Top Day Trips From Munich Germany | Best Side Trips By Train Or Bus
Top Day Trips From Munich Germany | Best Side Trips By Train Or Bus

Top Day Trips From Munich:

Because of its central location in Bavaria and Germany’s vast train system, it is easy to take a day trip from Munich to some of the best sights in Europe.  It seems like every time we visit Munich we find a new unbelievable village or castle within a close striking distance.  With Munich as your base camp, the options can feel endless, but we have narrowed down a great list covering all of the best day and side trips.  Hope you enjoy our top day trips from Munich!

Train Tickets & Transportation Info:

To help with planning your side trip transportation, the German National Railway Website (website) has all of the regional Train/Bus route and timetable information.  For travel anywhere around Bavaria plus Salzburg, consider the Bayern Day Pass (more info) which covers unlimited trains for the day starting at 26€ for 1 person and goes up 8€ per person up to 5 people with no advance booking required.  Children 5 years old and under are free.  On Monday-Friday you can’t start your travel with these special passes until 9am, but on Saturday & Sunday, you can start anytime.  Make sure to check out our full list of the Best German Train Passes (more info).

1. Neuschwanstein Castle (2 Hours & 15 Minutes):

top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Neuschwanstein Castle Disney
top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Neuschwanstein Castle Disney

About Neuschwanstein Castle: Tucked away on the edge of the Alps mountain range, the top day trip from Munich is the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein (Noy-shvahn-shtine).  This castle is so impressive that Walt Disney used Neuschwanstein as the model for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in the hit 1959 film as well as his theme parks and company logo.  From the castle’s timeless design and lavish interior to the Alpine setting overlooking a lake, you’ll quickly understand why visitors from all over the world love Neuschwanstein so much.

While Neuschwanstein Castle may look like it is straight out of the Middle Ages, it was actually the work of Bavarian King Ludwig II in the mid-1800s.  Ludwig was inspired by Romanticism, the operas of his friend Richard Wagner, and the former Medieval castle ruins that once stood on the perch where Neuschwanstein was built.  Neuschwanstein (which means New Swanstone Castle) is filled with everything from a man-made grotto cave to grand halls, a Byzantine-style throne room, and embellished bedrooms that only a theater mind could drum up.  While touring the inside of this wondrous castle, you’ll see where Ludwig’s imagination and spending both went wild.

One huge added bonus of visiting Neuschwanstein as a day trip from Munich is that you also get to tour King Ludwig’s boyhood castle Hohenschwangau (Ho-en-shvahn-gau) which is just downhill from the main attraction.  The bright orange-colored Hohenschwangau Castle was built for the family by Ludwig’s father King Maximilian II and is where the young prince grew up.

Made in the Gothic style, Hohenschwangau Castle was built over the ruins of the former fortress of the Knights of Schwangau.  These knights had controlled the region from the 1100s until 1535 and had three ruined castles, one where Hohenschwangau sits, and two that Ludwig eventually built his masterpiece Neuschwanstein over.  It is said that many of Ludwig’s fantasy castle ideas came from staring up at the remaining ruins as a boy.

Touring both properties during your day trip from Munich is a must as it gives you a lot deeper insight into the secluded life of the King behind what may be Europe’s greatest castle.  In his day, Ludwig was nicknamed the Mad King due to his uncontrolled personal spending on over-the-top building projects.  As time has passed, however, Ludwig has become beloved in Bavaria for the beauty of his projects and Neuschwanstein Castle is now a national treasure.

One of our favorite things to do at Neuschwanstein is to explore Mary’s Bridge (closed mid-Winter) which spans a large waterfall behind the Castle.  You’ll get excellent views of the castle’s profile and access to hiking trails for even more viewpoints.  Just as fun as the castles is taking a paddleboat out onto nearby Swan Lake just like the young King Ludwig did in his childhood.   There is even a Summer luge slide within one mile of Neuschwanstein.

Ambitious day-trippers from Munich can also explore the nearby village of Füssen before leaving the area which has a Medieval Archbishop palace and a delightful old town that dates back to Roman times.  If you have a car, you can also consider visiting Mad King Ludwig’s Linderhof Palace on the way back to Munich.

Getting Here From Munich By Train: Take the train directly from Munich to Füssen (2:05) then either Bus 73 or 78 directly to the Castles’ ticket office (0:10) from outside the Füssen train station.  Consider getting the Bayern Pass for the train, explained above, to save money which is valid for the round-trip regional train travel all day on weekends or anytime after 9am on weekdays.  By Rental Car: It takes 1:45 by rental car which isn’t necessary just to save you 30 minutes but does give you the flexibility to explore old town Füssen or nearby Linderhof Palace before returning to Munich.

