the top, and enjoyed the fantastic panoramic view. It was almost sad when my son spotted a tiny pile of snow; trying to make snowballs with it and sliding down the hills. We sat outside in the winter sun, enjoyed a Kaiserschmarrn (shredded pancake) and Speck platter and watched the paragliders in the beautiful, clear weather.
Our plan to walk down didn’t work out as the waiters warned us that parts of the paths were quite icy and dangerous to walk on. So, after spending a long time relaxing and playing the children’s card game, Uno, we took the train back down to the bottom. It was a brilliant day for all of us, and we returned to our Gasthof refreshed and happy.
Tobogganing on Brauneck Mountain
Winter 2015 was particularly unusual, as the area is normally covered in snow at that time of year. This year has certainly made up for it, as the south of Germany and other central European destinations have experienced some of the worst snow in a very long time.
The area is also very popular for other winter sports – including snow shoe walking, tobogganing and cross-country skiing. Lenggries has improved its toboggan run by installing a T-bar lift that takes the sledges up the mountain. There’s a 500m toboggan run – the first part is classed as red, in terms of difficulty, before it turns into a blue run. Prices for the toboggan run also include sledge hire (click here for more information).
Skiing in a world cup ski resort
The ski resort around Lenggries is ideal for families as well as for advanced skiers. We chose this area because it had three ski schools for children. Ski passes can be purchased either for the Brauneck-Wegscheid area, or if you’d like more variety, you could buy the AlpenPlus holiday card. This includes Brauneck-Wegscheid, Wallberg, Spitzingsee-Tegernsee (includes floodlit skiing), Sudelfeld, Wendelstein, Oberaudorf-Hocheck (includes floodlit skiing and a floodlit toboggan run) and Hochkössen/Tyrol ski resorts.
The area has a good variety of lodges to stop off for a delicious Bavarian lunch. This is also something very important to us whenever we book a skiing holiday. For those who prefer cross-country skiing, there are 42 cross-country ski trails in Lenggries and 112km of idyllic trails a little further away.
Although it didn’t turn out to be a skiing holiday as such, we still had a fabulous Bavarian holiday. I can highly recommend discovering some of the tiny, hidden away towns in Bavaria. I’ll be showing you more of the places I’ve visited in the coming months.
Stay tuned and please contact me if you’re planning a trip to Germany or if you’d like any advice. In 2019, I’m offering more itineraries for a variety of interests – so please check out my website every so often or sign-up for my weekly newsletter.
If you’re off on a winter holiday soon, I hope that the current extreme weather conditions improve so that you can have an amazing time being active in winter!A winter holiday in Germany – Our family holiday to Bad Hindelang