The best day trips from Munich, Germany by rental car.
880 kilometers (550 miles) in total + returns to Munich
Tags: Travel guide, Day Trips, Germany, Short Distance
Bavaria is considered one of the best places to visit in Europe. Visit fairytale castles, Nazi-hideaway-turned-restaurants, medieval towns and a lot more on the best day trips from Munich.
This travel guide takes you on short day trips from Munich. Alternatively, you can change the itinerary into a single road trip between each milestone. Rentalmoose recommends adding a few days to explore The Black Forest, you won’t regret it!
Planning- Before You Leave
Before setting off on the best day trips from Munich, take a look at some essential information listed below.
When is the best time to visit Southern Germany?
Enjoy the hottest weather when you visit during the Summer. Keep in mind, however, that the tourist season peaks in the heart of Summer (July through August). During that time, some attractions might get overcrowded. If you go during the “shoulder season” before or after the Summer, you may be able to catch the best weather without the hordes of tourists.
Munich is only a few hours away from the picturesque Black Forest, one of the most underrated travel destinations within Germany. Extend your trip and drive through the scenic Black Forest High Road, wander around the ruins of a monastery and observe the tallest waterfall in the country, before heading off to Switzerland. Click here for the guide.
You can also head south into the Swiss Alps and explore the glorious mountains, drive up to the top of Europe or ski in the world’s most prestigious resorts. Check out the Swiss Alps Travel guide and plan your ideal road trip.
Why should I book a rental car in Germany?
Germany, especially the southern part of the country, is absolutely perfect to be discovered via a rental car. The toll-free German highway network (Autobahn) is very well-developed and maintained. What’s more, spectacular roadside views are guaranteed around Neuschwanstein, Salzburg and the Eagle’s Nest.
Germany and Austria are both members of the open-borer Schengen zone, therefore border crossing is quick and hassle-free. When driving in Austria, you are required to have a highway vignette. The routes suggested in this guide avoid highways in Austria. In this case, a vignette is not necessary.
For extra peace of mind during your road trip, Rentalmoose recommends adding excess coverage when booking your rental car. Once you’ve picked up the car, don’t forget to take photos of the car to qualify for a 50% discount from the excess coverage fee.
Can tourists drive in Germany?
Absolutely! Tourists above the age of 18 can freely drive using a foreign driver’s license for up to 6 months, without the need for an International Driving Permit.
When driving on the German Autobahn, remember to stick to the right lane unless overtaking. Some segments of the Autobahn have no speed limits, it is especially crucial not to block the overtaking lanes on unrestricted segments.
Speed limits are enforced quite strictly in Germany. You may come across well-hidden radars, especially in urban zones. Pay attention to road signs at all times and stay within the limit.
If you do happen to get a speeding ticket, you will be pleased to hear that the fines are rather low.
Getting caught at 11-15km/h (6.8-9.3 MPH) above the limit outside of urban zones will result in a 40 Euro ticket.
Germany, as well as Austria, have right-hand side traffic.
Now that you’re all set, let’s dive into the best day trips in Munich!
Photography by Ian Kelsall.
This adventure begins in one of the most beautiful cities in Germany. The picturesque city is loved by tourists for its medieval architecture, rich history, plentiful cultural venues, and various outdoor activities. Football fans are in for a treat, as Munich is home to FC Bayern.
This city will serve as the base for your day trips from Munich. Make sure you explore the fascinating city first, before setting off on Munich day trips.
For maximum convenience, Rentalmoose recommends picking up your rental car directly from Munich Airport, Munich Hauptbahnhof Train Station, or the central bus station. Browse through rental companies that support airport pick-up via Rentalmoose.
Don’t forget to take check-in photos using the Rentalmoose app once you’ve picked up your rental car to qualify for a 50% rebate from the excess coverage fee.
Is Munich worth visiting?
Absolutely! Munich is a fascinating historic city that is filled with attractions for history lovers, art aficionados, foodies, photographers and shoppers of all kinds. Also, don’t forget the region’s football culture and intense matches that take place at the world-class Allianz Arena.
