Whether it’s hearty Bavarian food and beer you’re looking for, or jaw-dropping vistas from the top of The Alps, the various regions around Munich, Bavaria’s largest city, are a wealth of endless possibilities for any and all types of traveller.
From castles and palaces more magical and mysterious than the last, to beautiful natural escapes that are within easy reaching distance, finding the perfect Munich day trip couldn’t be easier.
Between the country’s highly reputable transport system and the ease of hiring a car in Europe, you’ll have no problem in arriving at the ideal excursion and enjoying all it has to offer within the space of a day.
To get you started, here are the best day trips from Munich:
1. Neuschwanstein Castle
Arguably the most iconic castle in Europe, if not the world, this pastel-coloured masterpiece with its complex of sprawling turrets, battlements, towers and spires is a true testament to the concept of a fairytale castle.
So much so, that it was actually used for the inspiration behind Walt Disney’s famous castles in the various Disneyland parks.
Less than two hours away from Munich, you’ll be transported to a realm of princes and princesses in a magnificent structure that is just as lavish on the inside as on the out.
You can expect a luxurious Throne Room and indulgent decorations inspired by romantic literature and opera.
This is without mentioning of course, the stunning views of the Alps that can be enjoyed from one of the many towers.
2. Linderhof Palace
The mind behind Neuschwanstein Castle, namely King Ludwig II – happened to also have another favourite spot.
Linderhof Palace, tucked away in the alpine woods near the mountains where Neuschwanstein sits, is an elegantly furnished palace built with the intention of being the king’s hunting lodge in the late 19th Century.
Like so many of the royal establishments of the era, Linderhof is supremely luxurious, containing rich wall hangings, immaculately carved fountains and beautiful gardens.
Make sure you don’t miss the Hall of Mirrors, the Tapestry Chambers and the famous Venus Grotto.
It’s worth noting that you can find some tours that combine Linderhof Palace with Neuschwanstein Castle in the space of a single day.
Built on an island that happens to be situated in the middle of Bavaria’s largest lake (a worthy tour in itself), the royal complex of Herrenchiemsee is only around 60km from Munich and truly is a sight to behold.
Partially finished but no less impressive, the palace grounds contain highlights such as the State Staircase, the Great Hall of Mirrors and King Ludwig’s Small Apartment.
The gardens are bedecked with fountains and sculptures of exceptional calibre and you can expect not one, but two museums to be found on the estate.
The King Ludwig II Museum and the Augustinian Monastery are both filled to the brim with artefacts from the King’s life and pieces of priceless furniture.
Make your way to the Austrian border and hop over to one of Europe’s most loved countries where you’ll find the impossibly picturesque city of Salzburg, surrounded by alpine snow peaks and complete with Baroque-style castles and romantic neighbourhoods.
Most famously known for being the birthplace of the immortalised composer Mozart, Salzburg is a hotbed of attractions concerning the late musician.
With it’s pretty winding roads, beautiful Old Town and scenic natural backdrop, it’s easy to see why the city was the setting of Mozart’s The Sound of Music.
Make sure you set time aside to visit Salzburg’s cathedral and the wonderful St Peter’s Abbey.
One of the oldest cities in Bavaria, the ancient settlement of Nuremberg has been the site of many pivotal artistic and cultural events since the 14th and 15th Centuries and still holds a lot of the evidence there today.
So much importance has been attributed to the arts here that almost all of the beautiful Gothic buildings and various churches have been painstakingly restored after bombing from World War II. Discover a sense of deep history walking along the preserve walls of the city and explore the castle in the city center that offers excellent views from its vantage point on top of a hill.
Perfect for wandering around on foot due to it’s pedestrian-friendly layout, with wide walkways and boulevards, the old town of Ingolstadt is a veritable maze of historic buildings each more beautiful than the last.
Encircled by the preserved ruins of medieval battlements and fortifications, you’ll find highlights such as the Rathausplatz, the monumental Herzogsschloss and the Kreuztor.
Amongst the many wonders you’ll find scattered around the town, be sure to make time for the Minister of Our Lady Church, that contains the jaw-droppingly beautiful and largest stained glass window in Bavaria that was installed in 1527.
