More often than not there’s just not time on your European holiday to visit everywhere you want to. A whistlestop tour of multiple cities, towns and villages is downright tiring so why not base yourself in a central location for a few days, and head out for a day trip or two? With its close proximity to the gorgeous Bavarian countryside, romantic villages and famous cities, Munich is the perfect city to use as your base.
You’ll want to allow at least a couple of days to see the sights of Munich but if you’re keen to get outside the city, there are plenty of excellent day trip options available.
6 of the best day trips from Munich
The beautiful Austrian city of Salzburg is within easy reach of Munich and it’s easy to spend a day here. Known for its links to Mozart and the hit movie, The Sound of Music, Salzburg also boasts a gorgeous Palace and the Hohensalzburg Fortress that keeps watch over the city.
I love wandering the cobblestoned old town (Altstadt) and window shopping along Getreidegasse and Linzer Gasse, two of Salzburg's most popular shopping streets.
Getting to Salzburg from Munich:
By train - 1h:40m Railjet / 1h:57m regional train
By car - 1h:35m
On an organised day tour - Salzburg small group tour from Munich
Neuschwanstein Castle / Fussen
‘Mad’ King Ludwig’s fairytale home, Neuschwanstein Castle, is, not surprisingly, one of Bavaria’s most visited sites. The castle is located just a few kilometres outside the lovely town of Fussen and if you’re travelling by train from Munich, this is where you’ll disembark.
The castle can only be visited on a guided tour and you have to book a specific tour time in advance, so allow yourself enough time to reach the castle from Fussen.
Getting to Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich
By train (to Fussen) - 2h - Taxi from Fussen station to Neuschwanstein takes 10 minutes, or walk from the station in around 1h:05m. Alternatively there’s a bus to Hohenschwangau - journey time 7 minutes (every 30 mins) then walk 1.5kilometres to the Castle (approximately 20 minutes).
By car- 1h:40m
On an organised day tour - Small group tour of Neuschwanstein and Linderhof Castle - day trip from Munich.
Further reading: Neuschwanstein Castle, King Ludwig's fairytale castle
On the edge of Lake Constance, Lindau is a pretty medieval town that makes a great day trip from Munich. The lake itself also borders Austria and Switzerland so a cruise to another country or to Mainau Island, known as Flower Island, is also possible!
Strolling the lakeside promenade is a popular pastime but be sure to make time to enjoy the delicious cakes and pastries available in one of the many bakeries and cafes in town, too. Germans do cakes so well!
Getting to Lindau from Munich
By train - 2h:40m Intercity train / 2h:56m regional train
By car - 2h:10m
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
It may be a little further from Munich than Salzburg and Lindau but the extra time it takes you to reach Rothenburg ob der Tauber is well worth it. Surely one of the most picturesque towns in Germany, Rothenburg oozes charm around every corner.
Dating back to the 10th century, Rothenburg still retains its fortifications and the best way to get your bearings is to walk around the city walls.
Around every corner of the town there’s a postcard-worthy view - the Plonlein is one you are probably already familiar with. Marktplatz (Market Square) is a great place to enjoy a drink and absorb the atmosphere of a real life fairytale village.
Getting to Rothenburg ob der Tauber from Munich
By train - 3h:14m
By car - 2h:35m
On an organised day tour - Romantic Road Rothenburg Day Tour from Munich
Further reading: What to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
If you’re travelling with children, what better way is there to spend a day than at Legoland? Of all the theme parks I’ve visited over the years, Legoland in Germany is definitely high on my favourites list. It’s small enough not to be overwhelming but large enough to offer something for everyone.
As well as the usual rides you’d expect at a theme park, Legoland is also home to heaps of Lego structures (no surprises there!) which are quite amazing. There’s definitely something to appeal to all the family at Legoland.
Getting to Legoland Germany from Munich
By train (to Gunzburg) - 1h:38m Free shuttle bus operates every 15 minutes (high season) from Gunzburg station to Legoland.
By car - 1h:30m
Further reading: Legoland Germany - fun for the whole family
Factory outlet shopping at Ingolstadt
Whilst shopping isn’t on everyone’s holiday agenda, those that do feel the need for some retail therapy are in luck with the factory outlet shopping centre at Ingolstadt under an hour from Munich.
Home to outlet stores for brands including Armani, Calvin Klein, Fossil, Jimmy Choo, Ugg and Versace, shoppers can save up to 60% on fashion, cosmetics and homewares. Ingolstadt Village is open daily (except Sundays and bank holidays) from 10am to 8pm.
And, if your travel partner isn’t a shopper, there are numerous restaurants and cafes in the village where they can while away the time.
Getting to Ingolstadt Village from Munich
By train (to Ingolstadt) - 36m ICE train or 46m by regional train. From Ingolstadt Central station, take bus 10 to the bus station Harderstraße, then change to bus line 20 to reach Ingolstadt Village.
By car - 1h
By bus - The “Shopping Express” bus departs daily (except Sundays and bank holidays) from Munich for Ingolstadt Village. €20 return. Children under 12 travel free. Tickets can be purchased online or from the driver but bookings in advance are recommended. Passengers holding a German Rail, Eurail or Inter Rail Pass travel free.
On an organised day tour - Ingolstadt Village Shopping Day Trip from Munich
Where to stay in Munich
There are hundreds of hotels and apartments to choose from in Munich but my choice is Holiday Inn Munich City Centre. I've stayed at the hotel on two occasions and loved it. You can read my review here and check prices for other hotels in Munich here.
Do any of these day trips from Munich appeal to you? Which would you most like to do?
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