The huge state and former kingdom of Bavaria boasts not only the best mountainous landscape in Germany, but also one comparable to that of its Alpine neighbors further south -- just don't tell that to the Austrians or the Swiss. This region along the Austrian border is a world unto itself known for the hospitality of the locals, well-preserved craft-making, and expansive vistas. Although many travelers think of the Alps as a winter vacationland, you'll find that nearly all the Bavarian resorts and villages offer unforgettable attractions throughout the year.

Munich is the major driving gateway, with autobahns leading directly to the Bavarian Alps. If you're beginning your tour in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the west, you should fly into Munich. However, if your destination is Berchtesgaden in the eastern Alps, the nearest airport is Salzburg, Austria.