Bavaria is where the Bavarian joie de vivre is at home. Where Germany no longer feels typically German, but somehow more comfortable, more cheerful, more carefree. Bavarian in fact. Where people sit together in the beer garden with a Maß (or two) under chestnut trees and enjoy themselves. However, Bavaria is much more versatile than the cliché of the stubborn Lederhosen-Sepp would suggest. Logically, customs and traditions are deeply rooted. The locals climb May trees, herd cattle on mountain pastures, drive out wolves, sit around the regulars' table in the tavern, and when they proudly say "Mia san mia!" it is considered an expression of deeply felt identity. But the traditional is refreshed in an original and relaxed way: musicians who combine alphorn with electrobeats, a bell smith who turns the world upside down, a lederhosen tattoo artist and wild winegrowers - you only find that in Bavaria.
Diversity reigns in other areas as well. Germany's highest peak, the Zugspitze, and the jagged Alpine ranges are contrasted by the most beautiful lakes, quiet hilly landscapes, mystical forests and lovely vineyards. In Bavaria there are pristine national parks such as the Bavarian ForestA real primeval landscape, where, among other things, lynx and wolf say goodbye. The Main and Danube flow through Bavaria, mighty rivers that are wonderful to cycle along, even for several days in a row. Or the lush Franconian lake district, where you don't know which water sport to do first: Kite surfing, sailing, wakeboarding or just swimming? Ludwig II's fairy-tale castles are a match for baroque churches and silk dirndls. The "Kini" is the subject of many legends surrounding the regent who died in an unexplained manner in 1886. Even in his day, he was considered a subtle dreamer who brought Bavaria to the brink of financial ruin with the construction of his royal castles - today we say: fortunately!
There are medieval half-timbered towns like Dinkelsbühl or Noerdlingenwhich believably convey that the Bavarians still live most romantically in the most beautiful Middle Ages. Contrast this with the major cities, where visitors will find world-class modern museums and urban life in a wide variety of neighborhoods. But even here, there are places everywhere where the heart of the city beats comfortably Bavarian. Or would there be a beer office or a market with a beer garden anywhere else, where you can immediately enjoy your purchased delicacies with a cool Mass?
By the way, beer, drunk in moderation, hardly puts on weight. This is certainly one reason why traditional beer brewing is so popular in Bavaria, even in our healthy fitness times. With many small, craft breweries that prefer to process local products, the Bavarian beer brewing landscape is alive and kicking and an expression of true identity. The same is true of Franconian wine, which has had a really steep career since more and more committed young winemakers have been helping it into the bottle.
Bavaria is the largest state in Germany and the only one that shares the Alps. It is made up of four major vacation regions: There is Upper Bavaria with Munich, the highest Alpine peaks and picturesque lakes. Allgäu/Bavarian Swabia with its fairy-tale castle, unique mountain panoramas and a huge meteorite crater. Franconia, the region of vineyards, the highest density of breweries and medieval half-timbered charm. And finally, the quiet eastern Bavaria with its forest and cultural landscapes and traditional glass culture. Vacationers share these four regions with a total of 13 million locals, or 16 percent of the German population.
But don't worry, there's plenty of room. For example, 2,244,578 hectares of national park, more than 1,300 museums and castles, plus 200 lakes for swimming in and 40,000 kilometers of marked hiking trails where you can roam through nature. This, in turn, makes you thirsty, but with over 600 Bavarian breweries (most of which are located in Franconia), thirst should really not be a problem. If, on the other hand, you want to relax, you can do so in 48 spas and health resorts.
Bavaria's contributions to UNESCO World Heritage are also impressive. As many as eight sites were honored: the historic Augsburg water system, the Würzburg Residencethe Wieskirche in the Pfaffenwinkel, the old towns of Regensburg and Bamberg, the Germanic-Rhaetian Limes, the prehistoric pile dwellings on the Alps and the Margravial Opera House in Bayreuth.
A Bavarian institution is the inn, which belongs to every village like the church and the maypole. According to legend, the Bavarians sit in front of their beer in the inn, but in reality they often sit down to eat. The traditional inn cuisine revolves around substantial Kässpatzen, roast pork, sausages of all kinds and river fish such as the Donauwaller. In the beer garden, where you're allowed to bring your own food by the way, sausage salad, pretzels and Obazda made with Camembert are very popular. But Bavarian culinary classics also inspire imaginative chefs to come up with unusual, fresh creations that are often rewarded with Michelin stars. And in some places in Bavaria, you don't even have to choose between hearty inn classics and fine gourmet cuisine: Here, Michelin-starred chefs are at work, writing Krautwickel and Zwiebelrostbraten on the menu alongside their creative compositions. In one and the same restaurant. Bavaria is just traditionally different.
"And what would you like for your drink?" When the waitress asks that, just order one of the 40 or so Bavarian beer specialties. Or choose typical drops such as Silvaner, Müller-Thurgau or Scheurebe from the white-blue wine list, which is mainly supplied from Franconia.
The leisurely, usually slowly spoken Bavarian is one of the particularly popular German dialects, but in its pure form it is only parlayed in Upper and Eastern Bavaria. Franconians and Swabians have developed their own variants.
Here are a few useful phrases for a first conversation with locals:
Greetings - hello
Habedere. - (I have the honor) I am glad to meet you.
Squat here. - Just take a seat.
This is my friend Anton.
Hau a Bris here. - Would you offer me a pinch of snuff?
I mechat no a Hoibe. - I would like another beer.
Huh? - Excuse me?
Shit da nix, then feid da nix. - Don't worry, it will be fine.
clean - not bad
I hob koa Gerschtl do. - I don't have any money with me.
A dog you are! - You are one to me!
Yes, my. - I can't change that either.
Watch out, the waddlebaam is about to fall - watch out, you could get slapped in the face.
Hammas? - Are you ready?
Pfiatdi! - Goodbye!
Cover photo: Loisach Marci create an incomparable sound that conveys old values and interprets alpine natural sounds in a contemporary way - typical Bavarian free spirits © Bayern.by - Gert Krautbauer
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