A guest blog by writer and educator Naomi Kaye Honova
I’m a big fan of Munich living, from its endless green spaces, numerous cultural offerings and family-friendly outings from the zoo to the awesome playgrounds. One of the many wonderful things about Munich that I love telling visitors and newcomers about is the infinite possibilities of easy day trips within Bavaria that can be done via public transportation.
From Munich’s Hauptbahnhof (main train station), all of these trips can be accomplished in around 1.5 hours or less in each direction. Some of the jaunts require a regional train but others can be done with a commuter train (S-Bahn), which depart quite frequently.
A straightforward journey of less than an hour’s commute from Munich (with tons of frequent trains), Augsburg is absolutely a city worth exploring in its own right. As the third-largest city in the state of Bavaria, there’s plenty to do and see, so if you have extra time you might even want to consider an overnight stay. Some of Augsburg’s highlights include the Fuggerei, the world’s oldest social housing complex, a gorgeous town hall that sports the Goldener Saal (Golden Hall), some stunning churches and parks, and Bertolt Brecht’s childhood home. If you’ve got kids in tow or are a kid at heart, the Augsburger Puppenkiste is a world-renowned marionette theatre with year-round performances. Public transit within the city is reliable and fast.
Prepare yourself some gorgeous scenery (pun intended) along this popular year-round hike. The highlight of the route is clearly the Partnachklamm, which is easily accessed by foot or by bus from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where there are frequent trains to and from Munich. Whether you visit in summer or winter, you’ll be treated to jaw-dropping views of a Triassic-era gorge and waterfalls, which will often freeze in a picturesque manner during the winter months. The circular route is appropriate for hikers of all ages and levels, and does require a paid admission fee. If you’ve got time afterwards, the town itself is always worth exploring, a former host to the Winter Olympics.
Located in the scenic Altmühltal region, charming Eichstatt is a fantastic destination for a day trip from Munich, particularly if you are a dinosaur lover! The Jura museum details the paleontological history of the region, and if you go slightly out of town, you can even dig for fossils yourself. If you’re into history and beautiful buildings, the Eichstatt Dom (cathedral) and the town centre are worth exploring. Buildings untouched by World War Two were built anywhere from the 1300s to the 1800s and span a wide range of architectural styles. The town is also a perfect base for some gorgeous hikes and long walks such as a longer hike to Figurenfeld or a walk up to the local quarry, with views of the river and valley.
Easily accessible via Munich’s S-Bahn commuter train network, a day trip to this historic monastery and brewery is the perfect blend of nature, hiking, architecture and delicious food and drink. Take the S8 train to the Herrsching station, and after exiting the train you’ll see well-marked signs pointing you towards the Andechs monastery. The hike itself is extremely scenic, relatively easy, leisurely and straightforward. You’ll be rewarded with the gorgeous monastery and a delicious brewery with beer on tap and plenty of yummy Bavarian eats, and some spectacular views to boot.
Famous for being the highest peak in Germany, the Zugspitze is also a simple journey from downtown Munich, so it’s easy to spend a day there after embarking from the Garmisch-Partenkirchen station. Whether you’re an intrepid and experienced hiker who wants to ascend the mountain starting at dawn or would prefer to take the train or the cable car up the side, it’s a worthwhile journey for anyone visiting or living in the area. During winter you’ll be treated to beautiful snowy landscapes, and in summer there’s many possibilities for strolls and mini-hikes. Winter sport enthusiasts can opt to ski or sled, and when you get hungry there are kiosks and a restaurant up the mountain as well (don’t forget to hydrate).
The shortest trip on the list (less than 30 minutes via S-Bahn from Munich’s central train station) is Starnberger See, or Lake Starnberg. A visit here is a great way to spend a day just outside of Munich’s city limits. Famed for King Ludwig II’s mysterious drowning - the noted “Mad King” who built the internationally renowned Neuschwanstein Castle - the lake itself is clear and beautiful. In warm weather, you can swim and take a ferry boat, or even rent your own boat to paddle around the waters. If you’re in need of a bit more leisure, go get an ice cream or cold beer and chill water-side (there are countless options), and if you’ve got kids in tow, don’t miss the pirate ship-themed playground near the Starnberg station.
Thank you so much for sharing, Naomi!
Naomi Kaye Honova is originally from the US, but has made Germany her home for the past decade with her husband and young children. Naomi has a background in writing, history, dance and social work and is passionate about travel, being in nature and delicious food and drink. She is a freelance writer and educator and lives in Bavaria.