After a few days in Munich, we hit the road south to Tegernsee, a quaint lake area in the foothills of the Alps. Tegernsee, the lake, is surrounded by three towns–Tegernsee, Bad Wiessee, and Rottach-Egern and they’re all quintessentially Bavarian. The people were so friendly and the towns were adorable all decorated for Christmas. Here were some of the highlights:
Tegernsee Christmas Markets
On the weekends in December, all three towns around Tegernsee have Christmas markets and they run boats across the lake so people can easily travel to all of them. Luckily, we arrived on a Sunday afternoon and despite a cold, persistent, drizzly rain, we ventured out and enjoyed the markets. First up, we jumped on the boat at Rottach-Egern and headed over to Bad Wiessee.
They had a giant bonfire, horse and carriage rides, and the cutest mugs for glühwein–this one came home with me.
After strolling around for a bit, we got back on the boat and stood in the rainy, uncovered part to take in the view before it got completely dark.
Next up was the town of Tegernsee, which had the largest market of the three set up in front of the local abbey. We ducked out of the rain long enough to share some raclette and bought some goods to take home.
Finally, our last stop was back in Rottach-Egern where all the booths were outlined in lights so they could be seen from across the lake. We walked around the market until we were too cold and soaked through from the rain to stand it any longer…
So we headed back to our cozy inn and enjoyed a very Bavarian dinner of cheese, venison sausage, beer, and wine. Despite the gloomy weather, it was a pretty perfect day!
The rainy weather continued into our second day so we decided to visit a local cheese shop and distillery, but along the way, the rain turned into snow while we were in the town of Kreuth. I was so excited to see some snow, especially after all the rain, and it made the small town and surrounding mountains look like a winter wonderland.
Later in the afternoon, after tea and cake at a cafe in Tegernsee, the clouds and fog started to lift and we were treated to a beautiful sunset right on the lake.
Before heading out of Tegernsee on our last day, we drove over to Mount Wendelstein and took the cable car to the top of the mountain. The views were incredible and I couldn’t believe there was a tiny church up there! It’s undergoing renovations, but usually holds regular services. Although the German Alps aren’t as high as in Austria, Switzerland, or Italy, I was just happy to see some mountains and snow!
Rottach-Egern & Haltmair am See
While we were in Rottach-Egern, we stayed at Haltmair am See, a charming traditional family-run inn right across from the lake. It was cute and very old-school–we didn’t even leave our credit card information when we booked it or checked in, and there was a notepad and pencil in the kitchen for guests to write down any extra drinks or snacks they consumed so they could be charged at check-out.
The interior was so cozy and had some modern touches on traditional Bavarian style. One of the best parts of the inn is not pictured–a pool and a spa which had 3 different saunas and an awesome relaxation room. I have never been a sauna person and it took some getting used to, but after a couple of days I was sad to leave it behind!
The town of Rottach-Egern was quaint, quiet, and beautifully decorated for Christmas with lights and Christmas trees everywhere–including a live little Christmas tree attached to every street light in the city! We didn’t have much of a chance to explore the town in daylight, but hopefully we’ll be back another time!