Tour Hours: April to October 15th 9am-6pm; October 16th through March 10am-4pm; Closed on Christmas Eve & Day, New Year’s Eve & Day.  Tour Cost: 13€ for one castle or 25€ for both; free is under 18 years old.  Booking  Tour Tickets: This is the crown jewel of Europe’s fairytale castles and therefore and you need to book your tickets a couple of weeks in advance.  They have a limited number of daily tickets and are usually sellout 2-14 days ahead of time.  We suggest booking 4-5 weeks early to be safe in the Summer or on any weekend.  Tickets must be picked up 90 minutes before your tour time.  Same-Day Tickets: Each day there is a very limited amount of in-person tickets you can buy if you get there when the ticket office opens (7:30am in Summer or 8:30am in Winter).  Every time we have done this our tour time ended up being between 1-3pm and we have heard of people getting there just opening and all the in-person tickets were already gone.  Reservations Phone: +49 (0) 8362-930830.  Official Online Tickets: HERE.

Rating as a Side Trip From Munich: A strong 10 out of 10.

2. Salzburg, Austria (1.5-2 Hours):

top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - salzburg austria sound of music
top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - salzburg austria sound of music

About Salzburg: Known as the home of Mozart and the setting for the hit movie The Sound of Music, compact Salzburg has great Medieval roots that still shine brightly today.  Protected by a mighty castle in the middle of town, Salzburg was originally a Roman city that grew powerful through the Middle Ages thanks to the salt trade.  Salzburg stunning to visit on a few days’ stay in its own right, but because it is less than two hours from Munich it can also make for an excellent day trip.

During your day trip from Munich to Salzburg, you will be carried away by the music of Mozart and tunes from the Sound of Music as you stroll the cobblestone lanes.  While there seems to always be a festival going on, the vibe of the city is definitely driving by classic music, alpine culture, and gorgeous architecture.  Because of Salzburg’s wealth from the salt trade, most of the city was rebuilt in the 1500s in the Baroque style and preserved after they basically bought their way out of the 30 Years War.

There seems to be an impressive church on every corner, fountains everywhere you turn, and Salzburg has some of the best shopping in Central Europe. You can really see the Medieval roots of this compact pedestrian street by the signage that hangs above each shop.  In the Middle Ages, almost no one could read so instead of having signs with business names on them, the shops would hang an icon for their trade of craft.  Notice how the signs for the hat maker, locksmith, umbrella shop, and many more have kept this signage tradition alive.

One of the biggest surprises for most visitors seeking to find where the “Hills Are Alive” is how impressive Salzburg’s High Fortress is.  The massive castle (started in 1077) is one of the best urban castles to visit in all of Europe and is our #1 favorite to visit in Austria.  From the castle, you can get a feel for Salzburg’s important trade position at the foot of the Alps.  With mountains on one side and the village pinned between the Salzach River on the other, you’ll also see how the Prince-Archbishops ruled Salzburg through Medieval Times.  At one point Salzburg was the 2nd largest church-state in Europe behind the Vatican.

We especially love visiting Salzburg for the traditional Austrian food and local beer.  Between the hometown Stiegl brewery and the Medieval Augustiner Monks Brewery, there are plenty of great drinks for any tourist.  If you plan ahead you can even get tickets for the evening Mozart Dinner Concert inside Saint Peter’s Keller which is the oldest Restaurant in Europe dating back to 803 before returning to Munich.

Top Things to do: Old Town Walking Tour, Sound of Music Movie Locations Tour.  Getting Here From Munich: Takes 90-120 minutes from Munich by train which is covered by the money-saving Bayern Pass using the Blue & Yellow Meridan trains although the pass cannot be used on weekdays before 9am.  If you are leaving from Munich’s airport you can reach Salzburg in 2-2.5 hours with an easy connection in Munich Ost Station instead of the Central Station.  Rating as a Side Trip From Munich: 9 out of 10.  If you are able to swing staying overnight in Salzburg a visit bumps up to a 10 out of 10.

View Our Salzburg Section: (HERE).

3. Dachau Concentration Camp (21-38 Minutes):

top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Dachau concentration camp memorial
top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Dachau concentration camp memorial

About Dachau Concentration Camp: Reachable in less than 30 minutes from central Munich, the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial is one of the most powerful day trips to take from Munich.  As the Nazis’ first forced labor camp, the Dachau Memorial is now a chilling reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust.  Overall the site does a great job serving as an outstanding museum and memorial for life as it was in the camp and the hardships endured here.

