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Your 10 Day Guide to Bavaria! - California Globetrotter

Your 10 Day Guide to Bavaria

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IMG_4804Want to visit the beautiful Bavarian countryside, filled with fairy tale palaces and romantic roads dotted with idyllic towns? Start your trip with a day in Munich learning about WWII history before driving the Romantic Road to Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Würzburg before heading towards the fairy tale Neuschwanstein Castle and Linderhof Palace. Then take a drive along the Bavarian Alps and visiting Germany’s highest peak – Zugspitze. Then head towards Berchtesgaden before crossing the border into Austria for a side trip to Salzburg. Before heading back to Munich, stop an enjoy one of many lakes, preferably Chiemsee.

If you LOVE fairy tale castles, medieval towns, beautiful scenery, WWII history or doing some outdoor activities either as a solo traveler, a couple or a family, then this is the perfect itinerary for your first visit to Bavaria!

OVERVIEW

bavariaDay 1: Arrive in Munich

Day 2: Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Day 3: Nuremberg

Day 4: Neuschwanstein Castle & Schwangau

Day 5: Linderhof Palace & Ettal

Day 6: Zugspitze & Garmish-Partenkirchen

Day 7: Berchtesgaden & Königssee

Day 8: Salzburg, Austria

Day 9: Chiemsee & Herrnchiemsee Palace

Day 10: Back to Munich

Day 1: Munich

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There is so much to see and do while in Munich. After arriving at the airport, head to your hotel and freshen up then relax in the English Garden at the Chinese Tower and take a stroll through the park, stopping to watch the surfers riding the waves in the river at Eisbach. Then make sure to grab some dinner and a Maß bier at the Höfbrauhaus. Here, you’ll find real Bavarians flaunting their amazing Tracht (Lederhosen & Dirndls). Don’t be shy, ask them if you can take a picture with them! (More on Munich here)

 

Day 2: Rothenburg ob der Tauber

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Want to walk through a story book? Then the best of the best is certainly Rothenburg ob der Tauber, which is along the “Romantic Road“. It is worth driving a few hours out of the way to get here just to experience it at least once. It is down right adorable and takes you back to the Medieval Ages. It is an enchanting town with beautiful red roofed, half-timbered houses surrounded by a wall from the Medieval Ages. You can enjoy a nice leisurely stroll through the walls around the whole city which offers some amazing views of the town. During WWII, 40% of the town was destroyed and people from all around the world donated money to rebuild in exactly the same. (More on Rothenburg ob der Tauber here)

Day 3: Nuremberg

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If you’re a WWII history buff, then Nuremberg will certainly quench your thirst of interesting history. The town was a favorite of the Nazi Party and was epitomized as one of the best examples of German architecture. Take a tour of the historic city center, walk up the steep hill to the Kaiserburg castle which is perched upon a hill over the town and if you have time, check out the Documentiation Center Nazi Rally Grounds or head over to the courtroom where the Nuremberg Trails were held to persecute those who committed war crimes. (More on Nuremberg here)

Day 4: Neuschwanstein Castle & Schwangau

Schloss Neuschwanstein, Bavaria - California Globetrotter

One of Germany’s most famed tourist destination for all ages! A true Disney-like fairy tale castle because it actually inspired the Disney castle! The castle can become quite crowded, especially during peak season, reaching up to 6,000 people per day! Not to worry though, the trick is to arrive early enough in the morning or pre-order your tickets online. It’s a steep hill, and the only way to reach the castle is by boot, by horse-drawn carriage or by a small bus.

After a quick 30 minute tour of the castle make sure to walk behind the castle to the Marienbrücke (bridge) for breathtaking views of the castle!

When you’re done, head back down to the small villages of Schwangau or Füssen and take a peak through the tourist shops and stop to eat at some of the restaurants. With extra time, I recommend visiting another castle just opposite the Neuschwanstein Castle called Hohenschwangau. (More on the Neuschwanstein Castle and the Hohenschwangau Castle here)

Day 5: Linderhof Palace & Ettal

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If you loved the Neuschwanstein Castle, then you will love King Ludwig II’s other castle, the Linderhof Palace. Of the 3 palaces to be built by the king, the Linderhof Palace was the only one the king lived to see be completed. He even spent 8 years living like a hermit in his palace. After a quick tour through the palace, take a leisurely stroll through the surrounding park and visit Moorish Kiosk, Moroccan House and most importantly a look inside the Venus Grotto! (More on Schloss Linderhof here)

After your visit to the palace, with extra time on your hands, head over to the small town of Ettal where you will find a beautiful Benedictine Monastery with stunning pale yellow and white stucco frescos! Just across the street, be sure to grab a meal at a traditional Bavarian restaurant.

