Munich counts among the 10 most livable cities in the world. Bavaria’s capital certainly is amazing, but it’s the sheer endless amount of day trip options that make it such a great place to visit. The mountains are just an hour away, there are three large lakes just as close, there are amazing UNESCO World Heritage sites, ancient castles, and medieval towns all around.
Even if you spent every weekend of the year exploring Munich’s vicinity, you’d still not see it all. Our guest writer, Norman from Années de Pèlerinage, has compiled this list of the best day trips from Munich and you can visit most of them by train in 2 hours or less.
There are so many things to do in Munich, but you do not want to miss seeing something of the surrounding region of Bavaria. You could easily stay a full week or more and explore the whole southern part of Germany from beautiful Munich!
1. Neuschwanstein Castle
Schloss Neuschwanstein is the most visited tourist attraction in Bavaria. The place that inspired Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle and featured in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, looks like something from a picture-book. Yes, it might be crowded (1.4 million tourists per year!), but it is also beautiful beyond imagination.
I grew up very close to the fairy tale castle built by King Ludwig II but no matter how often I visit, I am still in awe. There are three things you need to know, though. First, you have to reserve your Neuschwanstein castle tickets in advance. And secondly, you have to walk quite a bit to get to King Ludwig’s castle (or take a horse carriage). And lastly, there is a second castle called Hohenschwangau right next to it, so bring some extra time to see them both.
If you prefer to have all arrangements taken care of, check out this tour from Munich: Neuschwanstein castle small group day tour from Munich
More info: Schloss Neuschwanstein website | Driving time from Munich around 2 hours then park in the village of Hohenschwangau |Train from Munich Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) to Füssen around 2 hours 45 mins, then the bus to Neuschwanstein
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Bamberg in Germany is one big UNESCO World Heritage site. If you are looking for a beautiful medieval old town, then this is possibly the best day trip from Munich for you. There are direct trains every hour from the central station and it’s easy to spend a whole day there.
Apart from the famous half-timbered town hall, there is a fantastic palace, quite a couple of small museums, and of course outstanding churches and monasteries to be explored. Bamberg is also well-renowned for its many artisanal beer breweries, so that’s definitely one of your best chances to sample an important aspect of our Bavarian culture.
While you’re in Bamberg, we recommend this Bamberg 2-hour guided walking tour to see the old town and main sights of Bamberg.
More info: Bamberg tourism website | Driving time from Munich around 2 hrs 20 mins |Train from Munich Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) to Bamberg around 1 hr 45 mins. There is a high speed ICE train link Berlin – Nuremberg – Munich that stops at Bamberg.
Regensburg once guarded an important bridge across the River Maine. Even today, you can cross the architectonic marvel from the 12th century into the fantastic medieval old town. Regensburg dates to the Roman times and you can still see the old city gates. Just one of many reasons why it is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site today.
You should reserve 3 hours to see the equally famous Walhalla memorial on the outskirts of Regensburg. The neoclassical temple was built to house sculptures of famous German artists, inventors, and politicians. You get to enjoy a fantastic view of the whole river valley from the top, so don’t miss it!
While you’re in Regensburg, why not book this Regensburg sightseeing train tour, to discover the city highlights with an informative audio-guide?
More info: Regensburg tourism website | Driving time from Munich around 1 hr 30 mins |Train from Munich Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) to Regensburg around 1 hr 30 mins.
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4. Salzburg in Austria
The beautiful town of Salzburg might be across the Austrian border, but if you are a fan of the movie The Sound of Music then visiting this city is a no-brainer. It only takes 90 minutes by train. There are special tours to the most important film locations – check out the Original Sound of Music tour. But you should also be aware that Salzburg is home to one of the biggest medieval fortresses in Europe.
The famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, and you can still visit his birth house. You’ll find it in the amazing old town (which is another UNESCO World Heritage site). On top of all the baroque splendour, there are many ancient mines and caves in the vicinity. So, why not visit the World of the Ice Giants as well?
Check out this tour with train travel from Munich and a guided walking tour in Salzburg: Salzburg sightseeing day trip from Munich by rail
More info: Salzburg tourism website | Driving time from Munich around 2 hours |Train from Munich Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) to Salzburg around 2 hours.
Nuremberg is the capital of the Franconia region in Germany. The city hosted the important Nuremberg trials at the end of World War II and is famous for its beautiful Nuremberg Christmas market right in the medieval old town.
