The Magic of Mittenwald
Hidden in the gorgeous valley of the Karwendel Mountain Reserve, 10 miles from the Austrian-German border, lies the hidden village of Mittenwald. It sits a short distance off a main route between Southern Bavaria and Austria and was once an important center for transalpine commerce and trade. It has one of the most spectacular locations of any town or village in the Alps and offers hikers and naturalists miles of trails, winding through forested paths and past roaring waterfalls. A cable car ride to the summit that borders the southern end of the village offers even more spectacular views of Austria and Italy.
Other than its natural beauty and location, Mittenwald is known for its colorful painted buildings, its history of violin making, and wood-carving craftsmen. In the center of the village is the 18th century St. Peter and St. Paul Church, famous for its colorful frescoes. An Alpine stream runs through the center of the main street with shops displaying the wares of the local artisans and small unique eateries on both sides. By strolling through the village, visitors will observe lace curtains hung from the windows, colorful flower boxes on each balcony, and rows of perfectly stacked firewood for the upcoming winter.
Mattias Klauz, a son of a tailor, went to Italy to study the craft of violin making under Antonio Stradivari and brought his knowledge and skill back to Mittenwald. He trained several wood worker artisans in the craft and helped build Mittenwald as a center for violin-making. Because the village sits in the middle of a forest of pine trees with a fiber that is conducive to a strong and delicate tone, the village continues to be a center of violin-making. There is a violin museum established in one of the oldest and most beautiful houses in the town, and visitors can watch the craftsmen at work and become a part of living history in some of the functioning workshops.
Mittenwald can be visited during a long day trip from Munich or Innsbruck and a short car drive from Garmisch-Partinkirchen. For those who would love to stay and explore, there are plenty of inviting bed and breakfast establishments. Mittenwald has something for everyone. Outdoor activities, shopping, and plenty of old-world charm. All of these makes Mittenwald a complete Bavaraian package.
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