Bavaria is one of the great outdoor destinations of Europe. From its mountains and beaches to its rivers and castles, there is much to see and explore. It has summer attractions galore, plus skiing on its Alpine slopes in winter.
E.E.I. Travel, 19021 120th Ave. NE, Ste. 102, Bothell, WA 98011 (tel. 800/927-3876; www.eeitravel.com), has a variety of self-guided walking and biking tours as well as cross-country skiing trips in Germany. It covers such areas as the Black Forest and King Ludwig's Trail, and will customize trips.
In Bavaria, you can bike through green valleys and past rivers while enjoying rural landscapes and villages. Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club, P.O. Box 107747, 28077 Bremen (tel. 0421/346290; www.adfc.de), offers complete information on biking in Germany.
For over 20 years, Classic Adventures, P.O. Box 143, Hamlin, NY 14464 (tel. 800/777-8090; fax 585/964-7297; www.classicadventures.com), has offered bike tours of such areas as the Romantic Road. Euro-Bike and Walking Tours has teamed with Austin-Lehman Adventures to offer some of the best biking and walking tours in Germany. The company's trips in Bavaria are particularly notable. For more information, check out www.austinlehman.com. You can also call at tel. 800/575-1540 in the United States and Canada, or else write to P.O. Box 81025, Billings, MT 59108.
Dozens of companies in Britain offer guided cycling tours. One of the best is the Cyclists touring Club, Parklands, Railton Road, Guildford, Surrey GUZ 9JX (tel. 0870/873-0060; www.ctc.org.uk). It charges £36 a year for membership.
Hiking & Mountain Climbing
These sports are popular in the German uplands. It's estimated that Germany has more than 80,000 marked hiking and mountain-walking tracks. The Deutschen Wanderverband, Wilhelmshöher Alle 157-159, 34121 Kassel (tel. 0561/938730; www.wanderverband.de), services the trails and offers details about trails, shelters, huts, and addresses of hiking associations in various regions.
The Deutsche Alpenverein, Von-Kahr-Strasse 2-4, 80997 Munich (tel. 089/14-00-30; www.alpenverein.de), owns and operates 50 huts in and around the Alps that are open to all mountaineers. This association also maintains a 15,000km (9,320-mile) network of Alpine trails.
The best Alpine hiking is in the Bavarian Alps, especially the 1,235m (4,052-ft.) Eckbauer, on the southern fringe of Partenkirchen. The tourist office will supply hiking maps and details. Another great place for hiking is Berchtesgaden National Park, Kurgarten, Doktorberg 6, Berchtesgaden (tel. 08652/96-86-0; www.nationalpark-berchtesgaden.de), bordering the Austrian province of Salzburg. This park offers the best-organized hikes and will hook you up with various hiking groups.
Guided motorcycle tours through Bavaria are the specialty of Beach's Motorcycle Adventures, 2763 W. River Pkwy., Grand Island, NY 14072 (tel. 716/773-4960; www.beaches-mca.com). The 2- to 3-week tours on BMW bikes begin and end in Munich, with accommodations at small hotels and inns. Maps are provided, as well as information and suggestions for sightseeing and independent cruising along the way.
More than 300 winter-sports resorts operate in the German Alps and wooded hill country such as the Harz Mountains and the Black Forest. In addition to outstanding ski slopes, trails, lifts, jumps, toboggan slides, and skating rinks, many larger resorts also offer ice hockey, ice boating, and bobsledding. Curling is very popular as well, especially in upper Bavaria. The Olympic sports facilities at Garmisch-Partenkirchen enjoy international renown, as do the ski jumps of Oberstdorf and the artificial-ice speed-skating rink at Inzell. More than 250 ski lifts are found in the German Alps, the Black Forest, and the Harz Mountains. Information on winter-sports facilities is available from local tourist bureaus and offices of the German National Tourist Board.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is Germany's most famous winter-sports center. Set in beautiful Alpine scenery, this picturesque resort is close to Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain. A mountain railway and a cable car can take you to the peak. In the town itself is the Olympic Ice Stadium, built in 1936, and the Ski Stadium, which has two jumps and a slalom course. Skiers of every level will be satisfied with the slopes on the mountain above the town. For information, contact the Tourist Office on Richard-Strauss-Platz (tel. 08821/18-07-00).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.