HOW TO HAVE AN AMAZING BAVARIA TRIP (3-10 DAYS)
- 1 HOW TO HAVE AN AMAZING BAVARIA TRIP (3-10 DAYS)
- 2 TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR BAVARIA ITINERARY
- 3 MAP WITH PLACES TO VISIT
- 4 WHAT TO DO IN 3 DAYS IN BAVARIA
- 5 5-DAY BAVARIA ITINERARY
- 6 BAVARIA ATTRACTIONS TO SEE IN 7 DAYS
- 7 HOW TO EXPLORE BAVARIA IN 10 DAYS
- 8 FINAL THOUGHTS ON A BAVARIA ITINERARY
- 9 PIN ME FOR LATER
Bavaria is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful states/regions in Germany. Coming from the northern part of Germany (namely from the beautiful city of Bremen), I hate to admit that Bavaria is actually pretty… I mean, really pretty. Not like Switzerland pretty, but still beautiful.
Whether you want beautiful cities, towns, and villages or want to spend some time in nature, hiking, swimming, and doing other outdoor sports, Bavaria has it all.
Whether you road trip or get around by public transportation – this post is for you as I share my tips with you on how to spend 3-10 days in Bavaria. This itinerary is perfect to plan your trip and find out about the best things to do and see in Southern Germany.
So, I have another post with the most beautiful places in Bavaria. However, visiting all these places would mean spending around 3 weeks in Bavaria – at least. So, for this 3-10 day Bavaria itinerary, I focused on the best places and found places that do not require too much driving around.
The most southern German state deserves more time, but I am aware that not all of us can spend so long in only this part of Germany.
So, whether you are in Bavaria for 3 days, 5 days, 7 days, or 10 days, this itinerary will help you find the best places to visit in Bavaria during your stay.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR BAVARIA ITINERARY
Let´s start with some basic travel tips for your Bavaria trip – whether you road trip or get around by public transportation, these tips will help you make the most of your Bavaria trip.
HOW TO GET TO BAVARIA
There are several airports in Bavaria. Munich´s airport might be the most famous. If you fly into Bavaria, then you most likely will start your trip here.
This is actually my recommendation, though I know there are also airports that budget airlines fly into, like Nuremberg.
HOW TO GET AROUND BAVARIA
Whether you opt for road tripping or getting around by public transportation – both allow you to experience Bavaria at its best.
Bavaria Road Trip: Driving in Bavaria is a good way to get around. There are some very scenic routes, and there are no tolls for cars in Germany. Overall, the streets are well-paved and safe, and people drive well.
There are motorway streets without speed limits, but most streets have a speed limit that you should stick to (speed cams are spread throughout the country).
A parking disc might be useful in some places, but you will often have to pay cash for parking in cities, towns, or tourist attractions. (Day tickets for attractions like Neuschwanstein cost around 6€; parking in Munich’s city center would be much higher).
Petrol in Bavaria is quite expensive. Diesel costs about $1.40, and petrol (gasoline) is about $1.50 (per liter), but it can get way more expensive at times. This is just an average, as prices vary greatly. In the morning and afternoon/evening, prices are highest, and during the day, prices decrease.
Most petrol stations (actually, all) are self-service, and you can pay cash or with a credit card at the cashier. In smaller villages, there might be machines you have to pay for directly.
Find out more about how to plan a perfect road trip here.
Public Transportation: Getting around via trains and buses is actually quite easy. While the Deutsche Bahn (the national train company) is not really my favorite company to travel with, they get you from one place to the other, and in Bavaria, they actually come in handy. It is not cheap and often not on time, but well, we can’t have it all.
If you are in Bavaria, you can buy daily tickets and use them for all of Bavaria’s trains and buses. If you get “Bayern Tickets,” they are actually not expensive – about 25€ for one person, each additional person (max of 5 people) costs 3-5€ extra, and they save you the headache of finding parking spaces.
You cannot use all trains (not the express trains, for example, so make sure to always sit on the right train), but you can use public transportation in the cities and towns (there might be some restrictions on private bus companies, etc.).
Tip: Buy your ticket from the ticket machine to avoid paying fees (they are not high, just a few euros, but it can add up if you buy a ticket each day).
