• Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavarian Alps, Germany
    Neuschwanstein Castle

Bavarian Alps

Germany's most picturesque corner lies two hours south of Munich, a timeless land of fairy-tale castles, painted buildings shared by cows and farmers, and locals who still yodel when they're happy. Life moves more slowly here in Germany's Catholic, largely rural far south. The otherworldly "King's Castles" of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau capture romantics' imaginations, the lavishly decorated Wieskirche puts the faithful in a heavenly mood, and the little town of Oberammergau overwhelms visitors with cuteness. Yet another impressive castle (Linderhof), another fancy church (Ettal), and a sky-high viewpoint (the Zugspitze) round out this region's top attractions. Farther east, right on the Austrian border, lies beautiful Berchtesgaden, with its fjord-like lake and Hitler's famous "Eagle's Nest" mountaintop retreat.