Day 6: Zugspitze & Garmish-Partenkirchen

Zugspitze: Germany's Tallest Peak - California Globetrotter

If you’re looking for some outdoor sightseeing, then stopping in Garmish-Partenkirchen to head up into the Bavarian Alps is a must! If you’re feeling quite motivated, you could hike up the steeping mountains, or you could take the Bergbahn up to the peak summit of Zugspitze. Known as the tallest peak in all of Germany at 9,718 feet, the views are to die for.

After your done, have a look around the Olympic Village, where you can enjoy a chairlift ride up the mountain and stand at the top of the ski lift. The two towns – Garmish and Partenkirchen were always separate towns until 1935 when Adolf Hitler forced the two towns together in anticipation of the Winter Olympics. (More on Zugspitze here)

Day 7: Berchtesgaden & Königssee

Königssee, Bavaria - California Globetrotter

This is probably one of the most beautiful parts of Bavaria and therefore, I would highly recommend staying here at least two nights, as Salzburg is just across the border.

Two of the best things to do are to check out the Eagle’s Nest and Lake Königssee with a trip up the Jennerbahn.

Firstly, the Eagle’s Nest is a house perched at the top of a mountain in the Berchtesgaden National Park which was built as a 50th birthday gift to Adolf Hitler. One of the few surviving places in Germany that have anything to do with him, as it was considered an architectural feat in 1945. It’s worth a taking a tour of the house which has now been turned into a HB restaurant and biergarten. Plus, the views are absolutely amazing! (More on Eagle’s Nest here)

Then, Königssee is not to be missed as it is Germany’s most stunning fjord-like lake with emerald green waters surrounded by steep, gagged mountains reaching to the sky. This lake is so special, the only way to get around the lake is with a historic boat ride. Be sure to stop off at both docking stations, the first to visit the St. Bartholomew church and the second to see the stunning Obersee. Be sure to hike around a bit here to enjoy the views of the lake! (More on Königssee here)

After you’re done touring the lake, take a ride up the Jennerbahn which offers great views of the surrounding Berchtesgaden National Park and a view over Königssee. (More on the Jennerbahn here)

With extra time, take a short drive to the small village of Ramsau to see one of the most iconic churches in the region – Pfarrkirche St. Sebastian.

 

Day 8: Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg, Austria - California Globetrotter

As a slight detour from your Bavarian holiday, it’s worth adding in this extra little day trip as Salzburg as it is only a 35 minute drive across the border. While here, be sure to check out the historic city center where Mozart was born, the Salzburg Fortress which offers amazing views of the town and follow the “Sound of Music” tour. If you have a car, I highly recommend doing the Sound of Music tour on your own than paying outrageous prices. (More on Salzburg here)

Day 9: Chiemsee & Herrnchiemsee Palace

Chiemsee & Schloss Herrenchiemsee - Bavaria, Germany - California Globetrotter

If you really loved both the Neuschwanstein Castle and the Linderhof Palace and you want more, then head to Lake Chiemsee for the last palace built by King Ludwig II. Herrnchiemsee Palace is a replica palace of the Palace of Versailles in Paris, France the king had made in honor of the “Sun King”. Again, like his other palaces, it was not completed, however the Hall of Mirrors is not to be missed, as well as the stunning replica gardens.

The only way to reach the castle, which is located on Herrninsel (island) is by boat. A boat ride to the island takes about 20 minutes one way. Upon reaching the island, you can follow the path and walk to the palace or take a horse drawn carriage right up to the castle.

The best thing about this castle is that it is highly overlooked by many tourists and is a hidden secret for Bavarians. If you’re feeling extra motivated, take the boar even further to Fraueninsel to see the Nun’s Convent and try their liquor! (More on Chiemsee here)

Day 10: Back to Munich

Munich, Bavaria, Germany - California Globetrotter

Known worldwide as the home of Oktoberfest, there is more to this town than just drinking beer! As hard as it may be to do more than just drink in different beer halls throughout the town, there are beautiful gardens to be seen, church towers to be climbed, parks to walk through, history to learn, shopping to be done and so much more! This is a city with endless possibilities of things to do and see. A stop to Munich is not complete without checking out and hearing the famous Marienplatz Glockenspiel chime while sipping on a café latte.

