When you’re planning your trip to Germany, Ramsau probably isn’t on your list—but it should be! This tiny town nestled in the Bavarian Alps is as picturesque as can be, and there’s plenty to do in the surrounding areas if you’re into outdoors activities and want to experience traditional German culture. Ramsau can also be the perfect place to rest and recharge your batteries for a little while—or to have a romantic, secluded vacation with your significant other. Although initially this 1800-person town may not seem like it has much to do, there are actually a plethora of activities in and around the area, such as:
# 1. St. Sebastian’s Church
This is the quintessential picture of Germany, the one used on every tourist brochure. In the forefront, you see a pretty little church and a burbling mountain stream; in the background, you have an impressive view of the Alps. No matter what time of year you visit, this will be a postcard-worthy picture—so don’t miss out!
# 2. Wimbachklamm Gorge
I’ll never tire of hiking in the Alps (well, physically I will, but the spirit still remains!). Ramsau is located just to the north of Berchtesgaden National Park, so you’d better believe that there’s great hiking in the area. But no matter what kind of hiker you are, from the most casual day-tripper to the avid backpacker, head out to Wimbachklamm Gorge and have a stroll along the wooden path through the gorge. The waterfalls and the greenery in the gorge are beautiful, and Wimbach Valley is everything that you ever thought of for alpine meadows.
# 3. Hintersee
Ramsau is located near the beautiful Hintersee, an alpine lake that’s like no other. The waters are stunningly clear, and the mountains rise up from right around the edges of the lake. Whether you choose to go boating out on the lake, walking around the lake, or whatever else, you’re going to find yourself with incredible 360˚ views of nature at its finest. In fact, the lake is famous with artists of many different media, who just can’t seem to get enough of the place—make sure you bring your camera!
Where to go: Hintersee Lake, Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden, Germany
# 4. The Zauberwald
The aptly-named Zauberwald, or Enchanted Forest, is another place on the list of truly magical places to visit during your trip to Ramsau. The area was formed by a rockfall a few thousand years ago, and that means it’s fully of little nooks and crannies that you don’t see in other forests. Today, there’s a river flowing through the gorge, with incredibly clear (albeit incredibly cold!) water of the clearest blue. As with Wimbachklamm Gorge, there’s an easy path that you can walk along to see the best parts of the forest—and to get from Ramsau to the nearby Hintersee Lake.
Where to go: Zauberwald, Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden, Germany
# 5. Star-Gazing
You’ve never seen a starry sky unless you’ve been out in the middle of nowhere like you are in Ramsau. With the closest major city more than 10 miles away and as high up in the Alps as you are, you’ll feel as though you can see into the very depths of the universe. Nothing makes for a romantic night like a bottle of wine shared beneath a star-speckled sky. Even in the summer, though, the nights can get a bit chilly when you’re this high up in the Alps, so when you’re packing, make sure you bring warm layers—and ask at your accommodation if you can borrow a blanket or two before setting off!
Where to Go: Check with your hotel concierge or other locals; they know all the best local spots and can point you in the right direction!
# 6. Visit Königssee
Often billed as Germany’s most beautiful alpine lake, Königssee is an absolutely spectacular place to visit. Even if you’re not a photographer, you’ll find it difficult to take a bad photo here. Because the mountains rise up directly from the water, there are no hiking paths that circumnavigate that entire lake; instead, you’ll want to board a boat and go out to visit St. Bartholomew’s Church. You’ll be treated to plenty of pristine scenery along the way.
Where to go: Königssee, Schönau am Königssee, Germany
# 7. Skiing
In the Bavarian Alps, you are in prime skiing country, whether you prefer alpine or nordic skiing! Although Ramsau’s Hochschwarzeck alpine resort is a little smaller than some of the other resorts you’ll find in Bavaria, that gives it more of a local feel—and you won’t be knocking elbows with other skiers as you jockey for the lift lines. Note: the ski lifts still operate in the summer, so if you’re not big on hiking, take a ride to the top of the mountain for those picturesque alpine views! Or head to nearby Aschauerweiher Recreation Center. They offer a little something for everyone, whether you’re new to nordic skiing or have been practicing the sport for decades—and they rent out equipment if you haven’t brought your own.
# 8. Herbstfest and Almabtrieb
Herbstfest, or the fall festival, is a big deal in the Bavarian Alps: this is the time of Almabtrieb, or the time when the cows are brought down from the summer pastures to the lower winter grazing areas. Although this may sound a bit pastoral, it’s actually a fun event, with the cows decorated and decked out with cowbells and shepherds dressed in the traditional Bavarian lederhosen. If nothing else, the festival is a great time to raise a beer in thanks for a great trip! The festival dates vary from year to year but it’s usually held in late September. Check with the tourist info office for more information.
# 9. Enjoy traditional German food and drink
When you’re off in the Bavarian countryside, it’s the perfect time to try out staples of the German diet. From various types of wurst (sausages) to spätzle (noodles) to pretzels and more, you’re sure to love everything you taste here. And of course, no German meal would be complete without a nice beer to wash it down! Ask your server for recommendations.
Where to Go: There are a plethora of great restaurants in the area around Ramsau, so you really can’t go wrong! Try Wirtshaus Wachterl or Haus Schwarzeck—not only do these both serve up delicious meals, but you’ll be treated to beautiful views as well!
# 10. Visit Salzburg
Located only about 25 miles away from Ramsau is the Austrian city of Salzburg. It’s easily doable on a day-trip, although there is of course plenty to do in this Austrian cultural capital. Don’t miss Schloss Hellbrunn, the Hohensalzburg Fortress, and the shopping/historical areas of Getreidegasse and the Alter Markt Square. But there are also plenty of museums and other spots to visit. Check out these sample itineraries from the Salzburg Tourism office.
Although Germany’s cities can be a ton of fun to visit, it’s the small towns that have really won my heart, due to their traditional nature and beautiful scenery. Have you visited Germany? What was your favorite place you went? Share your stories below!