For me, the mountains are a special place. They are my ultimate source of awe, my safe haven from all the disheartening realities of life. It’s a life-changing destination – a wonderful place I will forever want to visit over and over again.
In Germany, Mittenwald is one of the places to visit if it is a mountain experience we seek. It is a relatively small town lying very close to the German-Austrian border, touching the northernmost portion of the alps. Visitors’ eyes are instantly blessed by the awe-inspiring mountain views when they arrive at Mittenwald.
Yet, the mountains are not the only incredible things that await the visitors in Mittenwald. They are the ones that make Mittenwald a town worth a visit.
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What Makes Mittenwald Worth Visiting?
Mittenwald is worth visiting as it is home to charming houses with Lüftlmalerei, a mural art unique to southern Germany and Austria. Alongside the cobbled stone lanes and the gorgeous mountains on the backdrop, these artsy houses make the visitors feel like they are in a storybook. It is a strangely enjoyable feeling that can absolutely satisfy your wanderlust.
Mittenwald is a town famous for its violin-making industry. It is the birthplace of countless high-quality violins, violas, and cellos used all over Europe back in the day. Hence Mittenwald is called “Village of a Thousand Violins.” So, not only do you get to see gorgeous sights, but you also have something new to discover in Mittenwald.
Photos to Inspire You Visit Mittenwald
Below are the photos of Mittenwald that will really make you visit this town. I suggest you look closely and deeply at each picture to pick up the most essential things traveling to Mittenwald can give you. I shall provide hints throughout the thread:
10 Worthy Things To Do in Mittenwald
Did the scenery and a new discovery you can find in Mittenwald have already convinced you to visit Mittenwald?
If not yet, here is the list of things to do in Mittenwald that are absolutely worth your time and money. May this convince you further to come and see this lovely town.
If yes, great, and you are in the right place! Now, you will know the activities you would do in Mittenwald once you visit.
So without further ado, here are the best things to do in Mittenwald:
Activity #1: Visit the Violin Making Museum in Mittenwald
Whenever I go to a destination, the first two things I do are: (1) discover the uniqueness of the place and (2) find the most beautiful view to feel some awe.
Awe is really an addicting feeling, by the way!
Undoubtedly in the case of Mittenwald, the craft and art of violin-making set it unique from others, especially in its neighboring town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. That’s why visiting the Violin Making Museum (Geigenbaumuseum) is the first activity on this list of things to do in Mittenwald.
The violin industry in Mittenwald dates back to the late 17th century when Matthias Klotz came home bringing the knowledge of violin making he learned from Italy. Together with his sons, they created the violin-making tradition, which gave a recognizable name to Mittenwald.
Mittenwald even became a violin shop to the world.
In the Violin Making Museum, you will see all the highlights of violin making, the details of the craft, and various violins created in different decades and centuries. There is a movie about violins in English and German that you can watch inside.
The museum is tiny, just a size of an ordinary house. But its murals are fantastic! Here is the exact location of the Violin Making Museum in Mittenwald:
The opening hours of the Violin Making Museum vary per season. But to make it simple, it should be open by 11 a.m., and you should at least come before 4 p.m. The museum is closed on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, from November 5 until December 11. The entry fee is 5.5 EUR for adults.
Here is the official website of Mittenwald’s Violin Making Museum to check for recent announcements (see first before going!)
Activity #2: See the Lüftlmalerei in Mittenwald Old Town
The Violin Making Museum is actually in Mittenwald’s old town (Altstadt), where you can find Lüftlmalerei mural art everywhere.
Whenever I see photos of Altstadt, I remember the storybook I once had when I was a kid. It’s a book about King Midas and his Golden Touch, and it’s full of pictures that looked like hand-painted images – very similar to Mittenwald’s Lüftlmalerei murals.
I want to show it to you here, but it was given to another kid already. It was 20 years ago, actually… and now, I feel old! LOL.
Well, the thought is, in Mittenwald’s old town, you will be walking along lanes full of these murals. If you’re like me, who has lived in a city that’s all concrete and steel, a visit to Mittenwald’s old town will make you feel you exist in another world!
The main street of Mittenwald
On the main street of Mittenwald Old Town (Obermarkt), you’ll see most of Lüftlmalerei, some dating back 250 years ago. Commonly, the images portrayed in the murals in Mittenwald are the favorite saints of the house owner, their profession, and their daily lives in Mittenwald back in the day.