There is a beautiful fortress you can visit, but I personally love the Germanic National Museum the most. Inside, you will find beautiful artworks from all ages, and some outstanding highlights like the oldest pocket watch or the oldest globe in the world. There are also endless masterpieces by artists like Lucas Cranach and Albrecht Dürer.
If you prefer to visit as part of a tour, we recommend: Nuremberg day trip from Munich by train including train ticket and guided tour of the city.
More info: Nuremberg tourism website | Driving time from Munich around 2 hours |Train from Munich Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) to Nuremberg around 1 hour.
Before 1805, Bavaria was split into many smaller duchies. Some of them were ruled by powerful prince-bishops, and Würzburg was maybe the grandest of them all. As a testament to his sheer absolute power, Prince-Bishop Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn built a magnificent Residence palace in the first half of the 18th century. The most elaborated stucco works and frescoes adorn every inch of the Baroque masterpiece.
The Würzburg Residence was heavily bombed in the last months of World War II, just like the rest of the old town. But the local craftsmen rebuilt the palace (luckily all the interiors survived) and it is now a UNESCO World Heritage site you cannot miss.
While you’re in Würzburg, we recommend booking this Würzburg sightseeing train tour, to discover the highlights of the old city with an informative audio-guide.
More info:Würzburg tourism website | Driving time from Munich around 3 hours |Train from Munich Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) to Würzburg around 2 hours.
The quaint little town of Bayreuth would not appear on any tourist map save for the outstanding projects Margravine Wilhelmine started during her reign (or rather that of her husband). Missing the splendor of the Prussian court, she commissioned a new palace, a hunting palace (the fabled Hermitage) and a new Bayreuth opera house.
This Margravial Opera House is the single most intact Baroque court theater in the world and words cannot describe the beauty of it. There is so much detail, you’d probably need days to experience it all. This is another UNESCO World Heritage site you can easily visit on a day trip from Munich.
More info: Bayreuth tourism website | Driving time from Munich around 2.5 hours |Train from Munich Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) to Bayreuth around 2.5 hours.
And talking about the UNESCO, there is one last site you should be aware of which is only 40 minutes away from Munich: Augsburg. The city has a history of 2,000 years and more. For centuries upon centuries, the famous silversmiths supplied the European aristocracy with priceless artworks.
Augsburg is also famous for its waterworks. Ever since the 14th century, the citizens of the free city used the power of the River Lech to supply the old town with the tap water, an unrivaled luxury in the late medieval ages. The system is still in use today and it is quite a marvel to look at!
More info: Augsburg tourism website | Driving time from Munich around 1 hour |Train from Munich Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) to Augsburg around 30 mins.
Did you know that the highest church tower in the world is located in Germany? Ulm is only 90 minutes away from Munich and here you can marvel at neo gothic the Ulmer Münster church which is 162 meters high! And the best part: You can climb that mighty tower and enjoy a magnificent view of the whole old town and beyond. There is, however, no elevator. So, you do have to climb those 738 steps all by yourself. But it’s worth it, I promise.
More info: Ulm tourism website | Driving time from Munich around 2 hours |Train from Munich Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) to Ulm around 1 hr 30 mins.
Altötting is quite the insider tip. The town is the most important pilgrimage site in Bavaria and three popes have visited it. Over the three days of Pentecost 30,000 people converge on the town for a candle-lit procession around the town square. I’m not sure, why more international tourists don’t come here, but the place is special! Almost all Bavarian kings have had their hearts buried in the famous chapel of the Black Madonna in the centre of Altötting.
More info: Altötting tourism website | Driving time from Munich around 1 hr 15 mins |Train from Munich Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) to Altötting around 1 hr 30 mins.
Another wonderful day tour from Munich is Burghausen. You can combine visiting Altötting and Burghausen, as the two cities are only a 15-minute drive from each other. Here, you will find the longest medieval castle in Europe. The castle of Burghausen is 1,050 meters long, can you believe it?
More info: Burghausen tourism website | Driving time from Munich around 1 hr 15 mins |Train from Munich Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) to Burghausen around 2 hours.
Innsbruck is one of the oldest towns in Austria and has been continuously settled for more than 3,000 years. Today, the city with a population of 132,000 thousand is famous for its picturesque old town (especially the famous golden roof) and the beautiful mountains surrounding it. You could also visit the famous Swarovski World.
While you’re visiting Innsbruck, we recommend taking this Innsbruck classic city highlights tour to learn about the fascinating history of the city.
More info: Innsbruck tourism website | Driving time from Munich around 2 hours |Train from Munich Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) to Innsbruck around 2 hrs 45 mins.
