Last Updated on
Munich, the Bavarian capital, is a beautiful city that’s full of German culture and heritage in the south of the country. As well as being an excellent destination in its own right, it’s the perfect place from which to make day trips into southern Germany, and even across the border into neighbouring Austria!
The excellent transportation system means that by taking trains you can be in nearby cities in half the time it would take by road, making rail travel an excellent way to get around! Stuttgart, a city packed full of automobile history, is just two hours away, while Nuremberg and its fascinating Old Town is just one hour on the high-speed rail link. Salzburg, the birthplace of famous composer Mozart, is a one and a half hour journey away by train, in Austria, while the Bavarian cities of Ulm and Augsburg are even closer.
If cities aren’t your thing, then don’t fear, because the Berchtesgaden Alps and their stunning natural beauty aren’t too far away either. History buffs can travel to Dachau or the Eagle’s Nest, to learn more about the state’s darker World War II history, while romantics can find plenty of fairytale castles throughout the region just waiting to be explored!
Munich is a great city to day trip from and to inspire your travels to Bavaria, here are our favourite trips and tours, picked by our experts!
Table of Contents
Nuremberg is just one hour away from Munich by train, and it makes for a great day trip from the Bavarian capital! The city is located to the north of Munich, and the high speed, InterCity Express trains depart every half hour in both directions from the central station in each destination. That gives you plenty of time to get acquainted with one of Germany’s most charming, and historic cities!
Nuremberg is stuffed with medieval architecture, as the city was for many years an important capital of the Holy Roman Empire. The Old Town is well preserved, with high walls still present in many areas, which were raised hundreds of years ago to protect the city from invasion.
The Imperial Castle – or, the Kaiserburg Castle – is the real highlight in this respect, with an impressive location atop cliffs that overlook much of the city. You can even gain access to the top of the tallest tower, for unbeatable views over Nuremberg!
The city also has a darker past too though, and a past which is worth looking into during your visit here. Nuremberg has many unfortunate associations with the Nazis, and at the end of World War II, the city became known for hosting the Nuremberg Trials, where high ranking Nazi officers were tried for their crimes.
Today, the courthouse where the trials took place is now a museum, while the old Nazi Party Rally Grounds, where propaganda marches were held and speeches were made, is now home to a fascinating exhibition that explores the evils behind fascism.
Anyone looking to learn more about the evils of fascism and the crimes of the Nazis while they are visiting Munich might want to consider visiting Dachau, the site of a former concentration camp in Bavaria. Dachau is surprisingly close to Munich in fact, and you can reach it in just half an hour on the public train. It’s not necessarily the most fun-filled day trip you can make, but it is an important, historic and educational day trip.
The concentration camp has been turned into an enduring memorial to the Nazi regime’s crimes, and as a testament to the influence they had in Bavaria, this was, in fact, the first such camp in Europe, although perhaps not the most well known, or deadly.
Dachau was in operation from as early as 1933 and only closed when the US Army arrived at the gates in April 1945, as World War II drew to a close. In later decades, the camp was preserved to serve as a memorial, to allow the education of younger generations, and it has since become an important site for tourism too, as visitors look to learn more about what happened here in World War II.
Stuttgart is found two hours away by train from Munich, and it makes for an interesting day out! Perhaps paradoxically, the city and the surrounding region are best known for car manufacturing and wine production.
Stuttgart is home to some of the largest and most iconic car companies in the world, and in the city, you can visit both the Mercedes Benz Factory and the Mercedes Benz Museum to learn more about the history of this iconic car brand. If that’s not quite enough car tourism for one day though, then don’t worry, there’s more to come!
Stuttgart is also home to the Porsche Museum, and Porsche Headquarters, where you can see the development of this classic car through the ages. Both car companies are at the forefront of design and have their museums and headquarters housed in modern, cutting edge locations that help to give Stuttgart the feel of an almost futuristic city.
The surrounding regions are well regarded for their vineyards, and after visiting the city you can head out into the countryside to explore a few of the best. Wine has been produced here since the Roman era when it was realised that conditions were perfect for growing excellent grapes. You can walk through the vineyards, taste the local wine and try some great food to cap it all off!
Heading to Munich too? Save some money with our local guide about the most AWESOME hostels in Munich!