When in Munich, you can’t skip a visit to the Marienplatz, a historic square that has been the heart of the city since the 1100s. Admire the golden statue of the Virgin Mary in the middle of the square or grab a coffee at one of the local cafes. Stroll around the area and feel the real medieval vibe.
Foodies should definitely head to the Viktualienmarkt just a walk away from the main square. The former farmer’s market has been around for hundreds of years and has all sorts of deliciousness in store for you, ranging from local Bavarian specialties to exotic fruit.
The market operates between Monday and Saturday from 10 AM onwards. Closed on Sundays.
When visiting Marienplatz and its surroundings, it’s best to drop off your rental car at one of the spacious multi-story car parks located just a short walk away from the heart of the city.
Rates vary between 2 and 6 Euros per hour.
Wandering around the glamorous Munich Residence, the stunning structure was originally built in the 1380s. The vast majority of the residence was destroyed during the Second World War, though it has been carefully reconstructed in the 1980s.
Today, the complex consists of 130 charming rooms and 10 colorful courtyards. Admission costs below 10 EUR per person, tickets can only be purchased by cash or credit card upon entrance.
If you’re visiting Munich in the second half of September, be sure to drop by the famous Oktoberfest. The festival is filled with countless food stalls, theme park rides, local souvenir shops, parties, and parades.
Of course, the highlight is beer which is available all over the place. Check for details on the official website.
Experience Bavarian cuisine and hospitality at the Hofbrauehaus. The famous beer hall has been welcoming guests since the late 1500s and is the favorite go-to tavern among locals as well as tourists.
Guests can choose from a variety of local Bavarian dishes and beverages (including non-alcoholic beers).
Rentalmoose order tip: Be sure to try the favorites, such as Pretzels and Wiener Schnitzels.
What are the best hotels in Munich?
Luxury travelers should consider checking into the Mandarin Oriental Munich. The elegant 5-star hotel in the heart of Munich’s Old Town features prestigious rooms and suites, as well as luxurious amenities such as a spa and wellness center and a fine-dining restaurant that offers a mix of exceptional Japanese and Peruvian cuisine.
In the summer, guests can relax at the terrace that offers panoramic views of the area.
Traveling on a tighter budget? The Achat Hotel Muenchen Sued might be the perfect choice for you. The 4-star hotel offers modern, well-equipped rooms as well as a fitness center, a restaurant, and a bar, all at an affordable price tag. A private car park is available for hotel guests.
Once you’ve spent enough time in the city, begin your Munich day trips.
First day trip from Munich: Neuschwanstein Castle, 1 hour 50 minutes
The Neuschwanstein Castle is a magical structure located less than 2 hours away from the city, making it the perfect destination for a day trip from Munich.
Why is Neuschwanstein Castle famous?
The fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most famous castles in the entire world, commissioned by King Ludwig II in the 19th century.
King Ludwig II was known for fairytale-like buildings, and the Neuschwanstein Castle remains the most famous structure commissioned by him. The king was meant to live in the castle, but he ended up dying before getting the chance to move in.
The magical Neuschwanstein Castle has been a symbol of Germany ever since. It even inspired Walt Disney’s fairytale castle found in Disneyland parks.
Afterward, head to the ticket center in the Hohenschwangau village near the castle, as it is the only place to purchase tickets to the Neuschwanstein Castle.
The admission to Neuschwanstein Castle costs below 15 Euros per person, children younger than 18 can enter free of charge. Walk through the castle’s monumental rooms and decorative chambers.
After a visit to the castle itself, travelers can hike across the monumental mountains surrounding the castle. Hike along the allgaeu hiking trails. Be sure to bring your camera with you, as there will be plenty of scenic viewpoints along the way!
If you’re lucky, you might spot some of the local wildlife too.
Next day trip from Munich: Salzburg, 1 hour 50 minutes
Salzburg & The Eagle’s Nest
Photography by Gerald Lobenwein.