Here are houses and Lüftlmalerei you’ll see in Mittenwald:
By the time you reach Mittenwald town’s main square, one that you will surely notice is the imposing tower of the 14th-century church of Saint Peter and Paul. It isn’t as detailed as the churches in major cities, though. But its Lüftlmalerei will absolutely make you think twice if the design is a 3-dimension or not.
Hold your head and support your neck as you’ll glue your sight to the ceiling when you enter the church. Inside, you’ll see beautiful frescos and rococo stuccos all above you. They’re mesmerizing, as though you’re staring at a portal to heaven.
Have a look, and try to move the image to see more parts of the church:
Activity #3: Try the Karwendelbahn lift from Mittenwald
What makes the stroll in Mittenwald’s old town even more lovely is the view of the Lüftlmalerei embellished pastel houses with mountains in the backdrop! You’ll see the scenery along Hochstrasse – the street going east at the northern end of Obermarkt just before you reach the church of Saint Peter and Paul.
Pray or wish for clear, sunny weather so you’d see the street burst in colors!
From Hochstrasse, start the stroll eastward. Bless your eyes, and follow the mountains in front of you. Follow the route shown below, and you’ll arrive at the Karwendelbahn lift station – the gateway to the epic scenery and the start of all the most worthy things to do in Mittenwald.
The Karwendelbanh is Germany’s second-highest cableway. You will be transported to 2000-meter heights from the ground to see the best views in Mittenwald. At the top station, you can find a mountain restaurant and an information center to feed your tummy and knowledge with mountain goodness.
Karwendelbanh Top Station Restaurant
The restaurant offers regional delicacies. You should try either wheat beer or the Kaiserschmarrn, a thick chopped-up pancake. Bring and eat the meals to the “sun terrace” of the restaurant for a more delightful lunch or snack time with the views of the mountains.
Karwendelbanh Information Center
Are you scared of heights? But, at the same time, afraid to miss the views down below Karwendels? Worry not! Karwendelbanh Information Center got you.
“Bergwelt Karwendel,” or Karwendelbanh Information Center, is a building in the form of a giant telescope that lets you view the spectacular Isar Valley 1,300 meters down below. It has an enormous glass window to see the entire valley without shaking your knees.
Anyway, did you know that Karwendelbanh is the largest nature reserve in the Eastern Alps? Karwendelbanh Information Center shall tell you more about this vast nature park when you come. Learn many interesting facts about flora and fauna found in the region.
The Information Center is open during the operating hours of the Karwendel cable car. The entrance is free!
Karwendelbanh Ticket Prices
Here is the price of two-way and one-way tickets for the Karwendel cable car:
|Age||Return tickets||One way tickets|
|Adults (18 and above)||34.50 EUR||23.50 EUR|
|Kids (6-17)||23.50 EUR||16.50 EUR|
The price was accurate when it was written. However, the cost of tickets may vary without prior notice. Always double-check the information above from Karwendelbanh’s official website.
Activity #4: Conquer Karwendel from Mittenwald
Karwendel cable car top station is the starting point of different Mittenwald-Karwendel hiking trails. The routes vary in difficulty; regardless if you’re a beginner or already an adrenaline junkie, you’ll get the kind of mountain fun you desire.
Before you come to the top station, acquire a map and route information from the Karwendel ticket office in the valley. If you need some guidance in hiking, you can book a tour from the Alpenwelt-Karwendel website.
If you haven’t hiked or climbed a mountain before, I suggest you do it now! It may seem hard and tiring, but it’s definitely worth it. For me, there’s no greater good feeling that you can have in traveling than conquering a mountain peak.
That “top of the world” feeling and the unexplainable beauty up above – ah! It’s something that you would like to have over and over again once you’ve tasted it. It’s life-changing, as well.
Hiking Trails Mittenwald-Karwendel
Here are the possible routes you can follow when hiking Karwendel from the top station:
|Dammkarsteig to the valley||4-5||Moderately easy|
Karwendel Free Tour
If you’re on a day trip, try at least the Passamani Panoramaweg. As its name suggests, it is a panoramic path directly above the top station. It will lead you around the Karwendel basin, where even more breathtaking views await.
On Tuesday, you can catch a free guided tour of the Passamani Panoramaweg. The tour lasts for one hour, and it starts at 10:45 a.m. (11:45 a.m. during winter) at the sun terrace next to the top station’s restaurant.
