Best Day Trips from Munich in Winter

Munich is a beautiful city in Bavaria, southern Germany. Visiting Munich in winter is a fun experience, as its charm is easy to find (yes, even during winter)! While it can get quite cold, especially from December through February, there’s plenty to see and do. Here are some of the best day trips from Munich in winter.

I visited Munich in late February as part of a larger trip to Europe (I also visited Copenhagen and Vienna). My day trips from Munich were one of my absolute favorite parts, and I’m so excited to share them with you! 

Table of Contents

Tips for Day Trips from Munich in Winter

  1. Dress warmly: Bavaria can get quite cold in winter, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. Pack layers, including a warm coat, hat, gloves, scarf, and waterproof footwear, to stay comfortable while exploring the city.
  2. Always bring a day bag. Put an extra sweater in your bag, carry your water, and make sure you have everything you need for a successful day trip in winter.
  3. Plan for shorter daylight hours: In winter, daylight hours are shorter, so you’ll have less time for outdoor activities and sightseeing. Plan your itinerary accordingly, and consider visiting indoor attractions during the darker hours of the day.
  4. Check opening hours: Some outdoor attractions, such as parks and gardens, may have limited hours or be closed during winter. Be sure to check the attractions, restaurants, and shops’ opening hours in advance.
  5. Visit Christmas markets: Many towns on this list have Christmas markets, which are a highlight of the winter season. If you’re here in winter during the markets, be sure to visit at least one of the many markets to experience the festive atmosphere, sample traditional treats, and shop for unique gifts and decorations.
  6. Try winter specialties: Winter is the perfect time to indulge in hearty Bavarian cuisine. Warm up with traditional dishes such as schnitzel, hearty stews, and potato dumplings, and don’t forget to sample seasonal treats like Lebkuchen (gingerbread) and Stollen (fruitcake). You’ll also find Gluewine all over Bavaria to drink throughout winter!
  7. Stay active outdoors: Despite the cold weather, there are still plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy in winter. Bundle up and go ice skating or sledding, or take a winter walk through one of the city’s parks or along the Isar River.
  8. Take advantage of indoor attractions: Many of the towns on this list are home to many indoor attractions, including museums, galleries, and historic buildings. Spend time exploring these cultural sites to learn more about the city’s rich history and heritage while staying warm indoors.
  9. Book accommodations in advance if visiting during the Christmas season: Christmas is a popular time to visit Munich. If you visit later in winter, you’ll likely find good discounts and not need to worry, but it’s always worth looking ahead.
  10.  Stay aware of weather changes: If you choose to drive for any of these, stay prepared with weather precautions and pay attention to weather changes so you aren’t stuck in a sudden snowstorm!

Where to Stay in Munich

There are many great options for areas to stay in Munich, so I am going to recommend a few other places based on their proximity to the train for day trips and affordability. Overall, I’d recommend checking public transit options and nearby hotels before booking!

  • Aparthotel Adagio Muenchen City: Just a few blocks from Munich Central Station and the Oktoberfest site, this aparthotel offers modern apartments with a relaxed feel. It’s pretty affordable, convenient, and comfortable. I stayed here during my trip!
  • Hotel MIO by AMANO: This boutique hotel is in Munich’s Old Town and is only a minute’s walk from historic Sendlinger Tor. Great nights are at your doorstep, while views from your room couldn’t be more ‘Munich.’ This boutique hotel offers a modern, comfortable stay.
  • Hotel Bayerischer Hof: Opened in 1841, this hotel is housed in the neoclassical Montgelas Palace in the Old Town. You’ll want to book a table at the hotel’s Atelier restaurant—it’s earned three Michelin stars—and grab a drink at Falk’s Bar in the palace’s hall of mirrors. This place would be a dream to stay at!

Neuschwanstein Castle

This is probably the first on every list you’ve read, but for good reason. Neuschwanstein is beautiful year round and well worth visiting in winter! It’s easy to get from Munich to Neuschwanstein by train, and visiting is magical. This castle inspired my trip to Munich, and I highly recommend it. 