During your day trip to Dachau from Munich, you will learn about the torture that took place here, the background stories of some of the prisoners, and the propaganda used to cover it all up.  The excellent exhibits are all detailed in English plus there are daily guided tours available in English every day.  The main buildings you will see including the former barracks, the ghostly crematorium, the supposedly never used gas chamber, and the famous Work Will Set You Free Gate.  The thing that will stick with you the most is a saying posted, in multiple languages, in the center courtyard stating ‘Never Again.’

Getting Here From Munich: It takes 21-38 minutes from Munich Station to reach the memorial including a transfer to Bus 726 at Dachau Station.  We have a full guide on How To Get To Dachau From Munich including tips on the route and how to save money using day passes.  Visiting Hours: Daily 9am-5pm. Cost: Free.  Tours: Paid tours in English are at 11am & 1pm (plus 12:15pm on weekends in Summer) and there are also audio guides available.  Rating as a Side Trip From Munich: 9 out of 10.

View Our Dachau Section: HERE.

4. Rothenburg, Germany (2.5 Hours):

top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips rothenburg
top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips rothenburg

About RothenburgThe quaint German village of Rothenburg seems frozen in time, Medieval times that is.  Known as the Imperial City, Rothenburg was once home to the King of Germany (Conrad III – 1142) before becoming a trading powerhouse but eventually got stuck in the 1600s have as the local economy collapsed during the 30 Years War.  This downslide help preserved Rothenburg from modernization and today there probably isn’t a more authentic feeling Medieval village in Europe from top to bottom which makes it a great side trip from Munich.  Ideally, you will stay overnight in Rothenburg a few nights since it is over two hours from Munich, but you can still see a lot on a long day trip.

Rothenburg is packed full of Medieval city gates, half-timber homes, cobbled streets, splashes of color, secret passageways, amazing festivals, and postcard-perfect views including the famous Plönlein Corner.  The old city wall still stands circling the village while trying with all of its might to encapsulate Rothenburg’s magical feel.  You feel like you left the real world and stepped onto a movie set.  Having been the inspiration for many Disney movies (plus Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), in some ways Rothenburg really is a living film set.

Once you wrap your head around Rothenburg’s beauty, you’ll find there is actually a lot to do here as well.  We love touring the Imperial City Museum, the famous Medieval Criminal Museum, the Germann Christmas Museum, the entertaining 1 hour Night Watchman’s Tour in the evening, and walking on top of the old city wall.  Throw in an old Blacksmith shop, a lively market square, plus great family-owned pubs, and you’ll feel like you have traveled hundreds of years into the past in no time.

All of these elements together make Rothenburg the Medieval destination for you if you are looking for fun, authenticity, and some small-town flair.  A visit gets even more magical if you can stay overnight as you will be able to see the village totally free of other tourists in the early morning and again after dinner time.  If you are really lucky you can time your day from Munich to be during Rothenburg’s Imperial City Days in the Fall or the magical Christmas Market which has been happening each December since the 1400s.

Getting To Rothenburg By Train: Trains make this journey in each direction about every half hour from Munich with departures ranging from 4:30am until 10pm. The trip is very easy but will require 1-2 train transfers depending on your ticket.  Getting To Rothenburg By Car: It is very common to rent a car to drive to Rothenburg from Munich as it’s faster than the train (especially from the airport), but it also gives you the ability to check out other Romantic Road cities such as Dinkelsbuhl and Nordlingen along the way.  Tour groups also make the full-day round trip journey but don’t give you a ton of time in each village.

Rating as a Day Trip From Munich: 8.5 out of 10; only negative is the total travel time, but with an overnight stay it is a 10 out of 10.

View Our Rothenburg SectionHERE.

5. Berchtesgaden, Germany (2.5 Hours):

top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - berchtesgaden kings lake hitlers eagles nest
top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - berchtesgaden kings lake hitlers eagles nest

About Berchtesgaden: Berchtesgaden has been a retreat for kings, monks, and travelers since the early 1100s at it still retains much of its old-world charm.  Whether it is the Deer House (Hirschenhaus) on Marktplatz, the storybook Advent Christmas Town over the holidays, or a visit to a beer hall during Oktoberfest, you’ll fall in love with Berchtesgaden.  Sitting right next to Old Town is the Berchtesgaden Salt Mine (Salzbergwerk) which is a tourist favorite and has been in operation since 1517.  No visit to the region would be complete without visiting a salt mine as it is how many of the towns like Berchtesgaden and Salzburg got rich starting in the 1100s.

Perched above Berchtesgaden is a pair of reminders of the atrocities from WII, the Nazi Documentation Center and Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest.  During WII, Hitler built the mighty Eagle’s Nest as his 2nd seat of power after being inspired by the area’s beauty.  Today mini fortress serves as a restaurant sitting high enough above the valley floor to give visitors a 120-mile view on a clear day!  Combined with the Documentation Center you will be able to learn a lot of history as well as check out some old WW2 bunkers and even take a high-speed elevator up the mountain.

Before leaving your alpine elevation, make sure to check out the views of Königssee from above at Jennerbahn Mountain.  The Mountain also has great skiing, but it is the lake below that interests us more. If you have time, a ride out onto Königssee can put your trip over the top.  You’ll not only cruse between tower peaks and through an echo chamber, but also past the is the triple-domed St. Bartholomä Chapel.  Either way you slice it, Berchtesgaden is one of the best-hidden gems in all of Germany.

Getting To Berchtesgaden From Munich: You can take the train directly to Berchtesgaden from Munich with a quick line switch in Freilassing. Berchtesgaden is best seen either on the way to or from Salzburg to which is connected by bus only 12 miles away. This will help you maximize your travels.

Rating as a Side Trip From Munich: 8.5 out of 10. While small, the best sights in Berchtesgaden are a little spread out so we suggest seeing it either right before or after spending the night in nearby Salzburg so you aren’t cutting your time short in this amazing city.  From Salzburg, it is easily a 9 of 10 rating.

View Our Berchtesgaden Section: HERE.

6. Zugspitze Peak & Eibsee, Germany (2.5 Hours):

top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Zugspitze tallest mountain in germany alps
top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Zugspitze tallest mountain in germany alps

About Zugspitze: At 9,718 feet (2,962 meters), the Zugspitze Mountain Peak near Garmisch-Partenkirchen is literally the top of Germany!  As the tallest peak in Germany, the Zugspitze has the best Alpine views and downhill skiing you can find during a day trip from Munich.  It’s said that on a clear day you can see up to 155 miles (250 kilometers) along the horizon.  This view spans some 400 mountain peaks in Germany, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland).

Because the main peak sits on the border of Austria, you can be in two countries at once while on top of the mountain with one foot in Bavaria and the other in Tirol.  Aside from the stunning views, our favorite activity at Zugspitze is the Summer Snow Sledding.  From June through September you can sled down a gently sloped toboggan run at the peak which is free to use.

There is also another great mountain peak right next to Zugspitze called the Alpspitze.  This peak offers great opportunities for hiking as well as thrills from the AlpspiX viewing platform.  The daring platform is in the shape of an ‘X’ and hangs over the valley 3281 feet below.  We prefer to visit Zugspitze first then visit Alpspitze on our way back to Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

One of the coolest things about visiting Zugspitze Mountain is that you have to transfer trains in nearby Garmisch-Partenkirchen which is a tourist hotspot.  This tiny village at the foot of the Alps is known for its rustic homes with murals painted on their facades, excellent woodworkers, and great souvenir shopping.  The village can feel a bit tacky, but it is cool t stroll through before you return to Munich from your day trip.

Getting Here From Munich: Train to Garmisch-Partenkirchen takes 8o minutes.  Once you get there walk to the neighboring train station (Zugspitze Bahnhof) and get on the local Cogwheel Train to your desired cable car lift.  The Cogwheel will take 40 minutes to Eibsee Station or 75 minutes to the end up at the Zugspitze Glacier.  From either stop, it is a 10-minute cable car ride up to the main observation deck.  We like to go up one way and back the other.  The cable car section from Eibsee to the main peak is a world record holder rising over 6381 feet (1,945 meters).

Keep in mind that the Classic Train is also an option from Garmisch, but it only goes to Grainau which is fine for visiting Alpspitze but for Zugspitze, you need to take the Cogwheel Train.  The cable car for the AlpspiX is at Alpspitzbahn and the cable car for Zugspitze is at Eibsee.  While Eibsee is the last main stop, hikers can ride the Cog up the Rifferlriss to get closer.  Video: HERE.  Website: HERE.

Rating as a Day Trip From Munich: 8 out of 10.

7. Nuremberg, Germany (90 Minutes):

totop ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - nuremberg castle ww2 sites
top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - nuremberg castle ww2 sites

About Nuremberg: Before heavy WW2 bombings for being a Nazi stronghold, Nuremberg (Nürnberg) was one of the most beautiful cities in all of Europe.  Luckily enough of the city remained that Nuremberg has slowly rebuilt itself over the decades into a great tourist destination yet again.  We like to start off with the city’s biggest attraction, the Kaiserburg Imperial Castle which dates back to 1050 AD.

The Castle sits at the highest point of Nuremberg which created a natural defense and still provides great views of the town.  All the Holy Roman Emperors stayed at the Imperial Castle for a short period at least between 1050 and 1571.  The historic castle looks plainer than some of Germany’s other over-the-top castles which were built later in the Middle Ages, but we enjoy the old feel.  Today, one of the best youth hostels in Europe sits inside the Medieval castle’s former horse stables.

That same old-world feel carries into the city wall and watchtowers, plus the picture-perfect Craftsmen’s Courtyard.  Built into the city wall is our favorite buildings called the Wine Store (Weinstadel).  The beautiful building overlooks the water and is connected to the town by Hangman’s Bridge.  The bridge and tower were constructed in the 1400s as a place for the Nuremberg executioner to live as the common people didn’t want someone of his profession living among them.  It was really a strange arrangement, but interesting.  You have to make sure to stroll down Weißbergergasse in Old Town and check out Saint Elisabeth Church which was once home to the Knights of Germany as well.  Not to be overlooked in Old Town is the food and especially the Original Nuremberg Rostbratwursts which have been made here since the 1300s.  The best way to wash down your wursts is with Nuremberg’s best beer on the City Brewery Beer Tour.  The 3-hour tour is only 25 Euros and is lead by a Medieval innkeeper who teaches you about the 700 years of beer in the city complete with tastings.

While these sights are the happy-go-lucky ones it is also important to know about Nuremberg’s Nazi years.  One of the most moving sights is in the former Nazi rally grounds where 100,000s would gather for rallies. The grounds were later used by the Nazis as a concentration camp for over 50,000 Socialists and now holds the Fascination and Terror Museum. There is also a monument marking the Nuremberg Trials, where Nazi leaders were put on trial for the horrors of WW2. When you are all done with doom and gloom Nuremberg has plenty more historic sights and mansions to tour on top of having one of the best Medieval Christmas Markets in Europe. If it is not over the Holiday season you can still get your Christmas on in the wonder Toy museum at Nuremberg has been famous for its toys since the middle ages

Getting Here From Munich: Direct train from Munich to Nuremberg takes 75-90 minutes.  Tourism Website: HERE.

Rating as a Day Trip From Munich: 8.5 out of 10.

8. Bamberg, Germany (2-2.5 Hours):

top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - bamberg canals smokebeer
top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - bamberg canals smokebeer

About Bamberg: Bamberg is known as Little Venice, and for good reason.  The Regnitz River literally runs directly through Bamberg and the Old Town Hall sits right in the middle of the flow.  As seen in the photo to the left, they actually built the Old Town Hall (Alte Rathaus) in the middle of the river and connected to town with a series of bridges.  The build is the most photographed spot in Bamberg, but it is the impressive murals painted on the sides of the Old Town Hall that we really like.  Most of the town hugs the riverbank making renting a rowboat a very popular thing to do.  A lot of the island-like city center was once a fisherman’s settlement in the Middle Ages and has been turned into a great pedestrian-only area today.

Getting beyond the buildings and sights, Bamberg is really a city known for its beer.  There are 9 breweries, 2 malting companies, 50 local beers, and tons of taverns just inside the city limits.  If you go out a couple of miles there are 90 more breweries in the small towns around Bamberg.  The most famous beer in Bamberg is Smoke Beer, which tastes like bacon.  Unlike most beers where the malt is dried industrially by hot air, the malt for the Smoke Beer is kiln-dried over an open fire to add flavor.  The BierSchmecker Beer Tour is awesome as you vouchers for drinks at your choice of 5 of the 9 breweries for only 20 euros, plus you keep your mug.  If you are deciding what time to go July hosts the International Magician and Street Performers’ Festival which really brings Old Town to life.  In August is our favorite event called the Sandkirchweih Fair.  During the Sandkerwa Festival, fishermen joust on the river standing on the end of their boats American Gladiator-style.

Getting Here From Munich: A direct train from Munich takes 2 hours (2.5 with a connection) or from Nuremberg it is only 1 hour.  Tourism Website: HERE.

Rating as a Day Trip From Munich: 8 out of 10.