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Summer in Europe can be crazy. There are so many crowds – personally, it spoils my trips, but not everyone is as sensitive as I am.
Since we cannot rely on seasons and how the weather is supposed to be at a certain time, I would advise visiting from September to early October or April to June (my tip: May and June are probably the best months).
If you are into Christmas and winter activities, then Bavaria is also great to visit in the winter (December), and given its mountains, it is a popular skiing destination.
IS BAVARIA EXPENSIVE?
Prices in Bavaria for accommodations, fuel, and food are generally higher than in the rest of Germany. However, compared to Switzerland or Austria, it is a bit more affordable.
Accommodation, in particular, can get very expensive (some cities/areas charge an additional fee for each night).
Munich and main tourist spots tend to be pricier. You can have a quick lunch in a regular restaurant for about 10€. Of course, prices vary greatly, and you can find much cheaper and more luxurious restaurants.
Entry to castles like Neuschwanstein Castle is about 13€ per person, and to me, that‘s quite reasonable.
WHERE TO STAY IN BAVARIA
I visited Bavaria several times, and normally, Munich is my base from which to get around. However, this time I road tripped Bavaria for about two weeks and stayed at each place for no more than 5 nights.
If you stay in Munich, you can do a lot of day trips. But if you drive and don’t mind changing hotels, I recommend staying in Rothenburg ob der Tauber (and visit Würzburg, etc., from there). Garmisch-Partenkirchen is also a great base because you can visit places like Eibsee, Zugspitze, and Schloss Neuschwanstein from there.
Berchtesgaden is a good base if you want to explore places like Königssee, Eagle´s Nest, and Salzburg.
There are different dialects spoken in Germany, and though everyone understands High German, not everyone speaks it perfectly. However, as someone who doesn’t understand any Bavarian dialect, I had no issues, and people tried to adjust.
Basic English is spoken in all touristy areas.
I think that it is safe to say that Bavaria is a safe place to visit. Bavaria´s crime rate is quite low. Just keep your eyes open and exercise common sense – especially in tourist areas. It is recommended to keep your belongings and your wallet close to you.
If you get around by car, don’t leave valuables on display, but I would not worry about being robbed overall.
MORE TIPS FOR YOUR BAVARIA ITINERARY
Here are some more tips for your Bavaria itinerary.
Water: Yes to free water! Germans love their sparkling water, but we also enjoy free water (non-sparking, of course).
To enjoy freshwater, bring your reusable water bottle. In many parts of Bavaria, you can refill your bottle with fresh water from fountains (shy away from it if it says, “KEIN TRINKWASSER”).
Tipping: Tipping in Germany is common, though not necessary. If you like the service you receive, feel free to leave a tip (around 10% in restaurants), and you can also tip taxi drivers (depending on the driving time, about 1-5€).
Money: Credit and debit cards are accepted widely. However, in smaller shops and villages, that might not be the case, so always bring enough cash. American Express is, unfortunately, not accepted everywhere, and Visa and MasterCard are more common.
MAP WITH PLACES TO VISIT
Here is a map that has all places mentioned.
WHAT TO DO IN 3 DAYS IN BAVARIA
So, here are the best attractions to visit in Bavaria in 3 days.
Munich + Schloss Neuschwanstein and Alpsee + Zugspitze and Eibsee
I recommend starting your Bavaria trip from Munich. If you fly into Europe, Munich is a good starting point – whether you do a road trip or discover Central Europe (or just Bavaria) by train.
Arrive in Munich and get settled. Tip: Stay in the city center and discover many places on foot.
You have quite a bit to see in Munich, such as Marienplatz (market square), the old town, the view from the clock tower, Viktualienmarkt, the Residenz, and Englischer Garten.
Depending on your arrival time, I suggest staying around 1.5 days in Munich (and if you fly back home from Munich, you could spend another half day towards the end there). Click here to find the best accommodation in Munich for your stay.
If you stay only 3 days in Bavaria, then stay 1 day in Munich.
Schloss Neuschwanstein and Alpsee
Schloss Neuschwanstein, located in the southern part of Bavaria, is one of the most iconic castles in the world and a must-see to include on your 3-day itinerary.
