Surprising Germany #8
From the Austrian border it's just a hop skip and a jump to the southern lakes and mad king Ludwig's fairytale castles the most famous of which, schloss Neu Schwanstein, was the inspiration for the Disney castle.
This castle has to be set to one of the most amazing natural backdrops of any man made construction in history and no matter whether its summer or winter the mountains, alpine forests and lakes of this region never fail to impress.
Ludwig's other contributions to the treasury of humanity are his castles at lake Herrenchiemsee and the recently restored Linderhof (near the town Oberamergau famous it's Passion play which has been performed their by the local townsfolk every ten years since the early 17th century). From there you can then head along the winding but pristine Alpine roads to Germany's largest lake the Bodensee (Lake Constance) on the border with Austria and Switzerland. The gateway to Lake Constance has long been the beautifully preserved medieval town Lindau, with its lovely little harbour, winding streets and old market. Must sees along the lake also include Meersburg and the World Heritage sites of Reichenau and island of Mainau, in particular Mainau's Palace gardens.
And finally its worth stopping off at the lakeside cafes in the city which gave its name to the lake Constance, - Konstanz! - which straddles the German/Swiss border.
Image credit: Kaukor