The Bavarian city of Munich has a lot to offer visitors. The industrial heart of the country, Munich is known for historic buildings like the Old Town Hall and Marienplatz, as well as the cutting-edge BMW Museum. Combine that with the chance to explore traditional Bavarian cuisine and culture, and you can easily spend a few days or more getting to grips with everything Munich has to offer.
However, there's much more to Bavaria than just its biggest city. The best day trips from Munich will take you to fairytale castles, relics of World War II, and some of the best preserved medieval towns in all of Europe. So if you have the time, it's well worth taking a day trip from Munich to explore more of Germany.
Bounce makes it easier by providing luggage storage in Munich while you head out of town so you can securely store your belongings and explore. Once you've seen the best museums in Munich and visited the city's top tourist attractions, there's far more to discover on the best day trips from Munich.
How to get out of Munich
Munich is a city that's synonymous with cars, thanks to the presence of BMW. And driving in Munich isn't especially difficult so long as you obey local traffic laws and brush up on a few German terms. Additionally, a rental car can be a great way to explore some of the more remote locations around the city.
However, Munich also has a truly excellent public transport network, as you can see from our guide on how to get around Munich. As well as having great inner city transport, Munich is also a central hub on Germany's outstanding intercity train network. Often, if you're going from one city to another, the train is the fastest way to get there, and you won't have to worry about the stress of driving and parking in a foreign country.
If you're planning to explore towns like Nuremberg on your day trips from Munich, the train might be the best way to do it. And if you really don't want to drive, you can also take a guided tour to places like Neuschwanstein Castle that will pick you up and drop you off right from your Munich hotel. But if you would rather see the more natural side of Germany, a rental car is probably a better way to go.
From Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle
A visit to Bavaria wouldn't be complete without seeing at least one castle, and there's no better place to start than with Neuschwanstein. This fairytale castle was built by King Ludwig II and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Germany.
While you can explore the castle grounds and interior on a self-guided tour, there are also several guided tours available that will take you around the castle and tell you more about its history.
This isn't the oldest castle in the world, or even in Germany. In fact, it was built relatively recently in the 19th century. That means it's better preserved than many older monuments. Plus, this castle is known more for its looks than its history. Picture a fairytale castle, and this is probably what you're thinking of. In fact, this UNESCO World Heritage site was the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty's castle in the Disney movie. If you ever wanted to feel like a Disney princess, this is as good a place as any to do it.
How to get to Neuschwanstein Castle
A car is the best way to reach this beautiful site. It's about a two-hour drive from Munich, and if you prefer not to be behind the wheel, you can join one of the group tours that leave from the city.
From Munich to Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site
Just outside of Munich is the site of the Dachau concentration camp, which operated during World War II. Today, the site is a memorial and museum dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust.
The memorial site includes the original gate to the camp with the infamous slogan "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work Will Set You Free), as well as several preserved buildings and exhibits about the history of the camp.
There are also several guided tours available, which are led by survivors of the concentration camp or their descendants. These tours offer a unique and personal perspective on one of the darkest periods in human history.
Touring a place virtually synonymous with human suffering isn't everyone's idea of a good way to spend their vacation, and you should know before going that the stories told here are extremely disturbing, to say the least. But if you have the stomach for it, this memorial is worth visiting, if only to remind ourselves of the brutality ordinary people are capable of. For history buffs and those who want to honor the people who died in one of history's most horrific tragedies, this is one of the best day trips from Munich, even if it can be hard to take at times.
How to get to Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site
Leave the car at home for this one. Hop on the S2 train in Munich and get off at the Dachau stop. It will take you less than half an hour from the Central Station.
From Munich to Linderhof Palace
Linderhof Palace is another of King Ludwig II's lavish residences, and like Neuschwanstein, it's only a short drive from Munich. This smaller palace was built in the 19th century in the Bavarian countryside and is surrounded by beautiful gardens.
Inside the palace, you'll find opulent rooms decorated with gold leaf, fine art, and elaborate furniture. It's easy to see why this place was the king's favorite residence - it's fit for a fairytale.
There are several guided tours available that will take you around the different rooms of the palace and tell you more about King Ludwig II and his reign. You can also explore the gardens on your own or take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the park.
How to get to Linderhof Palace
A car is the best way to make the hour and a half drive here. If you need public transport, you'll rely on both the train and the bus, which will take significantly longer.
From Munich to Nuremberg
Nuremberg is famous as the site of the former Nazi party rally grounds. When World War II finally came to an end, it was also the site of the famous trials where high-ranking Nazi officials were made to account for their crimes against humanity.
But at the same time, Nuremberg is a picturesque town full of half-timbered houses that date back to the Middle Ages. The Old Town is a great place to wander and take photos of beautiful historic monuments, and stopping at a café to try some of the local beer in the historic Old Town is as pleasant and quintessentially German an experience as you could wish to have. So even if you're not interested in World War II history, Nuremberg has lots to offer.
