More often than not there’s just not time on your European holiday to visit everywhere you want to. A whistle-stop 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?
Munich is the perfect city to use as your base as it is close to the gorgeous Bavarian countryside, romantic villages and famous cities – and there are plenty of day trips from Munich to enjoy.
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 trips from Munich available.
Now that your base is sorted, it’s time to decide just which day trip from Munich is right for you. There are plenty of pretty villages and attractive cities near Munich to visit so it could be a hard choice!
The great thing is that there’s a Munich day trip to suit everyone and there’re not just available in summer - you can enjoy all of the following day trips from Munich in winter as well.
So, without further ado, here are, in my opinion, the six best day trips from Munich by train, car and bus. EDIT: I've added two more popular excursions from Munich to the list.
Day trips from Munich to Salzburg
The beautiful Austrian city of Salzburg is within easy reach and makes a great day trip from Munich. 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.
With so much to see in the city, it’s no wonder that Salzburg day trips from Munich are extremely popular.
Getting to Salzburg from Munich:
By train - One of the easiest ways to enjoy a day trip to Salzburg from Munich is to travel by train. In just 1 hour and 40 minutes you can be in the heart of Salzburg and ready to start your sightseeing.
By car – The drive from Munich to Salzburg via the A8 Motorway takes around 90 minutes.
On an organised day tour – If you prefer to visit Salzburg on an organised day tour, you could try this Salzburg small group tour from Munich.
By bus – FlixBus also operate a Munich to Salzburg bus multiple times per day. The journey time is two hours.
Further reading: 24 Hours in Salzburg
Day trips from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle and Fussen
‘Mad’ King Ludwig’s fairytale home, Neuschwanstein Castle, is, not surprisingly, one of Bavaria’s most visited sites and it’s also one of the most popular day trips out of Munich.
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.
Neuschwanstein 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.
If time allows, you might also like to visit the Bavarian village of Oberammergau, famous for its Passion Play.
Getting from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle and Fussen
By train (to Fussen) – Trains depart regularly from Munich to Fussen (journey time two hours). To reach Neuschwanstein Castle from Fussen, you can either catch a taxi for the 10 minute ride, or walk from the station in around 1h:05m.
Alternatively there’s a bus from Fussen to Hohenschwangau - journey time 7 minutes (every 30 mins) - then walk 1.5 kilometres to the Castle (approximately 20 minutes).
By car- If you have your own car, it should take you around 90 minutes to drive the 132 kilometres from Munich to Fussen. Neuschwanstein Castle is a further six kilometres from Fussen.
By bus – there is no direct bus from Munich to Fussen.
On an organised day tour – For a great day out, a variety of organised full day tours to Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich are available. Some also include a visit to nearby Linderhof Palace. Click here to check current prices.
"TIP: Before planning your day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle, you should read this article."
Further reading: 6 fabulous reasons to visit Fussen, Germany
Munich to Lake Constance day trip
Bordering three countries – Germany, Austria and Switzerland – is the 63-kilometre long Lake Constance. On the German shore of Lake Constance sits Lindau, a pretty medieval town that makes a great day trip from Munich.
The lake is popular with watersports enthusiasts and cyclists, who tackle the 260 kilometre Bodensee Cycle Path that circles the entire lake.
Lake cruises are a lovely relaxing way to pass an hour or two and you can combine them with a visit to Mainau Island, known as Flower Island, or to another country!
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!
From Lindau, it’s easy to visit other towns on the lake. It’s just nine minutes by train from Lindau to Bregenz (in Austria) or catch a ferry to Rorschach Hafen and in just an hour you’ll be in Switzerland!
You can see Lake Constance ferry timetables here
Getting to Lindau from Munich
By train – To get from Munich to Lake Constance by train, the fastest service (the Intercity Express) runs regularly from Munich Hauptbahnhof (main station). Journey time is around 2 hours 30 minutes.
By car – The drive from Munich to Lake Constance (Lindau) takes around 2 hours (distance 183 kilometres).
By bus – FlixBus services between Munich and Lindau take just over two hours.
Munich day trips to 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 – which is situated on Germany’s Romantic Road - 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 - It does take a bit more effort to reach Rothenburg ob der Tauber by rail than some other destinations but it is definitely one of the best day trips from Munich by train.
Trains depart Munich’s Isator station with changes required at Dachau and Treuchtlingen. The final destination is Steinach, the station that serves Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
Journey time: around 3 hours 15 minutes.