13. Dachau Concentration Camp
One of the darkest chapters of our history happened during the reign of the Nazis. Millions of Jews and other political prisoners were killed in so-called concentration camps. Instead of the most horrible furnaces, you will find important memorials in these sites. Dachau was one of them, and even though it will be a bit grizzly, I still urge you to visit. We cannot undo the past but we can learn from it so it never happens again.
If you prefer to have all the arrangements taken care of, check out this tour: Dachau Memorial site half day tour from Munich
Looking for a hotel near Dachau? We recommend staying in Munich at Hotel Cortiina.
More info: Dachau concentration camp memorial site | Driving time from Munich 30-40 mins | Train from Munich Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) around 30 mins. Take the S2 train direction Dachau / Petershausen then the bus 726 from Dachau station to the Memorial Site.
14. Rothenburg ob der Tauber
I’m sure you have seen a picture of Rothenburg ob der Tauber before. The enchanting medieval old town is extremely famous. It’s certainly not the only one, but for many the most popular stop on Germany’s romantic road. It takes around 3 hours 30 minutes to get there from Munich by train, so it will be a rather long day. I still think it is worth it!
We also recommend this tour from Munich: Romantic Road, Rothenburg and Harburg day tour from Munich
More info: Rothenburg ob der Tauber tourism website | Driving time from Munich around 2 hrs 45 mins |Train from Munich Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) to Rothenburg ob der Tauber around 3 hrs 30 mins.
15. Linderhof Palace
The famous Bavarian king Ludwig II didn’t just build Neuschwanstein castle. In fact, building castle, palaces, and hunting lodges was basically all he did during his reign. The most intimate palace (and the only one that got finished during his lifetime), was Linderhof Palace. It’s a true gem – not especially large, but very intimate and beautiful with a very lovely park.
Check out this tour from Munich that includes Linderhof Palace: Day trip to Neuschwanstein and Linderhof castles from Munich
More info: Linderhof Palace website | Driving time from Munich around 1 hr 30 mins |Train from Munich Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) to Linderhof Palace around 2 hrs 40 mins.
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Tips for train travel from Munich
15 day trips already sound like a lot, but in fact, we could list another 50. In this case, we’ve tried to focus on places that are easily accessible by train from Munich central station, because you can take advantage of the Bayern-Ticket or Bavaria Ticket. For 25 euros, you get unlimited rides on the regional train for one day, while each additional group member will have to pay an extra 7 euros.
This is a great bargain and one you really should make use of (especially as buses and the subway in Munich and regional cities are covered by the ticket as well). Just make sure to sign your ticket (otherwise it’s not valid). Regional trains are a bit slower, and there is no bistro on board, so you should bring a little snack and some drinks on your day trips.
As for checking your connections, the website of the German Railway service works like a charm and here you can plan your trip and even buy your tickets.
You should also bring some cash because credit cards are NOT widely accepted in the rural areas of Germany, and ATMs might be a bit harder to find.
So this is our guide to the best day trips from Munich. I hope we were able to provide you with some solid inspiration and ultimately helped you planning your Germany itinerary.
Map of day trips from Munich
Norman has visited more than 50 countries and looks back on over 30 years of travel experience. When he is not reclining in the pool of a fantastic luxury hotel or exploring one of the most remote corners of this planet, you will find him writing about his experience on his blog, Années de Pèlerinage. You can also connect with him on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
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50 Best things to do in Munich from Années de pèlerinage
Plan your trip
Fly into Munich airport where there is a station to take you directly into the city centre.
If you prefer to have all the arrangements taken care of, check out these day tours from Munich to some of the places we’ve mentioned.
Photo credits: Neuschwanstein castle by derwiki | Neuschwanstein castle featured photo by iankelsall1 |Hohenschwangau castle by Pixaline | Salzburg by Makalu | Nuremberg Hangman’s Bridge by Bluefish_Japan | Nuremberg in Germany by bboellinger on Pixabay | Würzburg Photo Tama66 | Augsburg in Germany Photo thfr on Pixabay | Ulm by fietzfotos | Burghausen by Duernsteiner |Innsbruck by Lichtenfels | Dachau by ho visto nina volaire |Rothenburg ob der Tauber by Maxmann and Maxmann |Linderhof by Frenchy3000 | Dachau watchtower by Alexas_fotos | Photos of Bamberg, Regensburg, Margravial Opera House,Christmas market in Nuremberg, Augsburg City Hall, Altötting in Germany, Burghausen castle by Annees de Pelerinage |
This article is a guest post* by Norman of Années de Pèlerinage travel blog.
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