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[[Image:St. Bartholomä flip666.jpg|thumb|240px|St. Bartolomä, Königsee]]
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[[Image:St. Bartholomä flip666.jpg|thumb|250px|St. Bartolomä, Königsee]]
  
'''Bavaria''' (German: ''Bayern'')[http://www.bayern.by/] is the largest federal-state ("Bundesland" or shortened to ''Land'') of [[Germany]], situated in the south-east of the country, and extends from the North German Plain down into the [[Alps]]. Bavaria is what many non-Germans probably have in mind when they think about Germany. Ironically, Bavaria has more in common culturally with neighboring [[Austria]] than the rest of Germany. This stereotype includes ''Lederhosen'' (leather trousers), sausages and lots of beer - Bavaria, however, has much more to offer to the traveller. Along with the [[Rhineland-Palatinate|Rheinland]] and [[Berlin]], it is Germany's most popular tourist destination.  
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'''Bavaria''' (German: ''Bayern'')[http://www.bayern.by/] is the largest federal state ("Bundesland" or shortened to ''Land'') of [[Germany]], situated in the south-east of the country, and extends from the North German Plain down into the [[Alps]]. Bavaria is what many non-Germans probably have in mind when they think about Germany. Ironically, much of southern Bavaria has more in common culturally with neighbouring [[Austria]] and [[Switzerland]] than with the rest of Germany. This stereotype includes ''Lederhosen'' (leather trousers), sausages and lots of beer - Bavaria, however, has much more to offer to the traveller. Along with the [[Rhineland-Palatinate|Rheinland]] and [[Berlin]], it is Germany's most popular tourist destination.  
  
 
==Regions==
 
==Regions==
 
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[[Image:Bavarian_Admin_Districts.jpg|320px|thumb|Regions of Bavaria with the three Franconian regions split]]
[[Image:Bavarian_Admin_Districts.jpg|350px|thumb|Regions of Bavaria with the three Franconian regions split]]
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* [[Franconia]] (''Franken'') - formerly a separate kingdom that was merged with the rest of Bavaria by Napoleon
 
* [[Franconia]] (''Franken'') - formerly a separate kingdom that was merged with the rest of Bavaria by Napoleon
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==Cities==
 
==Cities==
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[[File:Altes Rathaus in Muenchen Ostseite.jpg|180px|thumb|[[Munich]] Old City Hall, East Side]]
  
 
*[[Munich]] (''München'') {{-}} the capital of Bavaria, known for the annual Oktoberfest
 
*[[Munich]] (''München'') {{-}} the capital of Bavaria, known for the annual Oktoberfest
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==Other destinations==
 
==Other destinations==
  
*[[Ammersee]] {{-}} a lake in Upper Bavaria
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* [[Ammersee]] {{-}} a lake in Upper Bavaria
*[[Berchtesgaden]] {{-}} ski and summer resort in the southeast near Salzburg
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* [[Bavarian Alps]] {{-}} the Bavarian part of the European Alps, rising to 2,962 m.
*[[Bayrischer Wald]] {{-}} locals call it "Bayrisch Sibiria" for obvious reasons  
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* [[Bavarian Forest]] {{-}} locals call it "Bayerisch Siberia" for obvious reasons
*[[Chiemsee]] {{-}} the largest lake within Bavaria complete with mini-Versailles and mountain backdrop
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* [[Berchtesgaden National Park]] {{-}} the deepest lake in the alps near Berchtesgaden
*[[Konigsee]] {{-}} the deepest lake in the alps near Berchtesgaden
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* [[Chiemsee]] {{-}} the largest lake within Bavaria complete with mini-Versailles and mountain backdrop
*[[Mittenwald]] {{-}} famous for its nicely painted houses and violin shops
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* [[Franconian Lake District]]
*[[Romantic Road]] {{-}} popular itinerary through the region past romantic castles and villages
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* [[Romantic Road]] {{-}} popular itinerary through the region past romantic castles and villages
*[[Füssen|Schloss Neuschwanstein]] {{-}} amazing romantic castle near [[Füssen]], a small town rich in culture and art
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* [[Füssen|Schloss Neuschwanstein]] {{-}} amazing romantic castle near [[Füssen]], a small town rich in culture and art
*[[Starnberg]] {{-}} has a very beautiful lake
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*[[Tegernsee]] {{-}} very posh place in the Bavarian Alps
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==Understand==
 
==Understand==
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Bavarians are the proudest of all Germans. Locals are loyal to their roots and traditions. Bavaria is also the most
 
Bavarians are the proudest of all Germans. Locals are loyal to their roots and traditions. Bavaria is also the most
autonomous of German states, and many Bavarians see themselves as Bavarians first and foremost, Germans second. Some people have called it the "Texas of Germany". Bavarians also have no problem fulfilling the German stereotype of beer drinking, sausage eating and Lederhosen. This however is only found in rural Bavaria and mainly in the south and east either towards Austria and alps or the thick forests that border the Czech Republic and Bohemia.
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autonomous of German states, and many Bavarians see themselves as Bavarians first and foremost, Germans second. The German stereotype of beer drinking, sausage-eating and Lederhosen, is found only in rural Bavaria and mainly in the south and east towards Austria and the Alps or the thick forests that border the Czech Republic and Bohemia.
  