7. The Schleissheim Palace Complex
Containing not one, not two, but three magnificent palaces, the 18th Century-built Schleissheim Palace and Park is a convenient 20km away from the center of Munich, meaning its gorgeous attractions are within easy reaching distance either by public transport or by car.
The Neues Schloss is the grandest of the palaces with pavilions linking the huge sections of building and interior that is guaranteed to dazzle visitors with its subtle combinations of different styles including Baroque, Italian and Rococo.
Standout highlights include the Entrance Hall and the Grand Staircase Hall.
The other highlight every bit as impressive as the palaces is the Schleissheim Park which is a Baroque garden that has survived since 1720.
One of the most striking townscapes in Europe belongs to the skyline of Passau, a combination of Italian-style buildings and houses reminiscent of Venice overlooking the banks of the beautiful River Danube.
Located on the Austrian border, the town is perfect for those looking for a riverside getaway.
Passau’s old town is perfectly laid out to give the impression of always being close to the water’s edge, with cobbled lanes leading down from the hill to the river at regular intervals.
Be sure to visit the Cathedral of St Stephen and the pedestrianized shopping street Ludwigstrasse, where you’ll find all manner of Austrian and Bavarian goods and treats.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of Europe’s most impeccably well-preserved towns and without a doubt one of the most picturesque towns in the world.
Street after street are lined with pastel-coloured, fairytale timbered buildings and store fronts and no shortage of fine churches.
A popular stop on the famous route through various towns known as the Romantic Road, Rothenburg attracts visitors from all over the world to amble through its postcard perfect streets.
10. Berchtesgaden and Eagle’s Nest
Perched on a vantage point-like spot that is surrounded by the striking beauty of the Berchtesgaden National Park, the town of the same name is frequently visited by travellers in search of the perfect 360 degree view of the Alps.
The town boasts an impressively old palace dating back to the 1100’s and the Wittelsbach dynasty.
Also of great popularity to tourists is the infamous Eagle’s Nest, a hideaway built into the mountain for Hitler, standing at an astonishing 1834 meters.
A perfect mix of Alpine scenery and fascinating history, the town of Berchtesgaden is best visited on a tour with a professional guide and ease of transport from Munich.
11. Mount Eckbauer
A nationwide favourite place for snowsports, Mount Eckbauer is the home of the astronomically large Olympic ski jump that is still used today.
Best viewed from the thrilling gondolas of the Eckbauerbahn, its been in use since the Winter Olympics of 1936. With unbeatable views of the snowy Alps, you can even bring a toboggan with you to descend one of the public slopes instead of taking the return gondola.
Also wonderfully appropriate for the location is the hearty Berggasthof where you can fill up on beer and traditional, deliciously authentic Bavarian food.
Easily reachable in under two hours from Munich on public transport, you’ll find Chiemsee, the largest lake in Bavaria.
Its serene waters, backdropped by mountains make for excellent photo opportunities on both sunny and overcast days.
One of the main attractions of the lake is the Prienavera centre, a custom complex built specifically for exercise and relaxation and boasting both indoor and outdoor pools with panoramic views of the lake and unique lakeside saunas.
If all the relaxation works up an appetite, then enjoy a meal at one of the many waterside restaurants before returning to the city.
For more alpine lake magic, head about an hour away from Munich to the depths of Walchensee Lake, one of the deepest in Germany.
With a host of activities available, it’s impossible not to stay entertained when visiting, whether you surf, sail dive or fish in Walchensee’s waters.
To get a real perspective of the depth of the lake, you can venture up into the mountains the surround it and peer down into the clear water.
Once you’re up in the mountains you can also enjoy a number of hiking trails, including the beautiful pine tree-lined Mittenwald.
14. Partnach Gorge
Declared as a natural monument owing to its stunning aesthetic beauty, the Partnach Gorge offers an immersive adventure into the middle of the gorge along winding walkways that take you down cliff side paths and through waterfalls.
Make sure you wear clothes that you’re prepared to get a little wet!
Less than 2 hours away from Munich is a world famous, UNESCO listed World Heritage Site that sits on the banks of the River Danube.
A truly remarkable city with roots dating back to 179 AD, the riverside city flourished from the regular trade routes established after the Stone Age and as a result is home to some fascinating history and beautiful architecture.