9. Herrenchiemsee New Palace & Lake (1 Hour 45 Minutes):

top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Herrenchiemsee New Palace inside hall of mirrors mad king ludwig
top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Herrenchiemsee New Palace inside hall of mirrors mad king ludwig

About Herrenchiemsee New Palace: The Herrenchiemsee New Palace is a replica of Paris’ Versailles Palace and is another one of Mad King Ludwig’s extravagant properties to make our top day trips from Munich list.  This grand project was almost scrapped when King Ludwig’s plot of land at Linderhof Palace was too small, but lucky his family acquired a large island in the middle of Chiemsee Lake to build it on.  Although Ludwig died two before Herrenchiemsee was completed, his vision for this masterpiece lives on today.  While there are still plenty of tourists, the crowds here are much less than other major castles in Germany which makes it easy to enjoy.  If you have ever been to the real Versailles, then you will really love the uncrowded replica of the Great Hall of Mirrors and boulevard like French gardens.

Getting Here From Munich: 1-hour train to Prien a Chiemsee, then 30 minutes later the boat leaves from the pier which takes 15 minutes to get to the Palace. During the Summer a shuttle line takes you to the boat dock saving you a 1/2 mile walk, but there is a 30-minute gap from getting off of the train until the boat leaves. Click here for the boat timetable.  If you are looking to only visit the lake and beach instead of the palace, then you can get a train ticket to the village of Übersee on the southside of Chiemsee

Stopover on the way to Salzburg: It is a great stop on the way to or from Salzburg from Munich but with the ferry ride and layover it adds 90 minutes to the total route to Salzburg in addition to the time doing the tour so you need to account for an extra 3-3.5 hours on your journey.

Rating as a Day Trip From Munich: 7.5 out of 10.  Website: HERE.

10. Linderhof Palace (2 Hours):

top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Linderhof Palace king ludwig hunting lodge
top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Linderhof Palace king ludwig inside grotto

About Linderhof Palace: At the same time Mad King Ludwig was building his fairytale castle near Füssen, he had plans for many other expansive building projects as well.  On some family land near Oberammergausd, Ludwig created the design for a palace modeled on Paris’ Versailles plus another large complex in the style of a Byzantine Palace.  At the last second, he decided to fix up his dad’s old cabin on the property in a royal hunting lodge instead due to a lack of space.  The end result was an amazing hunting palace with a beautiful garden with an unreal series of fountain ponds.

As the tourist tend to flock to Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein Castle in Füssen, the crowds at Linderhof are smaller, making it a very enjoyable place to walk around.  The area is also a great place to jump over to Ettal Abbey or down to Zugspitze Mountain.

Getting Here From Munich: Take the train to Oberammergau (1 Hour and 45 Minutes) then take local Bus 9606 directly to Linderhof Palace (22 Minutes).  Getting Here From Füssen: From Füssen, Bus 9622 connects all the way to Oberammergau where you can hop onto Bus 9606 for the Palace.  Rating as a Day Trip From Munich: 7 out of 10.  Website: HERE.

Honorable Mention Day Trips:

11. Regensburg, Germany (90 Minutes):

top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Regensburg Danube River Cruise Stone Bridge Roman
top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Regensburg Danube River Cruise Stone Bridge Roman

About Regensburg: Locals call it “Germany’s medieval wonder”.  Pretty small but the Cathedral of St Peter, the Stone Bridge, the Bridge Tower, and the ‘Salt Barn’ is cool.  Famous for torture. Locals call it “Germany’s Medieval wonder”.  It was settled by the Celts in the Stone Age and around AD 90, the Romans built a fort there.  In 179, a new Roman fort Castra Regina and it served as the Roman’s most Northern fort on the Danube.  The city became the capital of Bavaria from 530-1180AD.  The Duke of Bavaria, Heinrich II of Babenberg, was ousted as ruler in 1156, and quickly went on to lay the groundwork for a new city built over another former Roman fort known today as Vienna which he modeled after his beloved Regensburg.  When the Wittelsbachs were appointed the new rulers of Bavaria in 1180, they decided to move the capital to Munich.

City Website: (here).  Rating as a Day Trip From Munich: 7 out of 10.

12. Würzburg, Germany (2 Hours & 15 Minutes):

top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Wurzburg palace bridge old town
top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Wurzburg palace bridge old town

About Würzburg: Northwest of Munich a long way, but really cool.  Prince-bishops’ Residenz Palace and Marienberg Citadel are the main highlights.  The UNESCO World Heritage Site the Residence, the medieval fortress Marienberg, the historic town hall building the Romanesque cathedral “St. Kilian”, from the old bridge “Alte Mainbrücke”, you will enjoy fantastic views of the fortress “Marienberg,” the pilgrimage church “Käppele” and the famous vineyards.  The nearby town of Volkach has the Historic Schwane wine cellars.

