From breathtaking vistas and romantic villages to palaces and castles to beer and hearty Bavarian food, there are no shortage of places to explore and things to do in Bavaria.
Germany has a highly reputable transportation system and it’s fairly easy to hire a car. This makes it easy to use Munich as a base for exploring everything this region has to offer. Here are nine of the best day trips from Munich.
Less than two hours from Munich, Neuschwanstein Castle is perhaps the most iconic castle in all of Europe, if not the entire world. With its spires, towers, battlements, and turrets, it’s a true example of the idea of a fairytale castle. So much so that Walt Disney used Neuschwanstein Castle as inspiration for his Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland.
Built by King Ludwig II, the lavish castle features indulgent decorations, a luxurious Throne Room, and stunning mountain views from the towers. If you have time, you can visit the nearby Schloss Hohenschwangau as well.
The only way to see the inside of Neuschwanstein Castle is with a guided tour. You can purchase a ticket to tour the castle at the Ticket Center in Hohenschwangau. During the summer, it’s best to book your ticket online in advance.
Nestled within alpine woods not too far from Neuschwanstein Castle, Linderhof Palace was another favorite spot of Ludwig II, built as a hunting lodge for the king. The palace is the only one of the three built by Ludwig that was actually completed during his lifetime. Linderhof Palace features beautiful gardens, immaculately carved fountains, and luxury in abundance. Be sure to explore the Venus Grotto, Tapestry Chambers, and the Hall of Mirrors.
Along with numerous places in Bavaria, Munich can also be used as a base for exploring other countries. Just a short drive or train ride away is the picturesque Austrian city of Salzburg with its romantic neighborhoods and castles surrounded by the Alps.
Known best as the birthplace of Mozart, Salzburg boasts an iconic historic center of Baroque buildings. A hike or funicular ride to the top of Hohensalzburg Fortress offers impressive views, while fans of The Sound of Music can relive scenes from the movie at the Mirabell Palace.
Rothenburg ob de Tauber
One of the most amazingly well-preserved towns in Europe, Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of the world’s most picturesque towns and one of the most popular day trips from Munich. Streets are lined with fairytale-timbered, pastel-colored storefronts and buildings, along with fine churches in abundance. The walled town is also a popular stop along Germany’s famed Romantic Road.
Bavaria’s second largest city, Nuremberg is rich with history and Medieval architecture. With its Altstadt full of old churches and the ancient Kaiserburg Castle, the history of the city goes a long way back, including being considered the Holy Roman Empire’s unofficial capital. Nuremberg is also well known as the site of the Nazi rallies and the trials during which Nazis were held accountable for their actions after World War II. On a lighter note, Nuremberg is famous for its festive and impressive Christmas Market as well.
Located in southern Bavaria, Herrenchiemsee lies on an island in the expansive Chiemsee Lake. This sprawling palace complex is set with a backdrop of scenic mountains and lakes, while the interior is overflowing with opulence, including a Hall of Mirrors similar to that of the Palace of Versailles. The gardens feature several exceptional sculptures and fountains and there are two museums to explore as well.
Berchtesgaden and Eagle’s Nest
Surrounded by the striking natural beauty of Berchtesgaden National Park, the town of Berchtesgaden is a popular destination for travelers looking for that perfect 360-degree view of the Alps. Another reason to visit is to see the Eagle’s Nest, the infamous hideaway built for Hitler. The site, however, is now a museum and restaurant. Berchtesgaden is perhaps visited with a professional guide to get the ideal mix of history and Alpine scenery, as well as easy transportation.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Regensburg is located less than two hours from Munich along the Danube River. Its riverside location offers plenty of picturesque beauty, particularly the Medieval part of the city. Roman ruins can be found here as well. Dating back to 179 AD, Regensburg sustained little damage during World War II and provides visitors with a unique chance to study the city’s unbroken past.
Just outside of Munich is Dachau, a city dating back to the ninth century. The city is best known, however, as being the site of the Dachau Concentration Camp. What was originally meant to hold political prisoners, the camp was the first of the concentration camps set up by the Nazi regime. Today, the Dachau Concentration Camp is a museum and memorial center.