Most Bavarians can speak a form of the Bavarian dialect (Bairisch). The dialect, however, is extremely difficult for most other Germans to understand—a person from Niedersachsen ([[Lower Saxony]]) would have a hard time understanding a Bavarian. Ironically, an Austrian however would not! Despite the dialect difference from the rest of Germany, most Bavarians can lose the dialect at any moment.
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About 60% of Bavarians are Catholic and are usually more conservative than the rest of Germany (or Europe for that matter). [[Munich]], however, is a quite liberal city with a huge number of people from other parts of Germany, Europe, and the world, and it has a large English-speaking community. It can be quite hard to find someone with truly Bavarian origins in the city, as most people come to work there and stay only for a short time.
 
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About 60% of Bavarians are Catholic and are usually more conservative than the rest of Germany (or Europe for that matter). [[Munich]], however, is a pretty liberal city with a huge number of people from other parts of Germany, Europe, and the world, and it has a large English-speaking community. It can be quite hard to find someone with truly Bavarian origins in the city, as most people come to work there and only stay for some time.
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==Get in==
 
==Get in==
Train, air, or car.  Bavaria is very accessible.
 
  
 
===By plane===
 
===By plane===
International travellers wishing to visit Bavaria should have no problems to book a flight to [[Munich]], which is home to a large international airport. Alternatively, if there is no direct flight to Munich with your airline, you could book a flight via [[Frankfurt]] or [[Nuremberg]] and travel to Munich with the ICE high speed train. Furthermore the Airport Memmingen is a low-cost alternative. From there you can get by bus to Munich and Augsburg.
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International travellers wishing to visit Bavaria should have no problems to book a flight to [[Munich]], which is home to a large international airport. Alternatively, if there is no direct flight to Munich with your airline, you could book a flight via [[Frankfurt]] or [[Nuremberg]] and travel to Munich with the ICE high speed train. Furthermore the [[Memmingen|Airport Memmingen]] is a low-cost alternative. From there you can get by bus to Munich and Augsburg.
  
 
===By train===
 
===By train===
The German rail company [http://bahn.de] often has cheap ticket deals.  Overnight travel to many cities in Europe can be less than €30.  You will need to book well ahead of time.
 
  
If coming from the [[Czech Republic]], it's often cheaper to buy a Czech ticket to the border and then continue with Bayern-Ticket (see Get around).
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====From the rest of Germany====
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See [[Germany#By_train 2|Germany - Get around by train]].
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====From the Czech Republic====
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There are two direct fast trains from [[Prague]] to [[Nuremberg]] and two to [[Munich]]. At Schwandorf station, the trains to Nuremberg have a connection to Munich a vice versa.
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German railways offer a non-stop bus between Prague and Nuremberg, operating every 2 hours and using the German domestic railway rate.
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Single tickets are quite expensive when bought at train station. For direct trains you can buy cheaper e-tickets [https://www.cd.cz/eshop/international/search_int.aspx?tt=1], but at least 3 days in advance.
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If you travel in a group or you travel to other destination than Nuremberg or Munich, the cheapest variant is a combination of Czech domestic ticket to the border (''Furth im Wald Gr.'', the ''Gr.'' means ''border point'') and ''Bayern-Ticket'' for the German section (see [[#By_train_2|Get around by train]]). The fast trains from the Czech Republic are considered as regional trains in German tariff.
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====From Austria==== 
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There are plenty of long-distance trains (category EC, ICE and Railjet) from [[Vienna]], [[Linz]], [[Salzburg]], [[Villach]] and [[Klagenfurt]]. If you travel in a group and want to save money, use a regional trains with combination of [[Austria#Discounts|Einfach-Raus-Ticket]] and [[#By_train_2|Bayern-Ticket]].
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====From France====
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There is one daily direct TGV connection between [[Paris]] and Munich, with stops in [[Strasbourg]], [[Stuttgart]], [[Ulm]] and [[Augsburg]], taking just over six hours. Furthermore there is a night train on that route.
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====From other European countries====
  
If coming from Austria, it's often cheaper to use the Einfach-Raus Ticket, introduced August 2007, much like the Bayern-Ticket (see Get around) is used within Bavaria.
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There are daily night train connections from [[Amsterdam]], [[Netherlands]] (via [[Cologne]] and [[Frankfurt]]) and [[Rome]], [[Italy]] and [[Venice]] (both via [[Verona]] and [[Innsbruck]]) to Munich central station.
  
 
==Get around==
 
==Get around==
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===By train ===
 
===By train ===
  
Trains are the main mode of transportation for visitors, since they easily connect towns with larger cities.
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Trains are the main mode of transportation for visitors since they easily connect towns with larger cities.  
  
