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Day trips from Munich

Note: This was written in 2019 so costs and transport times may have changed.

This is a very common travel question. The standard options are of course Schloss Neuschwanstein, Salzburg, and Dachau. There are so many other options that you could spend weeks going out on trips to mountains, cities, villages, and everything else. Though you are paying higher prices to be in Munich when you could pay less to be closer to some options, so try and find a balance between being in and out of the city.

My aim is to provide a bigger list of ideas than you normally see, along with a few basic facts and bits of logistics to give a very quick idea so that you can then research a bit further.

My scope is that anything central enough to the city centre to be on the tram or underground system is not included, and at the other extreme I have set a maximum range of about 2 hours by train (ideally by regional trains so the Bayern ticket applies). If you have a car then the rural options are increased (probably also with a shorter travel time compared to public transport)


In general

Munich is close to, but far from actually in, the Alps. The public transport getting you out there and back is a little slow considering the distances. If you have one a car would help you see far more (but is not essential).

Munich is also close to, but still not quite on, the Romantic Road route (the closest places are about an hour away). A number of the day-trip options are parts of the Romantic road, but hitting a few in a day and getting back might end up taking a very long time (especially with public transport).

There are lots of lakes scattered around (don’t forget that See means lake).

Likewise it seems like you can’t move for falling over a Schloss (palace) around Munich. Keep in mind that Schloss translates to castle, but in the sense of a palace or stately home. For a more serious defensive building you want a Festung or Burg. Though you will have to go further for those: there are far more ballrooms than battlements around Munich. If you plan to visit a few of these then check out the Bavarian Schloss Pass which gives unlimited access to the posh and defensive sort all over Bavaria for 14 days or a whole year (26 euro and 45 euro respectively, cheaper for couples/families) and might easily save some money. If you do the full Residenz in Munich for example it would be 13 euros.

There are also endless scenic options for a drink. Just about every settlement which is bigger than a few farm houses will have a brewery, and there are a number of especially scenic options at Klosterbrauerei (Monastery breweries) that are scattered around (eg: Andechs, Weltenburg, Reutberg).


Getting about

I have focused this on public transport as that will be the most practical option for many people. The German public transport system is generally very good, but delays are not uncommon – so be careful with any trip that requires multiple tight changes.

The times I give are the fastest standard options. It is worth checking how frequent these are and how much longer the other train connections are (and maybe also double checking all the RE trains are Bayern Ticket valid). The Deutsche Bahn website or app is your friend there.

Deutschland-Ticket (aka 49 Euro Ticket)

The Deutschland-Ticket covers local transport for the whole of Germany.

At 49 Euros for a month it is cheaper than any of the other options for more than a single day of traveling. There is a bit more faff because it is a subscription rather than a single ticket – just remember that works on calendar months and that you shouldn’t forget to cancel it by the 10th to avoid paying for the next month too.

Bayern Ticket

One very useful option here is the Bayern ticket:

  • This is basically an all-day travel pass for the whole of Bayern (Bavaria) on everything except the fast ICE/IC trains.
  • You can buy this for yourself, or as group of up to 5 people. There is a 25 Euro base price, and 7 Euros per extra person. So it is cheaper per person to get a shared group ticket. It is cheaper to buy from a machine than at the desk, but give yourself a few minutes to find it the first time around. Don’t forget to have a pen to hand to write your names on the back.
  • It is valid after 9am on weekdays until 3am the follow day. Or all day until 3am the following day on weekends and holidays. It does not matter when you buy it, only that you choose the right date for it to be valid.
  • It is valid on all local transport (regional trains, underground S-bahn, bus, tram) getting you to just about everywhere on this list, (bar Innsbruck) see this map of the coverage. But not on the fast trains (IC, ICE). This means you might be much slower getting to the more remote spots, I have covered both options in such cases.

Other tickets

There are also other tickets to keep in mind:

  • The Regio-Ticket Werdenfels is valid in the Werdenfelser Land (the area south of Munich around Garmisch-Partenkirchen) and for the S-bahn and some other transport in Munich itself. It is cheaper than the Bayern ticket (22 euros + 7 per extra person), does not have a starting time in the morning, plus for an extra 7 euros you can extend it into Tirol and to Innsbruck.
  • The Guten Tag ticket is like a cheaper Bayern ticket (23 euros + 7 per extra person, so it cuts 2 euros off the base price) but it is only valid on the regional trains run by Meridian, BOB, BRB (this map might make that clearer) and is not valid on the MVV (so no trams, buses, or underground in Munich). For the tiny saving you have a massive reduction in where it is valid, I would avoid this in favour of the Bayern ticket just to prevent any confusion on validity.

Outskirts (aka S-Bahn)

All within an hours ride away. Make for a half a day, to a full day excursions.

  • Andechs monastery (S8 to Ammersee then walk/bus, or S6 to Starnberg and a bus). A scenic monastery on a little hill that also happens to make beer and serve food in copious quantities. Sometimes the description is directly translated from Berg to say it sits on a mountain, it is actually very much on the small hill end of the meaning (Berg can mean 4000m of ice and rock, or it can mean a gentle 20m high hill).
  • Dachau (S2, then bus to Dachau, KZ-Gedenkstätte). The concentration camp is the main point of interest. Also a small old town and Schloss.
  • Oberschleißheim (S1), home to Schloss Schleißheim.
  • Monument Ludwig von Bayern (S6 or RE to Starnberg then walk or ferry a few km to Berg). The spot on Starnbergersee where the mad castle building king drowned.