Activity #5: Ski or Snowboard on Ski Route Dammkar
You may notice that the prices for a cable car ride from Mittenwald to Karwendel’s top station are relatively high. That’s why going to Karwendel must be made worth it.
There are many ways you can make your visit to the Karwendel from Mittenwald really worthwhile. You can visit impressive cirques, mountain huts, epic viewpoints… But Dammkar Ski Route is just one you should try, especially during skiing season and if you are an experienced skier.
Dammkar is Germany’s longest ski route, considered one of the five most spectacular slopes in the Alps. It goes on and on for 7 kilometers, starting from the top station back to Mittenwald. That makes a total of 1300-meter elevation difference!
Here is a video to show you the whole course of the Dammkar Ski Route.
You can easily access Dammkar directly from Karwendel’s top station via a 400-meter pedestrian tunnel. However, you must know that Dammkar Ski Route is a high alpine terrain. It requires experience to be safe throughout the course.
Dammkar is still accessible during summer. You can hike the route and visit several mountain huts along.
Activity #6: Discover Bliss from Mittenwald’s Huts.
Another thing that I really liked about going to the mountains is the peace and calmness that you can feel everywhere! It is a special place that can clear your mind and make you forget all your worries in life.
Mix the mountain serenity with mouth-watering food and relaxing accommodation. It would be the perfect holiday that most of us might be looking for. Agree?
In Mittenwald, we can find these things in simple but lovely huts. There are tens of them in Mittenwald. But, if you are coming from the Karwendelbanh top station, there are three huts that you can visit right away within an hour of hiking (click to see in Google Maps):
Please note that each hut mentioned above can be reached via several hiking trails, like Mittenwalder Hutte, which can be accessed from a hiking trail that starts at Karwendel cable car base station. Learn more about each hut from the sections below.
Breathtaking views of the Alpenwelt Karwendel region await you in a Mittenwalder Hutte, a hut perched like an eagle nest in the cliffs of Karwendel massif. At an elevation of 1500 meters, Mittenwalder Hutte is just a perfect spot to observe the Mittenwald located just below the hut.
Mittenwalder Hutte faces the west; thus, it’s also an excellent place for sunset watching. Witness a simple but enticing wonder of sunsets. Watch as the sky turn red and loses its glow; the town below starts to glitter up. Such a perfect way to end your day in the mountains.
Anyway, Mittenwalder Hutte offers you homemade cakes and mouth-watering delicacies – great for refilling your body with energy for the next hike. You can eat your meal on the hut’s large sun terrace while observing the awe-inspiring scenery.
It is open every day, but the best time to visit is from May to mid-October. If you plan to visit/stay at Mittenwalder Hutte, please make an inquiry first. You can contact the hut through these numbers: +49 1511 7303118.
You can get a mountain tour to Mittenwald Hutte from the website of Alpenwelt-Karwendel. Alternatively, more information can be found on Mittenwalder Hutte’s official website. (The site has no English version. However, you can translate using the Google Translate function included in your Google Chrome/web browser)
As its name suggests, Dammkarhutte is a mountain hut found in Dammkar, situated at an altitude of 1,667 meters. Although surrounded by a tall wall of rocks, hikers can still view the valley below from its location.
Among the huts in Mittenwald, Dammkarhutte is the one to which alpinism is firmly connected. To a point, that’s the reason why when we compare it to Mittenwalder Hutte, Dammkarhutte appears much simpler. It was initially made for the first alpinists who needed refuge in the Karwendel mountains back in the day.
You can sense that you’re on a real adventure from the images taken if you’ll ever be dropping by Dammkarhutte.
Dammkarhütte serves Bavarian delicacies together with fresh beverages. Like Mittenwalder Hutte, you can bring your meal to the hut’s sunny terrace to eat while enjoying the view. It has a nice view of sunset too!
Another mountain hut you can visit from Karwendelbanh top station is the Brunnsteinhütte, the popular excursion destination for families with kids. It has a playground with alpine animals the children would love to see.
Here is the video that will exactly describe what awaits you here in this lovely mountain hut:
Activity #7: Explore Leutaschklamm near Mittenwald
Your nature experience in Mittenwald will not be complete without visiting the spectacular Leutaschklamm Gorge, the longest accessible gorge in the Eastern Limestone Alps. Leutaschklamm Gorge can be reached from Mittenwald by foot. You will have to walk for 15 to 30 minutes from town.