It was here that I finally understood what the “Romantic Road“ was all about. You will rub shoulders with a lot of other tourists because it is anything but a hidden gem.
You can do a guided tour of the castle if you‘d like to see the (apparently) stunning interior. I skipped the tour since I was with my dog. But even if you don’t do the tour, looking at this castle from a distance and hiking around it is well worth your time.
After seeing the castle, walk the beautiful Alpsee Lake! What a perfect way to end this day.
You will most likely not need a full day (meaning that you arrive at 8 am and stay until 8 pm), but anything between 4 hours (if you don’t hike the lake) and 8 hours (including the hike of the lake and visiting the castle) should be enough. For more info, check out my detailed Neuschwanstein guide here.
Then it is time to visit the next Bavarian pearl.
Eibsee & Zugspitze
Switzerland is my country for mountain lakes and mountain peaks, but there is a bit to see in Germany. After visiting Neuschwanstein Castle, head to Eibsee and the Zugspitze.
One full day is enough to head to the Zugspitze – the highest mountain in Germany – and hike the lovely Eibsee, probably the most beautiful lake in Germany.
Tickets for the Zugspitze can be bought at the ticket center, but you can also book tickets in advance.
The day I visited Eibsee, it was very foggy, so I decided not to spend $60 for foggy views. However, on a clear day, the views are probably well worth it.
Next to the Zugspitze is the pretty Eibsee. You can easily hike around it (I cannot remember how long it took me, but I guess around one hour), and you will see the lakes from many different but beautiful angles. Click here to find the best rates for your stay near the Zugspitze/Eibsee.
If you stay more than 3 days in Southern Germany, here are more tips on how to spend it.
5-DAY BAVARIA ITINERARY
With 5 days in Bavaria, you can add two more places to your itinerary. My suggestion is to head south and visit a bigger city and the country’s most beautiful town.
Munich + Schloss Neuschwanstein and Alpsee + Zugspitze and Eibsee – Würzburg or Nürnberg + Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Würzburg or Nuremberg
I have two cities for you to see that are just beautiful – it’s up to you which is the loveliest and which one you want to visit (visiting both in 10 days in Bavaria might be problematic due to the lack of time).
Würzburg is a medieval city with several stunning castles and fortresses.
It is actually the starting point of the “Romantic Road,” which is a popular road trip, and you will pass several cute (and romantic) towns and villages along the way.
The drive itself is not scenic (more on nice scenic drives in Germany a bit later), but along with Würzburg, you will discover more places to see.
I know that Würzburg is quite far away from Munich, and not everyone likes that long drive (around 300km).
But if you stay in Würzburg, rather than having your base in Munich, it makes sense as Rothenburg, one of the next gorgeous suggestions, is close by. Find out more about how to spend a day in Wurzburg here.
If you want to minimize your driving time, I suggest skipping Würzburg and heading to the next town (which is still quite a long drive but still closer to Munich). Click here to find out about the best accommodation for your stay in Wurzburg.
Nuremberg is the second biggest city in Bavaria and also gorgeous. The distance to Munich is much shorter (around 150km) and is a good alternative to Würzburg.
You can stroll the old town, visit the Johannisfriedhof (a medieval cemetery), enjoy the views from the St. Lorenz Church – to name a few attractions. Check out hotel rates for Nürnberg here.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
From Würzburg (around 50km) or Nuremberg (also around 50km), you can get to Rothenburg ob der Tauber – the prettiest town in Germany. It is one of the most popular spots on the Romantic Road and one of the most famous.
Stroll the picturesque old town. Walk the town wall and relax in the Burggarten. Since the city is quite small, one day is enough to see almost everything (however, this did not stop me from revisiting Rothenburg on my second Bavaria road trip and spend another two nights there…Rothenburg on a sunny day is just gorgeous). Read my Rothenburg ob der Tauber itinerary here.
BAVARIA ATTRACTIONS TO SEE IN 7 DAYS
With one week in Bavaria, you can explore a few more gorgeous places. This also means that you have to add these new places mentioned now in between the other day.
