From the mighty Alps in the south, through gentle valleys and forests, clear lakes and rushing rivers, charming villages and towns steeped in history to the deep blue Danube in the north - with its scenic diversity and countless cultural and culinary highlights, Upper Bavaria offers enormous recreational value and proves to be a special place to recharge your batteries, take a deep breath and enjoy.
Upper Bavaria thrives on contrasts: picturesque nature meets bustling cities, crafts and customs meet important industrial and business locations and traditional cuisine meets newly interpreted trendy gastronomy. It is precisely this contrast and the balance of scenic attractiveness, authenticity and economic opportunities that make the region what it is. A total of 20 tourist regions - each with its own unique charm and character - promise enjoyable experiences, sporting challenges and unique vacation moments for every taste. Experience special highlights in Upper Bavaria: Lake Chiemsee, the largest lake in Bavaria, is located here, the Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain, towers over the land and the Hallertau in the north of Upper Bavaria is the largest contiguous hop-growing region in the world.
The history of Upper Bavaria dates back to 1255, when Ludwig the Strict created the Duchy of Upper Bavaria. Later in the 19th century, the Kingdom of Bavaria also created Upper Bavaria in roughly its current form. The district reform of 1972 brought further slight changes.
With 4.8 million inhabitants and an area of around 17,500 square kilometers, Upper Bavaria is both the most populous and the largest district of the Free State of Bavaria in terms of area. Upper Bavaria comprises 20 administrative districts, the three independent cities of Munich, Ingolstadt and Rosenheim and 497 municipalities. With 133 nature reserves, Upper Bavaria is home to a variety of impressive natural sites that are particularly worthy of protection. The Ammergau Alps are currently the largest nature reserve. There are also 248 landscape conservation areas, 148 FFH areas, 27 EU bird sanctuaries and at least 580 geotopes.
In 2022, the region counted over 15 million guest arrivals and almost 40 million overnight stays, making it one of the most popular travel destinations in Germany - both nationally and internationally.
You don't need a long drive to experience Upper Bavaria in a genuine and authentic way. Special places that reflect Upper Bavaria's unique character can be found throughout the region. Less well-known, but closer than you might think and easy to reach by public transport, over 150 "GeHEIMATorte" provide tips and inspiration for your next excursion and Upper Bavarian experiences for every taste.
1,200 kilometers are covered by the long-distance cycle path, which extends over three main loops through the whole of Upper Bavaria. The three sub-routes make the regional characteristics their own: In the north, the cycle route is characterized by hops and beer, in the southeast the focus is on salt and in the southwest on art and culture. The central hub of all tours is the state capital of Munich. But regardless of which loop you are on, water is a constant companion. Cyclists can discover and enjoy special water experience points on all sections of the route. Because water is omnipresent in Upper Bavaria: the most famous lakes in Upper Bavaria include Königssee, Chiemsee, Tegernsee and Starnberger See, as well as Kochelsee and Walchensee. The longest rivers are the Danube and Inn, followed by the Isar, Lech and Altmühl.
Customs, art and crafts are an integral part of Upper Bavarian culture - if you want to know more about them, you will find answers in Upper Bavaria's diverse museum landscape. A wide variety of exhibitions and cultural events take you back to times long past, providing insights into original rural life, world-famous royal castles and artistic and craft traditions. Not only castles such as Herrenchiemsee or Munich's great museums enjoy world fame, but also Upper Bavarian cuisine, which tastes good in every place in Upper Bavaria.
Upper Bavaria is an excellent region for enjoyment. It takes a lot of time, traditional and constantly evolving craftsmanship and a great deal of humility towards the products that are used. Culinary highlights in Upper Bavaria:
Beer culture characterizes Upper Bavaria in a special way with a network of small adventure breweries, beer gardens and traditional pubs. The oldest brewery in the world, the Weihenstephan state brewery, can also be found in Upper Bavaria. It was founded in 1040 as a monastery brewery by Benedictine monks. The Hallertau, the largest contiguous hop-growing region in the world and the origin of Bavarian beer enjoyment, is also located in the north of Upper Bavaria.
Whether high up, from peak to peak, through gentle forests and valleys or hilly hop gardens - Upper Bavaria can be explored in hiking boots on a wide variety of trails. Demanding mountain tours, meditative hikes and varied themed trails lead to unique natural sites throughout the region and offer sporting challenges as well as relaxation for body and soul.
370 kilometers of slopes are spread across the small and large ski areas of Upper Bavaria - fun on the slopes and fun in the huts guaranteed. The numerous cross-country ski trails and winter hiking trails with the most beautiful panoramic views provide active variety in the snow. Coupled with comprehensive wellness offers, unique customs and traditional cuisine, the Upper Bavarian winter is a time full of bright spots.