New York, 15 July, 2009 – When in Germany, book as the Germans do and pay less than you can imagine: A one week vacation for a family of four can cost you as little as $600! Bavaria’s great resorts and regions of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Berchtesgaden, Prien at Lake Chiemsee, Starnberg Five Lake region, East Bavaria, Altoetting and the Ammergau Alps combine leisure, adventure, regional culture and customs with family friendly prices. They offer incredible value if you book deals directly.

No matter which season, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, located amidst breathtaking mountain scenery at the foot of Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze, is always an attraction: Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing or ice hockey in winter, canoeing, paragliding, mountain biking or hiking in summer. Garmisch-Partenkirchen stands for activity and sports – “both in and with nature.” A great choice of accommodations from family friendly small hotels, apartments with kitchens to your own mountain lodge make Garmisch-Partenkirchen the perfect place for families. The summer discovery package offers four nights accommodation in a charming comfort hotel, breakfast and free or reduced admission to most regional attractions for $220 per person. Or for winter sport fans, the three-day “Super Happy Ski” package is a great start. You get three nights of accommodation including breakfast, a three day ski pass as well as free public transportation starting at $230 per person.

A spiritual delight in southern Bavaria is Oberammergau, about one hour south of Munich. The town is already rehearsing for the decennial Passion Play in 2010 (May 15th – October 3rd, 2010). This world renowned event attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors, many of them from the US. One or two night packages for the Passion Play can be booked now. Rates for the one night package including admission to the play, one night accommodation and all meals start at $260 per person. www.passionplay-oberammergau.com Around Oberammergau, the Ammergau Alps region is the perfect spot for an active family vacation and offers great packages including seven overnights in a private two bedroom flat, bicycles for the family, activities such as summer sledding, entrance to the Aquatic World and more for only $600 for the whole family.

The other religious center in southern Bavaria is Altoetting. Close to the birthplace of Pope Benedict XVI, it has been one of the most significant places of pilgrimage in Germany in veneration of the Virgin Mary. A copy of the Altoetting’s “Black Madonna” is displayed in the Basilica of the National Shrine in Washington D.C. From May to October, numerous pilgrimages, festive church services and candlelight processions (always Saturday night) take place there. Pope Benedict XVI. himself visited Altoetting in 2006 and in August 2008 decorated the most important Marian Shrine in Germany with the Golden Rose. Tourists can wander in his footsteps with special guided tours or take a great bike tour through the region on the Benedict trail, discovering the beauty of the landscape between the River Inn and Lake Chiemsee. Altoetting therefore offers a “Pilgrimage Weekend” starting at $75 per person for two nights including breakfast.

A fascinating time for children in Altoetting is during Christmas. The town has own of the most beautiful Christmas Markets and a very unique manger exhibition showing hundreds of nativity scenes.

High alpine landscapes, unblemished nature, picturesque villages, deeply seated traditions and world-class cultural highlights is what the Berchtesgadener Land in the far southeast of Bavaria about two hours from Munich has to offer. Rupertiwinkl is considered to be a paradise for families thanks to its rolling green hills and attractive lakes, while the towns of Bad Reichenhall and Bayerisch Gmain have built reputations as health and spa resorts. The southern region of the Berchtesgadener Land offers world-famous historic and natural attractions such as the ‘Eagle’s Nest’ and Lake Königssee. The National Park, dominated by Mount Watzmann – Germany’s second-highest peak – is an irresistible destination to those who enjoy walks in the grandeur and solitude of the mountains. Family packages for seven nights accommodation in a private vacation apartment, a Upper Bavaria Card with entrance to most museums and attractions, a guided family hiking tour and an animal walk start at $230 per person.

Ever since the fall of the Iron Curtain, East Bavaria finds itself once again in the center of Europe. The Bavarian and Upper Palatinate Forests with their idyllic and stark landscapes and the numerous rivers are the largest continuous wooded mountains of Central Europe and Germany’s first National Park. The Danube River meanders through East Bavaria for about a length of about 100 miles. The region is famous for its centuries-old craft of glass blowing and numerous glass makers and refiners show their art along the 150 mile long Crystal Road. The region is perfect for families with their well thought out offering of diverse activities and great accommodations. You can even stay on a farm and find family deals with seven overnights, activities and meals for $350 per person, with up to 60 percent rebate for children.

The town of Prien and the Chiemgau region about one hour east of Munich offer a wide array of activities around Lake Chiemsee, one of the most beautiful lakes in Germany with its unique islands: Herrenchiemsee and Frauenchiemsee. Prien is the biggest town on the Chiemsee, the “Bavarian Seaside”. The climatic health resort and only Kneipp spa in Upper Bavaria is the perfect starting point for visitors. In addition to hiking and water sports, a special treat of the region are its castles and cultural highlights. There are open air concerts in the castle and courtyard on the island of Herrenchiemsee and in the wintertime the neighboring island of Frauenchiemsee invites visitors to one of the only Christmas Market in Germany set on an island. To make this region an all year around family treat, Prien offers several family packages starting at $500 for a family of four with seven nights accommodation, boat tours, visits to the museum of King Ludwig and much more.

Just a stone’s throw away from the majestic scenery of the Bavarian Alps, approximately 15 miles in the south of Munich is the holiday region known as “Starnberg Five-Lakes-Region”. It combines nine nature preserves, so that over two thirds of the Starnberg Five-Lakes-Region have been classified as landscape conservation areas. This, along with the excellent water quality, provides a basis for a clean and healthy vacation. The region also offers numerous possibilities to spend an active and relaxing vacation: Water-sports, swimming, waterskiing, sailing and wind-surfing. One hundred fifty miles of hiking trails and 200 miles of biking routes are the perfect way to discover the beautiful landscape. Golf players can choose from eight 18-hole courses and one indoor arena. With the Starnberg Five-Lakes-Region golf package “Hole in One” you can hit the greens and save money. The package includes four nights accomodation and green fees for five golf courses of your choice for $400 per person.

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