Munich + Schloss Neuschwanstein and Alpsee + Zugspitze and Eibsee – Würzburg or Nürnberg + Rothenburg ob der Tauber + Königssee and Eagles´s Nest
If you want to visit above mentioned places and the places below, it makes the most sense to visit Munich and then head north to Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Würzburg/Nuremberg and then visit Neuschwanstein Castle and Eibsee, which are in the south of Bavaria. Because all mentioned places now are also in the southern part of Bavaria.
Germany’s cleanest lake is incredible, and a boat ride (on an electric boat to keep the water clean) is quite relaxing and interesting.
You can get out at St. Bartholomä or go to the other end of Königssee Lake and hop off there to hike around the other lake (Obersee) that is just next to it.
There is no other way to see the end of the lake, as you cannot hike it all the way.
However, if you prefer not to hop on a boat (cost is around 20€), go for a walk and do the 1 1/2-hour “Malerwinkel“ hike. I read so many positive reviews about this but was a bit disappointed because the hike was mostly through a forest with a few scenic views.
You might need around 4-10 hours for a day at Königssee Lake, and it is another place to see if you are in Bavaria for one week or longer.
Here are the best hotels to stay near Königssee – my base was in Bad Reichenhall, which is great, but so is Berchtesgaden. From these two places, you can get to some major Bavaria attractions quickly (if you do not want to change hotels each day),
Close to Königssee Lake is Eagle´s Nest.
The Kehlsteinhaus, in the area of Berchtesgaden, is known for two reasons: its great views and as a place where politicians of the NS regime met and political decisions were made.
After initially considering the destruction of the building after World War II, it was decided that it should remain. Now it has become a must-see on many itineraries.
You can either hike up or take a special bus up to learn about its history – and, of course, enjoy the view.
Kehlsteinhaus is actually closed during wintertime and only open from mid-May to mid-October.
If you do the “easy” hike (up and down), I suggest planning in a full day – with less than one week in Bavaria, I would probably skip it, but that is just my suggestion.
If you take the bus to get up and do some hiking at the peak, 4 to 7 hours should be enough. Ticket prices for the bus are quite reasonable (around 15€ round-trip). Click here to find the best hotels near Kehlsteinhaus.
With these above-mentioned places, you have an amazing 7-day Bavaria itinerary. And if you have even more time to spend in Southern Germany I have the following suggestion.
HOW TO EXPLORE BAVARIA IN 10 DAYS
Okay, this is really weird as I am talking about Southern Germany and then add Northern Austria. However, it is worth it heading to Salzburg.
Munich + Schloss Neuschwanstein and Alpsee + Zugspitze and Eibsee – Würzburg or Nürnberg + Rothenburg ob der Tauber + Königssee and Eagles´s Nest + Salzburg
Why did I add the Austrian city of Salzburg to this list? Well, this pretty city is very close to Eagle´s Nest, and if you stay in Berchtesgaden, then a trip to Salzburg is definitely a must-see (even if it isn’t located in Bavaria).
I am in love with Salzburg. This gorgeous place knew how to amaze me – and all the other tourists. It takes about an hour (or even less) to get there from Bavaria. So, if you have a spare day, then Salzburg should be on your 10-day itinerary for Bavaria. To find out more about this beautiful city and check out my detailed Salzburg guide.
Hotel Sacher in the Old Town – Click here to find out more and get the best price for this luxury hotel in the old town. If you are looking for a more budget-friendly hotel, you have to check out accommodations near the town center.
Ibis Budget Salzburg Airport – I stayed at the Ibis Hotel near the airport – it was good value for money (I also mostly booked it because I wanted to park my car for free). It did not take long to get to the town center, and public transportation is cheap and good (though it takes more than ten minutes to the bus station. Click here for more info and the best rates.
If you plan a longer trip to Austria, read my 5-10 day Austria itinerary.
As you can see, this is just 9 days rather than 10 days in Bavaria – this is, as I want to leave some time for travel and unexpected breaks in between (there are many reasons to stop along the way, so this itinerary will allow you to have the stops).
FINAL THOUGHTS ON A BAVARIA ITINERARY
If you still have more time to explore this lovely area, head to my post about Bavaria’s most beautiful places and get some inspiration for more locations to see!
However, I am sure with this Bavaria itinerary. You are well set!
Here are a few of my favorite posts I have written for you:
Stay safe and enjoy!