By car – With your own car, you’ll have the freedom to not only visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber but to also explore more of the Romantic Road, Germany. Winter, summer, spring or autumn, this is one of the prettiest parts of Germany and you’ll probably find yourself stopping off along the way to admire the scenery.
Allow about two and a half hours to drive from Munich to Rothenburg ob der Tauber - without stops!
On an organised day tour – One of the easiest ways to visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber is to take a Romantic Road Tour from Munich. Click here to check prices and book your place.
Further reading: What to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Legoland (Gunzburg) day trip from Munich
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.
TIP: Don't waste time waiting in a queue to buy your tickets. Click here to purchase Skip the Line tickets for Legoland Deutschland (Germany) Resort.
Getting to Legoland Germany from Munich
By train (to Gunzburg) - Trains from Munich’s Isator station take around an hour to reach Gunzburg. Free shuttle buses from the station to Legoland every 15 minutes (during high season).
By car - If you’re road tripping, the journey time from Munich to Legoland is around one hour 30 minutes.
Further reading: Legoland Germany - fun for the whole family
Day trip for 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) - It takes less than an hour by train from Munich to Ingolstadt, in fact the ICE (Intercity Express) will have you there in just 36 minutes.
From Ingolstadt Central station, take bus 10 to the bus station Harderstraße, then change to bus line 20 to reach Ingolstadt Village.
By car - It takes one hour to drive from Munich to Ingolstadt Village.
By bus - The “Shopping Express” bus departs daily (except Sundays and bank holidays) from Munich for Ingolstadt Village and costs around €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 - You can also book an organised day trip from Munich to Ingolstadt Village. Click here to check prices.
Day trip from Munich to Dachau Concentration Camp
While a much more solemn excursion than the others on this list, a day trip to the memorial at the first of Hitler’s concentration camps is still worth your while.
Originally designed to keep political prisoners, Dachau soon became the murdering grounds of an estimated 41,500 Jews and other “undesirables.” All other camps were modelled after Dachau.
It’s free to visit with no appointment necessary, and you can tour the “Path of Prisoners” along with exhibitions on the history of the camp.
The bookstore at the site sells resources on National Socialism and concentration camps, and there’s a cafeteria on site so you won’t have to leave for lunch.
Getting to Dachau from Munich
By train - Take the S2 train from Munich’s Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) to the Dachau station (these leave every ten minutes). This is about a 21 minute ride. Here you’ll need to take bus 726 towards "Saubachsiedlung.” Disembark about 7 minutes later at the entrance of the memorial site ("KZ-Gedenkstätte").
By car - Because the visitor parking lot is under construction until 2020 resulting in very limited parking, you’ll have to take a taxi to get to the memorial site via car. If you drive yourself, you risk not getting a parking place.
By bus - There is no bus directly from Munich to Dachau, but you can take the bus for the second leg of your train journey (see “by train” above).
On an organised day tour - If you prefer to take an organized tour, this one is very popular.
Day trip to Nuremberg from Munich
If you enjoy medieval architecture, a trip to Nuremberg - founded in 1050 A.D. - will satisfy your craving, starting with a tour of the Nuremberg Castle. It’s Bavaria’s second largest city, and home to Germany’s first railroad.
Go during Christmas season and enjoy its world-famous Christmas market, Christkindlsmarkt. At any other time of the year there are museums, shopping districts and delicious Nuremberg sausages to appreciate.
Gingerbread and beer flow in abundance, and a stroll through Old Town will take you back in time. Despite extensive bombing during WWII, the city has been beautifully restored: 4 kilometres of the city’s medieval wall still stand, as a large portion of the city’s (empty) moat.
Getting to Nuremberg from Munich
By train - There are a number of trains that run between Munich Central Station and Nuremberg including the ICE 1522, ICE 528, ICE 1504, ICE 100 and RE 4038. Journey time is between 1 hour 8 minutes (for the ICE trains) and 1 hour 37 minutes (for the RE train).
By car - It’ll take about 2 hours in normal traffic to reach Nuremberg, following the A9 the entire journey. For specific directions, click here.
By bus - The FlixBus leaves from Munich’s central bus station and takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes to get to Nuremberg.
By organised tour - If you prefer an organised tour, there are a couple to choose from. Click here to check prices.
Looking for day trips from Munich to Switzerland?
See the Lake Constance option above.
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 and loved both its central location and facilities.
As you can see, I’ve included a wide variety of destinations in my list of best day trips from Munich. Which of these excursions from Munich will you choose?
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