Little known outside Germany, this Bavarian idyll in the foothills of the Alps is a perfect holiday spot for anyone keen on the outdoors.
Innsbruck airport, over the border in Austria, is the closest international airport at around 31 miles by road from Lenggries. Munich is further away but easily accessible by a train ride of less than an hour.
Lenggries is a picturesque place. The white-washed Jakobskirche (Church of St James) and the red roofs of houses and shops cluster in front of Brauneck Mountain. Interested visitors can learn more about the town, and the wider Isarwinkel region, in the Heimatmuseum Lenggries (the local history museum). Situated in Town Hall Square, the museum covers not only the area’s long history of human settlement, but also local handicrafts, alpine farming, skiing, and local flora and fauna. The museum also hosts an exhibition of local costumes, dating back two centuries. Visitors may notice that many locals still adopt traditional dress on Sundays.
The eighteenth century Schloss Hohenburg, built from the same stone as the Jacobskirche, is worth the visit for a photograph of its Baroque exterior. Now the home of two girls’ schools, it is not possible to go inside, but the Heimatmuseum has an exhibition on the building and history of the Schloss.
Music-lovers, or those keen to hear a traditional Bavarian “oompah” band will want to hear the Lenggries brass band, which plays each week in the town’s Musik Pavilion.
This region could have been designed with hiking in mind. In spring, its Alpine meadows are filled with flowers. In summer, its forests provide welcome shade for walkers. The keen-eyed and the quiet may even be lucky enough to spot ibex. Information-packed leaflets, issued by the local tourist board, detail some of the most popular walks. The trails are all well-marked and, between them, cater for everyone from fit, experienced hikers to families with children. Some are lengthier than others and require either an early start or an overnight stay in one of the area’s mountain huts. At the other end of the scale, one or two hikes are even suitable for use with an all-terrain pram. It is also possible to hike some of the trails in winter, with around 25 miles of them being designated as suitable. Walkers and hikers can find sustenance at a variety of huts and mountain inns. Some are open only for the summer season, typically between May and October. Others stay open to cater for winter sports’ enthusiasts.
The 1,556 metre Brauneck Moutain, with around 20 miles of downhill ski slopes is a major winter attraction. With 3 black, 12 red and 6 blue runs, it has something for skiers of most abilities. In addition, it has an excellent children’s nursery slope and ski schools, all of which draw many families. There are also in excess of 60 miles of cross country ski trails for the enthusiast. In a place that is said to have more slope-side restaurants than anywhere else in Bavaria, refuelling during a day on the slopes of Brauneck Mountain will not be a problem.
Although hiking and skiing are two of the main reasons why visitors come to Lenggries, there are plenty of other outdoor activities. 300 miles of bicycle trails promise days of exploration and exercise, while the Lenggries bike park offers a rather different cycling experience. Its downhill and mountain biking dirt tracks cater for a range of ages and abilities. Prices start at around 17 Euros.
Lenggries’ position on the Isar River makes water sports another attraction. Visitors can choose between adrenaline-filled white-water rafting, and a more sedate kayak tour. There is also fishing, and from mid-May onwards, open-air swimming at Natur-Freibad Lenggries. On wet or cold days, the Isarwelle Adventure and Family Pool is a great option, especially for children.
The Brauneck Activity Centre is another good day out for visitors with children. With a high wire garden, go-karting, rafting, cheese-making, painting, and a special children’s summer programme, it is one way to ensure everyone sleeps soundly at night.
Although there is no shortage of accommodation, it pays to book ahead, particularly in high summer and during the ski season. The range of hotels, guest houses and campsites caters for most preferences and pockets. A night in a mountain hut is also not just for walkers. These huts are excellent spots to experience traditional Bavarian hospitality in beautiful, and often panoramic, surroundings. Again, it is best to book a stay in advance, particularly as the huts are not always open continuously, or even consistently, throughout the year.
Lenggries has a good selection of restaurants and bistros, serving anything from light snacks to haute cuisine. There are also various ice cream parlours, cake shops, and beer gardens. Many places are shut for business at least one day each week. Fortunately, as they do not all share the same closing day, there is never a need to go hungry.