If you're travelling within Bavaria, you can purchase the '''Bavaria Ticket''' (''Bayern-Ticket'')[http://www.bayern-takt.de/public_main_modul.php?ses=&page_id=299&document_id=380&unit=482731bfed755] , which will give you all-day travel within Bavaria and even to the border towns of [[Salzburg (city)|Salzburg]] or [[Reutte]]. The Bayern Ticket for one person costs €21.  If there are two or more people travelling together, it would be cheaper to buy an up-to-5-person Bayern-Ticket, which costs only €29.  Some locals look for other people to share a journey with to reduce costs.  Some even sold their Bayern ticket for a discount after  arriving at their destination to recoup some of their funds. In response, the German railway corporation, ''Deutsche Bahn'', now offers mainly Bayern-Tickets that require you to write your name on the ticket in order to validate it, thus making it harder to sell the ticket to someone else once your journey is over.  
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If you're travelling within Bavaria, you can purchase the '''Bayern-Ticket''' [http://www.bahn.de/regional/view/regionen/bayern/freizeit/bayernticket.shtml], which will give you all-day travel in regional trains (categories S, RB, RE and IRE) within Bavaria and even to the border towns of [[Salzburg]], [[Reutte]] or [[Ulm]]. You can use it also for private trains and most of local buses and city transport. On working days the ticket is valid from 9AM to 3AM the following day. On weekends it is valid from midnight.  
  
Since April 2007 in German regional trains, it is no longer possible to buy tickets from the train conductor.
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There are variants of regional '''Bayern-Ticket''' [http://www.bahn.com/i/view/GBR/en/prices/germany/laender-ticket.shtml]:
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* '''Bayern-Ticket''' 1 person: €22, 2 people: €26, 5 people: €38. (price from 10.06.2012) [http://www.bahn.de/regional/view/regionen/bayern/freizeit/bayernticket_flexible_preise.shtml]
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* '''Bayern-Ticket Nacht''' €22 € - €30) - for one to five people, valid from 6PM to 6AM the following day (7AM if the following day is weekend or public holiday)
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* '''Bayern-Böhmen-Ticket''' [http://www.bahn.de/regional/view/regionen/bayern/freizeit/bayern_boehmen_ticket.shtml] 1 person: €25, 2 people: €29,50, 5  people: €43 -- valid also in border regions of Czechia [http://www.bahn.de/regional/view/mdb/regio_oberbayern/2011_relaunch/MDB87054-bayern_boehmen_ticket_2011.pdf]. At Czech territory valid only in trains, not in buses.
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For general info about network tickets see [[Germany#Network_tickets]].
  
 
=== By car ===
 
=== By car ===
  
Sometimes, this may be the only way to get around, especially deep in the German countryside. In the countryside, roads are winding, tricky, and sometimes cut dramatic swaths through farmland, but are otherwise EU-standardised and generally well-paved.
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Sometimes, this may be the only way to get around, especially deep in the Bavarian countryside. In rural areas, roads are winding, tricky, and sometimes cut dramatically through farmland, but are otherwise EU-standardised and generally well-paved.
  
 
=== By foot ===
 
=== By foot ===
  
Travelling around the smaller cities in the countryside by foot can be a rewarding experience, and is easily manageable. As for hitchhiking, give it a go and write about it here!
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Travelling around the smaller cities in the countryside by foot can be a rewarding experience, and is easily manageable.
  
 
==Talk==
 
==Talk==
German is spoken throughout Bavaria - there are also three main dialects which will be difficult to understand for most foreigners: Bairisch (Bavarian), Fränkisch (Franconian) and Schwäbisch. Most people speak at least some English, or other foreign languages, especially the younger generation.
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Most Bavarians speak standard German; however, in southern Bavaria, outside of Munich, Austro-Bavarian (east) or Swabian (west) is the native language of many. In the north Franconian is the traditional language but few speakers remain. In the cities (including Munich) standard German is the local language, but Austro-Bavarian-, and Swabian-speakers typically do speak standard German as well (except possibly older people in the far south).
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Most people speak at least some English or other foreign languages (particularly French), especially the younger generation.
  