What is Salzburg known for?
After a day of exploration at the Neuschwanstein castle, make your way over to the Austrian border and the picturesque city of Salzburg. The famed city is known for being the birthplace of Mozart, and plenty of attractions in town pay homage to the great composer.
The drive from Munich to Salzburg takes less than 2 hours one way, consider taking the A94 and then the B20, it will cost you just around 10 more minutes but you will avoid Austrian highway tolls (vignette).
The best place to begin your Salzburg exploration is the Old Town, one of the largest UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites on the planet and one of the best-preserved historic districts in this part of Europe.
Stroll around the busy streets, admire the magnificent baroque and medieval architecture or step inside one of the local cafes for a refreshing coffee.
The Old Town (Altstadt in German) is the perfect spot to satisfy your shopping needs, too. Head to Getreidegasse, where the picturesque street is lined with stores selling anything from souvenirs and antiques to high-end clothing and jewelry. The area is filled with eateries and cafes, don’t hesitate to visit some of them for a slice of freshly-baked cake or an aromatic tea.
Parking around Salzburg’s Old Town can be stressful, especially during the weekends when the area gets extremely busy. Rentalmoose recommends dropping off your rental car at this Contipark car park, just a short walk from the heart of town. Most of the city’s best attractions are located within the Altstadt, it’s best to leave your car at the car park and continue exploring on foot.
Stroll around the vibrant Old Town until you reach Mozart’s Residence situated on the Makartplatz. The residence was reconstructed after it had been completely destroyed during World War 2.
Today, Mozart’s Residence is a museum filled with the great composer’s memorabilia, as well as a variety of facts about the artist’s family life and the house itself. A visit is an absolute must, not just for Mozart fans.
Open daily between 9 AM and 5:30 PM.
The Eagle’s Nest
The Eagle’s Nest photographed by John H.
As your day trip from Munich comes to an end, make a slight detour and visit one of the most unique attractions in the region, located in Germany right next to the Austrian border.
The Eagle’s Nest was constructed as a mountain hideaway during the Third Reich era. The eerie structure has since been turned into a unique restaurant atop the mountain. Indulge in regional German cuisine while admiring breathtaking views of the Alps, or enjoy the cool breeze at the outside terrace.
History fans can book a guided tour around parts of the former Nazi hideaway that are off-limits to restaurant guests.
The Eagle’s Nest strategic location makes it impossible to reach by car. Travelers can either hike up to the building (roughly 2 hours one way) or leave their cars at the Documentation Center car park and take the bus up to the end of the road. From there, walk through an eerie tunnel and take the elevator up to the top.
Private cars can’t go further than the Documentation Center. What’s more, the Eagle’s Nest is seasonal and remains closed in winter.
Next day trip from Munich: Nuremberg, 2 hours
Photography by Bluefish_Japan/Pixabay.com
Did you know that one of the oldest cities in all of Bavaria lies just 2 hours north of Munich? The city’s historical significance dates over 900 years back. It’s a perfect destination for a day trip from Munich.
Is Nuremberg worth visiting?
Most definitely! The charming medieval city was bombed during World War II and has been carefully reconstructed. Today, it looks better than ever. The historic streets are absolutely perfect to get lost in.
Begin by exploring the heart of the city’s historic district. Drop off your rental car at the Hauptmarkt car park (current rates on the website) and explore the area on foot. Get a photo by the Weinstadel (photographed above), a medieval wine warehouse.
Admire the structure’s facade and wander around the area, as the warehouse itself is not open for public viewing.
For a panoramic view of the heart of Nuremberg, walk to the Kaiserburg Castle in the northern part of the Old Town. Apart from stunning views of the area, the 11th-century castle has major historical significance.
The castle used to be one of the most important buildings of the Holy Roman Empire and remains one of the city’s landmarks. Photograph the exterior or step inside for a tour revealing the castle’s fascinating secrets. Current admission costs can be found here.
Foodies will find themselves in paradise in Bratwurst Roeslein, the world’s biggest sausage restaurant located in the heart of Nuremberg’s old town.
