Experience Georgia’s Little Bavaria in Alpine Helen

North GA Blogs - Experience Little Bavaria In Helen Georgia - Banner

Tucked into the Blue Ridge Mountains alongside the Chattahoochee River is a beautiful Bavarian village called Helen. This charming town features German fare, cobblestone streets, and Euro-style architecture against a mountain backdrop in Northeast Georgia — like an Appalachian Bavaria! 

From wine tasting, antique shopping, and Bavarian dining to carriage rides, cozy cabins, and Oktoberfest, this Alpine town is unsurprisingly a popular place to visit. With so many things to do, fun seasonal events, outdoor activities for all ages, and cozy cabin rentals nearby — Helen is a cool place in North Georgia to plan your next getaway with family or friends. 

Historical Helen

Before becoming a bustling Bavarian Alpine village in White County, Helen, Georgia, was once home to the Cherokee people (you can still visit Native American historic sites to honor their roots today). Eventually, the area became a logging town in 1912. Unfortunately, business wasn’t booming…so in 1968, the townsfolk transformed the city into the German-inspired Alpine Helen we know and love today! 

With the help of local artist, John Kollack, who had previously spent time in the Bavarian Alps, this declining mountain town turned into Georgia’s Little Bavaria. From chalet storefronts to cobblestone streets to German traditions, Kollack helped bring the Alps of Bavaria to the Appalachian Mountains just north of Atlanta!

Hear John Kollack talk about the early days of Alpine Helen, GA.

Things to Do in Helen

Along with enjoying the Bavarian village vibes, there are plenty of fun things to do in Helen, GA. Whether you stick to Main Street in downtown Helen or branch out to explore the area, there’s something for everyone on your romantic weekend, family vacation, getaway with friends, or group retreat. 

Classic Helen Activities

  • Shop for souvenirs, apparel, Christmas gifts, Appalachian artworks, and handmade candies at local boutiques and emporiums. 
  • Go wine tasting at Habersham Winery & Vineyards, one of the state’s oldest and largest wineries. 
  • Take a scenic carriage ride on a tour around downtown Helen — especially enchanting at night!
  • Play mini-golf, beat arcade games, ride the Georgia Mountain Coaster, and challenge escape games together. 
  • Eat pretzels, schnitzel, bratwurst, fried cheeses, old-world breads, pastries, and other German cuisines.
  • Toast to life with a pint of German beer at a local tavern or pub right on the Chattahoochee River!
  • Pan for gold nuggets and gems at a variety of gold mining attractions — a nod to the Dahlonega Gold Rush.

Local Outdoor Adventures

Helen is known for offering many outdoor activities in the North Georgia Mountains — from hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding to ziplining, fishing, and exploring the Chattahoochee National Forest. Some of our favorite thing to do outside in the Helen area include the following. 

Ride Horses at Chattahoochee Stables
Saddle up and ride through the Sautee Valley in the Appalachian foothills, featuring stunning views of the mountains, trees, and river.

Splash at Helen Tubing & Waterpark
Go tubing on the Chattahoochee River, zip down Helen’s largest waterslide, play in water features, and float around the lazy river at Helen Tubing & Waterpark!

Climb the Yonah Mountain Trail
Enjoy breathtaking mountain views from the summit of Yonah Mountain on this 4.4-mile roundrip hiking trail between Cleveland and Helen, GA. 

Explore Unicoi State Park
Try your hand at archery, paddleboard or kayak on Unicoi Lake, catch rainbow trout, mountain bike near Smith Creek, and go aon a GPS scavenger hunt.

Experience Nacoochee Adventures
Soar on the ziplines, make your way through the aerial challenge course, and sway on the giant swing 50 feet in the air at Nacoochee Adventures!

Awe at Anna Ruby Falls 
Start at the Anna Ruby Falls Visitor Center and journey about half a mile to view gorgeous side-by-side waterfalls in the national forest.

Visit the Sautee Nacoochee Indian Mound
Pay your respects to this ancient burial ground at Hardman Farm that was later used by the Cherokee for ceremonial rites.

Meet Animals at the Cleveland Zoo
Drive through the North Georgia Wildlife Park safari style, opt for an animal encounter, and take a behind-the-scenes tour of the zoo in neighboring Cleveland.

2022-2023 Events in Helen

Seasonal events in Helen, GA, are always a huge hit! At no surprise, their most famous family-friendly event is Oktoberfest at the Helen Festhalle, which features a biergarten, live music, Bavarian dances, tons of German food, and a kick-off parade. 

  • Helen’s Annual Christmas Parade | Dec 10 
  • Dropping of the Edelweiss for New Year’s | Dec 31
  • Hot Air Balloon Race & Festival | Early June
  • Helen’s Alpine Village Arts & Crafts Show | Sep 22
  • Oktoberfest | Mid-Sep – Oct 30

Mountain Cabin Rentals

Book your cozy cabin in the North Georgia Mountains near Helen, GA, in Big Canoe, Ellijay, or Blue Ridge. Featuring majestic mountain views, entertaining extras, and homey conveniences, Georgia Cabins for YOU offers cabin rentals to suit any Appalachian getaway. 

Whether you want a romantic retreat with a hot tub, a family vacation home with a game room and theater, or a group lodge with resort perks — like swimming pools, tennis courts, a golf course, exclusive restaurants, and parks — our North Georgia cabin rentals deliver.

Visit the beautiful Bavarian Alpine village in Helen, GA, and stay at a log cabin with jaw-dropping mountain views.