Read more about visiting Neuschwanstein in winter here.

Tour Options:

Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle in winter and the surrounding area from Munich is a full-day trip. You could do it on your own in two thirds of a day if you rush it, but since it takes about two hours to get there, it’s best to plan to spend the whole day there.

The actual guided tour inside Neuschwanstein takes about 35 minutes so it is very short. This is the only way to see the inside of the castle. However, with transfer times, waiting in line, walking up to the castle, etc., you can plan to spend 4-5 hours here. My full guide has a section with more details on the interior and visiting inside.

Last, the village of Shwangau is worth exploring, and you will likely want to visit Hohenschwangau Castle, which is visible from Neuschwanstein and in the same village. You’ll want to allot enough time for these things, too!

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Nuremberg

Nuremberg is another easy day trip from Munich in winter. The train ride lasts about an hour and is direct from Munich to Nuremberg. It is a city rich in history, culture, and culinary delights!

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Nuremberg has plenty to do in winter, and just walking the streets will put you in awe. The Old Town has been restored and preserved as a medieval quarter with charming cobblestone streets, half-timbered houses, and beautiful Gothic architecture. 

Highlights include the Hauptmarkt (main market square), the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), and the Albrecht Dürer House, where the famous artist once lived and worked.

Nuremberg has a farmers’ market throughout winter that happens on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, which is great if you want to try some of the famous Nuremberg sausages and other traditional Bavarian dishes. The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is one of Germany’s oldest and most famous Christmas markets, dating back to the 16th century. 

Last, it was important in WWII history and was the site for the Nuremberg Trials, where post-World War II military tribunals took place. The Nuremberg Trials Museum provides a comprehensive look at the trials and their significance in international law and justice.

Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site

Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site is just thirty minutes outside Munich and easy to visit by train. Take a sobering yet important visit to this former concentration camp. Learn about the history of the Holocaust and pay your respects to the victims.

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Dachau Concentration Camp was the first Nazi concentration camp opened in Germany in 1933. It served as a prototype and model for many other concentration camps that followed. Visiting Dachau can be a profoundly moving and somber experience. Still, it’s also an essential part of understanding the atrocities committed during the Holocaust and World War II.

Photo by Lukas Seitz on Unsplash

Linderhof Palace

Linderhof is situated in southwest Bavaria, near the town of Ettal. It is part of the scenic Ammergau Alps region. It is the smallest of the three palaces built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, the only one that was completed and that he has lived in most of the time. It’s easiest to visit by car and can be combined with Neuschwanstein. 

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While the palace is small, the surrounding grounds are the real winner. The mountainside setting and unique buildings make Linderhof Palace worth a visit. A view of the palace and grounds from the Music Pavilion is not to be missed!
 
Linderhof Palace is an excellent option for driving or on a van tour. It’s a stop along the way to or from Neuschwanstein to Munich. It’s open to the public, allowing visitors to explore its opulent interiors, enjoy the mountainous, snowy scenery, and get warm inside.

Photo by Peter Burdon on Unsplash

Zugspitze

Zugspitze, located in the Bavarian Alps near the border of Germany and Austria, is the highest peak in Germany and a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts year round. It’s about an hour and fifteen minutes from Munich and easiest to get to by car. If you’re looking for a skiing or snowboarding day trip from Munich, this is it!

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The highlight of visiting Zugspitze in winter is the excellent skiing and snowboarding opportunities, with various slopes suitable for all skill levels. The Zugspitze Glacier Ski Area is open year-round. In winter, the surrounding ski resorts, such as Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Ehrwald in Austria, offer additional slopes.

The summit of Zugspitze offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding Alps, including peaks in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy. You can take the cable car or cogwheel train to the top where the observation decks offer great views. On clear days, you can see as far as Munich and the Black Forest.
 