 
==See==
 
==See==
Bavaria has many family-friendly places, as well as those for the younger generations. Places to see include the walled city of [[Rothenburg ob der Tauber]] (Rothenburg o.d.T.), Schloss (castle) HerrenChiemsee - Ludwig the second's unfinished castle based on Versailles and on its own island on the beautiful lake Chiemsee, the historical city of Nurnburg, the scenic city of Regensburg (Visit St. Peter's cathedral, you can't miss it as it is the biggest building in Regensburg), Bodenmais - known for it's fine crystal and known as the "Switzerland of Bavaria", and of course the legendary Neuschwanstein castle often called the "fairytale castle"--the basis for the "Magic Kingdom" of Walt Disney. Of course for kids there is Playmobil park near Nurnburg, Trampoline indoor funpark in Regensburg, and the town of Riedenburg on the Altmühl river that has a castle with daily Falconry shows.
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Bavaria has many family-friendly places, as well as those for the younger generations. Places to see include the walled city of [[Rothenburg ob der Tauber]] (Rothenburg o.d.T.), [[Chiemsee|Schloss (palace) Herrenchiemsee]] - Ludwig II's unfinished castle based on Versailles on its own island in the beautiful lake Chiemsee, the historical cities of Nuremberg (Nürnberg) and Regensburg (visit St. Peter's cathedral, which you can't miss as it is the biggest building in Regensburg), Bodenmais (known for it's fine crystal and known as the "Switzerland of Bavaria"), and of course the legendary [[Füssen|Neuschwanstein Castle]] often called the "fairytale castle" - the role model for the "Magic Kingdom" of Walt Disney.
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Of course, for kids, there is the Playmobil park near Nuremberg, an indoor Trampoline funpark in Regensburg, and the town of Riedenburg on the Altmühl river that has a castle with daily falconry shows.
  
Also, ''many'' towns have some historical features in their limits. There are castle ruins, full castles still being used as residences, local museums, caves, and old mines that most tourists will never see. Some of these are better than the €20 fee to see a boring guided tour at one of the more famous cities in Germany. Why pay a fee for only seeing a smal part of the castle when you can find an old castle in the countryside that you can explore and maybe discover something new that is not even documented?
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Also, ''many'' towns have some historical features in their limits. There are castle ruins, full castles still being used as residences, local museums, caves, and old mines that most tourists will never see. Some of these are better than the €20 fee to see a boring guided tour at one of the more famous cities in Germany. Why pay a fee for seeing only a small part of the castle when you can find an old castle in the countryside that you can explore on your own and maybe discover something new that has not even been documented?
  
It's sad to see tourists who pay too much money to see "tourist castles" when for the price of a rental car and a will to explore can yield many free or cheap sites sometimes better than the overpriced attractions that limit what you can see or do.
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It's sad to see tourists who pay too much money to see "tourist castles" when the price of a rental car and the will to explore can yield many free or cheap sites, which are sometimes better than the overpriced attractions, that limit what you can see or do.
  
 
==Do==
 
==Do==
Bavaria has very good ski and snowboard resorts in the Bavarian Alps and in the Bavarian Forest. They are much smaller than the resorts in Austria or Swizterland. They are always well maintained and usually cheaper. The most famous and crowded are in Garmish and Oberstdorf.
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Bavaria has very good ski and snowboard resorts in the [[Bavarian Alps]] and in the [[Bavarian Forest]]. They are much smaller than the resorts in neighbouring Austria or Swizterland, though. They are always well maintained and usually cheaper. The most famous and crowded are in [[Garmisch-Partenkirchen]] and Oberstdorf.
  
 
==Eat==
 
==Eat==
[[Image:Bavarian food.jpg|thumb|240px|Hearty Bavarian food on a fancy plate.  Left to right: ''Schnitzel'', pork belly (''Schweinebauch'') with red cabbage (''Rotkohl''), ''Weißwurst'' with mashed potatoes (''Kartoffelpüree''), ''Bratwurst'' on sauerkraut]]
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[[Image:Bavarian food.jpg|thumb|220px|Hearty Bavarian food on a fancy plate.  Left to right: ''Schnitzel'', pork belly (''Schweinebauch'') with red cabbage (''Rotkohl''), ''Weißwurst'' with mashed potatoes (''Kartoffelpüree''), ''Bratwurst'' on sauerkraut]]
  
[[Bavarian cuisine]] is famous for “Schweinsbraten” roast from pig, “Bratwürstl” sausages, “Nürnberger Bratwurst”, probably the smallest sausage in Germany, “Weisswurst” sausage made from veal, “Leberkäse” meatloaf, “Schweinshaxe” grilled pork leg  as well as  a variety of different “Knödel” dumplings and “Kartoffelsalat” potato salad.
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[[Bavarian cuisine]] is famous for “Schweinsbraten” (roast pork), “Bratwürstl” sausages, “Nürnberger Bratwurst”, probably the smallest sausage in Germany, “Weißwurst” sausage made from veal, “Leberkäse” (a type of meatloaf), “Schweinshaxe” (grilled pork knuckle) as well as  a variety of different “Knödel” (dumplings) and “Kartoffelsalat” (potato salad).
Also in the Oberallgäu, the southwesternmost part of bavaria, the traditional food is “Kässpatzen”, made with much Bavarian cheese. Also, some Gasthaus's have various season specials based on what is available locally at that time. There can be specials like Truffle dishes in the southern mountain areas, specialty mushrooms in the Oberpfalz area, seasonal Salmon dishes on the Donau / Altmuhl river area, local trout specials in all small villages, and during hunting season there are occasional fresh wild boar and venison dishes - Bavaria is a gastronomic wonderland!
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Also in the Oberallgäu, the southwesternmost part of bavaria, the traditional food is “Kässpatzen”, made with much Bavarian cheese. Also, some Gasthaus's have various season specials based on what is available locally at that time. There can be specials like Truffle dishes in the southern mountain areas, specialty mushrooms in the Oberpfalz area, seasonal Salmon dishes on the Donau / Altmuhl river area, local trout specials in all small villages, seasonal asparagus dishes, and during hunting season there are occasional fresh wild boar and venison dishes - Bavaria is a gastronomic wonderland (especially for the meat aficionado)!
  