Cities/towns

  • Salzburg (M 1hr47 0 changes). More than enough has been written about this before. Expect the first valid train to be busy.
  • Nuremberg (Nürnberg) (ICE 1hr 0 changes, RE 1hr30 0 changes). The town Itself has plenty to do, and is also a hub for the local area with further direct trains on to other places.
  • Regensburg (RE 1hr30, 0 changes). A really beautiful and large old town. I am amazed this is not better known. You can also take a cruise along the Danube river to the surreal Wahalla.
  • Bamberg (ICE 1hr45 0 changes, RE 2hr41 1 change). Famous old town with smoked beer.
  • Wasserburg am Inn (RE, 1hr, 1 change). Old town on the river Inn. Highly recommended by /r/Munich.
  • Innsbruck (EC 1hr44 0 changes, or RE 2hr50 1 change). The only option here not fully covered by the Bayern ticket in some way – however you can use the “Regio-Ticket Werdenfels + Innsbruck” offer to get there and back for 27 Euro (+12 per each extra person) but that would be a long (if scenic) round trip.
  • Landshut (RE, 0hr47, 0 changes). Old town.
  • Landsberg am Lech (RE, 1hr, 1 change). Old town. might also be called Landsberg (Lech).
  • Ulm (RE, 2hrs, 0 changes). Old town with a very tall cathedral spire.
  • Passau (RE, 2hrs15, 0 changes). Old town on the Danube
  • Augsburg (RE, 0hr43, 0 changes). Old town.
  • Ingolstadt (RE, 0hr50, 0 changes). Old town.
  • Eichstatt (RE, 1hr45, 1 change).

Mountains, lakes, villages, and castles

In the Alpine villages you might see Lüftlmalereien (houses painted with murals). Depending on the style they use and your taste this might be beautiful and quaint, or sickly sweet and overly twee.

I have divided this up into villages, lakes, and castles – but there is plenty of overlap between them.

Mountains and mountain villages:

  • Garmisch-Partenkirchen (RE, 1hr10, 0 changes). Home to the highest mountain in Germany, Zugspitze 2962m, with various ways to get up to it (previous Reddit post). Along with various other mountain options such as the Partnach gorge too. For British visitors there is a mountain called Wank which should provide endless amusement.
  • Mittenwald (RE, 1hr50, 0 changes). A nice old village offering mountains, gorges, forests and lakes. I have written in a bit more detail about it before.
  • Oberammergau (RE, 1hr 50, 1 change), just before you get to it is Ettal Monastery, and just beyond it Linderhof Palace (1 bus and 30 minutes further).
  • Osterhofen(Oberbay) (RE, 1hr15, 0 changes). Base for the cable car to Wendelstein.
  • If you are looking to ski then check out the trips listed at skibusmuenchen.de , or the combined train ticket/ski pass offers.

Lakes:

  • Tegernsee (RE, 1hr, 0 changes) and the nearbye Schliersee (Re, 1hr, 0 changes). You can hike between them.
  • Chiemsee. Go to Prien (RE, 1hr, 0 changes) then you can also catch a boat over to the island where Herrenchiemsee schloss is.
  • Walchansee (RE, 2hr15, 1 change).

Castles:

  • Füssen (RE, 2hr, 0 or 1 change) and the famous Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles. Endlessly written about elsewhere.
  • Burghausen (RE, 2hr10, 1 change). Probably the most impressive fortress in reach of Munich.
  • Harburg (RE, 1hr50, 1 change). Another actual defensive walls and towers castle.

Too far

At least I would say they are. Do as you like if you really must see these places.

  • Rothenburg ob der Tauber (RE, 3hr15, 2 changes). Though a number of tour companies do offer RodT combined with Harburg castle, but you are looking at an 11+ hour day. It is very famous but not the only option for a pretty old town.
  • Würzburg at the far end of the Romantic road is a long way off (RE, 3hr12, 1 change).
  • Bayreuth (ICE+RE 2hr 1 change, RE 3hr30 1 change). Good beer and a pleasant enough little old town. For the distance it isn’t really worth it, unless you are a hardcore Wagner fan.
  • Berchtesgaden (RE, 2hr30, 1 change) and then further on to the Königsee and the eagles nest. This would probably be less than 2 hours by car.
  • Oberstdorf (RE, 2hr30, 1 change). You can get to similar places in less time.
  • Weltenburg Abbey. An abbey/brewery. Might be nice, but from Munich you are probably better sticking with Andechs for the shorter and easier travel time.
  • Lindau and Lake Constance (RE, 2hr42, 1 change).
  • Hallstatt, Austria. All the way to Salzburg and then 2-3 hours further on with even slower transport. Making it 5 hours each way by public transport (as opposed to 2.5 hours by car). It would be quicker and easier to pop over to Vienna.
  • Black forest (Schwarzwald). You are looking at 3+ hours by car. But if you do go over that way then see this post about that area.
  • Switzerland. 4hrs each way to Zürich, or 3hr30 to St Gallen. It is just way too far for what they offer.
  • Italy. Again just too far.

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