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Exploring Bavaria Beyond Munich – Unforgettable Day Trips

In the heart of Bavaria, Munich’s vibrant pulse echoes through its historic streets and modern neighborhoods alike. But beyond the city’s bustling centre lies a world of hidden treasures. From fairytale castles atop rugged hills to serene lakeshores and picturesque villages, prepare to be amazed by the surreal beauty and exceptional Bavaria experiences that await on these unforgettable day trips from Munich.

Now, let’s explore some of the most captivating destinations just a stone’s throw away from Munich’s doorstep.

Neuschwanstein Castle: A Fairytale Fortress 

images: Donnie Ray Crisp, Martin Katler

Perched majestically atop a rugged hill, framed by the majestic peaks of the Bavarian Alps, Neuschwanstein Castle stands as an iconic symbol of enchantment and architectural splendor. It’s not merely a castle; it’s a portal to a world of fairy tales and fantasy, capturing the imagination of millions who venture to witness its beauty.

From afar, Neuschwanstein is a vision straight out of a storybook, with its towers and turrets piercing the sky and its pristine white walls contrasting against the verdant forests below. It’s no wonder that Walt Disney himself drew inspiration from its ethereal charm for his iconic Sleeping Beauty castle.

Stepping inside, visitors are transported to King Ludwig II’s lavish era, marked by his visionary reign in the 19th century. The interiors, adorned with intricate frescoes, ornate furnishings, and opulent decor, evoke a sense of regal splendor that leaves visitors in awe.

But equally captivating are the castle’s breathtaking surroundings. Perched high above the Hohenschwangau Valley, Neuschwanstein offers panoramic views of the alpine landscape, including the shimmering waters of the Alpsee Lake. It’s an experience that ignites the imagination and leaves a lasting impression. And with the charming village of Füssen nearby, along with the lesser-known gem of Hohenschwangau Castle, a day spent exploring this magical corner of Bavaria promises to be nothing short of extraordinary.

How to get there: Take a direct train to Füssen (2 hours, 5 minutes), followed by a short bus ride to the castle’s ticket hub. Alternatively, you can opt for a scenic drive, which takes approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Nuremberg’s Old Town: A Journey Into The Past

images: Mateo Krossler, Grigorii Shcheglov

Nuremberg’s Old Town unfurls before you like a cherished storybook, each cobblestone street and weathered façade speaks tales of centuries past. Despite bearing the scars of World War II, Nuremberg remains steadfast, reclaiming its historic charm with an allure that captivates visitors throughout the year.

Step into the maze of cobblestone streets and be transported back in time. From the imposing silhouette of the millennium-old castle, where the Sinwell Tower offers panoramic views over the city, to the intricate corridors of the Nuremberg Palace of Justice, each corner reveals a new insight in the city’s rich story.

As you explore further, venture beyond the historic alleys and discover hidden gems like the Rock-Cut Cellars, where history comes to life with hourly presentations. And no visit to Nuremberg is complete without indulging in the local culinary scene, where Franconian delicacies like the famed Nürnberger Bratwürste are a must-try.

Whether you’re drawn to the city’s storied past, its vibrant present, or simply the allure of its picturesque streets, Nuremberg beckons with a timeless charm that promises to leave a lasting impression.

How to get there: Take a direct train from Munich for a comfortable 90-minute journey to Nuremberg.

Berchtesgaden and the Salt Mine: Hidden Depths of Wonder

Delve into the hidden depths of Berchtesgaden’s salt mines, where a world of wonder lies hidden beneath the surface. Adorned in a traditional miner’s garb, immerse yourself in the mystique of these ancient caverns and tunnels on a guided tour. Marvel at the glistening walls adorned with mesmerizing beauty of the centuries-old salt deposits. Learn about the vital role salt has played in shaping the region’s culture and economy, from ancient times to the present day. With each step, immerse yourself in the natural splendor and historical intrigue that define this unique underground experience, leaving you spellbound by the sheer beauty and wonder of Berchtesgaden’s salt mines.

How to get there: You can take a roughly 3-hour train ride, which offers scenic views along the way. Alternatively, you could take a 2-hour bus trip via Salzburg, allowing you to explore two destinations in one journey.

Dachau: A Somber Reflection on History 

image: Saara Sanamo

Dachau stands as a solemn testament to one of humanity’s darkest chapters, a haunting reminder of the atrocities that unfolded within its confines. Once a serene town steeped in centuries of history, Dachau’s tranquil facade was shattered by the rise of Hitler and the Nazis, who cast a shadow over its landscape by establishing Germany’s first concentration camp.

Today, Dachau serves as a solemn memorial to the approximately 200,000 souls who suffered and perished within its walls. The camp’s raw portrayal of the horrors endured by its prisoners, from untimely deaths to chilling medical experiments, is a harrowing yet essential experience—one that emphasizes the need for remembrance and education to prevent such atrocities in the future.

Despite its somber nature, Dachau’s significance is undeniable. Guided tours, led by knowledgeable experts authorized by the Dachau Memorial, offer invaluable insights into the camp’s history and the harrowing tales of those who suffered within its walls. As visitors navigate the camp’s grounds, they are confronted with a powerful reminder of the resilience of the human spirit in the face of unspeakable darkness.

How to get there: The S2 line of the Munich S-Bahn takes you directly to Dachau station in approximately 20 minutes. 