Several charming Christmas markets are held in towns and villages near Zugspitze during the holiday season, including Garmisch-Partenkirchen where you can find Lake Eibsee and Mittenwald. Visitors can browse festive stalls selling handcrafted gifts, decorations, and traditional holiday treats.

Romantic Road

The Romantic Road is a scenic route in southern Germany that stretches approximately 350 kilometers (220 miles) from Würzburg in the north to Füssen in the south. You’ll need a car for this day trip to visit most towns so a tour or renting a car is best. 

It winds through picturesque countryside, medieval towns, and charming villages, offering travelers a glimpse into the romanticism of Germany’s past. While you won’t be able to visit all the towns on a day trip from Munich, you can see a few on a day trip!

Tour Options:

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I chose to visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Augsburg on my day trip along the Romantic Road and rented a car to do it myself. The towns are all beautiful, and the drive between them is really beautiful! Christmas Markets can be found in many of these towns, too. They are smaller but charming. 

Here’s a little about each town

  • Würzburg: The northern starting point of the Romantic Road, Würzburg is known for its stunning Baroque architecture, particularly the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Würzburg Residence.
  • Rothenburg ob der Tauber: One of the most famous stops along the Romantic Road, Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a well-preserved medieval town with cobblestone streets, half-timbered houses, and fortified walls.
  • Dinkelsbühl: Another medieval gem, Dinkelsbühl is known for its well-preserved city walls, towers, and gates.
  • Nördlingen: Nördlingen is a unique stop along the Romantic Road due to its location within a meteorite crater.
  • Augsburg: As one of Germany’s oldest cities, Augsburg boasts a rich history and cultural heritage.
  • Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein Castles: Near the southern end of the Romantic Road are the fairytale-like Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein Castles.
  • Füssen: The final stop on the Romantic Road, Füssen is a charming town near the Austrian border. Easy to combine and visit on a Neuschwanstein Castle visit.

Photos by Francesca of Homeroom Travel

Salzburg, Austria

Taking a day trip from Munich to Salzburg is a popular excursion. It offers the chance to explore the charming Austrian city’s rich history, beautiful architecture, and stunning natural surroundings. The most convenient way to travel from Munich to Salzburg is by train, which takes one and a half to two hours.

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Salzburg’s picturesque Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its well-preserved medieval and baroque architecture. Wander through the narrow cobblestone streets, visit historic landmarks such as the Salzburg Cathedral and St. Peter’s Abbey, and admire the iconic Hohensalzburg Fortress overlooking the city.

 
Mozart’s birthplace is also here so you can take in music history in Salzburg. Indulge in local specialties such as schnitzel, strudel, and Mozartkugel (pistachio marzipan invented in Salzburg). Don’t forget to try a refreshing glass of Austrian beer or wine from the nearby vineyards! During the holiday season, there is also a Christmas market here.

Photo by Stacy Ropati on Unsplash

Innsbruck, Austria

Another one for skiing and mountain lovers is Innsbruck. Located in the heart of the Austrian Alps, Innsbruck is a picturesque city renowned for its stunning natural surroundings, rich history, and vibrant cultural scene. You can quickly get there by train from Munich, which takes about one hour and forty-five minutes.

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In winter, the highlight of visiting Innsbruck is the picturesque snow-capped Alps and the Bergisel Ski Jump, a modern architectural marvel designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid. Take the funicular to the top of the ski jump tower for panoramic views of the city, and at the accompanying museum to learn about the history of ski jumping in Innsbruck.
 
You can also ride on the Nordkette Cable Car, which transports visitors from the city center to the top of the Nordkette mountain range in just a few minutes. The historic old town, castle, and museums are also excellent places to visit in winter, too, after spending some time in the cold!

You’ll love these day trips from Munich in winter and seeing all the area has to offer. You really can’t go wrong; it all depends on what you want from your trip, and all the options will ensure you have an incredible time.

Meghan

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