It sometimes seems I spend half of my life on a train to Franconia. Don’t get me wrong, I love Franconia. I wouldn’t spend so much time getting there if I didn’t. It’s tough to top the authentic beer scene and rolling countryside scenery you walk through to reach the best. That said, living in Munich, I have some amazing mountain scenery south of me and it’s a lot less time-consuming to get there. There are some fairly decent breweries too and when you factor in their friendly opening hours, I often wonder why I don’t appreciate it more. Actually when I do go down, I do just that. I guess the lure of harder to obtain is strong but I’ll try to give equal weight to the old axiom, getting more out of something than what you put in isn’t half bad either.
90 minutes from heaven in Mittenwald
While I’ve been hiking in Mittenwald for many years, I gained some appreciation for it when researching Beer Hiking Bavaria. I needed hikes all over Bavaria and I had plenty to choose from in this quaint mountain town which filled the other requisite of having a brewery. I picked a relatively easy one as it packs about as much bang for your buck as a hike can. Hiking into the Karwendel itself is much more technically challenging but the bigger problem is when you are on the Karwendel, you can’t see it and believe me, it is something to see. The Zugspitze may be higher but the jagged massif that is the Karwendel is one awe-inspiring sight. The best vantage points are from across the valley and the easiest way to get there is to take the single seat lift to the Kranzberg. If you’re afraid of heights, you can walk up too and while it’s a steep-ish schlep, it only takes about 90 minutes if you’re reasonably fit.
chairlift up & one thing you’ll miss if you do so
While the walk up isn’t mind-blowingly scenic, it’s pretty enough and you pass some typical Bavarian Alps scenery en route. You also burn some calories which you can easily replenish at the Mittenwalder brewery once back in town. Don’t worry, even if you are lazy and take the lift up, you’ll have to slog up the last bit to reach the actual Kranzberg with its 360° view.
heading up to the Kranzberg
I’m not going to lie, it’s generally pretty crowded on top so if you can, go during the week. The walk from there to the lakes is a lot less busy and equally scenic but don’t expect to have it to yourself.
some views from the route to the lakes
The Lautersee and Ferchensee are destinations in themselves and a walk to them from Mittenwald is relatively easy. With restaurants on both lakes, it’s no wonder people flock out there on sunny weekends.
heading down to the lakes
It’s hard to walk by the places on the lake and if you can snag a good spot, one beer there won’t hurt you but save your appetite and most of your thirst for the Mittenwalder Postkeller in town. You can get their Helles on the lake but at the brewery, you’ll find their full range and the food is excellent too.
beer & food worth the walk, and wait!
For more detailed information on this hike (including a shortcut to the brewery) and 49 others around Bavaria, please consider consulting my book:
Not into books but find Beerwanderers a useful tool. Writing about beer sure makes you thirsty: