So you followed my advice and are heading to Munich for the Christmas Market or just for a magnificent city break at any other time of the year. You’ve spent some days in town, seen it all and are looking for a day trip, an escape from the hassle and bustle a big city brings along. If that’s the case, I will let you get inspired by my list of perfect day trips from Munich, Germany.
9 perfect day trips from Munich, Germany
Located within an hour and a few minutes by train from Munich, this not so little historic city is the perfect getaway and not a place to miss in the Bavaria region. Choose one morning to hop on one of the many trains linking Munich to Nuremberg (roughly every 30 min you will find a train leaving in this destination) and make sure to buy the Bayern – Ticket if you want to save some money, especially if you are traveling in a group, which will make it even more affordable (EUR 25 plus EUR 6 per extra passenger, you do the math).
Nuremberg is also a city not to miss for its lovely Christmas Market (Christkindlesmarkt) normally open from the 1st until the 24th of December, but don’t avoid it in other seasons either, because there are plenty local attractions to explore: the Imperial Castle up on a hill offering a breathtaking view over the city, the Germanisches Nationalmuseum the largest cultural – historical museum in the German-speaking world, the City-Museum at Fembo-Haus where the building itself will win you over from the first look, only to name a few.
If you are not that into museums, you can also opt to explore the city on foot like we did, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Oh, Innsbruck! I don’t know what it is about this great city at the feet of the Alps, but once I got there on a cold winter morning I simply fell in love with it. Just walking around will make you forget the cold and the icy wind.
It is true that most of the tourist reaching this place are choosing the city mainly for its proximity to the ski slopes, but trust me, you have nothing to lose if you choose it also for a day trip from Munich, Germany.
We stepped into Austria by bus ( Flixbus) only because it was way cheaper (as cheap as 8 euro one way) than the train would have been, but it is true that the later is more reliable and you most certainly won’t encounter any delay (as the bus). On the other hand, if you choose to travel by train you will have to change trains in Garmisch, with a short transfer time though.
So what to do in Innsbruck if you are not coming here with your skis in your back? Step into the Altstadt (Old city) and allow yourself to be mesmerized by the dignifying old buildings and if it’s a cold winter morning, you will have the honor to be almost alone on these narrow streets. Stop for a sweet pastry and a good coffee at one of the many old cafes you will find everywhere (better yet, try the Café Konditorei Munding, the oldest one in town or the 360 Bar) and don’t miss out on trying the apfelstrudel.
Take the Hungerburgbahn, the funicular up the Nordkette mountain where you will find yourself at 2,256 m above sea level, just imagine the view from here! Once back, stop at the Hofburg, the Imperial Palace and don’t miss out the Swarovski world (make sure you still have some money for some heavy shopping).
Garmisch – Partenkirchen (Zugspitze)
One hot Summer day we decided to go and see for ourselves what this place one hour Southern from Munich we heard so much about is all about. And off we were, once again choosing Flixbus.
If you are a nature lover you will surely love it here, even though I have to admit I was waiting to see a somewhat smaller city than the one we found, but still very traditional with cool buildings, surrounded by the very tall Alps. Just take the very early bus and come prepared with the right clothing and shoes, since you will have to climb the mountains.
Even if you choose to take the train up to the highest point of Germany (the Zugspitze) where you will find yourself above the clouds, at about 3,000 m above sea level, just make sure to bring clothes that will keep you warm even during Summer. The train runs roughly every 30 min (you can find the complete timetable here) and a ticket for non-skiers costs 45 EUR ( click here for a complete price list).
I honestly loved the place, made me feel closer to nature and regret the fact we didn’t have more time to further explore and climb up to the top.
Salzburg – the sound of music
I have to admit I still haven’t been there, but I am pretty sure Salzburg it is indeed one destination that needs to be part of the top perfect day trips from Munich. Everything I heard about the Austrian city painted it as a picture-perfect destination.
Part of the UNESCO World Heritage and home to Mozart and “The Sound of Music“, Salzburg seems to be a small town infused with history and art. Moreover, the city is incredibly beautiful, with the Hohensalzburg Fortress overseeing everything, the romantic Mirabell Palace and Gardens, and of course Mozart’s birthplace as only a few of the top attractions, Salzburg will surely take your breath away.
Oh, and one more thing: you can take the train from Munich (use the Bayern Ticket) and be in Salzburg in a little less than 2 hours.
Starnberger See, Ammersee or Konigssee (Lake Obersee)
What do people from Munich do on a hot summer day? (yes, they have those as well, sometimes) Go at one of the many lakes surrounding the city.
Since most of them are reachable by S-Bahn or by bus, you won’t have to spend too much time on the road and it won’t be too expensive either, making it even easier for you to escape into nature.
The closest lake, only 27 km south of the inner city is the Starnberger See, offering also a view of the Alps and can be reached by S6 towards Tutzing.
Close to the Ammersee lake you can visit Herrsching with its romantic palace, the “Kurparkschlösschen” or just choose to take a trip with a boat on one of the lakes ( here you will find the timetables for all the lakes in Munich’s proximity).
This place is such a fairytale! No, really! It actually inspired Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty castle so don’t be surprised if you seem to know the place from somewhere.
Its story is not exactly a fairy tale since Ludwig II of Bavaria who thought about the great building design and spent so many years and money to build the palace ended up spending only 172 days here.
Today, the Castle is one of the most popular palaces in Europe attracting yearly over 1.4 million people, with around 6000 visitors every day during summer – hint, plan your visit in advance and book your ticket here beforehand.
How to get from Munich to Neuschwanstein? Some time ago I found this article and I find it really helpful and well written, so I recommend you read it if you are planning a trip to the Palace.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Everywhere you search for this town you will see that everyone who has ever been there will rate it as “the most romantic German town”. And that’s fair when you get a glimpse of the pictures as well.
Still Germany’s best-preserved walled town, Rothenburg is Germany’s most exciting medieval town and is worth the 2.5 hours drive from Munich. Of course, you can always choose to take the train even though you will have to switch a few trains until you get there, or even better, opt for a Viator trip which will of course cost a bit more but will offer you the comfort of not having to think about planning a thing.
If you are a museum lover than you will surely love this town that offers everything from the Imperial Town Museum, the Medieval Crime Museum, History Museum to the Christmas Museum (yes, you read that right!).
While Ingolstadt is a very nice city, I am actually not referring to the city itself now. Yes, I’m talking about the Ingolstadt Designer Outlet.
After all the running around I am thinking you might want to spend some quality time here, do some shopping and reward yourself, for..mm…anything. Who needs a reason for shopping after all?
You can book a ride with the Shopping Express bus that will take from the main train station in Munich and bring you up to the shopping outlet in about 40 min. Be ready to pay the 20 EUR round trip ticket and book it in advance here. Check out also the Tourist Information.
If you are thinking about something more relaxing than shopping, Erding Therme is the place to be for you. Every day for about 12 hours, you will find here an oasis of peacefulness and a wide variety of activities to choose from: wave pools, Europe’s biggest water slides, many different pools with thermal spring water, the VitalityOasis area where guests of 16 years of age and older are allowed that offers access to many saunas and relaxation activities (just bear in mind that in some of the areas bathing suits are not allowed, yes we were a bit surprised to get there and see this, but at the end of the day we had a fun relaxing day).
Trust me, one day will not be enough to explore this place and you can also choose to spend a night at their nearby Victory hotel.
If I caught your attention, you can find the Therme’s price list here, expect to pay somewhere between 33 and 40 EUR for one full day depending on the area you choose to visit.
Getting to Erding Therme: take the S2 train and get off at Altenerding, from where you can take one of the buses (550, 560 or 570) or better yet have a short stroll up to the therme.