Getting Here: The train from Munich takes 2 hours and 15 minutes.  Rating as a Day Trip From Munich: 7 out of 10; if you are going to go this far toward Frankfurt, you might as well see Frankfurt instead.

13. Landsberg am Lech, Germany (50 Minutes):

top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Landsberg am Lech Main Square
top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Landsberg am Lech mothers tower witch rapunzel

About Landsberg am Lech: This small medieval city is a great getaway if you want to experience an authentic Bavarian feel without the flocks of tourists.  Large portions of the Medieval city walls and gates are still intact plus most of the city’s buildings still have colorful, traditional facades.  We especially love to visit the riverside Landsberg am Lech as a day trip from Munich because it is littered with many beautiful Medieval towers which feel like they could be Rapunzel’s fairytale house.

Among the towers is the Schmalzturm Tower, also called Beautiful Tower, which lies in the Witches Quarter (Hexenviertel) was named for its beautiful tiled roof and is the cities oldest tower built in 1260.  The romantic Mother’s Tower (Mutterturm) at the Herkomer Museum on the West side of the river is the newest built in 1888.  This is one of the towers you can actually go inside.  There is also the beautiful Bayertor Tower on the Eastern city wall, and the Northern wall’s gate has Sandauer Tor and the tall Dachlturm tower overlooking the village.

The village is maybe most famous for being where Adolf Hitler was imprisoned for 9 months in 1924 following his failed Beer Hall Pusch in Munich.  It was in this jail where he wrote/dictated the first half of his book Mein Kampf (finished in Berchtesgaden) which later served as a foundation for the Nazi Party.  Like many cities in Germany, Landsberg am Lech ended up being home to a large concentration camp during World War II.  Lucky today the horrors of the past was well behind Landsberg am Lech and you can explore the various towers as a day trip from Munich pretending like you are looking for Rapunzel.

Getting Here: Train from Munich takes 50 minutes and often requires a train transfer in Kaufering.  Rating as a Day Trip From Munich: 6.5 out of 10.

14. Esslingen, Germany (2 Hours and 15 Minutes):

top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Esslingen medieval wine town
top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Esslingen medieval wine town

About Esslingen: At just 9 miles (15km) away from Stuttgart, Esslingen is one of the little gems of Germany that most tourists don’t even know about.  This little village is so untouched by the hoards of tourists that we almost left it off this top day trips from Munich list just so we could keep it all to ourselves.

First mentioned in 777, this little village gained market rights in 866 which was very early compared to most German cities.  After becoming a Free Imperial City in 1229 Esslingen flourished thanks to its Neckar River toll bridge and position on numerous trade routes.  The trade industry is highlighted by Esslinged Castle which is a section of the fortified wall that encircles a large sloped grape vineyard on the edge of town.  Started in the 1300s, the fact that they went to such great lengths to protect sections of crops shows how important they were.  Today this “castle” offers a great chance to walk along a covered Medieval town wall and offers the best views in Esslingen.

The most iconic attraction in Esslingen is the Gothic Town Hall which dates back to the 1420s.  Located on the main square, the salmon-colored facade of the Town Hall is highlighted by an astronomical clock from 1592.  Esslingen is also jammed packed with over 200 half-timber homes and many churches including one with foundations dating to the 800s which you can tour the excavations of.  Walking along the riverfront with the Medieval half-timber houses to us feels like visiting Bamberg, Germany which is also on our best day trips from Munich list.

Rating as a Side Trip From Munich: 6.5 out of 10.

15. Innsbruck, Austria (2 Hours):

top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Innsbruck Austria ambras castle
top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Innsbruck Austria alpine mountain skiing

About Innsbruck: Known as the city of the Golden Roof, and the Tirolean capital, Innsbruck is the only major city located in the European Alps.  Innsbruck is best known for its winter sports and skiing as it hosted the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympic Games.  There are mainly other year-round attractions such as Ambras Castle, great shopping, a number of beautiful lakes, and the world’s largest crystal at Swarovski’s Crystal Factory.

Rating as a Day Trip From Munich: 6 out of 10; if you are into downhill skiing then it is a 10 out of 10 in the Winter.

16. Wendelstein Mountain (1.5-2 Hours):

top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Wendelstein Mountain peak railway
top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Wendelstein Mountain peak railway

About Wendelstein Peak: The Wendelstein is 1,838-meters high is the easiest accessible Alpine peak from Munich.  The summit can be easily accessed either with the cable car from Osterhofen or the rack railway from Brannenburg.  Overall we still prefer to visit either Zugspitze near Garmisch-Partenkirchen or Jennar Peak near Berchtesgaden as a day trip from Munich since both have more to do around them, but Wendelstein still has some great views.