 
==Drink==
 
==Drink==
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[[File:Muenchen Hofbraeuhaus 665-v2.jpg|thumb|220px|[[Munich]] Hofbräuhaus]]
  
 
===Beer===
 
===Beer===
  
Bavarians love their beer. One of the most beloved is the "Weissbier". It is a cloudy, unfiltered beer brewed with wheat (it has a slightly sour taste) commonly consumed earlier in the day with a Weisswurst and sweet mustard. It's good to know that there exists a special ritual with this beer: Normally it will be served in a special glass, called "weissbierglas". But if you get the empty glass and the bottle of beer, you have to fill it by yourself - in one step without dropping the bottle. Weissbier is more carbonated than most other beers and produces a lot of foam so it is not easy to fill without spilling something.  
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Bavarians love their beer. One of the most beloved is the "Weißbier", a cloudy, unfiltered beer brewed with wheat, which is commonly consumed earlier in the day with a Weisswurst and sweet mustard. It's good to know that there exists a special ritual with this beer: Normally it will be served in a special glass, called "Weißbierglas". But if you get the empty glass and the bottle of beer, you have to fill it by yourself: in one step without dropping the bottle. Weissbier is more carbonated than most other beers and produces a lot of foam so it is not easy to fill without spilling something.  
  
Bavaria could opt for the title of "holy grail of brewing". Not only is it home to Oktoberfest, but the highest brewery density (in the world) is in the north of the state, in the [[Franconia|Franconian]] region. There, you can find a brewery in almost every village (it is sometimes very small and maintained among a few families). You can find a lot of local beer specialities, as for instance the "[[Bamberg]]er Schlenkerla" (a beer with a taste of smoked bacon), so try to stick with the local beers always—-especially tasty (and supposedly healthy) are the unfiltered beers (only served in pubs).
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Bavaria could opt for the title of "holy grail of brewing". Not only is Munich home to Oktoberfest but also the highest brewery density in the world is in the north of the state, in the [[Franconia|Franconian]] region. There, you can find a brewery in almost every village (it is sometimes very small and maintained among a few families). You can find a lot of local beer specialities, as for instance the "Bamberger Schlenkerla" (a beer with a taste of smoked bacon). So always  try to stick with the local beers - especially tasty (and supposedly healthy) are the unfiltered beers (served only in pubs).
  
In summer, you can generally find '''beer festivals''' everywhere - not only in the bigger cities, but also in the smaller villages; be warned though that the beer there is often served in one-liter ceramic or glas glasses called "Mass". The biggest certainly is the [[Munich]] Oktoberfest [http://www.oktoberfest.de], followed twice a year by the [[Nuremberg]] Volksfest [http://www.volksfest-nuernberg.de]. Also very nice is the [[Erlangen]] Bergkirchweih [http://www.der-berg-ruft.de].
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In summer, you can generally find '''beer festivals''' everywhere: not only in the bigger cities but also in the smaller villages; be warned, however, that the beer there is often served in 1 L ceramic glasses called "Maß". The biggest beer festival certainly is the infamous [[Munich#Do|Oktoberfest]] [http://www.oktoberfest.de] in Munich, followed by the biannual [[Nuremberg|Nürnberger Volksfest]] [http://www.volksfest-nuernberg.de]. Also very nice is the [[Erlangen|Erlanger Bergkirchweih]].
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If you are touring Upper Bavaria in August, you shouldn´t miss the Barthelmarkt in Oberstimm, next to Ingolstadt, one of the oldest traditional ''Volksfests'' in Bavaria - it´s kind of an insider tip. You will hardly find foreigners there. On Monday there is a big horse market and the beer tents open already at 5:30 am and they are packed with people at 6:00 am.
  
'''Bavaria’s beer garden''' [http://www.bayern.by/en/bavaria-beer-gardens-breweries.html] season starts in May and runs right through to October. The shade of ancient horse chestnut trees become a rendezvous for both young and old and locals and visitors alike: a place to enjoy a convivial glass of cool beer and some tasty Bavarian snacks. You can even bring your own picnic.
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'''Bavaria’s beer garden''' [http://www.bayern.by/en/bavaria-beer-gardens-breweries.html] season starts in mid April and runs right through to October. The shade of ancient horse chestnut trees become a rendezvous for both young and old, rich and not-so-rich, and locals and visitors alike: a place to enjoy a convivial glass of cold beer and some tasty Bavarian snacks. You can even bring your own food (but not drinks).
  
