One of the most distinctive towns in the Pacific Northwest, Leavenworth has a scant 2,000 residents but manages to attract more than a million visitors per year.
The attraction? A fanciful Bavarian village , complete with authentic architecture, hand-carved benches, and flower-bedecked streets, all backdropped by peaks of the Cascades. Add in the female clerks in Bavarian dirndl dresses and waiters in lederhosen, and the town gets a bit hokey at times, but it is certainly unique in America.
Driving to Leavenworth in the winter over Stevens Pass  has been described as “driving through a Christmas card.” Rocky, snow-covered peaks surround the highway as you approach the 4,061-foot pass; closer to Leavenworth, the Wenatchee River rushes alongside the road through high, rocky walls. The trip from Seattle  is about 125 miles. From late fall to early spring, check out the Department of Transportation’s Mountain Pass Report (888/766-4636, www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/passes ) for up-to-date info. Have your chains ready! As an alternate route, take I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass  to Highway 97 north over Sauk Pass; these passes are generally drier and snow-free earlier than Stevens.
Inexpensive local Link (800/851-5465, www.linktransit.com ) buses connect Leavenworth with other parts of Chelan and Douglas Counties, including Lake Wenatchee, Cashmere , Wenatchee , and the popular tourist destinations of Lake Chelan  and the Mission Ridge Ski Area. Buses run Monday–Saturday and can carry bikes in the summer or skis in the winter.