When it comes to outdoor activities, Bavarians are spoilt for choice. Anyone who has flown into Munich can attest that the German Alps are amazingly close. They’re right in their backyard. One of those alpine mountains, the Wallberg, offers all the stunning mountain views you’re longing for with just as much exertion as you want: you can hike to the top or you can take a relaxing and picturesque cable car ride on the Wallbergbahn. With the peak a stone’s throw from the Tegernsee, it makes for a scenic day trip to enjoy both the mountains and the lake.
Get to Know the Wallberg
With its location just south of the Tegernsee, the Wallberg is a familiar sight in the background of photos of Rottach-Egern and the other pretty lakeside towns.
Roughly five miles from the German-Austrian border, the Wallberg is part of the Mangfallgebirge, or Mangfall Mountains, in the Bavarian Prealps. At its highest point, the Wallberg is 5,650 feet or 1,722 meters. By comparison, the highest summit in Germany is the Zugspitze at 9,718 feet or 2,962 meters.
Since the early 1950s, a cable car has helped transport visitors who can’t or don’t want to make the hours-long hike. The mountain top station sits just beneath the summit at 5,328 feet or 1,624 meters. A small wood-clad church, the Wallbergkircherl, and the Wallberg Panorama Restaurant also sit on the plateau.
Climb Every Mountain
For those feeling particularly energetic, you can hike to the plateau or the summit of the Wallberg. From the valley, it takes about 2.5 hours. Alternatively, as I did, you can take one of the four-person cable cars to the top. (Or you can split the trip and walk in one direction and take the cable car in the opposite direction. Because the view is so impressive from the cable cars, it is worth taking the ride at least once. You can purchase tickets on both the valley and the mountaintop stations so you can decide your descent later.)
In just about ten minutes, the cable car gently lifts its passengers to the plateau. While the trees are a safe distance away, you get the sensation you could almost reach out and touch them. And as you slowly rise up the mountainside, the lake emerges for stunning views.
While it may not be the tallest mountain in the region, it’s a popular spot for hikers, paragliders, and hang gliders. During a mid-October visit, paragliders seemed to be regularly, and consistently, riding the cable cars to the plateau and then, when the conditions agreed, soaring down gracefully to the valley below. No doubt, to the bemusement of the local cows that were grazing in the fenced pastures.
For those of us not going airborne, the paragliders are an awesome sight: dressed in their brightly colored gear, floating down with the Tegernsee behind them amidst the countless mountain peaks. Talk about a photo opportunity.
On the cable car ride to the top of the mountain, my husband and I shared a gondola with a man who was by himself. He was in workout gear and had a helmet and a backpack. Only later did I realize he would be taking flight.
At the edge of the plateau, sits the handsome Wallbergkircherl. Benches surround the area and offer a moment of reflection and solitude as you gaze onto nearby mountain peaks dotted with clouds. Back near the cable car station on the plateau is a restaurant offering a panoramic view and sky-high Biergarten with good food.
If you’re determined to reach the actual summit of the Wallberg, you’ll have some more walking to do. There are a few different hiking paths from the plateau to choose from. For the peak, it is another half hour of walking on a very steep trail.
Make no mistake, while the plateau is relatively flat, it is rocky in places with drop-offs that can cause some anxiety. But if you stick to the trails, there are no concerns.
Getting to the Wallberg couldn’t be easier for visitors using public transit: simply head to the Tegernsee Bahnhof. The town’s train station is at the end of the line and is well connected with regular trains from Munich. From the train station, it’s just a short bus ride to the foot of the mountain. And conveniently, the bus stop is directly outside of the train station. At the time of writing, it’s a twenty-minute ride on Bus 9550 or 9556.
Alternatively, from the Tegernsee Bahnhof, you can do a combination of walking and bus riding. The Tegernsee region has tourist buses that run frequently and allow you to stop in one of the numerous lakeside towns or enjoy the lake before or after your mountain excursion. For walkers, there are great well-marked paths that lead you through town, residential neighborhoods, and meadows where cows can sometimes be seen grazing.
If you’re planning to use the train and the bus, consider using Deutsche Bahn’s Bayern Ticket. For a flat fee, you have unlimited use of Bavarian local public transit on weekdays from 9 am to 3 am the following day.
If you prefer to drive, there is parking at the foot of the Wallberg, right at the entrance to the cable cars.
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All photos, as well as opinions, are my own.