The eatery has been serving delicious sausages ever since it first opened in 1431 and remains one of the best spots to get a taste of real Franconian cuisine, both traditional and with a modern twist.
Open daily between noon and 8 PM.
Explore the less-comfortable, infamous part of German history at the Nazi Party Rally Grounds in the southeastern part of Nuremberg. The vast majority of the large complex can be explored by visitors, guests can also gather insight at the exhibition located inside the Documentation Center.
The Rally Grounds serve as a reminder of the horrendous part of German history during World War II.
Next day trip from Munich: Stuttgart, 2 hours 30 minutes
Photography by Gabriele Bendler.
Why should you visit Stuttgart?
Stuttgart is on the bucket list of many tourists as it can be considered the birthplace of the automobile. The city is home to the headquarters and factories of two German automotive tycoons: Mercedes Benz and Porsche. The city also offers a wide array of attractions beyond automobiles. The attractions make Stuttgart perfect for a day trip from Munich.
An absolute must-see in Stuttgart is the famous Mercedes Benz Museum. The museum consists of over 1500 exhibits covering 16 500 square meters in total. Learn about the automobile first invented by Carl Benz in 1886 and the invention’s fascinating journey to the modern era.
The engaging exhibits make the museum an exciting spot worth visiting, not just for die-hard petrolheads.
Continue your journey through automotive history when you visit The Porsche Museum. Although much smaller than the Mercedes Benz Museum, it is just as captivating.
Admire more than 80 iconic Porsche automobiles. Some date all the way back to the 1800s, whilst others are among the rarest in the world.
Porsche enthusiasts (or Porschephiles, if you will), can even book an unforgettable drive in a modern Porsche. Details available here.
Art enthusiasts can’t skip paying a visit to the Staatsgalerie. The gallery first opened in the 1840s and holds some of the best artwork in the entire country. Inside, guests can find temporary exhibitions as well as a permanent collection of pieces by artists such as Salvador Dali, Rembrandt, Picasso or Henri Matisse.
The museum in itself is worth mentioning as well, as the artworks are placed inside a monumental Neoclassical building with a Post-Modern extension added in the 1980s.
Next day trip from Munich: Passau, 2 hours
Photography by Kathian Leviasa.
What to do in Passau?
Passau is a cute historic city situated by three rivers, hence it’s often referred to as “The City of Three Rivers”. Located minutes from the Austrian border, Passau is another perfect day trip from Munich.
The charming town is famous for its architecture, which is a mix of gothic and baroque styles, as well as its stunning natural setting between mountains and on the banks of three rivers.
Drop off your rental car here and stroll around the historic part of town on foot.
Step inside the local Glass Museum, which hosts the world’s largest and most diverse collection of Bohemian glass. Admire the collection all week between 9 AM and 5 PM. Admission costs below 10 Euros per person as of 2020.
Continue wandering around the picturesque heart of Passau until you reach the Cathedral of St Stephen. The monumental baroque church is magnificent both inside and out.
Inside, among the decorative interior and historic artwork, guests can find the largest pipe organ in all of Europe and the second-largest in the world. The instrument is a spectacular sight, consisting of over 17 thousand pipes and is magical to see and hear.
Every day at noon (except Sundays), concerts take place at the cathedral. Consider arriving early to purchase tickets as they are sold on a first-come-first-serve basis, the ticketing booth opens around two hours prior to the concert.
Enjoy a regional lunch at the Wirsthaus Bayerischer Loewe, one of the best local eateries in Passau. The restaurant is located in the heart of the old town and serves delicious German dishes, such as various types of local sausages, Schweinshaxe, Schnitzel and more!
Open daily until midnight, including Sundays.
Once you’ve ticked off all the best day trips from Munich, it’s time head back. For maximum convenience, drop off your rental car directly at the Munich Airport right before leaving. Car rental companies that support airport drop-off can be found via Rentalmoose.
Don’t have a car you can take on day trips from Munich? No problem!
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