Germany: Road Trip Bavaria in 7-10 Days – An Itinerary
- 1 Germany: Road Trip Bavaria in 7-10 Days – An Itinerary
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 very pretty.
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.
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 itinerary, I had to focus on the best places and also find places that do not require too much driving around.
With these tips, you can spend 5-14 days in Bavaria. 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 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 Bavaria
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, and 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
Whether you opt for road tripping or getting around by public transportation – both allow you to experience Bavaria at its best.
Road Trip Bavaria
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 do 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 at tourist attractions. (Day tickets for attractions like Neuschwanstein cost around 6€; parking in the city center of Munich 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 directly.
Find out more about how to plan a perfect road trip here.
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 the trains and buses in Bavaria. If you get “Bayern Tickets,” they are actually not expensive – about 25€ for one person, each additional person (max of 5 people) cost 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 in the right train), but you can use public transportation in the cities and towns (there might be some restrictions when it comes to 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 BAVARIA
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 from 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.
COSTS OF TRAVELING IN BAVARIA
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, but also 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 the area of 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.
Here are some more tips for your Bavaria trip.
Water: Yes to free water! Germans love their sparkling water, but we also enjoy free water (non-sparking, of course).
To enjoy fresh water, bring your reusable water bottle. In many parts of Bavaria, you can just refill your bottle with fresh water from fountains (just 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.
7 Days in Bavaria
Day 1- 2: Munich
I recommend starting your 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 of the time of your arrival, 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).
Day 3: Würzburg or Nuremberg
For the third day, I have two cities for you to see that are just beautiful – it’s up to you which is the loveliest
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 minimise your driving time, then I suggest skipping Würzburg and heading to the next town (which is still quite a long drive but still closer to Munich).
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 – just to name a few attractions.
Day 4: 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 also 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 most everything (however, this did not stop me to revisit Rothenburg on my second Bavaria road trip and spend another two nights there…Rothenburg on a sunny day is just gorgeous). Read my one-day Rothenburg ob der Tauber itinerary here.
Then, it is time to head to the next destination. There will be a few cute towns along the way that you could check out, but with a limited time of roughly 7 days, I suggest heading to the next main Bavarian attraction – the most impressive castle in Central Europe.
Day 5: Schloss Neuschwanstein and Alpsee
Schloss Neuschwanstein, located in the southern part of Bavaria, is one of the most iconic castles in the world.
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.
Day 6: Eibsee & Zugspitze
Switzerland is my country for mountain lakes and mountain peaks, but there is a bit to see in Germany as well.
One full day is enough to head to the Zugspitze – the highest mountain in Germany – and hike the lovely Eibsee, which is 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 the $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.
Day 7: Alpenstraße
(only if you drive yourself)
Okay, this is only if you are driving. If you get around by public transportation, you can go straight to Lake Königssee.
From Eibsee, start your road trip of “Alpenstraße.” This beautiful road is one of the most scenic road trips in Germany.
You will drive along the German border, where it meets Austria, and see what Germany has to offer.
You will pass rolling hills, cute towns, and on a sunny day, this is the best place to road trip in Germany.
From Eibsee to your next destination, it is about 250 km. But I suggest planning a full day to have enough time for some stops – when the weather is good (with bad weather, you should plan in around 3 hours).
If you travel by train, you have one extra day that you can use for any other activity.
Day 7 (or 8): Königsee Lake
The cleanest lake in Germany is incredible – I know, another lake in Germany, but a boat ride (on an electric boat to keep the water clean) is a fun activity in this Bavaria itinerary.
You can get out at St. Bartholomä, or go to the other end of Königsee 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€), then 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.
Day 8 (or 9): Eagle´s Nest
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 winter time and only open from mid-May to mid-October.
If you do the “easy” hike (up and down), I suggest to plan in a full day.
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).
Day 9 and 10 (or 10 and 11): 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 (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.
If you plan a longer trip to Austria, read my 5-10 day Austria itinerary.
If you still have more time to explore this lovely area, then head to my post about the most beautiful places in Bavaria and get some inspiration for more locations to see in Bavaria in 5, 7, or 10 days!
Here are a few of my favorite posts I have written for you: