Crossing the Alps is the most sought-after, once in a lifetime experience of many mountain bikers. And while most people think of a north-south crossing, the Alps offer many more possibilities.
A relatively unknown route is a cross along the Maximilianweg (also called Maxweg or Königsroute), named after the patron saint of this route, King Maximilian II of Bavaria, who took this path for the first time in 1858. He crossed the German Alps from west to east—from Lake Constance to the Königssee—and in honor of his achievement, the German Alpine Association officially named this route Maximiliansweg in 1991.
Originally intended as a long-distance hiking trail, the Maxweg also offers something for mountain bikers, however, and guarantees an adventurous ride over twelve stages. On it, you’ll cycle straight through (and sometimes over) five mountain ranges: the Austrian Bregenzerwald Mountains, the Allgäuer Alps, the Ammergauer Alps, the Bavarian Alps, the Chiemgauer Alps and the Berchtesgadener Alps. Unspoilt nature, lonely valleys and panoramic peaks are just as much a part of the programme as idyllic villages, rustic mountain pastures, deep gorges and a lot of forest. And while the Maxweg is, for the most part, relatively easy to ride, there are some longer, tougher trails and even a few sliding passages. After all, this is a true Alpine crossing.
You’ll start your adventure in Lindau on Lake Constance and finish it directly at the last corner of Germany—at the Königssee, at the foot of the legendary Watzmann. In between, you’ll cross the German-Austrian border over and over again—and you’ll cycle past innumerable Highlights that will turn this into an unforgettable trip. For example, right at the beginning of your ride you’ll visit Mount Pfänder, Lake Constance, and the Hochgrat, as well as the charming town of Füssen containing some of the world’s most revered castes, namely Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein. As you continue, you’ll visit the renowned singletrack playground of the Schützensteig, Lake Plansee, Lake Eibsee at the foot of the Zugspitze, the incredible Ahornboden valley, and many, many more. Mentioning them all is unfortunately outside of the scope of this introduction; the best thing to do is to visit them all yourself—and to properly experience this incredible Tour.
Your starting point and end point are both very easy to reach by train. This ensures that you can arrive and depart by public transport. As is the case with adventures like this, however, there is always the possibility of a planned or unplanned exit at a different stage of your Tour. Therefore, if the twelve stages seem like they might be too much for you, we recommend you divide the Maxweg into several sections.
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Last updated: February 9, 2023
Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.
In Lindau on Lake Constance your adventure starts on the trail of the royal route, or Maxweg, as the crossing of the Alps from west to east today is called.
For holiday makers, the place is particularly popular because of its Mediterranean climate and the cheerful-casual way of life. The region is not…
Well recovered, you start into the second stage of the Maxweg.
Today, a real chunk awaits you with the Hochgrat. The mountain of Oberstaufen is 1,834 meters high and thus the highest elevation of the Nagelfluhkette. A great view rewards for the sweaty driveway.
On the further route you cross the Nagelfluhkette…
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Today's third leg on the Maxweg is a bit shorter than the first two.
Nevertheless, a veritable increase over almost 400 meters of altitude waiting for you right at the beginning.
From the starting point Bad Hindelang you pedal on the old Jochstraße to Oberjoch. Fortunately, the road is closed to normal…
Truly royal is on the fourth leg of the royal route.
Soon after the start, you pass two world-famous figureheads from days gone by of the Bavarian monarchy: Hohenschwangau Castle and Neuschwanstein Castle.
Until then, you already have a few scenic highlights of this section behind you. Absolutely worth…
Today it gets alpine and the Zugspitze is your constant companion during the first part of the day. The highest mountain in Germany greets you in the morning at the start of the stage in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Then it says: From now on it's uphill! Passing the famous ski jumps, it's on an increasingly…
The sixth stage is the queen stage of the royal route. But do not be put off by the mileage, because a good part of the route is downhill.
Before you can open the brakes, however, you must first reach the Almsattel. From Scharnitz in the Isar valley your way leads you through the beautiful Karwendeltal…
After yesterday's mammoth stage, things get a bit more moderate today.
In the lovely and spacious Jachenau you start easily in the day.
On the first 20 kilometers to Lengries you can let it roll. With clever timing, maybe even a short visit to the bike park Lengries is in it.
But you should not stay too…
From Kreuth the road leads you to Bayrischzell today. Also on this stage many highlights await you again. Great trails, romantic valleys and quaint Refreshments - actually everything that makes a good bike tour.
Right at the beginning you can let off steam on a trail at Kreuth - and that several times…
Today you are already on the ninth stage of the Maxmilianweg.
Do you remember where you were three days ago? Or before five? After so many days on the go, most people are blurred in their timing. But it is not the right time to look back - because you live in the here and now and your gaze is directed…
Only three more stages, then you have reached the goal at Koenigssee. Thanks to the varied route, time flies by.
After two shorter stages today, you are cracking the 50-kilometer mark on the way from Aschau im Chiemgau to Ruhpolding. You will come through romantic valleys, see great mountain panoramas…
The penultimate leg of your crossing of the Alps from west to east starts with a great panoramic trail near Ruhpolding. So the bike day can start.
It will be spectacular at Staubfall. As befits a real mountain bike tour, there are some places to push and carry.
Trails, inns, gorges and mountain panoramas…
Final sprint! Eleven stages on the Maxweg are now behind you and today you reach your destination, much as King Maximilian II did on his journey through the Alps.
Many impressions and experiences are anchored in your memory and you will surely enjoy this fantastic tour through the Alps along the German…
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