A trip to Munich is not complete without a short trip to the Dachau Concentration Camp to learn about the atrocities from WWII. There is an S-bahn train that takes you directly from Munich to Dachau before catching a bus that drops you off at the camp. (More on Munich here)

Have more time? Then here are some recommendations to add to your itinerary!

Würzburg, Bavaria - California GlobetrotterWürzburg

A wine lover’s paradise! This historic town is surrounded by lush, rolling hills lined with vineyards. (More on Würzburg here)

 

 

IMG_4822Regensburg

Considered to be the “Northern Most Italy” because of the historic city center and the endless small allies, great weather and cafes! (More on Regensburg here)

 

 

Innsbruck, Austria - California GlobetrotterInnsbruck, Austria

Just an hour and a half away from Garmish-Partenkirchen, Innsbruck is an extra photogenic city with surrounded by steep mountains and a crystal blue river flowing through the town. (More on Innsbruck here)

 

 

 

When should you visit?

Visiting Germany is beautiful year round, but the best months to visit (personally) are May-October. Unless you plan on coming for the Christmas markets, then December. If you’re not coming for Christmas markets, November-March are cold, grey and gloomy, but are less crowded than during peak season (summer). Between May-October you are bound to find a beer/wine festival in many of the above locations. October/early November are personally the best months to visit as fall in Germany makes everything much more beautiful.

Want to come for Oktoberfest?

Don’t confuse the beer festival of Oktoberfest with the month of October. This world famous beer festival takes place every year in Munich for 16 days.

  • Oktoberfest 2016: September 17 – October 3
  • Oktoberfest 2017: September 16 – October 3
  • Oktoberfest 2018: September 22 – October 7

What should you skip to add more time to visit Oktoberfest?

Of all the great locations to visit, saving Chiemsee and the Herrnchiemsee Palace for another time will give you some breathing room in order to spend a full day at Oktoberfest, riding the rides, playing games and of course, drinking!

What do I recommend for this itinerary?

It is easy to visit all of these locations by train, but it does take longer to reach, therefore, I highly recommend renting a car while visiting Bavaria. The roads here are safe and there is little traffic. Plus the experience of driving on the autobahn is thrilling!

Taking the cable car up the Jenner for a view over Königssee or going up to Eagle’s Nest requires clear, blue skies to get the most out of your visit. Therefore, should the weather not be up to par, you can visit Salzburg first and save the Jenner or Eagle’s Nest for the next day.

Where should you stay?

If you plan to visit both Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Würzburg, then I suggest staying the night in one of these two towns as it would make for too much driving. However, if you only plan to visit one of these towns, along with Nuremberg then those are easy day trips from Munich.

I highly suggest staying a few nights in Garmish-Partenkirchen if you plan to visit the Neuschwanstein Castle, Linderhof Palace and Zugspitze, as well as Innsbruck.

For the final leg of the journey, I suggest finding a hotel for a few days in Berchtesgaden as it’s a bit further away from Munich to be considered a day trip, especially if you plan to visit Salzburg.

If you’re interested in visiting Germany and are looking for more information, I highly recommend using the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide! Without these guides, I would be lost! This is my travel Bible!

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I might make a little extra spending money, at no extra cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own and these products/services have been found useful during our travels and come highly recommended to you from yours truly!

Be sure to check out other posts about Germany:

Understanding the Lederhosen Culture

A Quick History of Traditional Beer Gardens

Why You Will Never Be The Same After Living in Germany

Traveling in Germany

Your COMPLETE Guide to Using the Deutsche Bahn in Germany!

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Author: California Globetrotter

At 14 I started traveling the world with my parents and was hooked! By 21 I was studying abroad in Heidelberg, Germany. By 26 I sold all of my belongings and bought a one way ticket to Germany to teach English. Little did I know, I'd meet the love of my life and end up traveling to the most romantic and idyllic towns in Europe and becoming a long-term expat in Bavaria! My name is Lorelei and I'm just your typical CaliGirl, Sunset Chaser, Fairytale Dreamer, Dress Lover, Traveloholic, Beer Drinker!

