EUROPE
Outdoor view of trees, small yellow castle and mountains

View from trail (Tamala Malerk)

Edelweiss Lodge and Resort is one of four DoD resorts around the world. Located at USAG-Garmisch in Bavaria, it is a little piece of an American vacation for those stationed in Germany or visiting the country from across the globe. My first experience with Edelweiss was over a year ago when I was fortunate to attend a “Strong Bonds” event on-site (read more about that here), but recently, I stayed at Edelweiss with my spouse and in-laws as a family vacation.

You can normally find me trying to explore every inch of Germany and Europe while we have the luxury of being stationed here, which is why I had initially shied away from using personal vacation time to visit the resort. Yet, after my five-day experience there, I wish I had gone sooner.

1. Get out and see the local area

Edelweiss is a great jumping-off point if you want to see Munich, Austria or the local towns and villages. We drove twenty minutes down the road to Ettal and saw the famous monastery and ate some local cheese.  

2. Or … stay onsite, relax and have fun

On-site you will find a buffet, coffee shop, sports bar (currently under renovation until Fall 2023), a casino room, a pool and hot tub, a souvenir and essentials shop, a fitness room, miniature golfing, lounge chairs and a large DVD library. I won $23 in the casino, got an amazing massage, ate way too much at the buffet the two times we went and drank my American-style iced caramel macchiato with almond milk on my balcony every morning.

3. It was nice speaking the “native” language

Even after being in Germany for over 18 months, I still speak and understand the language at the “beginner” level. That means when someone speaks the language to me, I have to listen extra hard, translate (if I can) in my head what they said, come up with a response, translate that response in my head (if I can) and then respond. It was nice to not have to constantly practice my German language while doing something as simple as eating dinner or communicating with an employee.

4. Go on guided tours and worry less

One of my favorite parts of Edelweiss is their guided tours, where my only worry is getting to the bus on time and bringing euros to spend. Navigating narrow town roads, finding parking in Germany, or catching the nearby public transportation can be an adventure in-and-of itself. Having that stress removed makes the experiences that much more enjoyable. Through their guided tours I was able to go on the Griesbrau Brewery Tour as well as visit the Dachau Concentration Camp and Neuschwanstein Castle.

Neuschawnstein Castle

Neuschawnstein Castle (Tamala Malerk)

5. Stay how you want

The resort has standard hotel rooms and suites as well as luxury suites, vacation cabins and a camping area with RV hook-ups and tent sites. They have dog-friendly versions of the options as well so Fido can get in on the fun.

Make sure to book any guided tours and spa experiences in advance (I recommend the same time you book your rooms). We had to hope for cancellations on some of our guided tours and I ended up with a short 9 o’clock at-night massage because experiences were booked well before my fellow visitors arrived.

While most of my vacation time in Europe will continue to be spent exploring the area with its varying languages and forms of currency, I will definitely carve out at least one more visit to this little slice of the American experience.

author picture
Tamala Malerk is a writer and editor with Stars and Stripes Europe. She has been with SSE since April 2022 writing articles all about travel, lifestyle, community news, military life and more. In May 2022, she earned her Ph.D. in History and promises it is much more relevant to this job than one might think.

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