Reasons to visit Leutaschklamm Gorge
There are four reasons why you should visit Leutaschkamm Gorge:
- It is a million-year-in-the-making spectacle to witness! Hike in between 70+ meter walls of eroded rocks and realize how powerful and creative nature can be.
- There are 970-meter-long meshed steel walkways installed in Leutaschklamm gorge, where you can stroll safely. Along these paths, you can find panels where you can learn the ecology of the gorge. There are myth stories and games for kids.
- The installed path makes more than 20 meters height difference from the gorge’s floor. It will thrill you to see the ground and the river below! If you are afraid of heights, Leutaschklamm gorge will help you conquer that fear.
- You can explore some parts of the gorge for free! Though you have to pay 2 EUR to access the path to a 23-meter tall waterfall.
Parts of Leutaschklamm Gorge
Leutaschklamm Gorge has three parts. Here is the table to show you a summary of the things you can expect in visiting the gorge:
|Part||Highlights||Length (meters)||Duration (minutes)|
|Klammgeistweg||The most spectacular part. The gorge’s myths, geology, and ecology are learned from panel boards.||3000||90|
|Koboldpfad||Higher and more thrilling paths. Learn about myths of the ‘Kobolden‘ (Kobolds)||1900||60|
|Wasserfallsteig||23-meter high waterfall||400||20|
The unmissable part of the Leutaschklamm Gorge is its panorama bridge. There you will clearly see the gorge meander, cutting the ground surface along. You also get to see the ice-capped mountains in the background! Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the scene.
Activity #8: Visit the Instagrammable Mittenwald’s Hummock Meadows
If you are in a place such as Mittenwald, the views always seem to appear picture-perfect! From the ravines below to the mountains up above – shutter presser scenery is always on show. It may be simple, but Mittenwald’s meadows (sometimes called Bucketwiesen Alpine Meadow of Mittenwald) are worth seeing too.
What is Mittenwald’s Hummock Meadows?
Unlike the typical meadows in the Alps, Buckelwiesen Alpine Meadows is characterized by its hummocky landscape where countless lumps can be seen all around. These bumps on the ground, in effect, make the terrain look a bit otherworldly – making the meadows enticing to visit.
Though beautiful meadows are common to the Alpine world, Buckelwiesen’s alpine meadows of Mittenwald are deemed special. In fact, it has won several awards in the past, like the diploma for conservation given by European Heritage Europa Nostra Awards.
The credits go to the local farmers who have meticulously cultivated and preserved the landscape, of course.
Where are the Hummock Meadows in Mittenwald?
Hummock Meadows are everywhere in Mittenwald. You can spot one along the Isar River, near the Leutasch Gorge, but the best example lies near Kapelle Maria Konigin, located north of Lake Lauter (Lautersee). There you see a picture-perfect example of Mittenwald’s hummock meadows that seamlessly visually complement the chapel and the mountains in the background.
It is just a picture-perfect idyllic scene you will never ever forget in your life! That, especially when the weather is clear and sunny.
Your visit will be a lot more fun when you encounter a goatherder who leads hundreds of goats into the meadows to eat the overgrown grass. The place will be filled with chimes from the bells attached to each goat’s leather strap. Somehow you will get this soothing countryside vibe so pleasing to have.
You can bring your car to visit different hummock meadows in Mittenwald. But, I suggest that you rather hike it, or rent a bike instead. That way, you can commune deeply with nature and tenderly feel its invigorating touch while sightseeing in the meadows.
When to visit Mittenwald Hummock Meadows?
Spring is the best time to visit and see hummock meadows in Mittenwald. You will see the lumpy fields covered with colorful blooming flowers such as crocus, birds-eye primrose, gentian, and other alpine flowering plants during that time. You will not be able to resist photographing it, for sure!
It will even be more lovely when you see the fields during the golden hour (minutes after sunrise and before sunset). The mountains partially covered with snow added to the view of these colorful meadows painted with golden colors of the sun is just a scene not to be missed.
Activity #9: Relax in Lautersee near Mittenwald
After the adventures in the mountains and gorges, the stroll in the town and meadows, what you’ll need next is the soothing calmness of the lakes. It’s time to get fun in “relaxation!”