 
===Brandy===
 
===Brandy===
Germans generally make brandy out of everything; most common are the fruit brandies (Obstler) and the herb liqueurs (e.g., Sechsämtertropen form northern bavaria). For a real Altbayerisch felling try Bärwurz, Kräuterwurz, or Blutwurz.
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Germans generally make brandy out of everything (even beer -bierbrand!); most common are the fruit brandies (Obstler) and the herb liqueurs (such as Sechsämtertropfen from northern Bavaria). For a real ''Altbayerisch'' feeling, try ''Bärwurz'', ''Kräuterwurz'', or ''Blutwurz''.
  
 
===Wines===
 
===Wines===
The north of Bavaria is famous not only for its beer, but also for its (white) wines that come in special bottles called "Bocksbeutel" (bottles with a big round yet flat belly). For a sweet treat try Eiswine, made from grapes allowed to stay until the first hard freeze then pressed and made into a ''very'' sweet wine.
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The north of Bavaria is famous not only for its beer but also for its (white) wines that come in special bottles called "Bocksbeutel" (bottles with a big round yet flat belly). For a sweet treat, try Eiswein (Ice wine), made from grapes that are allowed to stay until the first severe frost and then pressed and made into a ''very'' sweet wine.
  
 
==Stay safe==
 
==Stay safe==
  
Statistically, Bavaria is one of the safest regions (if not the safest) in Germany and probably Europe. The biggest threat to your wallet are the (perfectly legal) high prices.
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Statistically, Bavaria is one of the safest regions (if not ''the'' safest) in Germany and Europe. The biggest threat to your wallet is the (perfectly legal) high price level.
  
Be aware that there is a big difference between the Bavarian police and the police from maybe Hamburg or Berlin. In Berlin, it might not be a problem if they find a few joints in your pocket (because you may carry it for your own needs). In Bavaria, it definitely is a big problem for you. Still, ywon't have any problems if you drink alcohol in public as in all of Germany and Central Europe. Beer or wine is permitted if you are at least 16, spirits at least 18, but the law is loosely enforced.
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Be aware that there is a big difference between the Bavarian police and the police from maybe Hamburg or Berlin. In Berlin, it might not be a problem if they find a few joints in your pocket (because you may carry it for your personal use). In Bavaria, it definitely is a big problem for you. Still, you won't have any problems if you drink alcohol in public as in the rest of Germany and Central Europe. Beer or wine is permitted if you are at least 16, spirits at least 18, but the law is loosely enforced - you might find a preschool child sipping from his father's beer mug.
  
{{isPartOf|Southern_Germany}}
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{{isPartOf|Southern Germany}}
 
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{{related|Bavarian_food}}
 
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[[WikiPedia:Bavaria]]
 
[[WikiPedia:Bavaria]]
 
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[[Dmoz:Europe/Germany/States/Bavaria/]]
 
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[[World66:europe/germany/bavaria]]

Revision as of 20:11, 18 January 2013

St. Bartolomä, Königsee

Bavaria (German: Bayern)[1] is the largest federal state ("Bundesland" or shortened to Land) of Germany, situated in the south-east of the country, and extends from the North German Plain down into the Alps. Bavaria is what many non-Germans probably have in mind when they think about Germany. Ironically, much of southern Bavaria has more in common culturally with neighbouring Austria and Switzerland than with the rest of Germany. This stereotype includes Lederhosen (leather trousers), sausages and lots of beer - Bavaria, however, has much more to offer to the traveller. Along with the Rheinland and Berlin, it is Germany's most popular tourist destination.

Contents

Regions

Regions of Bavaria with the three Franconian regions split

Cities

Munich Old City Hall, East Side
  • Munich (München) — the capital of Bavaria, known for the annual Oktoberfest
  • Augsburg — an important medieval city
  • Bayreuth — a festival city in Upper Franconia (Oberfranken), home of Wagner
  • Bamberg — historical town that is wholly listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List
  • Erlangen — a university and medical centre city that has earned the nickname Franconian Berkeley
  • Fürth — medium-sized town, next to Nuremberg in the north
  • Nuremberg (Nürnberg) — a city of toys, famous for Christmas markets and the infamous Nazi Party rallies held there
  • Regensburg — the city on the banks of the River Danube (Donau)
  • Würzburg — a wonderfully attractive university city in the northwest of Bavaria

Other destinations

Understand

Bavarians are the proudest of all Germans. Locals are loyal to their roots and traditions. Bavaria is also the most autonomous of German states, and many Bavarians see themselves as Bavarians first and foremost, Germans second. The German stereotype of beer drinking, sausage-eating and Lederhosen, is found only in rural Bavaria and mainly in the south and east towards Austria and the Alps or the thick forests that border the Czech Republic and Bohemia.

About 60% of Bavarians are Catholic and are usually more conservative than the rest of Germany (or Europe for that matter). Munich, however, is a quite liberal city with a huge number of people from other parts of Germany, Europe, and the world, and it has a large English-speaking community. It can be quite hard to find someone with truly Bavarian origins in the city, as most people come to work there and stay only for a short time.

