Bavaria is not just Munich, there are plenty of interesting places to explore. On the blog, you can find two other posts about Munich, one about where to eat in Munich and the other about places to visit in Munich. After almost three years of living here, I've put together a list of some of my favourite places in the area, even outside of Bavaria, but close by. Also, below I explain the best way to get around Bavaria.
How to get around Bavaria, Munich and the surrounding area?
Generally speaking, Munich is very well served by public transport. There aren't many hills, so cycling is quite comfortable, the metro system was built for the '72 Olympics, and there are also suburban trains, buses and various types of vehicles available for hire.
To get from Munich to other parts of Bavaria or even further afield, I always buy train or bus tickets. For the bus I use the Flixbus app (which offers very cheap options but is not always reliable in terms of punctuality) and for trains I use the DB (Deutsch Bahn) app. To get around Bavaria there is a very interesting ticket for travelling in a group that is cheaper.
Information about the Bayern Ticket:
The Bayern Ticket allows you to travel through Bavaria as a group on a single ticket. This ticket even includes a stop in Salzburg (Austria), making it perfect for Sunday excursions. The ticket can be bought physically at the DB ticket machines (remember to write down the names of the 5 or less people who will use the ticket, with first and last names as on the ID card) and can be bought online on the DB app.
This group ticket costs €26 and you pay €8 extra for each additional passenger (as of October 2022), but check further on the DB website or app to see if the fares have changed. With this ticket you can make as many stops as you like on the same day, there and back, at no extra cost.
Of course, if you are not convinced by any of the above options, you can also rent a car, although this is not my preference. Two apps you can use to rent a car are Share Now and Miles.
That said, here is a list of places that I think are very interesting to visit if you want to explore Bavaria and its surroundings, beyond Munich.
What to visit in and around Bavaria?
- Erding Thermal Baths: If you're in the mood for relaxation, the Erding Thermal Baths are very close to Munich and have indoor and outdoor pools. Of course, there's a sauna and you can have a massage if you want, but you can also go down all the slides - and there's a wave pool!
- Ingolstadt: A city near Munich where you can visit the Audi Museum and the outlet for expensive brands called "Ingolstadt Village" (sometimes they even run a direct bus from Munich just for this).
- Nuremberg: Its Christmas market is said to be one of the best in the world. A city with history where you can spend a beautiful day.
- Bamberg: A cool town that's famous for its smoked beer (personally not recommended, tastes like bacon).
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Rothenburg is a town that reminds me of the town in Shrek 2. You can take beautiful pictures there and the most famous thing about the town is the Torture Museum. You can also take a walk around the fortress and have a look at the plaques inside the corridors. You can access the fortress for free, it surrounds the whole town.
- Wurzburg: A curious town, not far from the previous one. It has a bridge that connects the town centre with the vineyard area at the foot of its castle. As you walk across the bridge you can stop to enjoy a glass of local wine.
- Regensburg: A university city that is also quite beautiful.
Neuschwanstein Castle. Source: Pexels.com
- Neuschwanstein Castle: Also known as "the castle of the mad king", it is located very close to the town of Fussen. It is said to have inspired the creators of Disney's famous castle. Many people recommend not paying to see it from the inside, but to see it from the outside by standing on the fenced bridge called Marienbrücke. It's a bit of a walk to get up there, so it's best to be prepared.
- Fussen: The closest town to Neuschwanstein Castle. Its central street is very pretty and full of shops and places to eat or stop for a drink.
- Ulm: The cathedral of this city in the region of Baden-Württemberg, bordering Bavaria, has the world's tallest church tower (161.53 metres). It has many photo-worthy landmarks.
- Augsburg: One of Germany's oldest cities and also famous for its university life. It is said to have been founded in 15 BC.
- Lindau: On the shores of Lake Bodensee, this pretty town offers a view to unwind in. There's the option of taking a boat and sailing on a lake that shares territory with Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The Zeppelin Museum is also close to Lindau.
- Nearby lakes: Being far from the coast, the people of Munich take advantage of the lakes around Munich to swim in the summer or just to have a good view in the cooler seasons. Some of the most visited lakes are: Starnberg, Ammersee, Tegernsee, Chiemsee, Walchensee (this one has white stones and reminds many people of the Caribbean), which has a nearby mountain accessible by funicular from where you can enjoy impressive views of Kochelsee. Don't forget to mention Bodensee or Constance and one of my favourites, which is further away but is Konigssee.
- Snow sports: Whether you like skiing, snowboarding, sledging or just gazing at snow-capped mountains, you're in the right place. In the snowy season, many buses leave daily from Munich to offer you such winter plans.
- Zugspitze: Germany's highest mountain is very close to Munich. It is 2,962 metres above sea level in Bavaria and can be climbed by cable car for around €63 return.
Frankfurt am Main (Frankfurt). Source: Pexels.com
- Slightly more distant cities: As we go further away out of Munich, going even outside of Bavaria, we also have interesting and well-connected destinations such as: Stuttgart (it may not be the best city to visit but it does have the Mercedes Benz Museum and Porsche Museum); Frankfurt am Main (Frankfurt, is a very cool place to visit (in my opinion) where you can visit the ECB; Heidelberg, the part of the Black Forest with Freiburg im Breisgau and Rust (where Europapark Amusement Park); and already in France but very close to the border, Strasbourg and Colmar, (they are beautiful and even more so at Christmas time).
- Visit Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France or the Czech Republic: Due to its proximity to several countries, Bavaria offers interesting connections to nearby foreign cities of Europe. My favourite excursions are to Innsbruck or to Salzburg. Innsbruck is a beautiful city in the Tyrol with the mountains close by. Salzburg is known as Mozart's city. It is also very beautiful and you can get close to Hallstatt if you have a car (the latter looks like the city in the Disney film "Frozen").
I'm sure I've left out a thousand other interesting places around Munich and Bavaria. Do you have any more in mind? Please share them or share them below in a comment, thank you very much!