As we had enjoyed it so much at Center Parcs in the Netherlands the previous year, this year we also have decided to visit another resort of Center Parcs in Germany. We came across publications of a new Center Parcs Resort that was opened in October 2018 in a stunning location, so we decided in January 2019 to place an order for August 2019 on the Center Parcs website. It must be noted that village prices at this time of year are quite expensive, as are the flights. Those who do not want to stay in the village, there are many places to stay and farms in the area. Breathless nature sights are very common here and there are plenty of places to see. It is also possible to cross the border into Austria and hike in the area. This is our first trip after the my daughter has been diagnosed with Celiac and I had little concerns about how we will manage in terms of food and most of the time we ate in our cottage.
Flights – There are direct flights from Tel Aviv to Memmingen by Ryanair, Memmingen is a half-hour drive from the village itself. Flying in August was also expensive – about 600$. The airport is small but the take-off and landing times were quite accurate.
Accommodation – We were staying in the village throughout the whole period. We booked a VIP cabin that includes a private sauna and hot tub, fully equipped kitchen, 3 showers (!!!), two bedrooms and a balcony with barbecue and two tanning beds. For those who are interested, the cabin number is 606 and is really close to the center of the village, where are the restaurants, the water park, the indoor playground and more. These cabins get fresh buns every morning, it arrives every morning at exactly 7:00 and even gluten-free rolls separately upon our special request. In addition to 6 standard buns, 4 gluten-free buns were also delivered.
The village is truly amazing and fits perfectly for families with kids. You can spend the whole day there and not get bored. In my opinion, the highlight is the indoor water park, which is said to be the largest among the water parks in the Center Parcs chain. There is a large wave pool, a shallow pool with lots of different slides and, a huge shallow toddler pool with a sand island in the middle, a couple of smaller indoor pools with and without slides, and various slides for older kids but younger kids are allowed to be accompanied by a parent. There are neat wardrobes and lockers. We spent a good few hours at a water park almost every day.
Village attractions – Water Park, playground and petting zoo are for free, but there are plenty of other attractions, such as mini-golf, climbing wall, lake boating, tattoos and makeup activities for kids, spectacular spa (I have only seen it from the outside, unfortunately), etc. You can also rent bikes for transportation in the village.
Restaurants in the village – We did not really try the restaurants in the village except for the buffet restaurant because there were no gluten-free dishes. At the buffet, on the other hand, I approached every day to the chef to be guided which dishes are gluten-free. The English level in this area of Germany is very weak and the communication was a bit challenging. Nevertheless, there is an awareness of the gluten-free issue. We purchased a package of 7 dinners during our stay, with a written promise that the gluten-free thing in the buffet was taken into consideration. On one occasion, the chef even prepared a gluten-free dish and even went to check the ingredients of the ice cream in the buffet to make sure it didn’t contain gluten. Most of the time I cooked in the fully equipped kitchen in the cabin! I just brought my favorite spices from home.
Okay, so after reviewing the resort, I will go over our 12-day trip plan:
Day 1– After landing in Memmingen and getting the car in Hertz’s airport position, we drove to Super REWE for groceries, a huge supermarket. We found some gluten-free pasta, bread and cookies. This supermarket had less variety of gluten-free products than LIDL stores, but I guess it depends on the selection in each store and area.
Day 2– Eistobel Falls. 20 minutes’ drive from the village, unfortunately, after half an hour, we turned back. The route was challenging for our kids, it was downhill and steep. A beautiful place to be with older kids. We spent the rest of the day in the village water park.
Day 3– We spent the morning at the water park and afternoon we went out to the Alpsee Bergwelt, mountain coaster, which is placed at the foot of the beautiful Grober Alpsee Lake. At the entrance, we were told that the wait for the slides is two hours and we thought that we will go up and see what will happen. Wow, what a waiting line! My husband got off in the cable car with the little one after waiting for over an hour (!), my daughter and I stayed to wait. Yes, it was nice and thrilling but not sure worth the wait. On the way back, stopped in Oberstaufen town to eat in a family restaurant called Pizzeria Bassano. It was really tasty and the chef prepared a gluten-free pasta for our daughter.
Day 4-We were very tired and lazy and just enjoyed the village water park.
Day 5-We drove to the charming Skywalk attraction, treetop trails above the forest. You walk among the treetops when there are sections of walking between hanging ropes, suitable for small children of course. There is also a playground beneath and a restaurant. Then, we drove to the picturesque town of Scheidegg and stopped there for a gluten-free ice cream break.
Day 6– we have decided to explore Legoland, about an hour’s drive from the resort. Looking back I wouldn’t have gone there. It was on the weekend and was unbearably crowded, each attraction to the park had a 40 minutes wait. Overall the kids had fun but we have left pretty quickly. We may have had to buy express tickets offered by the park, the extra cost is about 20 euros per ticket. By the way, the park has many restaurants and the website has information on all the allergens in restaurants and dishes that can be ordered gluten-free. We ate at the Asia Kitchen House restaurant, where rice/noodle dishes can be found, really a nice place to eat.
Day 7– Sunday. We decided to just walk around Grober Alpsee Lake and soak in the tranquil atmosphere of the place. If you want a lake cruise – not on Sundays because it is closed. We had a bad day for it because there were many roadblocks as a result of triathlon in the area. It took us over an hour to arrive, although the lake is a 40-minute drive from the village. We stopped at the parking lot at the point Seestraße 10, 87509 Immenstadt im Allgäu, Germany, and we just got off. To our surprise, we discovered that this was the endpoint of the triathlon race and we passed among many sweaty athletes who finished the race. There is a promenade on the lake and many points to drop and swim in the lake. Simply stroll around, stop an ice cream or a kids playground and enjoy the beautiful nature.
Day 8– Shopping! We drove to the city of Kempten to Forum Allgau Mall. Half an hour’s drive from the village. Lovely mall with reasonable prices. Also, we sat in an Italian restaurant Bella Italia with a selection of dishes, and of course served gluten-free pasta houses.
Day 9– We got tired of the busy days and stayed in the village, doing the same round of water park-playgrounds-resting-eating.
Day 10– We took an hour’s drive from the village to Breitachklamm canyon. A spectacular sight of nature in all its glory and intensity. The route is on hanging bridges inside the canyon, from both sides. If you’re with kids, hold them tight during the walk and bring a raincoat and an umbrella with you, water is dripping from the rocks.
Day 11– We have noticed that there are numerous thermal baths in the area and it is a part of German leisure time. So we went to the Waldsee Therme baths, half an hour’s drive from the village. Bringing kids to such a place is totally fine. The rate here is for two hours, and if you want to stay longer it is at extra charge. There is an indoor area with pools at different temperatures. On the outside, there is a cold half Olympic pool and a warm pool combining jacuzzies inside. The town where the baths are located is charming and picturesque and can be explored after/ before entering the baths.
Day 12 – Back home. We got up at 3 am and drove to the airport. The flight was at 6 am. The airport is lacking breakfast options so bring it up with you.