Get in

By plane

International travellers wishing to visit Bavaria should have no problems to book a flight to Munich, which is home to a large international airport. Alternatively, if there is no direct flight to Munich with your airline, you could book a flight via Frankfurt or Nuremberg and travel to Munich with the ICE high speed train. Furthermore the Airport Memmingen is a low-cost alternative. From there you can get by bus to Munich and Augsburg.

By train

From the rest of Germany

See Germany - Get around by train.

From the Czech Republic

There are two direct fast trains from Prague to Nuremberg and two to Munich. At Schwandorf station, the trains to Nuremberg have a connection to Munich a vice versa.

German railways offer a non-stop bus between Prague and Nuremberg, operating every 2 hours and using the German domestic railway rate.

Single tickets are quite expensive when bought at train station. For direct trains you can buy cheaper e-tickets [2], but at least 3 days in advance.

If you travel in a group or you travel to other destination than Nuremberg or Munich, the cheapest variant is a combination of Czech domestic ticket to the border (Furth im Wald Gr., the Gr. means border point) and Bayern-Ticket for the German section (see Get around by train). The fast trains from the Czech Republic are considered as regional trains in German tariff.

From Austria

There are plenty of long-distance trains (category EC, ICE and Railjet) from Vienna, Linz, Salzburg, Villach and Klagenfurt. If you travel in a group and want to save money, use a regional trains with combination of Einfach-Raus-Ticket and Bayern-Ticket.

From France

There is one daily direct TGV connection between Paris and Munich, with stops in Strasbourg, Stuttgart, Ulm and Augsburg, taking just over six hours. Furthermore there is a night train on that route.

From other European countries

There are daily night train connections from Amsterdam, Netherlands (via Cologne and Frankfurt) and Rome, Italy and Venice (both via Verona and Innsbruck) to Munich central station.

Get around

By train

Trains are the main mode of transportation for visitors since they easily connect towns with larger cities.

If you're travelling within Bavaria, you can purchase the Bayern-Ticket [3], which will give you all-day travel in regional trains (categories S, RB, RE and IRE) within Bavaria and even to the border towns of Salzburg, Reutte or Ulm. You can use it also for private trains and most of local buses and city transport. On working days the ticket is valid from 9AM to 3AM the following day. On weekends it is valid from midnight.

There are variants of regional Bayern-Ticket [4]:

  • Bayern-Ticket 1 person: €22, 2 people: €26, 5 people: €38. (price from 10.06.2012) [5]
  • Bayern-Ticket Nacht €22 € - €30) - for one to five people, valid from 6PM to 6AM the following day (7AM if the following day is weekend or public holiday)
  • Bayern-Böhmen-Ticket [6] 1 person: €25, 2 people: €29,50, 5 people: €43 -- valid also in border regions of Czechia [7]. At Czech territory valid only in trains, not in buses.

For general info about network tickets see Germany#Network_tickets.

By car

Sometimes, this may be the only way to get around, especially deep in the Bavarian countryside. In rural areas, roads are winding, tricky, and sometimes cut dramatically through farmland, but are otherwise EU-standardised and generally well-paved.

By foot

Travelling around the smaller cities in the countryside by foot can be a rewarding experience, and is easily manageable.

Talk

Most Bavarians speak standard German; however, in southern Bavaria, outside of Munich, Austro-Bavarian (east) or Swabian (west) is the native language of many. In the north Franconian is the traditional language but few speakers remain. In the cities (including Munich) standard German is the local language, but Austro-Bavarian-, and Swabian-speakers typically do speak standard German as well (except possibly older people in the far south).

Most people speak at least some English or other foreign languages (particularly French), especially the younger generation.

See

Bavaria has many family-friendly places, as well as those for the younger generations. Places to see include the walled city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Rothenburg o.d.T.), Schloss (palace) Herrenchiemsee - Ludwig II's unfinished castle based on Versailles on its own island in the beautiful lake Chiemsee, the historical cities of Nuremberg (Nürnberg) and Regensburg (visit St. Peter's cathedral, which you can't miss as it is the biggest building in Regensburg), Bodenmais (known for it's fine crystal and known as the "Switzerland of Bavaria"), and of course the legendary Neuschwanstein Castle often called the "fairytale castle" - the role model for the "Magic Kingdom" of Walt Disney.

Of course, for kids, there is the Playmobil park near Nuremberg, an indoor Trampoline funpark in Regensburg, and the town of Riedenburg on the Altmühl river that has a castle with daily falconry shows.

Also, many towns have some historical features in their limits. There are castle ruins, full castles still being used as residences, local museums, caves, and old mines that most tourists will never see. Some of these are better than the €20 fee to see a boring guided tour at one of the more famous cities in Germany. Why pay a fee for seeing only a small part of the castle when you can find an old castle in the countryside that you can explore on your own and maybe discover something new that has not even been documented?

