Ruhpolding may just be a typical German alpine village, but we've been at least 5 times and it continues to be one of my favorite places in the world. Here are my recommendations when visiting:

* The tourist information office is really helpful. They can recommend hikes to all of the alms and give maps and know the best places to go with kids, when it's raining, etc. They also are a good source to find out about any special events that are happening.

* It's always been easy for us to find a holiday apartment (ferienwohnung) which includes a kitchen for around 100 euros per night - we just used the town website to find and book it. We've stayed in all different parts of town, some close to the center, some on the outskirts and they've all been great. With the lodging comes the Chiemgau Karte which gives free rides up chairlifts, free entrance to the swimming pool, discounts - it's very valuable and helpful in directing you to various activities.

* The hiking is great. Most of the hikes are arranged so that you can visit multiple alms/huettes along the way. These are a great place to have a beer or a full meal. Using the free chairlift rides (from the Chiemgau card) enables you to do some spectacular mountain top day hikes. It looks like overnight hut to hut is possible nearby as well but we haven't tried it yet in this region. For example,

* A really nice day is to hike to Langerbauer Alm. You can start from town, take a bus to the start, hike from one valley up into the mountains to the Alm, and then down the other side to some lakes (nice for swimming) and then take a bus back. We've also done it with ebikes with some kids in a trailer and some in bike seats. We've also hiked around the top of the Rauschberg (the cable car mountain) the top of the Unterberg (the chairlift) and to at least 4 other alms. They are all different and lovely.

* Mountain biking. I have not explored as much of it as I would like, but what I have done is fantastic. We've done dozens of kilometers with kids along the river path, which is beautiful and easy. I also did a fantastic ride to Austria, where the border was a literal waterfall that we had to carry the bikes behind. Ebikes can be rented in town and almost make cars entirely unnecessary.

* Food. The prices and the menus don't seem to vary too much, but it's all quite delicious. We haven't eaten too many meals in the center of town, although the little town square is nice. Mostly we get out into the countryside where there are playgrounds and views. The most spectacular view is at the Weingarten, with a view over the whole valley and a nice playground. Raffner alm is another great playground with trampolines and toys and rabbits. I would highly recommend going for the huttenabend (hut evening) which is usually once a week. You can drive to Raffner Alm or you can hike down to it after taking the chairlift up the Unterberg (free with the Chiemgau Karte). Brandleralm is really nice too. Make sure you go for an afternoon ice cream to a place that serves spaghetti-eis (ice-cream only restaurants in town). It's amazing. Pizza at the swimming pool (either inside or out) is convenient. We've also had some very nice meals at Gastatte Beim Hausler which is a little bit outside of town. The fancy bakery near the roundabout by the train station is delicious, my favorite is lagebrotchen (pretzel rolls). At the more remote alms (that you hike to) it's mostly bread and meats. The alms near the top of chairlifts often have kaiserschmarn, which are torn up pancakes - that's a family favorite. A Radler is a German shandy and the perfect drink to enjoy mid-hike.

* Swimming pool. The Vita Alpina is fantastic. You can go down the huge slide with little kids if you go with them. It's a great place to go on a rainy day. If you are up for an amazing but vulnerable cultural experience go to the sauna. You pay extra for it and the wristband scanning is a bit confusing, but totally worth it. Kids are not allowed and neither are clothes inside of the mixed gender saunas. There is one room where they lock you in for 15 minutes, stoke the rocks up to high and then a burly German uses a towel to swirl the air around and make it excruciatingly hot. After you go outside and dunk in an ice cold pool and feel fully alive.

* Kneipbad - there is a little place not far from the river where you take off your shoes and march around a pool of freezing cold water. Then you walk on a path made of different textures. Apparently these things are often prescribed as treatments by doctors in Germany.

* Freitzeitpark - it's just too perfect. Spend the whole day there. With raingear it wouldn't be a bad choice in the rain. If the kids find the place to stamp their 'passport' in the dwarf mine they get a free toy in the restaurant.

* Sommerodelbahn - really fun, why aren't there more roller coasters built onto the sides of mountains?

* Groceries. Since kitchens are part of the apartment you can save a lot of money by eating at home. The Edeka supermarket near the entrance to town is great.

* The playground across the street from the swimming pool is fun and different (ziplines, water pumps, a trampoline like device...).

* Inzell is a nearby town (15-20 minute drive), and the Chiemgau Karte has some free stuff to do there. There is a summer innertube ride that is amusing and also a really cool natural swimming pool (plus indoor pool with slide/sauna etc). The pool isn't as nice as Ruhpolding, but on a hot day the natural swimming pool is really fun.

2 Response to Ruhpolding

  1. ", but it never fails to disappoint me"
    It always disappoints?

    Your write up makes sound great. I am sure the quoted bit is a mistake. It isn't Freudian, I think. A form of Spoonerism? Is there a name for that so very common error?

    My own common error- I suppose just overfast typing- is to omit "not" in a sentence. Hugely embarrassing!

  2. Oops! Thanks. Will fix.

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