ROTTACH-EGERN, Germany -- From the top of the Wallberg mountain
cable-car station here, you can see the Austrian Alps, the Bavarian
Alps and, possibly, a wedding taking place in an ancient wooden
church that holds just a dozen people.
Despite the enchanting views, the Lake Tegernsee district, some
30 miles outside of Munich, is virtually unknown to U.S. visitors
and lures mostly domestic German travelers.
The opportunity to swim in clean waters, engage in water sports
unhindered by motorboats or jet skis, and to sample traditional
Bavarian folkways make the Tegernsee area an ideal getaway from the
stresses of civilization.
The five towns situated around the four-mile-long body of water
feel more like small villages, with the largest, Gmund, home to
only 6,250 people.
All boast traditional Bavarian architecture: wooden chalets
bedecked with flowers.
And it is normal for local businessmen, retirees and even
teenagers to don traditional leiderhosen for dinner or a night at
the beer hall.
When dining at the mostly casual restaurants around the lake,
visitors will find plenty of what is called "fancy pork" and local
beers served up in oversized mugs.
For those who want to minimize their physical activities,
there's a cable car to lift them 5,500 feet to the top of Wallberg
Mountain. And horse-drawn coach rides through the woods are also
popular, as are boat rides around the lake.
But even the most laid-back of travelers will be tempted to
stroll through the dense carpets of wildflowers that fill the
Tegernsee's valley in the springtime.
In summer, each town holds a small festival, giving outgoing
visitors the chance to sing songs and swig beer with local drinking
Other festivals, many of which have been going on for more than
a millennium, feature folk dancing and sporting competitions.
For even more active travelers, there are countless mountain
hiking paths of varying levels of difficulty.
In the winter, cross-country and downhill skiing are popular,
day and night, and a three-mile toboggan run attracts serious
racers and fun-loving amateurs.
The lack of many international tourists in the area means
clients can soak up the countryside and Bavarian culture without
being disturbed by motorcoaches and crowds.
On the other hand, that also means that English is not widely
spoken, and English-language menus are uncommon in restaurants.
There are numerous rustic accommodations as well as four-star
A new hotel arrival on the lake shore likely to attract the
luxury set is the five-star, 188-room Dorint Seehotel Ueberfahrt,
which boasts some of the fanciest spa facilities in central Europe
(see www.dorint.de online).
In fact, spa and wellness treatments are one of Tegernsee's main
The town of Bad Wiessee, for instance, offers natural "curative"
springs with iodine- and sulphur-rich waters.
On the cultural side, there are many medieval churches in the
valley, and the most famous museum is dedicated to Norwegian
cartoonist and artist Olaf Gulbrannson, who had a second home on
For more on the Tegernsee region, go to www.tegernsee-tourismus.de online or contact the
German National Tourist Office in New York at (212) 661-7200 or at
To contact the reporter who wrote this story, send e-mail to
[email protected] .
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