Bavaria is a stunning state in southeastern Germany surrounded by beautiful alps and filled with historic sites. We visited Bavaria in January and luckily had sunny skies and mild temperatures in the winter. While we were there for about a week, we narrowed down our favorite parts of the region to a three-day Bavaria travel guide for those wanting to make a quick trip to the region.
Bavaria Travel Guide Day 1: Spend the day in Munich
Munich is the capital of Bavaria and one of the largest cities in Germany. It is home to incredible architecture, historic squares and vast parks. In our Bavaria travel guide we will begin with a day here.
Start your day with a walk in the English Garden – one of the largest city parks in Europe. Walking through this park you almost forget you’re in the middle of a large city. If you visit during the warmer months, take some time to stretch out on the vast lawns and people watch. You may even spot surfers! (Yes, there is even surfing in this park).
Continue your walk from the park into the Munich’s university district, Maxvorstadt. These streets are filled with trendy cafes and shops. We recommend grabbing some coffee at Lost Weekend Cafe while you’re in the area.
After exploring Maxvorstadt, head over to Odeonsplatz to see the Royal Residence, the Feldherrnalle and the Theatine Church. Together, these buildings make up a magnificent square with plenty of photo opportunities.
This wouldn’t be a Bavaria travel guide without directing you to some incredible historic buildings. Continue on towards Marienplatz next. This square is home to the Neues Rathaus with the world famous Glockenspiel, Asamgebaude, St. Peter’s Church and more. While you’re in the area, we recommend climbing to the top of the St. Peter’s Church tower for 360 degree views of Munich (and in our opinion, the best view of Neues Rathaus!). Here you’ll find bells that date back to 1327 A.D.
Once you’ve seen the main sites in Marienplatz, take a short walk to the Viktualienmarkt. No matter what time of year you visit, this market is bustling. Treat yourself to sausages, pretzels and beer and browse the selections.
A day in Munich isn’t complete without a trip to Hofbrauhaus. This world famous beer hall is absolutely amazing. With two floors of beer halls and a huge beer garden, you’ll sit with strangers who become new friends, enjoy liters of beer at a time and grab pretzels from waitresses as they pass. While some Bavaria travel guides may tell you this place is a tourist trap, we found it to be a really enjoyable experience and came back for a second drink later on during our stay. Although busy and crowded, Hofbrauhaus is famous for a reason – there is nothing else like it that we’ve seen.
Bavaria Travel Guide Day 2: Rent a car and head out to the Alps
As any Bavaria travel guide will tell you- getting out to the alps is a must! Renting a car in Munich is fairly easy. We had a great experience renting through Sixt, located at the train station in the center of town.
*We did not purchase any coverage from the rental company. Before booking online, call and check with your credit card company to walk through coverage details.
Head out early from Munich to the village of Hohenschwangau. This is where you will find two of the most famous castles in Europe, Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. The earlier you head out the better to escape the crowds of tourists coming off the early trains. You are able to tour the castles if you’d like inside, but we chose not to. Instead, we opted to hike the path up to Mary’s Bridge where you will find a beautiful view of Neuschwanstein. For the adventurous type, there is an alternate viewpoint set atop a bluff near the bridge. The views were stunning but getting there was somewhat difficult and we would not fully recommend for young children or inexperienced hikers.
This was easily one of the best moments of the trip. This castle had been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember and having a private view on a warm winter day was everything we could have asked for.
Once you’ve seen the castles, if you are looking for a hike, we recommend hiking around Alpsee lake. Give yourself about three hours for this easy hike and enjoy the views of the two castles in the distance reflecting onto the lake. This is a great way to really immerse yourself in the beauty of the Bavarian Alps.
After all that hiking, you will probably be starving. We recommend driving over to nearby Füssen, for a bite to eat and a walk around town. Füssen is everything you’d hope a Bavarian town would be. It is quaint, has delicious German cuisine, and at times feels like you’re walking around a movie set.
Once you return to Munich, treat yourself to a liter (or two) of beer to close out an amazing day.
Bavaria Travel Guide Day 3: Visit Dauchau Concentration Camp
We felt it was extremely important to add Dauchau to our Bavaria travel guide. While tempting to plan a trip around fun and excitement, sometimes it’s important to recognize the historical significance of the regions you visit. This was an experience unlike any we’ve had throughout our travels.
Dauchau is a short 20 minute train ride from Munich, so no need to rent a car. We took the S2 Train out of Munich Central Station. Once you arrive at the train station in Dauchau there are shuttles that will take you straight to the concentration camp. Alternatively, you have the option to walk the Path of Remembrance – which some of the prisoners walked from where their train let them off. We chose to walk the path, and I’ll be honest I had chills down my spine most of the way. The path is filled with informational signs and is about three miles long.
Once arriving at the concentration camp, you have a few options for visiting. You can join a small group tour with a guide, rent an audio guide or simply go in without a guide and read the informational signs yourself. There is so much to learn here, so be sure to give yourself at least a two to three hours at the camp.
If you have more questions on visiting Bavaria, feel free to ask in the comments or shoot us an email (in our contact section). Let us know where you want to visit most in this German region after reading our Bavaria Travel Guide!
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Emilie & Chris