‘We’ve been to Italy before,’ said my Sister, ‘I want to go somewhere new.’
And that’s how the two of us ended up taking a trip to Munich and Salzburg with day trips to Fussen and Halstatt thrown in for good measure earlier this month. We had a week of hiking, and climbing, and chatting. Of eating cake, and drinking fancy coffees, and being in a winter wonderland. It was cold when we arrived but quickly the temperature dropped and we found ourselves being tourists in minus-four degree snowy weather. As much as we wanted to hibernate the whole time we were there, we didn’t and here is my write up of travelling actively in Munich, Salzburg, Fussen, and Halstatt.
Out of the four places these was the one I was least looking forward to going to. I suspect it has something to do with my instant dislike for large towns. Since I live in, work in, and love in London, I don’t know where that feeling stems from. I remember I also felt the same when I went to Japan and ended up absolutely loving Tokyo.
Munich is the capital of Bavaria and the third largest city in Germany. It’s relatively flat, full of amazing little streets and cafes, and incredible walking and running routes. We didn’t take public transport to help with the sightseeing once, meaning our legs really were doing the talking for us. We saw the churches, the cute cafes, and the beautiful roads. We wandered around their snow covered parks, posed with their street art, and ran up their hills (well I did the last bit anyway!)
It is a beautiful town and one that has embraced vegetarianism and veganism. We found the most lovely tea house which not only had a menu of about 100 different types of teas which we could try but also the most incredible Buddha Bowls. And that was just the tip of the iceberg – a quick google search before every meal meant we ended up in some truly delicious gems.
Getting to Fussen from Munich is easy but if you aren’t a native German speaker, it can be a little complicated. I used this very handy guide to make sure Sister and I ended up in the right place at the right time. I really recommend you use those as a starting guide to plan your trip to Neuschwanstein Castle which is the highlight of Fussen. For example some of the times we used but not all. We also didn’t want to see inside of the castle (so didn’t book or pre-book tour tickets) and instead spent more tie hiking in the surrounding areas.
Also when we went there was a rail replacement bus as the train line was undergoing maintenance work part of the way. I am always apprehensive in situations like this but the whole train was full of tourists and when we had to get on the bus it was so obvious where we had to go. It was an actual case of follow the other tourists.
Sister and I walked from the bus stop to the castle – this is about a 30 minute steep climb and with chips in our hands, we welcomed the exertion. It was cold – probably close to zero degrees – and that uphill made everything a little warmer. Initially we decided to go to Marienbruke – Maria’s Bridge – so we could see the castle as a whole, from a distance first. I should add that we did this hike with chips we’d bought at the foot of the castle because after the journey there we were starving.
The views from there were incredible. But here’s a tip – walk across the bridge and hike a little bit up the train on the other side. It will take you higher and a little way round the castle. The view from there was truly spectacular.
Travelling from Munich to Salzburg is easy – all it takes is a train journey. I expected it to be a like an airport but it wasn’t like that at all. Travelling in Europe is a joyous dream and I loved it. I was so excited about travelling to Salzburg because of The Sound of Music, a film my mum loves. Both Sister and I did our own walking tour hitting all the main locations.
Salzburg is also one of the best walking places, ever. Everything is very close together and the town is surrounded by mountains and hills. We walked all through the town and then climbed up and up and up, making sure we visited the fortress early so we were alone in the viewing platform to enjoy a spectacular view.
Like Munich Salzburg is now a hotbed of delicious vegetarian and vegan food. I tried vegan ham for the first time! But more than this, Sister and I had the most delicious burger. She had hers with chilli and lime gin, while I had mine with rosemary gin. We ended that particular meal with an apple and berry crumble which had been paired with mango ice cream. SO, SO GOOD.
From Salzburg we took a day trip to Halstatt, a skiing / snowboarding town very close to the alps. Getting there was sadly not as simple as hopping on one bus or one train. We used this as guide for how to get there and I really recommend it. In the end we decided on the bus and it was a fun, if long journey.
When we reached there, the temperature as C O L D. We wondered around the town, visited some of their cafes, and then climbed to their skyview rather than take the funicular. If Sister and I could hike this in the snow – in deep piles of snow – then you can definitely do it when the weather is better.
While climbing, the sun came out and the mountains were lit up. It was stunning.
Active travel is my passion. Using my legs and the lens of my camera to take me all over the world is something I would like to spend the rest of my life doing. Munich, Fussen, Salzburg, and Halstatt were the perfect places to explore. There are so many hiking, running, and walking routes. All the places now have food to cater for all diets. All four of these town and cities are absolutely beautiful and seeing them in the snow was something completely unexpected. There were times when the old really got to the two of us, but when that happened we just headed into a café, had some cake and a hot drink and reflected on our trip.