Garmisch-Partenkirchen: Gateway to Alpine Majesty

image: Andreas Kretschmer

Nestled beneath Zugspitze, Germany’s tallest peak soaring to 2,962 meters, Garmisch-Partenkirchen offers historical richness, athletic vigor, and natural grandeur. Beyond being a mere gateway to Zugspitze, it embodies a vibrant fusion of past and present, inviting travelers to explore its captivating depths.

This vibrant destination seamlessly blends history, athletics, and natural splendor, stemming from its merger for the 1936 Winter Olympics. Winter transforms the landscape into a snowy wonderland, while warmer months invite hikers to explore verdant trails.

For adventurous souls, a hike to the Wank promises breathtaking views and a profound Alpine connection. And at the summit, indulge in the flavors of Bavaria at the Wankhouse, where classic dishes like Kaiserschmarrn are paired perfectly with refreshing local brews. 

How to get there: Hop on an 80-minute train ride from Munich, and you’ll find yourself in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Andechs Monastery: A Haven of Bavarian Hospitality

Discover the epitome of Bavarian hospitality amidst the serene surroundings of Andechs Monastery. The monastery’s beer garden offers a picturesque setting to savor authentic Bavarian dishes crafted with care and passion. Indulge in locally brewed beer, handcrafted by the monastery’s own brewery, and delight your taste buds with savory delicacies sourced from the onsite butcher’s shop.

But it doesn’t end there. Be sure to save room for a sweet finale: Kaiserschmarrn, a beloved Bavarian dessert that perfectly encapsulates the region’s rich culinary heritage. As you dine amidst the monastery’s lush tranquil surroundings, you’ll find yourself enchanted by the timeless charm and hospitality that Andechs Monastery has to offer.

How to get there: Take the S-Bahn S8 line to Herrsching railway station (50 minutes), then an 8-minute local bus ride to the Monastery. By car, it’s a 40-minute drive covering 43.5 km. Cycling takes 2-2.5 hours.

Salzburg, Austria: Beauty Across the Border

images: Daniel Schwarz, Elias Maurer

image: Patrick Langwallner

Nestled just across the border, Salzburg beckons with its enchanting blend of baroque architecture, musical heritage, and breathtaking landscapes. As the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the city resonates with the melodies of its famed son, inviting visitors to explore his childhood home and the prestigious Mozarteum. Yet, Salzburg offers more than just musical allure; its historical sites, including the imposing Hohensalzburg Fortress, offer panoramic views of the city and the majestic Alps.

Wander through the charming streets of the Altstadt, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and lose yourself in its picturesque squares and baroque facades. Indulge in local delicacies like Mozartkugel chocolates and Salzburger Nockerl, a sweet soufflé dessert, as you immerse yourself in Salzburg’s culinary delights.

Whether you’re captivated by its musical heritage or enchanted by its historical charm, Salzburg promises a cultural feast for the senses—a city where the echoes of the past harmonize with the beauty of the present.

How to get there: Reach Salzburg with ease by a 1.5-hour drive or a scenic 1-2 hour train journey. 

Bamberg: A Medieval Gem Along the River Regnitz

images: Sebastian Puskeiler, Markus Spiske

Imagine a destination where the river Regnitz winds through medieval splendors, picture-perfect canals and bridges weave through the town, evoking the romantic charm of Venice against a backdrop of timeless architecture. Bamberg is a medieval masterpiece, earning its UNESCO-listed status with grace. Its old town is a medieval gem, where well-preserved buildings and the iconic Bamberg Cathedral transport visitors to Germany’s storied past. 

What sets Bamberg apart is its remarkable resilience; untouched by the devastations of World War II, it stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of the past. The town pulses with life, infused with the vibrant energy of its student population, creating a dynamic atmosphere that seamlessly blends history with contemporary vitality. 

Begin your journey west of the Obere Brücke bridge, strolling along Karolinenstrasse and Dominikanerstrasse. Be sure to visit the Alte Rathaus (Old Town Hall), elegantly positioned in the river and adorned with intricate murals. Beer enthusiasts will delight in Bamberg’s reputation as a beer haven, boasting 9 breweries, 50 local beers, and countless taverns to discover. Immerse yourself in Bamberg’s essence, one pint at a time.

How to get there: Reach Bamberg in 2 hours via direct trains or 2.5 hours with an interchange. Nuremberg is just an hour away, offering another enticing destination for your itinerary.


What are some must-see UNESCO World Heritage sites near Munich? 

Bamberg, with its medieval cityscape, and Regensburg, known for its well-preserved old town, are both UNESCO World Heritage sites worth visiting.

Can I visit the Austrian city of Salzburg on a day trip from Munich?

Yes. The Bayern Pass covers this cross-border route for a convenient journey to the captivating city.

What are the best natural landscapes to explore on a day trip from Munich? 

The Bavarian Alps, especially the Garmisch-Partenkirchen region and Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak, offer stunning natural scenery.

Are there guided tours available for day trips from Munich? 

Yes, there are various guided tours that offer convenient transportation and skip-the-line access to popular attractions.

What are the opening hours for Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site? 

The memorial site is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission is free, and pre-registration is not required. The guided tours for individual visitors (over 13 years old) last about 2.5 hrs. Tickets cost €4.00 per person.