Mittenwald: Bavaria’s Prettiest Alpine Village
Many claim that Mittenwald is the prettiest village in Bavaria, and I’m not one to disagree! Mittenwald is a dreamy place of painted houses and chalets located in a jaw-dropping Alpine setting. In this town, no matter where you look, you’ll be oooing and ahhhing at the natural and manmade splendors.
The village of Mittenwald may be most known for its painted houses, many of which depict religious scenes and symbolism. These were the homes of affluent merchants who, by painting their houses, were showing off the wealth that they made by transporting goods along a transalpine trade route from Venice, through a pass in the Alps, up to Munich. Most of this trade was moved via rafts on canals, and you can see the reminders of these waterways throughout town. By the end of the 17th century, trade routes had shifted, and Mittenwald was left as a sleepy village, preserved for posterity. Today, many of these painted houses are inns, b&bs, and cafes, as Mittenwald is now dominated by the tourist trade.
Mittenwald is also known as a center of the violin-making industry. With a tradition dating back to 1707, the village’s location made it the perfect place for the fabrication of these stringed instruments. The high altitude of the mountains provided tone wood, and Mittenwald’s position along trade routes brought contact with the international world and the instrument-making experts of northern Italy. A violin-making school was established in town by the king of Bavaria, and visitors can still tour the violin museum and several violin shops scattered throughout the village. If you stop into any of them, you’ll likely be able to see the owners creating their world-reknown instruments.
A visit to Mittenwald isn’t about seeing the sites but rather slowing down the pace of life to enjoy an ice cream in the main park, take in the omnipresent Alpine scenery, meander through the quaint shops, and enjoy the local Bavarian food in a canal-side cafe. Everything about Mittenwald screams “relax”, but the only actual screaming done here is, perhaps, by the violins of novice musicians.
Mittenwald makes an easy day trip from Fussen or from Oberammergau. As you curve your way through the mountains and forests to Mittenwald, you can make an easy stop at the stunning Ettal Monastery, to visit the church and purchase some of the monk-made products in their extensive gift shop.
See my guides to other nearby destinations:
- Oberammergau: A Fairy Tale of a Bavarian Town
- Alpine Coaster Oberammergau: Thrills for the Entire Family
- Ettal Monastery: Stop to Stare and Stay to Shop
- Fussen: A Guide to Your Home Base for Exploring Southern Bavaria
- Zugspitze How to Get to Germany’s Highest Peak and What to See There
- Wieskirche: A Little Piece of Heaven in Bavaria
- Neuschwanstein: How and When to Go