I have always been attracted to the mountains. As a lover of literature and history, I’m into ancient castles and places that old legends tell. You can find them everywhere in Southern Germany. Everything is possible here – from short day trips to extended hikes in the mountains. Since I come from the south, I like to spend long durations at magical places in nature.
To me, Germany is one of the best travel destinations you can wish for. We have endless forests, 25,000 enchanting castles and beautiful landscapes – from rugged coastlines in the north to mighty mountains in the south. On top of all that, Germany is known for its historic old towns and cities with half-timbered houses.
You won’t actually find a place in Germany without a rich and interesting historical background or even a magical tale behind it. Just drive to the next mountain range, the next coastline or ancient city to find one perfect photo-spot after another. Southern Germany is where the real action lies.
I grew up near Stuttgart, the capital city of the southwest state Baden-Württemberg. Since I was a child, my parents took me to the mountains of the Swabian Jura and the Alps. This made me love nature sooner or later (I tended to be a bit stubborn about going outdoors as a child)!
Photography was introduced to me through my grandfather who was a climber and photographer. He used to show me shots of his tours to the peaks of some of the highest mountains of Switzerland and Austria as well as from his travels to Africa, Australia and the US.
Ever since I received my first digital camera from my grandfather at the age of 12, photography has become more and more important to me. I practice it because I want to take viewers on a journey with me.
I aim to showcase my travels in a compelling way and motivate people to go outdoors themselves through the atmosphere of my shots – like my grandfather did to me.
Explore my Quaint Hometown of Tübingen
I live in a town called Tübingen in Southern Germany. Tübingen is young and old at the same time. It has many historic sites on the one hand but also one of the biggest universities in Germany on the other hand. This makes it anything but a sleepy little town with a few dusty houses.
Tübingen is full of life, green parks and well-attended bars. Add to that a multitude of interesting historical places and museums – such as the museum of the University of Tübingen with the “Venus of the Hohlefels”, the earliest Stone Age sculpture with an age of 40,000 years – and you get a first impression of the city I live in.
The famous Neckarfront, and the houses next to the river Neckar that runs through it, is the most famous photo spot. I can also recommend taking a walk around the orchard meadows around the city or visiting the tower of the Stiftskirche to get the best views of the historic district of Tübingen.
Top Destinations to Visit in Southern Germany
I always love to visit the area around Garmisch-Partenkirchen, right at the foot of Germany’s highest mountain. It’s a well-known area but the places you can find there are some of the most beautiful I know.
For example there are the lakes Eibsee and Geroldsee, the waterfalls of Kuhflucht and the two gorges Partnach and Höllentalklamm. And to flee the masses of tourists you just have to begin a hike into the mountains where you always find peace.
Another place is of course the Blautopf at the Swabian Jura. Here you’ll find a karst spring of incredible blue water with an ancient hammer mill and monastery alongside. Tales tell that there is a mermaid living in it and it got its colour from a huge amount of ink.
My third recommendation is to simply drive into the Black Forest to lose oneself in the magical forests, lakes, waterfalls and small towns. In winter there’s always snow (at least in the higher parts) which often makes this region a perfect winter wonderland.
Enchanting Castles of Southern Germany
The castles of Southern Germany are also great places to visit. It doesn’t matter if you explore the majestic premises themselves or hike to a mountaintop to get a clear view of the castles, you’ll have a fantastic experience.
Hohenzollern Castle is one of the most fairytale-like castles you’ll ever see. I like to walk to the top of the Zeller Horn for the best view. This is also where I witnessed the ocean of fog when just the castle on the top of its mountain reached out of the clouds. But you can also walk along the scarp of the Albtrauf to to get different angles of this famous castle.
Neuschwanstein Castle is of course worth a visit too. It’s known all over the world. No castle is located more impressively or romantically like Neuschwanstein Castle right at the foot of the mighty mountains of the Bavarian Alps. The history of its builder, Ludwig II, is also very interesting and you’ll find out much about him in the museums next to it.
Keep in mind there are even more castles to visit in Southern Bavaria. They are some of the most impressive buildings of the 19th century. Then there is Lichtenstein Castle which is my third castle recommendation located in Baden-Württemberg. This castle stands right above a huge cliff and there’s a famous novel by German poet Wilhelm Hauff about it.
Cultural Experiences to Enjoy Along the Way
For Bavaria an important cultural experience is the Almabtrieb. This is a ceremonial driving down of cattle from the mountain pastures into the valley in autumn. All the cows get decorated with flowers and there is music and laughter everywhere. Also, you will get introduced to the pleasure of local Bavarian beer and food.
In Swabia you may want to visit the Swabian-Alemannic Fastnacht processions. At this festival the whole town will be dressed in traditional and scary costumes. My final recommendation is to visit historic sites and museums in general. There is so much to learn about our culture and history, and they are mainly located at ancient yet beautiful places.
My Most Cherished Travel Memory
On one of the first really cold days of autumn, a friend of mine and I decided to visit the Blautopf I mentioned earlier for sunrise. So I got up at 4:30 AM and took the train for a few stops where he picked me up by car with a hot coffee and breakfast. After that we drove across the Swabian Jura to Blaubeuren, where our destination was located.
On the way, the first frost of the year glittered in the beam of the car light and we soon saw the horizon getting brighter and brighter. As we arrived at the Blautopf we discovered that a huge blanket of fog laid above the valley and no one else was around. We had the whole spot just for ourselves and immersed into the magical atmosphere of this place.
Just as we decided to drive to another spot, the light battled through the dense fog and the previously bluish mood went completely golden in seconds. The skies cleared and made the frost vaporize into little steam clouds rising upwards. This was one of the most beautiful natural phenomena I ever witnessed and I was sure to capture all the magic!
Tips for your Visit to Southern Germany
The people of Southern Germany, especially the older ones, tend to seem a little bit grumpy from time to time. But it’s mostly innocent – they often don’t mean it like that! I recommend visiting the tourist centres since there are many guided tours around the cities and they are always helpful when you have any questions about touristic sites or tours you want to do.
A rented car helps to visit all the places since there are so many in the countryside. Public transport is also an option and you’ll reach most of your destinations easily. Just check the right Apps or ask the tourist information centres for help. My last tip is something I would say to everyone: respect nature and leave nothing but footprints!