Munich, the capital of Germany’s Bavaria region, offers great day trip opportunities that include visits to castles, hiking, and great skiing in the Alps. Our day trip selections focus on famous Bavarian castles, a handful of unique hikes, a good ski resort, a great brewery, several quintessential Bavarian towns, and more.
In order to plan day trips from Munich, you should become acquainted with the region’s transportation options. The best option, of course, is renting a car, as Germany’s roadways are excellent and you have better access to many more attractions. All of the day trips below can also be made by train. The local trains run frequently, are reliable, and take you through the Alps, forests, and incredible lake districts. The Bayern ticket is a good deal: it gives you unlimited travel for one day through Bavaria for 21-31 euros. It is only good for local trains, not the IC or EC trains, and some other restrictions apply. It is an especially great deal if traveling in a group of two to five people. The Einfach Raus ticket is Austria’s version of the Bayern ticket.
To plan day trips from Munch by train, visit bahn.de , which provides searches in English. To search for routes covered by the Bayern Ticket, check the “Local Transport” box, unchecking the “Prefer fast connections” box.
The following list of day trips from Munich are listed in order of proximity to Munich.
Dachau Concentration Camp
Located just a 30-minute train ride from Munich, Dachau was the first Nazi concentration camp ever built, and today it can be toured. Many of the camp’s original buildings remain intact, as well as the crematorium. Guided tours are offered daily. Take the S2 train from Munich to the Dachau train station; from there, take bus 726 towards Saubachsiedlung to get to the concentration camp.
Lake Starnberg is also a 30-minute train ride from Munich, and this beautiful lake is home to several small towns and relaxing lakeside promenades. Completely off the beaten path, this is a great day trip for absorbing Bavarian culture and chilling out. The town of Starnberg has a castle in the center, and it is worth hiking up to it for the views of the lake. Ferries run from Starnberg, and you can either spend an hour or three puttering around the lake. Ferries run to the town of Berg, which is home to the Castle Berg. King Ludwig II, who resided in the castle, was famously found dead in the lake one day.
Ammersee Lake and Kloster Andechs
50 minutes by train, this day trip combines a beautiful lake, relaxed hiking, and one of the best places for beer in Germany: Kloster Andechs . The train drops you off in the town of Herrsching, where you can stroll down to the Ammersee Lake. From Herrsching you can get to Kloster Andechs monastery by taking a bus or hiking 45 minutes along a well-marked path. At the monastery, you can take a tour, drink the excellent beer, and eat the famous Schweinehaxe (roasted ham hocks). A must for beer enthusiasts.
One of the closest ski resorts to Munich, this Bavarian Alps town is famous for hosting the 1936 Olympics. In the summer, hikers can trek down to the Partnachklamm gorge: a narrow, deep canyon with walkways carved into the cliff walls. You will get wet, but it will be worth it. Other hikes can be reached by taking a breathtaking cable car ride. Garmisch-Partenkirchen can be reached in one hour by express train, and the local train takes around an hour and a half.
The second-largest city in Bavaria after Munich, Nuremberg is a true gothic city with one of the most impressive centers in Germany. The Nuremberg castle looms above the cobblestone streets and sunny courtyards. Ornate churches and buildings are around every corner; the city’s once impenetrable city walls, now broken into sections, stand side-by-side with Renaissance buildings. Nuremberg has a wide selection of art and history museums, including the Reichsparteigelande, which documents the rise of Adolf Hitler. Nuremberg was the Nazi Party’s rally grounds. Express trains reach Nuremberg in just one hour.
The valley of the River Altmühl lies between Munich and Nuremberg. It is home to the Altmühltal Nature Park, where visitors can enjoy outdoor activities, such as hiking, cycling, and swimming. Rent bicycles and take the Altmühltal-Radweg cycle path along the river to see stunning rock formations and more. Several towns are located inside the park; from Munich, most towns take an hour and a half to reach by train.
Likely your guidebook features this castle on the cover, and it looks like something out of Disneyland for a reason: The Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland was based on it. And now that the tourism industry has fully taken over the area, you’ll feel like you’re visiting Disneyland, too. Expect huge crowds, long ticketing queues, and exceptionally well organized tours led by robotic tour guides. Neuschwanstein is two hours by train. A less touristy castle is featured next.
Around two hours by train, this castle is just as grand as Neuschwanstein, but it is much less known. Located on an island in the middle of Chiemsee Lake, the Herrenchiemsee Castle was designed to look like Versaille. The gardens and grounds are expansive, replete of bubbling fountains and sculptures. Inside you’ll find rooms elaborately decorated with gold leaf as well as the largest porcelain chandelier in the world. Tours are offered daily. To get to the castle, take a train to Prien, then a ferry to the island.
This Austrian city is two hours by train from Munich. It is famous for being the birthplace of Mozart and the filming location for The Sound of Music. Besides reenacting scenes from The Sound of Music, you can tour the stunning Old Town, which is overlooked by the imposing Hohensalzburg Castle. With all the gothic homes and churches, it’s definitely worth spending a whole day in the city, then unwinding with great beer at Augustiner Bräustübl.
Written by Mattie Bamman for EuropeUpClose.com