King Ludwig’s Castle Drive, Germany
Best for spotting fairytale castles
Snow-capped mountains, deep green forests, and farms so well-kept they look like photos on top of jigsaw puzzle boxes—the Bavarian Alps would be a great drive destination even without its mad, and sad, king, who built all those fairytale castles. Drive south from Munich, then take the German Alpine Road to east to Chiemsee, Bavaria’s largest lake. Perhaps catch a concert on the island of Herrenchiemsee, before visiting King Ludwig II’s unfinished version of Versailles there. Continuing east, drive up to scenic Berchtesgaden, where Adolph Hitler’s famed Eagle’s Nest stood. Swing south into Austria, returning to Germany at Garmisch-Partenkirchen (take the cog railway or cable car up Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze). Drive north via Oberammergau, home to the passion play, and stop at Ettal, a lovely Benedictine abbey. Next door, visit Ludwig’s Linderhof, a jewel box palace complete with a faux grotto with fake stalactites. Last stop: Füssen, where you will see Ludwig’s great masterpiece, Neuschwanstein, with its whimsical turrets that inspired Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle.
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