Adventure of The Week: Bavarian Alps: Hiking the Salt Trail
Overtoursim is something that we are hearing about more and more.
With the rise of Air B&B culture, there are very few Venetians left in Venice, young people in Barcelona and the Isle of Skye are struggling to stay in the place they were born because they can’t afford the house prices. Many canny holidaymakers are choosing to avoid the big places, and indeed is this not what travel was always about, finding those hidden little corners? This week we focus on Bavaria. Firstly, while hugely popular, it is not particularly suffering from overtourism, however, we want to spread people even wider, get them into the quiet, untouristy bits and keep our focus on being a sustainable supplier of holidays. For the ultimate in peaceful Bavarian trips, check out Hiking the Salt Trail.
In a Nutshell:
Where: Bavaria is in the south of Germany on the border with Austria and the Salt Trail encompasses both countries. You start in Marquartstein, walking along the banks of the deep turquoise Lake Chiemsee. From here you start to head upwards into the Bavarian Alps, crisscrossing the Austrian border until you eventually reach Berchtesgaden after wandering along the banks of Lake Konigsee, buried deep in the Bavarian Alps.
Distance: This is an inn to inn walk, with a few transfers here and there to get you through. Altogether there is 104km walking over six days which averages out at around 18km per day, so around 11 miles.
Grade: Despite its Alpine nature, we have graded this trip Moderate, so it is a great way to experience the beautiful Alpine surroundings, without having to push yourself up super steep slopes. While the ascent/descent is considerable, ranging between 300-1,000m each day, the majority of the trail is easy to walk despite the occasional steep uphill and downhill section. The terrain is alpine, and paths are a mixture of woodland trails, rocky mountain paths, gravel tracks, boulder strewn-paths and faint grassy trails.
Why Walk Here?
Getting out and seeing a rural and beautiful part of a larger, beautiful region is a real joy. On this trip, you get the chance to really explore a more or less hidden part of Germany. The majority of overnight stops on this trip are in traditional little Bavarian villages, hemmed in by stunning mountains, lost in a sea of green. The villages themselves are unbelievably friendly, flower boxes dripping from every window and cosy little cafes and restaurants to replenish yourself after a day on the trail.
This trail was voted one of Germany’s most beautiful walking trails and marries panoramic views of the Alps. The scenery is astounding and there is no doubt that you will be taking a lot of photo breaks on your daily walk. Row after row of jagged green hills stretch out before you as you walk the mountain paths surrounded by wildflowers and patches of forest. Milky-turquoise rivers flow with ice-cold alpine waters and of course, you are accompanied by the gentle clang of the cowbell wherever you go. When you are up high, flat plains stretch out as far as the eye can see and it is all for you.
The route is dotted with natural highlights. Starting with the every popular Lake Chiemsee, you will also walk through the wild and romantic Weißbachschlucht gorge. Filled with mountain meadows, magnificent waterfalls and rocky ridges with impressive views, this gorge is a must. Then your full stop to the trip comes with the impressive Lake Konigsee. Deep blue, framed by karst cliffs and an abundance of rich green forest, all in the shadow of the impressive Watzmann mountain, a place of true Bavarian peace.
There is also some amazing architecture, occasionally in places you would least expect it. You will sit in town squares in the company of beautiful old half-timbered houses. You will find delightful little onion-topped churches plonked in the midst of green fields and on the banks of Lake Konigsee you will find St Bartholemew’s church, a beautiful little oddity, more suited to Red Square than the middle of nowhere.
Planning and Preparation
To get Hiking the Salt Trail is straight forward enough. Flying into Munich is the best bet, where there are trains down to Prien am Chiemsee where you catch the bus to Marquartstein, which all in, takes just over an hour.
On the way back you can jump on a train from Berchtesgaden direct to Munich which takes around 3 hours.
If you have any questions about the route, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Destination Specialists, who will be more than happy to help.