About 100 meters below the summit is the Berggasthof Inn with a large terrace serving hot and cold meals.  On the summit, there is a viewing platform offering an excellent view of the northern Alps and of Bavaria, an observatory, a weather station, and a broadcast relay station.  Easy hiking trails lead from the valley up to the summit of Wendelstein Mountain.  In Winter it is possible to ski on the slopes of Mount Edelstein.

Getting Here: 80 min train ride to Osterhofen-Bayrischzell and take a brief walk to the Cable Car which climbs almost 1,000 feet in 7 minutes -or- you could instead take a 60-minute train Brannenburg from which it’s a 30-minute scenic walk to the Cog Railway which takes you directly to the summit within 30 minutes on a very unique, fun, and steep ride.  Hours: 9am-5pm in Summer, 10am-4pm in Winter.  Brochure: HERE.  360 Degree Photo: HERE.  Tip: You can get an upgraded Bayern Pass with a combo that includes round-trip train to/from Munich and the cable car.

17. Ulm, Germany (90 Minutes):

top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - ulm medieval cathedral

About Ulm: In Medieval times, Ulm was a jewel of a village and although 80% of the town was ruined in WW2, it was once again become an enjoyable place to visit.  While much of Ulm has been rebuilt, there are still a large number of surviving half-timber homes scattered around the city.  Some of the homes date back to the 1400s and they are denser in the Fisherman’s Quarter which is very picturesque.  We can only imagine how amazing Ulm was in Medieval times when it would have more closely resembled villages like Colmar, France.

As you walk around Ulm you will also see numerous sections of Medieval wall and preserved towers that once protected the city.  From the same era, the Ulm Cathedral or Minster is the main attraction in the town today.  Started in 1377, the Ulm Minster still was still the 5th tallest building in the world in the year 1900s and still has the tallest true steeple out of any church.  The steeple is so large that from the ground it almost looks wider than the height of the church’s nave.

Rating as a Day Trip From Munich: 5 out of 10.  Expect your visit to mainly be a visit to the cathedral and a stroll through the Fisherman’s Quarter.

18. Herrsching & Lake Ammer (50 Minutes):

top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Herrsching Lake Ammersee best near munich
top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Herrsching Lake Ammersee Scheuermann castle

About Herrsching: Sitting on the shores of Lake Ammer, Herrsching is the best place to visit a beach as a day trip from Munich.  Even if you aren’t looking to swim or lounge on the beach, Herrsching can still be a very relaxing place to visit and from Munich, it only takes 50 minutes to get here.  You can have a wonderful time simply strolling the paved waterfront trail, having lunch by the lake, and visiting the famous Little Castle (Kurparkschlössl).  Built in 1888 by the artist Ludwig Scheuermann, the red and white Little Castle was built in the style of Italian noble homes.  Today the mansion is owned by the city and part of a park which you are free to visit.

Rating as a Day Trip From Munich: 5.5 out of 10.  Definitely the top of the list if you are looking for a beach near Munich although Chiemsee is also wonderful.

19. Landshut, Germany (45 Minutes):

top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Landshut village medieval wedding passion play
top ten day trips from munich germany best side trips - Landshut village medieval wedding passion play

About Landshut: Landshut is an ideal Bavarian day trip from Munich.  The highlights of Landshut are its Trausnitz Castle (website)and multicolored home facades.  The main reason it makes this list is that every 4 years it is home to the 3-week-long Royal Wedding Festival (website, Landshuter Hochzeit) which in 2009 drew 600,000 visitors.  The festival is to celebrate a royal wedding between Bavaria and Poland in 1475 and serves as a living history as most visitors dress in Medieval Dress and the town’s people reenact the original wedding.  Home to the largest European Middle Ages festival which celebrates the marriage of Duke George and Hedwig, the daughter of the king of Poland each summer with the next one being 2021.

Getting Here: The train from Munich takes 45 minutes and is direct.  Rating as a Day Trip From Munich: 4 out of 10; but during the Wedding Festival every 4 years it is a 10 out of 10.

Longer Side Trips From Munich:

Here are a couple great places not too far from Munich that may be worth a night or two stay over.

Accessible In 3-5 Hours: Hallstatt (Austria); Vienna (Austria); Prague (Czech Republic); Berlin (Germany); Frankfurt (Germany); Heidelberg (Germany).
Accessible By Night Train: Budapest (Hungary); Rome (Italy); Florence (Italy); Amsterdam (Netherlands); Paris (France).