Ulm is just over an hour away to the west of Munich by train, and this often overlooked city is home to one of the most dramatic cathedrals in Europe. When you step off the train and head out of the station, the first thing you’ll notice rising high above the rest of the skyline is the spire of Ulm Minster. This is the tallest church spire in the world, standing at just under 150 metres in height. Despite being centuries old, you can still climb to the top of the steeple, for incredible views over the city!
This is a historic city, and you can find much to admire in the Old Town aside from the cathedral, with ramshackle houses lining the roads and ancient city walls still standing.
There are some interesting museums too, from the standard Ulm Museum where you can delve into the history of the city, to the more bizarre Bread Culture Museum, where you can learn about all things related to bread culture – if you’re into that sort of thing, then this is probably the only bread culture based day trip that you can make from Munich!
An even closer day trip to make from Munich is to take the train a half hour along the line, west to Augsburg. If you’re well into your Germanic history, then this is the place to visit in Bavaria, because Augsburg is one of the oldest continually inhabited settlements in the country.
The city is named after Roman Emperor Augustus, who founded it in 15 BC during his conquests in the region. It grew into an important Roman outpost and trading post, before then becoming a provincial capital. After the Roman Empire fell, it retained its importance and was one of the largest and wealthiest cities in Europe during the medieval era. You can see much of this historic legacy in Augsburg too, and wandering the streets is like taking a step back in time!
There are countless museums and historic houses and buildings to uncover, so you might want to consider joining a local tour to really uncover the quirky facts behind Augsburg!
Salzburg is across the border in Austria, but it’s an easy international day trip away from Munich with excellent high-speed rail connections. The fastest, direct trains take just over an hour and a half to reach Salzburg, and when you arrive, you have a whole host of sights waiting to be explored.
Perhaps most famously, Salzburg is the birthplace of iconic composer and musician Mozart. If you wanted to, you could spend the entire day just visiting locations related to Mozart, as much of his legacy is well preserved in the city.
Start at Mozart’s Residence, the Wohnhaus, which was actually destroyed in World War II before being reconstructed in later decades and turned into a museum. You can stroll through Mozartplatz, the square in the city centre named for him, and home to a large statue of his likeness, and end the day with a Mozart inspired concert at the local music hall!
If Mozart isn’t quite your cup of tea, then don’t miss Salzburg, because it’s still packed full of things to do. You can visit castles, Austro-Hungarian palaces and exquisite gardens and parks, and that’s before you even consider heading out into the nearby mountains!
For couples looking for a romantic day trip from Munich, then one of the best locations to visit together is Neuschwanstein Castle. Found right on the border with Austria in southern Bavaria, this is just about as picturesque a castle as you could find anywhere in Europe!
It’s often described as a fairy tale castle, and when you first lay eyes on it you’ll be instantly transported into the realms of a Disney movie. The castle is perched on a high hilltop, in a dramatic position in the countryside, far from any city. It was designed as a retreat for King Ludwig II and was constructed in the mid 19th century, on the site of older castles that had fallen into disrepair.
This was never meant to be a castle in the traditional defensive sense of the word and was instead designed in the lavish and elegant styles of the time, which came to be known as German Romanticism.
Somewhat tragically, the ambitious project was never finished in Ludwig II’s lifetime, as he passed away shortly before it was completed. The castle was opened as a tourist attraction after its completion and over a hundred years later, attracts millions of visitors every year!
If you are traveling to Munich, You gotta check out our article on the things to do in Munich, Germany!
Linderhof is another equally romantic castle, and it was again built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. This castle he lived to see completed, and it served as a quiet escape in the Bavarian Alps, far away from the bustle of his realm. It’s in a stunning location, surrounded by hills and mountains, and the scenery is as beautiful as the architecture is grand.
The palace itself is quite small – perhaps this is why the king lived to see it built! – but the grounds are extensive, with a huge fountain serving as a centrepiece at the entranceway. You can still spend hours exploring the gardens and walking through the intricate stately rooms, but save time to explore the surrounding countryside too while you are travelling south from Munich for the day!
Check this out – If you are headed to Berlin check out our guide to Berlin’s best areas to stay!
What could be more romantic than the aptly named Romantic Road, a tourist trail which can take you along some of the most charming and historic countrysides in Bavaria and Baden-Wurttemberg?
The route is several hundred miles long, but you can easily access much of it from Munich on a day trip! In the north, the Romantic Road starts in Wurzburg, running south until you hit Fussen, which is almost on the border with Austria.
