Munich has never been a secret to travelers, forever popular for its association with beer and Oktoberfest. Year round people visit this Bavarian city to experience its beer halls and see its grand history on display throughout the Altstadt. But after a couple of days sightseeing in Munich you may be running out of ideas of things to do, which is where these day trips come in handy.
The best places to visit from Munich will show you plenty of things you can’t find in the city, from fairytale castles and palaces, to mountain scenery. Regardless of what you’re interested in, the best day trips from Munich will show you destinations across Bavaria, Germany, and beyond.
How to Get Around
Although many of these day trips can be undertaken with public transport, consider renting a car for the day to give yourself more flexibility and independence. Your own four wheels allow you to be in control of your time and schedule, and depending on how many people are in your group, renting a car might even work out cheaper than other forms of transportation. You can compare car rental deals and find the cheapest prices at Rentalcars.com, an aggregation site that searches and displays prices and availability from hundreds of car rental companies so that you can be sure of getting the best possible car for your budget.
Don’t want to drive or deal with the hassle of public transport? No worries, we’ve listed the best tour for each day trip (where available).
1. Linderhof Palace
Easily one of the best Munich day trips, a visit to the Linderhof Palace is perfect for those seeking somewhere unbelievably beautiful. This stunning palace and the spectacular park that surrounds it were built for King Ludwig II of Bavaria in 1878 and rightly seem fit for a king. Inspired by French summer palaces and Versailles, Linderhof Palace is hidden away in the woods near the southern mountains of Bavaria. Highlights of this lavish castle include the ornate Dining Room, the aptly named Hall of Mirrors, and the two Tapestry Chambers which flank it. After seeing the palace rooms, there’s still the expansive formal gardens to explore, which are full of fountains, ponds, terraces, and the magical Venus Grotto.
Getting there: As you can’t reach the Linderhof Palace easily by public transport, the most straightforward option is to visit with a guided tour as they’ll handle transportation for you and show you Neuschwanstein Castle as well.
2. Neuschwanstein Castle
Not only one of the best places to visit in Germany, but also one of the most famous, Neuschwanstein Castle is on many people’s bucket lists. Perhaps best known as the inspiration for the castle in Disneyland, Neuschwanstein Castle is definitely one of the most glamorous castles in Germany, if not the world. Another castle built for King Ludwig II, he sadly died before he could see it finished. Touring the castle you’ll visit its third and fourth floors which includes incredible sights like the Throne Hall and the Salon. Upstairs, the Singers’ Hall is particularly stunning. To get the iconic view of the castle, head for the Marienbrücke, about 15 minutes walk from the castle, but know there are other viewpoints as well.
Getting there: To reach Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich, take the train for 2 hours to Füssen and then the number 73 or 78 bus to the castle. There is also a 2 hour 10 minute direct bus which departs once a day from Monday through Thursday and twice a day from Friday through Sunday. The simpler approach is to go with a guided tour.
For a trip up into the mountains, Berchtesgaden is a great Bavarian town to visit thanks to its alpine scenery and traditional houses. Start by walking through Marktplatz to see the Bavarian houses, before entering Schloßplatz outside the former Royal Castle. It’s also quite nice to walk up to the Kalvarienberg chapel for views across town. The star attraction of Berchtesgaden isn’t actually in the town though, it’s high up on a mountain peak. Kehlsteinhaus, better known to English speakers as the Eagle’s Nest, is famous for once being an exclusive Nazi party retreat. Now though, the Eagle’s Nest is a panoramic restaurant with fantastic alpine views. After your trip up, visit the Dokumentation Obersalzberg museum at the bottom of the mountain to learn more about the Nazis and this retreat.
Getting there: The easiest way to reach Berchtesgaden and the Eagle’s Nest from Munich is to visit with a guided tour. Otherwise, you’ll need to take a train to Salzburg and a connecting bus to Berchtesgaden, taking over 3 hours.
4. Dachau Memorial
One of the most common day tours from Munich is to the former concentration camp now known as Dachau Memorial. The concentration camp was the first of its kind when it was built in 1933 and was responsible for many of the horrors of the Nazi regime. On a visit to this memorial site, you’ll learn more about the camp and how this place meant to detain political prisoners ended up being the site of over 40,000 murders. At the memorial, you’ll see the barracks and cells where prisoners were held, as well as the gas chambers and crematoriums where they were killed and where all evidence was destroyed. Finally, you’ll see and hear about what life was like in the camps and how Dachau came to be liberated by the Allied Forces at the end of the war.
Getting there: Only a short trip from Munich, you can reach the Dachau Memorial by taking a train to Dachau and a local bus to the site entrance. With frequent connections, the trip will take roughly 25 minutes. For a more informed visit, it’s best to go with a half-day guided tour.
