We’ve been to Munich a few times before so this time we wanted to see some parts outside the city. Here were the ones we did this time around.
An almost 3 hour train ride from Munich, Berchtesgaden is home to the beautiful Lake Königssee and Eagle’s Nest; Hitler’s summer home that sits atop a peak and looks down over the Lake. The area is beautiful, if a bit touristy.
We made the rookie mistake of not going to Eagle’s Nest first, so by the time we got off the Königssee, the last bus up to the peak had already left for the day. That was a bit disappointing and I urge you to get to that point first because, personally, the ride down the lake itself wasn’t worth the time it took for us to get there and back.
With that being said, the lake was beautiful. The ride down it was just much slower than anticipated. Like, painfully slow. Unnecessarily slow. So prepare yourself. The scenery is beautiful, however. And the coolest part of the ride was at one point the boat stopped and the captain played a bugle which you could hear echo throughout the whole valley. It was enough to give you goosebumps.
The first stop is where the famous St. Bartholomew’s Church is, which reminds me of Prince Eric’s castle from The Little Mermaid. We had lunch there because our whole party (we had 6 people along with Anthony and me) was starving. The service was so slow, which is another reason why we didn’t get to do everything we wanted, but it was outside dining on a lovely day with steins of beer, so, naturally, it wasn’t terrible.
From the first stop you have the option to go back to your starting point or continue along to the second stop, which is Obersee. If we had done things differently, we would have went to Obersee first. It is a beautiful lake district that has hiking which leads to a waterfall. But given that we didn’t really know what we were up against as far as time restraints, I’ll chalk it up to a beautiful learning experience.
So if you go yourself:
Make sure to make Eagle’s Nest a priority
Make it to the second stop down the Königssee, Obersee
Pay attention to the available time tables for the dates on which you are going and plan accordingly to make sure you see all the sights that are important to you
Probably just hit up the beer and sandwhich stand instead of sitting down at a restaurant to maximize your time (and your wallet)
Enjoy the ride (no matter what happens, go with grace and embrace the beauty around you. I didn’t execute this part very well and wish that I had looking back).
This is the most famous day trip for anyone visiting Munich. You can go along with a tour company, or you can plan it out and go yourself.
If you go yourself make sure to get your tickets in advance as they only allow a certain number of people in per day. This is especially important if you are travelling during peak seasons (summer months, and probably around Oktoberfest).
We were lucky to have enough people in our party that group allowed us to be our own tour. Basically, a party bus to the Neuschwanstein (and also a sleeper bus in the morning, while we all recovered from Oktoberfestivities the day before). It was amazing.
Neuschwanstein is the famous, unfinished castle by the brilliant, but unfortunately misunderstood, King Ludwig II. His history, that we learned on the tour, was so interesting and terribly sad. He had a brilliant mind though and could design the hell out of some castles, as this isn’t his only one in Germany. This is the most famous of his works however, and the one that inspired Cinderella’s Castle in Walt Disney World.
Once you take your roughly two hour ride from Munich to the town of Füssen, you have the option to hike up the back of the castle, or take a bus. Half of our group hiked, and the other half bussed. I wish I was in the smarter group that bussed… but I always get myself into stupid predicaments of hiking steep af mountains when we are on vacation. The view that you get is breathtaking though. At one point you look through the trees and down upon the castle Hohenschwangau, built by King Ludwig’s father, and the gorgeous blue/green lake. That view made the climb worth it.
After your ascent up the mountain, you can wait in line with hoards of other tourists to get that postcard view of Neuschwanstein from a bridge. You are shoulder to shoulder with tourists who don’t understand that they are shoulder to shoulder with you. That mixed with the fact that there are a few hundred people on a wooden bridge over rocky water of which you could fall to your death, made for an experience I didn’t want to stay in longer than necessary.
Finally, when you make it to the castle (by the designated time on your ticket), you are given an audio guide to accompany you as you walk from room to room throughout the ornate castle. It is a very interesting tour in my opinion.
Basically, you have to go to the Neuschwanstein at some point in your Munich travels. It’s a must see for various reasons.
The last day trip we planned was the day after everyone else in our party left Munich. We took my parents out to the Zugspitze, the highest peak in Germany. My parent’s had never been out of the country before this trip, so getting a whole day with just them was one of my favorite parts of our whole three and a half week adventure.
Getting to the Zugspitze from Munich is surprisingly easy. You take a quick 1.25 hour train from Munich to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. From there you ride the rack railway up the mountain, with a final lift up to the top.
At 54 euro per person, the trip doesn’t come cheap. And with the unpredictable weather, there is no guarantee that you will be able to see anything. This made us a bit nervous because when we go to Garmisch, it was raining. We almost didn’t do go up the mountain, but at the last minute decided why not. And we were so glad we did. It was sunny and beautiful above the clouds. And while you couldn’t see far below because of the clouds, what you could see was amazing.
At the top there is also a beer garden and a restaurant. We enjoyed delicious beers, knodel and apple strudel out on the deck of the highest peak in Germany. That’s a pretty cool bucket list check in my opinion. I could only imagine what the view is like on a perfectly cloudless day.
Book a Tour: Zugspitze Tour from Munich: Groups of 4 or More
Finally, Salzburg is a day trip that gets an honorable mention, as we didn’t go during this trip. I wrote a whole post about Salzburg, which you can read here. It’s one of my favorite towns.
Book a tour: Salzburg Full-Day Tour From Munich
Germany is one of my favorite places in the world, and offers great day trips you can easily take and be back at your home camp by the evening.
If you’re interested in having Belest Travel Co plan your own Germany adventure, schedule your complimentary call here.
Or, if you have been to Germany leave me a comment and let me know what your favorite excursion was. I’d especially love to hear if it was one that I didn’t mention.
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