It's sad to see tourists who pay too much money to see "tourist castles" when the price of a rental car and the will to explore can yield many free or cheap sites, which are sometimes better than the overpriced attractions, that limit what you can see or do.

Do

Bavaria has very good ski and snowboard resorts in the Bavarian Alps and in the Bavarian Forest. They are much smaller than the resorts in neighbouring Austria or Swizterland, though. They are always well maintained and usually cheaper. The most famous and crowded are in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Oberstdorf.

Eat

Hearty Bavarian food on a fancy plate. Left to right: Schnitzel, pork belly (Schweinebauch) with red cabbage (Rotkohl), Weißwurst with mashed potatoes (Kartoffelpüree), Bratwurst on sauerkraut

Bavarian cuisine is famous for “Schweinsbraten” (roast pork), “Bratwürstl” sausages, “Nürnberger Bratwurst”, probably the smallest sausage in Germany, “Weißwurst” sausage made from veal, “Leberkäse” (a type of meatloaf), “Schweinshaxe” (grilled pork knuckle) as well as a variety of different “Knödel” (dumplings) and “Kartoffelsalat” (potato salad). Also in the Oberallgäu, the southwesternmost part of bavaria, the traditional food is “Kässpatzen”, made with much Bavarian cheese. Also, some Gasthaus's have various season specials based on what is available locally at that time. There can be specials like Truffle dishes in the southern mountain areas, specialty mushrooms in the Oberpfalz area, seasonal Salmon dishes on the Donau / Altmuhl river area, local trout specials in all small villages, seasonal asparagus dishes, and during hunting season there are occasional fresh wild boar and venison dishes - Bavaria is a gastronomic wonderland (especially for the meat aficionado)!

Drink

Munich Hofbräuhaus

Beer

Bavarians love their beer. One of the most beloved is the "Weißbier", a cloudy, unfiltered beer brewed with wheat, which is commonly consumed earlier in the day with a Weisswurst and sweet mustard. It's good to know that there exists a special ritual with this beer: Normally it will be served in a special glass, called "Weißbierglas". But if you get the empty glass and the bottle of beer, you have to fill it by yourself: in one step without dropping the bottle. Weissbier is more carbonated than most other beers and produces a lot of foam so it is not easy to fill without spilling something.

Bavaria could opt for the title of "holy grail of brewing". Not only is Munich home to Oktoberfest but also the highest brewery density in the world is in the north of the state, in the Franconian region. There, you can find a brewery in almost every village (it is sometimes very small and maintained among a few families). You can find a lot of local beer specialities, as for instance the "Bamberger Schlenkerla" (a beer with a taste of smoked bacon). So always try to stick with the local beers - especially tasty (and supposedly healthy) are the unfiltered beers (served only in pubs).

In summer, you can generally find beer festivals everywhere: not only in the bigger cities but also in the smaller villages; be warned, however, that the beer there is often served in 1 L ceramic glasses called "Maß". The biggest beer festival certainly is the infamous Oktoberfest [8] in Munich, followed by the biannual Nürnberger Volksfest [9]. Also very nice is the Erlanger Bergkirchweih. If you are touring Upper Bavaria in August, you shouldn´t miss the Barthelmarkt in Oberstimm, next to Ingolstadt, one of the oldest traditional Volksfests in Bavaria - it´s kind of an insider tip. You will hardly find foreigners there. On Monday there is a big horse market and the beer tents open already at 5:30 am and they are packed with people at 6:00 am.

Bavaria’s beer garden [10] season starts in mid April and runs right through to October. The shade of ancient horse chestnut trees become a rendezvous for both young and old, rich and not-so-rich, and locals and visitors alike: a place to enjoy a convivial glass of cold beer and some tasty Bavarian snacks. You can even bring your own food (but not drinks).

Brandy

Germans generally make brandy out of everything (even beer -bierbrand!); most common are the fruit brandies (Obstler) and the herb liqueurs (such as Sechsämtertropfen from northern Bavaria). For a real Altbayerisch feeling, try Bärwurz, Kräuterwurz, or Blutwurz.

Wines

The north of Bavaria is famous not only for its beer but also for its (white) wines that come in special bottles called "Bocksbeutel" (bottles with a big round yet flat belly). For a sweet treat, try Eiswein (Ice wine), made from grapes that are allowed to stay until the first severe frost and then pressed and made into a very sweet wine.

Stay safe

Statistically, Bavaria is one of the safest regions (if not the safest) in Germany and Europe. The biggest threat to your wallet is the (perfectly legal) high price level.

Be aware that there is a big difference between the Bavarian police and the police from maybe Hamburg or Berlin. In Berlin, it might not be a problem if they find a few joints in your pocket (because you may carry it for your personal use). In Bavaria, it definitely is a big problem for you. Still, you won't have any problems if you drink alcohol in public as in the rest of Germany and Central Europe. Beer or wine is permitted if you are at least 16, spirits at least 18, but the law is loosely enforced - you might find a preschool child sipping from his father's beer mug.



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