Day trips - nearby Munich
Munich is a colorful city to visit on its own, but you can also use the city as a hub to explore nearby towns and important sites. The central train station, Munchen Hauptbahnhof (HBF), is located near the old town and has departures several times a day to these locations. Whether you want to see pieces of war history or prefer the castles and architecture of centuries past, there's a perfect day trip awaiting you just outside of Munich.
Located about three hours away from Munich by train is Neuschwanstein Castle, which was commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. The castle grounds are vast and surprisingly modern — construction started in 1869, so a few rooms are actually wired with early electricity. This castle was the inspiration for the “Sleeping Beauty” castle at Disneyland and draws thousands of visitors each year. Make sure you buy your ticket ahead of time in case reservations sell out.
If you are interested in seeing multiple castles, also build your day trip around Linderhof Palace. This is another castle that was commissioned by Ludwig II and is located just an hour outside of Munich. While this is the smallest of the three castles by Ludwig II, it has one of the most elaborate insides and is well worth the visit.
Nuremberg is one of the top day trips from Munich for visitors who are interested in WWII history. The train ride takes about an hour, and visitors can see the courthouse where the Nazis were tried for their war crimes and the Rally Grounds used under the tyranny of Hitler.
However, Nuremberg offers so much more than just war history. The old town has multiple beautiful churches and architecture to take in, and there are several art and history museums to learn about German culture.
Mount Eckbauer and Zugspitze
If you are looking to get some hiking in during your time in Munich, head south to the border of Switzerland. Both Eckbauer and Zugspitze are about two hours to drive to, but seeing these mountains are worth it. Take in Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany, or take a gondola ride up Eckbauer to enjoy panoramic views of the Alps. There is something for all levels of fitness and hiking experience.
Salzburg is one of the most popular day trips from Munich by train because it takes less than two hours to get there. This Austrian city is known as the birthplace of Mozart and the location of the hit musical and movie "The Sound of Music." You can even take Sound of Music tours to each location that was featured in the film. Salzburg is a small town of 150,000, and you can wander comfortably throughout the old town and up to the castle without much worry about getting lost.
While in Salzburg, take a quick 30-minute drive to Berchtesgaden National Park for stunning mountain views, and visit the Eagle's Nest, Hitler's hideaway built 1,834 meters up into the mountains.
It only takes about 45 minutes to reach Lake Chiemsee by train from Munich. This is another place you can stop if you are taking a day trip to Salzburg or eastern Bavaria. Along with taking in the beautiful lake, visitors can tour Herrenchiemsee, a palace built on the island of Herreninsel. This is another palace built by Ludwig II on top of what used to be an Augustinian monastery. After visiting the palace, take a few photos of the Alps in the distance and then head on to your next destination.
Located two hours to the East of Munich on the Austrian border is Passau, known as the “City of Three Rivers.” The Inn River and the Ilz River connect with the Danube, creating a valuable location for the town. Spend your time visiting St. Stephen's Cathedral, which has an organ boasting 17,974 pipes, or walk around the University of Passau where almost 12,000 students study.
There are so many places to see around Munich that it can be hard to choose where to go. Choose a few top locations based on your interests and make a note to return to see even more.