Still, no trip to Nuremberg would be complete without a visit to the Nazi party rally grounds. While it's now a peaceful park, it's impossible to forget the dark history of this place. The remains of the Congress Hall where Hitler gave his speeches still stand, as does the Zeppelinfeld stadium where mass rallies were held.
This is definitely one of the more thought-provoking day trips from Munich. If you're interested in German history or World War II in particular, then it's definitely worth visiting.
How to get to Nuremberg
Nuremberg can be reached in only an hour by train from Munich, while it will take around two hours by car. However you get there, it's worth the journey to see the dichotomy of German history.
From Munich to Berchtesgaden
Berchtesgaden offers one of the best day trips from Munich for anyone looking to get away from it all.
This small town in the Bavarian Alps is a great place to enjoy some fresh air and stunning scenery. There are plenty of hiking and walking trails to explore, as well as several lakes where you can go swimming in the summer months.
For those interested in history, Berchtesgaden was also the site of Hitler's Eagle's Nest - a retreat he built for himself high in the mountains. The building itself is now a restaurant, but you can still take a guided tour to see the inside and learn more about its history. There aren't many places that can combine such fascinating history with search natural splendor, so this is a day trip that can please both nature lovers and history fans.
How to get to Berchtesgaden
At two and a half hours from Munich by car, this method is the most convenient. The timing is similar if you prefer the train, but the trip requires a transfer in Freilassing.
From Munich to Ingolstadt
Just over an hour by car or train from Munich, Ingolstadt is a smaller city that's often overlooked by visitors to Bavaria. However, this historic city has plenty to offer and makes for a great day trip from Munich.
Ingolstadt is the birthplace of the German auto industry - both Audi and BMW have their headquarters here. As such, there are several museums dedicated to cars and car history.
The city is also home to one of Germany's oldest universities, the University of Ingolstadt. This historic institution was founded in 1472 and has produced some famous alumni over the years, including writer Mary Shelley who wrote Frankenstein while she was a student here.
If you're interested in history or want to learn more about the German auto industry, Ingolstadt is definitely worth a visit.
How to get to Ingolstadt
How you get here will depend on your own preference - car and train have similar travel times of around one hour.
From Munich to Passau
Passau is a beautiful city located at the confluence of three rivers, just over two hours from Munich by car or train.
This charming city is known for its medieval architecture and its position as a gateway to the East. Thanks to its location on the Austrian border, in the past, Passau was an important stopping point for merchants traveling between Germany and Austria.
Nowadays, Passau is a popular tourist destination in its own right. The Old Town is definitely worth exploring, with its narrow streets and historic buildings. St. Stephen's Cathedral is also worth a visit - it's one of the largest churches in Europe and has the world's largest pipe organ.
If you're looking for a day trip from Munich that combines history and beauty, then Passau is the perfect place for you.
How to get to Passau
The RE3 train from the Munich Central Station is the best way to get to Passau. You can also drive in a similar amount of time.
From Munich to Zugspitze
Also located on the border between Austria and Germany, Zugspitze is Germany's highest mountain. Zugspitze makes for a great day trip for anyone who loves the outdoors.
There are several ways to reach the summit, including taking the cogwheel railway or hiking up one of the trails. Once you reach the top, you'll be rewarded with stunning views of the German and Austrian Alps.
If you're feeling adventurous, you can even go skiing or tobogganing in the winter months. Zugspitze is a great day trip for anyone who loves nature and wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
How to get to Zugspitze
A car is recommended for this one for the one and a half hour drive. Some trains and buses will get you here, but the journey will take over three hours.
From Munich to Rothenburg
Designated a Free Imperial City of the Holy Roman Empire, this medieval town is two and a half hours from Munich by car, and offers one of the best day trips from Munich for both history lovers and photographers.
At first glance, Rothenburg looks like it came straight out of a fairytale. The town is surrounded by a wall, and you can explore the well-preserved Old Town with its cobbled streets and picturesque houses.
There are also several museums to visit, including the Deutsches Stadtmuseum, which tells the history of the city, and the Spielzeugmuseum, which houses a collection of over 30,000 toys.
No matter what your interests are, Rothenburg is definitely worth a visit. It's one of the most charming towns in Germany and is sure to leave a lasting impression.
How to get to Rothenburg
The train and car routes to Rothenberg will get you there in under three hours, so either works well.
There's so much you can see on the best day trips from Munich. Whether you want to see a gorgeous medieval town full of half-timbered houses, the relics of the Nazi regime at a concentration camp, or gorgeous forests and mountains that feel much farther from civilization than they really are, this region of Germany has just about everything you need to keep you occupied.
Once you've visited Munich Old Town Hall and had a blast in the city's beer gardens, consider taking one or more of these day trips from Munich. You'll leave with a much deeper understanding of what makes this such an amazing city.