Bavaria is home to many remarkable cities other than Munich, with Nuremberg to the north chief among them. Begin a visit here by first making your way through one of the gates which pass through the walls that surround the historic Altstadt. Walking through the city center, make a stop to admire the Gothic St. Lorenz church before continuing down to the Pegnitz river. After exploring the picturesque riverfront, head up to Hauptmarkt, the city’s main square, where you can see the stunning gilded fountain called Schöner Brunnen. Overlooking Nuremberg is the Kaiserburg Castle with stunning views across the rooftops and the castle gardens. Beyond the city center, it’s worth making the trip out to the visit the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds to learn about Nuremberg’s connection to the Third Reich.
Getting there: In terms of easy train trips from Munich, few are as simple as the trip to Nuremberg, with regular trains taking about 1 hour 10 minutes. Another way to visit though is with an organized tour as they will show you around the city.
6. Salzburg, Austria
Since Munich sits so close to the Austrian border, visiting Salzburg is easier than you might think. One of the best side trips from Munich, Salzburg is an undeniably charming city with plenty of things to do to keep you busy. Start over in Neustadt, the newer side of the city, with the incredible Mirabell Gardens. These gorgeous gardens may look familiar to fans of “The Sound of Music” as they were used in the filming of the movie. Next, wander over to the birthplace of famed composer Mozart and the museum dedicated to his life. Crossing the pretty waterfront of the Salzach River, take in the classical atmosphere of Salzburg’s Altstadt before climbing up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress. This formidable castle not only has several museums and the elegant Princes’ Chambers, but also some exceptional views of the city below.
Getting there: Regular trains travel from Munich to Salzburg to make the 1 hour 40 minute trip. If you’d prefer to be shown around by a guide, then you’ll want to look at a guided tour instead.
Combining some beautiful landscape scenery and another magnificent palace built for King Ludwig II, a day trip to Herrenchiemsee is sure to go down well. Southeast of Munich, close to the Austrian border, lies the picturesque Chiemsee lake, which just on its own makes for a lovely place to visit. But you can also take a boat ride on the lake to one of its islands, Herreninsel, and once there find yourself standing in front of the lovely Herrenchiemsee palace. Touring the inside of the palace you can see exquisite rooms like the Hall of Mirrors as well as the well-tended-to gardens, and learn more about the eccentric behavior of King Ludwig. You can also see the island’s monastery which predates the palace and now hosts an art gallery.
Getting there: To reach Herrenchiemsee from Munich, you can take a 45 minute train trip out to Prien A Chiemsee where boats out to the island depart from. For more background on the palace and King Ludwig II, you may want to consider a guided tour.
It may not be one of the most famous places to visit in Germany, but you won’t regret choosing the small city of Regensburg for a day trip. Start your visit with a stroll along the scenic waterfront of the Danube River. Soon enough you’ll reach the iconic Stone Bridge which has connected the Old Town with Stadtamhof since the 12th-century. Stop to admire the Brückturm tower which sits on the near side of the bridge, before venturing into the medieval quarter of the city. It shouldn’t be far until you find the ancient Roman gate of Porta Pretoria or the immense figure of the Gothic Regensburg Cathedral. For more medieval landmarks, seek out the main square of Haidplatz and the Old Town Hall just nearby. Last but not least, find the Alte Kapelle for its extravagant rococo interior.
Getting there: Regensburg is 1 hour 30 minutes by train from Munich, with quite regular departures. To get the most of your time there, a guided tour will show you everything you need to see.
To get into the mountains, there’s no better place to visit from Munich than Zugspitze. As the highest mountain in Germany, it’s a natural candidate to go see and is superb for views of Germany’s alpine landscapes. Found in the Wetterstein mountain range by the Austrian border, your experience at Zugspitze is going to depend greatly on what time of year you visit. In winter you’ll have snowy white slopes and crisp visibility, while summer offers clear skies and fields of green. To reach the summit, you can choose between the cog rail or the cable car, but both will offer stunning views of the Alps and neighboring countries as well.
Getting there: The quickest and easiest way to reach Zugspitze from Munich is with an organized tour as they’ll handle your transport there and back. Otherwise, you’ll need to make a 3 hour train trip via Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
One last place to consider in Bavaria that not many people take the time to see is the city of Ingolstadt. Even if you haven’t heard of Ingolstadt, you may know of some of its claims to fame. For instance, the city is the current headquarters of German car company Audi, and you can actually visit the Audi Forum there, a museum full of classic cars. Ingolstadt is also quite a historic city with a quaint medieval old town and impressive city fortifications like the 14th-century Kreuztor gate. Also not to be missed in town is the Asam Church and its magnificent baroque ceiling. Literary fans might also find it fun to visit as Ingolstadt is the setting of the novel Frankenstein where the classic monster was created.
Getting there: To get from Munich to Ingolstadt, there are frequent trains that take about 50 minutes.
Once you feel like you’ve seen all Munich has to offer, consider taking a day trip or two. As you can see, there are plenty of things to see in Germany outside of Munich.