The German Alpenstrasse (Alpine road) is an exhilarating route full of twists and turns that runs over a distance of 450 km between Lindau and Berchtesgaden. The stunning Alpine landscapes offers the visitor a varied and magnificent panorama. The route takes you past numerous mountain lakes, Alpine meadows, magnificent castles and guys in lederhosen (we promise you’ll see one at least). This is a German road, not a French one, so the lanes are wide and the speed limits generous.
Unlike the more popular (but more boring) Romantic Road, the Alpenstrasse has both long lengths of straight as well as some hill climbs and hairpins. You'll feel comfortable at high speed, but thanks to the German raod engineers, it won't get unsafe.
If you're hankering for a more exhilarating drive, there are plenty of opportunities for detours around Berchtesgaden with narrow twists and steep climbs. The occasional hoon (or convoy of hoons) will pass you from time to time in their Porche 911’s or BMW M series but that won’t spoil the fun. The fact you can leave your car cooling off at dusk while enjoying some local brews in front of your chalet fireplace makes it all the more ideal.
The idea for the road came from medical officer Dr. Knorz. In 1927 he introduced his plans to connect several valleys on the east-west direction of the Bavarian Alps. This would link Lake Constance to Lake Königssee by a fixed set of roads.
The route we know today was built in the 1930s as one of Hitler’s prestige projects. Some existing streets were included, other parts were traced from scratch, for example the trajectory from Ramsau to Berchtesgaden. Local customs and traditions are still very much alive in this region. You can still experience the old-fashioned way of life, including joyful country weddings and colorful local fairs. Bavaria is also home to traditional German music, zither ensembles and brass bands.
The official route starts in Lindau, but we’re going to start our journey in Konstanz, which is also a city on the shores of Lake Constance. This change of plans has only one reason: the isle of Mainau. Mainau is a "flowering island" notable for its parks and gardens. The island's arboretum contains 500 different species of trees, many exotic and valuable, including fine specimens of the giant sequoia. The island also contains about 200 rhododendron and azalea varieties.
The Italian Rose Garden is laid out geometrically with pergolas, sculptures, and fountains, and includes some 500 rose varieties. The Mediterranean terraces contain exotic pot plants, including palm trees. The island as a whole contains about 30, 000 rose bushes and about 20, 000 dahlias.