56 thoughts on “Your 10 Day Guide to Bavaria

  1. hi
    is it possible/recomended as day trips from munich? i have already booked 5 days there this july

    • All of these trips are within a few hours from Munich. I would suggest that places like Rothenburg, Würzburg stay the night in one of those two places. Nuremberg and Regensburg are only 1 1/2 hours from Munich. Same with Schloss Neuschwanstein, Linderhof and Zugspitze. But perhaps stay in Berchtesgaden for the days you head to Salzburg

  2. When I’ve done trip around Bavaria, I’ve missed so many places. I would love to follow your itinerary one day.🙂
    #CityTripping

  3. We are off to Bavaria in the summer, thank you for these top tips!
    #CityTripping

  4. Love your photo of pretty Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Thanks for sharing your highlights of Bavaria at #CityTripping

  5. great ideas! Now I just need to finally visit Bavaria:) #city tripping

  6. Fantastic itinerary with a great mix of diverse cities, towns and mountains as well as lots of palaces and castles. I love that you go into Austria too. I am very keen to do this one day…I have never been to Bavaria! #citytripping

  7. Reblogged this on Wander Mum.

  8. Oh I would love to visit this region! I’ve only been to Germany once and it was to Berlin (which I loved!) but I’ve been dying to get back and explore the rest of the country ever since. I pinned it for when I do! #citytripping

  9. This is such a brilliant post – just back from a mini road trip, and wondering about doing something similar next year, so this would work nicely. I lived in Germany for a year and visited a friend in Munich, so managed trips to Neuschwanstein and Salzburg as well as a taste of Munich itself, but that’s a LONG time ago, and I’d love to explore more. #citytripping

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  11. Bavaria is a must see city for me… hopefully one day 😊

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  13. Game on! I would love to do this itinerary. It has a great mix of fairy tale villages, castles and natural places.

  14. What a great itinerary! The “next generation” of TravelLatte are in Munich next week, so I’m sending this to them, but also adding to our Pinterest for our own Bavarian planning. Nicely done!

  15. Bavaria is one of my favorite regions in the world! Your itinerary is awesome–I’ll have to save this for when family visits, as it’s much more cohesive than the random trips we took to different areas in Bavaria🙂

  16. Thanks for posting this!! I’m working on a Christmas market itinerary right now, and there are definitely some cities on this list that have been on my bucket list for awhile. I LOVED Nuremberg for all the history! It’s amazing!

  17. This is such an amazing itinerary! I’ve only been to Munich so far but would love to visit Neuschwanstein, Zugspitze and Königssee! Maybe next summer😉

  18. We’re actually headed to Germany this September specifically for Oktoberfest! I think that we have 3 days in Munich, one of which will be exploring Neuschwanstein. We’re also spending a couple of days in Salzburg and going to Berchtesgaden. I wish that we had more time to explore Rothenburg and Königssee, but I guess that means that we’ll just have to make another trip back!

  19. Awesome guide! I will be directing many of my visitors to this post before they come to visit!

  20. I so love this!!! We’ve done a few of the things on here since moving to Germany. I love, love, LOVE Bavaria. I secretly wish we lived there…

  21. your pictures are beautiful! I’m of german descent (and i love beer) so i’m dying to get to germany! a cousin of mine studied abroad and raved about Munich!

  22. What a fantastic itinerary! I have only been to Munich out of these and have quite a few of the others on my list so this itinerary looks like the perfect way to join them up!

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  24. That’s a great itinerary. I’ve only been to some of your cities. Germany is a fascinating country with lots of history.

  25. This is a great list with so many lovely places! However based on my visits I would recommend more than 10 days to do it as there is a lot of driving involved such as from Nuremburg to Neuschwanstein Castle and there would not be much time to explore each of these cities in the above itinerary. We spent 3 full days/nights in Munich and still didn’t get to see a number of sites we wanted to visit. Hope I get a chance to return to Germany soon!

    • Yes this itinerary could easy be stretched into a 2 week or more trip! And just like London or Paris, you need a loooot of time
      in order to really see all of Munich. Hope you get to come back! Thanks for stopping by!

  26. Lorelei, Love your itinerary. You’ve really hit some of the hot spots of Bavaria.

  27. What a wonderful itinerary of some of my favourite places. Bavaria is an area that we fully intend to explore further.

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  29. This brings back good memories of my two-week roadtrip through Germany a few years back. We did parts of the Romantic Road (I loved Wurzburg and Rothenburg!) and wanted to visit Munich, but I got hit by a virus somewhere in Bavaria and spent a lot of time being ill😦 That was also when I discovered that doctors in Germany seem to have very good hours (we couldn’t find any that were open after 4pm) and the one that I did manage to visit didn’t speak much English, but was very nice. I’m sure it’s different in the big cities though!

  30. I definitely want to include Bavaria in a trip to Europe as we’ve not made it there yet. We got close, having visited part of Germany and Salzburg last year. So many places to add to our wishlist everytime I visit your blog. Thank you for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard

  31. What a great itinerary. I haven;’t been to Bavaria, but hopefully one day I’ll get to visit these charming towns and impressive castles. Saving this post for that day.

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