While the entire route might be a little too much to complete in just one day, from Munich many travellers choose to visit Harburg, directly to the west to begin. Here you can find a beautifully preserved castle which dates back to the 11th century. From Harburg, head north, stopping off in small, rural German towns and villages to get a feel for local life, before finishing in the north at Rothenburg.
The whole Romantic Road is just about as quintessentially Germanic as you might imagine, as it visits some of the most romantically minded locations in the south. You might just find yourself making more than a few day trips from Munich to explore the whole route!
Berchtesgaden National Park is located on the border with Austria, and it’s perhaps best known for being the location of Adolf Hitler’s infamous lair, the Eagle’s Nest. While you can take the kids here if you think they are ready to learn a bit about Nazi history, the national park itself is an incredible outdoor wilderness that they’ll love!
This is an alpine national park, with rolling hills, tall mountains and beautiful scenery. It’s a great place to show your children the beauty of Bavaria in its best form, and to get them outdoors and active. There are plenty of shorter walking routes – depending on the age of your kids of course! – that will give you the opportunity to enjoy the landscapes at a slow and leisurely pace.
You’ll also want to call in at Konigsee, one of the deepest lakes in the country, where you can enjoy a boat ride across shimmering alpine waters!
It’s a great, family day trip from Munich, and one of the most stunning natural attractions in Germany.
Zugspitze is the tallest mountain in Germany, and it’s found in the Bavarian Alps to the south of Munich. Don’t worry though, you won’t be taking the kids on an epic climb to the summit, rather, you can enjoy a leisurely and fun day out that involves cable cars and a cog-wheel train!
At 2962 metres in height, Zugspitze is mammoth! It also marks the border with Austria, so from the top, you can look over, far into the neighbouring country. From the base, take the cable car all the way to the top, and be mesmerised by the views on the journey. The adults can even enjoy a classic Bavarian beverage – beer, of course! – at the pub by the summit! Everyone though can refuel here with a bite to eat on the mountain.
The cog-wheel train will then be the final part of the journey, as you ride it through the mountain peaks and back down to the lowlands, before returning to Munich after an action-packed day.
Munich is just a short drive away from Legoland Germany! There’s little else that needs saying other than it’s Legoland! And the kids are sure to love it!
It’s located by the town of Gunzburg, just outside of Ulm, so less than an hour of driving from Munich. At Legoland, you can find a whole array of Lego-themed rides and attractions that will keep everyone busy for the day. It’s one of the best and busiest theme parks in Germany, but there are plenty of rides and it’s well spread out across a large area, ensuring there’s plenty of space and that queues are never too insane.
There are multiple, themed areas throughout the park, offering different Lego thrills and rides, from log flumes and rapids to roller coasters. And of course, there’s always the opportunity to build with Lego wherever you go! What more could you want on a day trip with the kids from Munich?
Munich is an excellent city to visit and perhaps an even better city to day trip from! Bavaria is on your doorstep, and you can easily travel around using the excellent rail network. There are historic cities packed full of medieval architecture, cathedrals and museums, while those with an interest in 20th-century events can delve into the legacy of the Nazis that are still found across the region.
Austria is just a short journey away, as are towering mountain peaks in the Bavarian Alps, including the tallest mountain in Germany! There’s nature, there are fairytale castles built for kings and there are swathes or charming, rural countryside to explore. Take the kids on cable cars and show them the great outdoors – and don’t forget Legoland! – while if you’re a couple, explore the Romantic Road and take in the most romantic of Germany’s locations.
There’s so much to see in Bavaria, and across the border in Austria too, and you’ll quickly realise that you’ll need much more time to truly explore all there is in the region from Munich, so be prepared to book a return flight sooner than you may have ever anticipated!
*** Some of the links on Hotel Jules are affiliate links, which means if you do make a purchase, we may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you.) Thank you for using our links! Your support keeps the site going***
Born in Los Angeles, Aaron Hovanesian is one of the original staff writers for Hotel Jules. Having backpacked the world as a young man, Aaron now prefers to travel the world in luxury, proudly staying in the world's most amazing hotels and properties. When Aaron is not traveling he lives in Western Colorado he can be found brewing his own beer (probably an IPA) or spending time with his two amazing golden retrievers.