There are eight lakes in Mittenwald that you can locate on the maps (arranged from west to east):
- Soiernseen (group of 3 lakes/pools in the Karwendel Mountains within Mittenwald)
Among these, Lautersee is the one you would want to visit to relax and have fun. It is the lake where you can enjoy drinking beers and eating sausages at the beer garden just along the lakeshore.
You can also stay for accommodation and savor the moment by viewing the peaceful lake with the views of the spectacular mountains in the backdrop. You can check the website of Hotel Lautersee for more information and reservation.
There are watersports to try too for fun! Rent a kayak and drift over the lake’s glittering crystal clear water.
Lautersee can be easily reached by bus from the train station in Mittenwald. It’s about 10 minutes of travel time. However, you can also go to the lake from the town with a 40-minute hike.
Activity #10: Attend Mittenwald’s Cultural Events
If there is one lesson that I’ve genuinely internalized during my previous travels, the events/festivals in a town/city will always be fun or at least interesting to witness. You can check the events’ schedule in Mittenwald from Alpenwelt-Karwendel’s website.
During summer, Mittenwald celebrates its musical culture. There are concerts everywhere and some of the tourist attractions in town level up with their own musical performances.
The most notable places to visit during the music summer in Mittenwald are the Protestant Church of the Holy Trinity, Saint Paul and Peter church, and the Violin Making museum.
Bringing in Sheep/Goats/Cattle
One of the most incredible things to witness in any alpine settlement is bringing sheep, goats, or cattle into the town. In Mittenwald, it happens, too, of course! It’s a fascinating cultural event that occurs either on Partenkirchner Street or Dekan Karl Platz.
The goats/sheep/cattle are brought to the town at either 8 a.m. or 11 a.m. Kindly check the previous link for more information.
Where To Go After Mittenwald?
I love southern Germany because it has attractions with breathtaking views, magical experiences, and some fascinating history. I think it’s apparent in the things and places you can see in Mittenwald.
But wait, southern Germany has a fascinating history? Yes, particularly about a Bavarian King and his castle—Neuschwanstein Castle.
Aside from Mittenwald, there are more that you can visit in southern Germany. The closest you can visit is Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GaPa), the gateway to Germany’s tallest peak: Zugspitze. I have a short comparison of GaPa vs. Mittenwald after this.
If you want to travel to Southern Germany and you are from:
- Austria (Salzburg), you may start with Berchtesgaden. Berchtesgaden is only an hour away from Salzburg. Read more: Reasons To Visit Berchtesgaden or Scenic Spots In Berchtesgaden.
- France (Strasbourg), you can start with the Black Forest. Strasbourg is a neighboring city of the Black Forest.
- Anywhere else, start from Munich. Munich is a beautiful city with a fantastic culture. From Munich, you can easily visit almost all the attractions in southern Germany, like Mittenwald.
Here is a sample Bavarian Alps itinerary (Mittenwald is included here).
Are you also interested in the destinations in the Alps? I recommend you check Switzerland, France, and Italy:
- Switzerland (Zermatt and Lauterbrunnen)—for the famous Matterhorn and “Heaven on Earth” Valley.
- Italy (Cortina d’Ampezzo)—for the spectacular Dolomites.
- France (Chamonix)—for Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps.
Should You Visit Mittenwald or Garmisch-Partenkirchen?
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is the neighboring town of Mittenwald to the east, and they have almost the same characteristics in terms of natural tourist attractions and outdoor activities.
It’s just that Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a larger town; thus, it has more things to do (more shops and restaurants, too) compared to Mittenwald. You can learn more about Garmisch-Parktenkirchen from this article or see the simple table comparison of both towns below:
|Town Center/Old Town||Lüftlmalerei, smaller, has a countryside vibe||See Lüftlmalerei, larger, bustling, with more restaurants, and shops|
|Famous For||Violins||Winter Olympics|
|Proximity to the mountains||Accessible from the town||It will require a train ride to reach. Here you can find Zugspitze – the highest mountain in Germany.|
|Gorge (size)||Lautasch-Klamm – the longest accessible gorge in the Eastern Limestone Alps||Partnachklamm|
|Lakes||Lautersee – has beer gardens and a small hotel, picturesque with Karwendel mountains in the backdrop||Eibsee – has a large hotel nearby, has islets, picturesque with the view of Zugspitze|
|Access||1 train ride away from Munich||1 train ride away from Munich|
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