Anja, our product manager in our German office, travelled in Bavaria and Tyrol from 25th to 28th June and has given us an update on what the experience was like on a hiking holiday in times of the coronavirus.
"Finally travel again! I was hiking on the Zugspitze, both in Germany and in Austria. There are of course various small and large hygiene measures in place, but they have long since found their way into our everyday life so I hardly noticed. At least they didn't affect the relaxation on my trip. I really had a very good time.”
What is it like in the restaurant and bars?
Disinfectants are available at the entrances of hotels and restaurants, which is now the case everywhere. Tables are spaced far apart. Of course, you sit at the dining table without a mask, but a mask must be worn on the way to the toilets. At the lake restaurant on the Eibsee, two people were continuously cleaning the toilets after each guest. That was great to see.
In many restaurants it has become normal practice to wait at the entrance and then be directed to a table by employees. Sometimes, however, you must be prepared for a long wait because the space available is limited.
The other guests, as well as employees and hosts, were all very relaxed. In fact, I had the impression that everyone enjoyed that little extra space and privacy. The employees were very relaxed, fewer guests means less stress!
My conclusion: it was very pleasant to be in the restaurant. Apart from a little waiting time, I really enjoyed going out for a nice meal. Once you are seated, almost everything else is forgotten.
What is it like in a hotel in Germany during coronavirus times?
Corona measures are still relatively high in Bavaria's hotels. At check-in (with a mask), I was given an information sheet about the hygiene measures in the hotel. Masks are required in the public areas of the hotels. Therefore, in the evening there was actually nothing going on in the lounge or hotel bar. Instead the social gathering was outside in the beer garden, where you could breathe freely, and it is more beautiful anyway.
I was able to choose a breakfast slot between 7-8: 30am or 9-10: 30am and I was assigned a fixed table number. The breakfast room was completely cleaned between the two breakfast slots. The breakfast was partly offered as a buffet. Everything was hygienically packed in glasses and fresh goods such as sausage / cheese / eggs were served at the table. It worked wonderfully.
Wellness areas in Germany may only be used under certain conditions; here, each hotel has its own rules, depending on the limitations of the buildings.
My conclusion: Hotels, restaurants and bars have excellent safety measures in place. The good thing is, the hosts were so thorough and implemented everything so well, that as a traveller I had hardly anything to do. Except for my mask, which is always in my handbag or hiking backpack anyway.
How is the public transport?
In the bus from Eibsee to Garmisch, there is of course a mask requirement, and everyone has adhered to it. However, the bus was quite full, every seat was filled and there were people in the hallways. It was warm and the air conditioning was not very effective. It got really warm and uncomfortable under the mask and I was happy when I was out in the fresh air again.
It was completely different on the train from Garmisch to Seefeld and on the bus in Austria. The train was almost empty. There was only one other person in the compartment next to me. There was also plenty of space on the bus in Austria and keeping a safe distance was no problem.
Tip: If possible, you should avoid rush hours on local buses, or take a taxi instead.
What is it like in Austria?
In Austria, on the other hand, there are hardly any restrictions. Austria has already lifted the general mask requirement. Here you only have to wear a mask on public transport and mountain railways. Since 1st July, due to the ever-decreasing number of cases in Austria, the employees in the catering trade are exempt from wearing a mask and a visit to a restaurant there is now almost like before corona.
Disinfectants are available, tables have a minimum clearance and are cleaned regularly. Food can be offered here as a buffet, but they made sure that only a certain number of people are served at the buffet at the same time. For me breakfast was offered in buffet form and dinner was served at the table.
Most wellness areas, baths & saunas are open in Austria. In my hotel in Leutasch, care was taken to ensure that the sauna was only used individually. The loungers in the garden and sauna area were very spacious, so I had no concerns.
What is it like on hiking trails / What do you have to consider on the trails?
Once you have laced your hiking shoes and starts walking the thoughts of coronavirus are forgotten. Anyway, you are only close with your own travel companion, which you can luckily choose for our self-guided walking trips. You can enjoy the time with the people you want to spend time with.
The few people you meet along the way seem to have already keep social distancing anyway and you automatically stay at a distance as best you can. Nobody wore masks while hiking. Nevertheless I had some with me, just in case or if you want to stop somewhere on the way.
It was such a great feeling to be out and about again. Out into nature again, let yourself be carried by your own feet in the open air and see and experience new things!