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Often confused with one another, Austria and Germany have fiercely fought to assert their independence. These lines are once again blurred when it comes to the Austrian town of Jungholz, as it is only reachable by travelling through Germany. Bar one other European village, this enclave is one of a kind.
Giving directions to Jungholz may raise eyebrows as the instructions could involve having to go through an entirely different country. Resting beneath the mountain peak of Sorgschrofen and in the Allgäu Alps, Jungholz is a picturesque town graced with the natural beauty of the Tannheimer Valley and containing numerous historic gems.
The origins of this geographical oddity date all the way back to 1342, when a German landowner sold the area to an Austrian resident. Later in 1844, the two countries came to an official agreement that Jungholz would remain part of Austria, despite only being reachable through the German areas of Oberallgau and Bavaria and only touching its native country by a single spot. Aside from a miniature Dutch town that is only accessible by travelling through Belgium, Jungholz is unique.
Although technically in Austria, residents can set their postal codes to either country. This means that Jungholz has become a ‘customs free zone’, resulting in the town becoming an unlikely hotspot for German banks wanting to use the loophole to dodge their country’s higher taxes. While on the subject of finance, the ski resort town of the area is also rumoured to be ‘Europe’s wealthiest spot’.
Located 30 miles away, the town of Kleinwalsertal is similar in that it also partially resides in Germany. Popular with skiers in the winter and hikers in the summer, both towns are attractive holiday destinations. More information on the resorts in these towns can be found here and here, respectively.