Quaint Bavarian Village of Murnau, Germany: Perfect Holiday Setting

There’s nothing more festive than combining snowshoeing with a visit to a traditional German Christmas market. Many cities throughout this western European country, of 82 million, feature a Christmas market – Christkindlmarkt or Weihnachtsmarkt in German. With more than 150 official Christmas markets throughout Germany, Christkindlmärkte are celebrated during the four weeks of Advent. Each offers its own distinct celebration of Christmas.

For example, the quaint village of Murnau am Staffelsee, just south of the Bavarian capital of Munich, Germany, is the perfect venue for experiencing snowshoeing and a traditional Christkindlmarkt.

German Christmas market with buildings on sides and tree in background

The Christmas market features handmade crafts, including candles, Christmas ornaments, socks, and of course, Glühwein. Photo: Murnau am Staffelsee

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The Christmas Market

Murnau tourist information specialist Alexandra Sichart states, “Our Christmas market is very traditional and is set against the attractive backdrop of the Alps.” The market features handmade crafts, including candles, Christmas ornaments, socks, and of course, Glühwein. The latter, also known as mulled wine, is usually prepared from red wine, heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks. It’s great for warming the body on a cold wintry night.

What better way to celebrate the holiday than with a wintery drink, good company, and some holiday shopping.

Snowshoeing in Murnau

Then, for some snowshoeing, explore the Murnauer Moos, a picturesque nature reserve in the area. As the preferred venue for snowshoeing in the area, you can explore the trails independently or with a guide. Moreover, there are a wide variety of routes from 2.3 km (1.4 mi) to 12.7 km (8 miles) long, including easy snowshoeing options.

However, the Murnauer Moos is just one of many snowshoe options in Murnau and Staffelsee. The popular ski resort,  Garmisch-Partenkirchen, also the district’s name, is less than 20 minutes to the south near the Austrian border.

For those desiring a little more challenge, Sichart suggests snowshoeing up nearby Mount Hoernle, a 4,600-foot tall hill in the nearby village of Bad Kohlgrub.

Read More: From the Zinal Glacier to the Swiss Jura Mountains: Exploring the High Alps on Snowshoes

group snowshoeing in distance in Murnau, Germany

You can explore the trails of the Murnauer Moos on your own or with a guide. Photo: Murnau am Staffelsee

Sights and Stays in Murnau, Germany

After snowshoeing and shopping in Murnau, don’t miss a visit to the Schloßmuseum. Picturesque corners and narrow alleyways inspired world-famous paintings by Wassily Kandinsky and Gabriele Meunter; both were part of the Blue Rider group of Expressionist painters from the early 20th Century. Thus, the Schloßmuseum shows the internationally significant history of art and literature connected to Murnau a century ago.

Small restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and international visitors give Murnau its unique flair.

With a population of 12,000, Murnau has adequate hotels to accommodate its many guests. More than 1,300 beds are available in various settings, including hotels, inns, bed & breakfasts, guesthouses, private homes, and farms. A few to consider may be the Alpenhof Murnau, Griesbräu zu Murnau, Hotel Post, and the Klausenhof am Park, located in the heart of town.

empty Christmas market under dark sky in Murnau, Germany

Small restaurants, cafes, boutiques, international visitors, and of course, the Christmas Market give Murnau its unique flair. Photo: Murnau am Staffelsee

One visit to Murnau, and it’s easy to see why city officials market the region as having Lebenslustatmen, or “Inhaling the lust for life.” Snowshoeing is a part of that Lebenslustatmen. For more information on Murnau am Staffelsee, visitwww.murnau.de.

Have you ever been to Murnau, Germany, and what are your favorite Christkindlmärkte or snowshoeing trails? Please share your insights with us in the comments below.

This article was first published on December 6, 2010. Susan Wowk most recently updated it on December 21, 2021. 

Read Next: A Hinsdale Haut Route Christmas in Colorado


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