Hemmed in by the majestic Staffelsee, looming Ammergau Alps and the largest continuous wetlands area in central Europe, Murnau goes relatively undetected by the non-Bavarian tourist population. Lying a mere 70 kilometers from Munich, it’s an understandably popular day trip for the natives who find the charming market town with mountain views hard to resist.
the charming market town of Murnau
Despite the weekend influx of Münchener, Murnau remains a fairly traditional if artsy town. Starting the day off with a Weisswurstfrühstück will set you right for a stroll in the countryside.
starting the tour with a Weisswurst Frühstück
The veal-based sausage is a Munich institution and while it may look odd on first glimpse, I’ve never introduced anyone to it who hasn’t liked it. With a freshly baked Brezn, and a Karg Weissbier, it’s one of those perfect dishes where all the ingredients meld into one. Is the Karg Weissbier good? Well, none other than President Barrack Obama drank it while visiting Bavaria. Can we hike after drinking Weissbier? Yes, we Karg!
a first stop: Münter-Haus
The stroll out of town is lovely, passing a view of a church which was a favorite subject of the Blauer Reiter, an innovative and influential art group headed by Kandinsky and Gabrielle Münter, whom he lived with in the cottage just up the road.
early glimpses of the mountains & the Köttmüller Allee
The early glimpses of the mountains always prod you on. Strolling down the aptly named Köttmüller Allee is a bit like following the Yellow Brick Road. You know Emerald City lies ahead but you can’t help peeking to the side to see the views.
a detour to the St. George Chapel
Once out in the open, the mountains flank the Murnau Moos, a noted wetlands and a small detour to the St. George Chapel is worth the effort, especially if the neighboring Biergarten is open.
Back in the forest, we pass Assam’s Point before finally entering the Drachensticht, from which the hike takes its name. Sorry guys, I hate to disappoint you but there’s no dragons anymore. If it’s a hot day, it’s a good place to cool off before the final stretch to the Staffelsee.
a walking along the lake is a nice way to finish
Oh wait, there’s that dragon, thanks to a local graffiti artist. If you’re lucky, Griessbräu might have their Drachenblut but if not, their regular line-up and other seasonal beers will quench your thirst. Beerwanderers may not always get their dragon but they always get their beer.
well, there might be a better ending
Murnau lies in Upper Bavaria (Oberbayern in German). There are 14 hikes (including two in Murnau) in this region in my book Beer Hiking Bavaria along with another 36 from all over Bavaria. Each includes detailed descriptions of the hikes as well as information on the breweries along the routes plus some tasting notes on my favorite beers at each establishment.
Rather have me show you the way: