Singapore’s top motoring execs recommend… Germany’s best drives
From the fabled Black Forest to the location where The Sound of Music was filmed, indulge your wanderlust on epic German road trip routes recommended by top executives of Audi, BMW/MINI, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.
If we can visit only one country quarantine-free, there certainly are far wurst travel options than Germany – the land of lager that bred Beethoven, originated Oktoberfest and gave us Goethe.
We asked Singapore-based German executives of Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche and BMW/MINI to share the best drives back home and their best-loved pit stops that make for an ultimate road trip, now that the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) with Germany has opened.
Cue The Sound of Music soundtrack when you visit the region the movie was filmed, discover the enchanted Black Forest in which many a Grimm fairytale is set, and sizzle your schnitzel on the way to the legendary Neuschwanstein Castle commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria to honour the country’s celebrated composer, Richard Wagner.
Stay safe on the roads and have a brezel for us!
CLAUDIUS STEINHOFF, PRESIDENT & CEO OF DAIMLER SOUTH EAST ASIA / MERCEDES-BENZ SINGAPORE
Recommended Region & Pit Stops: Schwarzwaldhochstrasse (Black Forest High Road) / Baden-Baden / Stuttgart
Much more than the home of the classical cuckoo clock and the backdrop for many a Grimm fairytale, the fabled Black Forest offers an unforgettable drive experience through an enchanted region known for its lush natural landscapes and breathtaking vistas.
“The Black Forest offers fantastic views of nature with its deep green forests,” said Claudius Steinhoff, president & CEO of Daimler Southeast Asia, the official distributor for Mercedes-Benz in Singapore.
“I still remember driving the Black Forest High Road in two of my favourite cars: The Mercedes-AMG A45 and the Mercedes-Benz CLS. They are two very distinct cars that allow you to enjoy the drive just the way you like it – as either a sporty ride or a comfortable cruise,” he shared.
Then, there are the winding bends that are certain to titillate any motorhead.
“The Black Forest High Road is 60 km of pure fun where it’s hard to decide what the best part is – the numerous bends or the spectacular nature around you,” he mused.
Or the culinary highlights, perhaps.
According to Steinhoff, The Black Forest is also home to some of the best restaurants in Germany and he suggests ending the journey with a nice dinner in Baden-Baden, a picturesque spa town near the French border known for its thermal baths.
And while you’re there, consider a stopover at Stuttgart, hometown of Mercedes-Benz located about an hour’s drive away, to visit the Mercedes-Benz Museum.
MARKUS SCHUSTER, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF AUDI SINGAPORE
Recommended Region & Pit Stops: Garmisch-Partenkirchen / Mittenwald / Zum Schweizerbartl / Dammkar / Karwendel / Zugspitze / Hollentalklamm / Lake Eibsee
For the exceptionally adventurous (and fit), Markus Schuster recommends an exciting mix of skiing and hiking trails to truly savour the area.
Top of his list is the Bavarian ski resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which was the site of the 1936 Olympic Winter Games.
From Munich International Airport, the drive will take you through Munich and the beautiful upper Bavarian landscapes en route to Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
“Those who like to drive at high speeds will enjoy doing so on the Autobahn (A95), where speed limits exceed those in Singapore. You’ll also get to enjoy the scenery, which gets more spectacular as you get closer to the mountains,” said the managing director of Audi Singapore.
From Garmisch-Partenkirchen, head eastward to Mittenwald, a charming town ensconced amid the Alpine peaks of Bavaria known for its colourful painted houses and violin-making history.
“Along the way, I recommend making a pit stop at the picturesque Zum Schweizerbartl inn for some traditional schnitzel or other great Bavarian treats,” said Schuster.
In winter, take the Karwendel cable car up to Dammkar, Germany’s longest ski route offering 7km of powdery bliss plus pure adrenaline rush as you descend the slopes.
And in summer, you can enjoy hiking in the Karwendel region.
To explore the mountainous region further, drive to Hammersbach, a small village below the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain peaking at 2,962m.
“I suggest leaving your car at the base to begin a spectacular hike to the highest point of Germany. As you continue the hike, you will navigate through the Hollentalklamm gorge, cross a glacier field and arrive at a challenging via ferrata (a rock climbing route secured with steel cables) for the final ascent to the peak,” he said.
Not for the faint of heart, clearly, but once you’ve made it to the summit, take the cable car to Lake Eibsee where you’ll be rewarded with the most magnificent views.
From there, a short train ride takes you back to your starting point.
And always, always take the scenic route on your drive back to Munich.
“You’ll pass by the various lakes between the Alps and the Bavarian capital,” said Schuster, and, trust the German native, it’ll be well worth it.
ARTHUR WILLMANN, CEO OF PORSCHE ASIA-PACIFIC
Recommended Region & Pit Stops: Munich / Tegernsee / Berchtesgaden / Schwarzwaldhochstrasse (Black Forest High Road) / Lake Titisee / Feldberg
For Porsche Asia-Pacific CEO Arthur Willmann, it’s the “fairytale landscapes” on the journey from Munich to the picturesque towns of Tegernsee and Berchtesgaden that make the scenic stretch such a great road trip all year long.
It’s on these charming roads that Willmann’s path crossed with renowned photographer Stefan Bogner, a Porsche enthusiast who founded Curves magazine dedicated to showcasing the most beautiful roads all over the world.
One of its latest editions features the South of Germany, which Willmann more than recommends.
“With our headquarters based in Stuttgart, we are blessed to have the beautiful Black Forest nearby. Amid the evergreen woodlands and idyllic villages, amazing curves and bends, endless serpentines and majestic country roads await,” he shared.
One of the best ways one can explore the region, says Willmann, is through the Porsche Travel Experience, a four-day road trip in a Porsche car starting from Stuttgart.
“The trip goes past the Porsche Development Centre in Weissach, over to the Rote Lache mountain pass with its spectacular views, onto the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse (Black Forest High Road) and finally through the fabulous Titisee lake region,” he said.
There, another highlight awaits: The Feldberg, the highest mountain in Germany outside the Alps standing at 1,493m.
“It’s a real treat for any driver and speaking of treats, this road trip will not only bring you into the region of the famous Black Forest cake, there are also countless top restaurants for a pit stop indulgence,” added Willmann.
CHRISTOPHER WEHNER, VICE PRESIDENT FOR PRODUCT AND LAUNCH MANAGEMENT OF MINI
Recommended Region & Pit-Stops: Deutsche Alpenstrasse (German Alpine Road) / Rossfeld Panorama / Zugspitze
The Deutsche Alpenstrasse, or German Alpine Road, is a timeless favourite of Christopher Wehner, vice president for product and launch management at BMW-owned MINI.
The former managing director of BMW Asia recently relocated back to Munich from Singapore and is, enviably, now much closer to these fairytale lands beloved by many a Munich native.
As Germany’s oldest touring road, the German Alpine Road offers spectacular panoramic views of the mountains and lakes, peppered with historic charm as there are over 20 castles, monasteries and palaces you can visit along the way, including the legendary royal palaces of Neuschwanstein Castle commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria to honour the country’s celebrated composer, Richard Wagner.
Next on Wehner’s list is the Rossfeld Panorama, a most majestic mountain setting where many movies were filmed, including one of the best-loved movie musicals of all-time, The Sound of Music, in 1965.
“I especially like the beautiful mountain panorama and curvy roads that lead you to a high plateau. It has amazing views and it’s a very special route that straddles two countries – extending about 1.5km into Austria from Germany,” he offered.
Rounding off Wehner’s top three favourite drives in Germany, Zugspitze gets another nod for its unrivalled vistas.
“It’s the highest mountain, and has beautiful scenery with views of the mountain and lakes.”