Thanks to its central location in Europe and Southern Germany, Munich is a great starting point for exploring Bavarian and Austrian famous cities and fairytale towns. It is also well-connected by an extensive train network helping you easily reach beautiful cities near Munich by train as a day trip or a weekend trip.
How to get a Cheap Train Ticket From Munich
In May 2023 Germany launched a so-called Deutschlandticket, which enables you to travel all over Germany with regional trains, buses, and subways for only 49 Euros a month. You can buy the ticket online on MVV or DB App or at any local ticket office. Be aware that Deutschlandticket is available as a subscription only, which means you must cancel it if you are not intending to use it in the future. If you don’t live in Germany and only visit Bavaria for a few days, then buying Bayernticket might be a better option for you. It is a regional ticket for Bavaria valid for one day.
Beautiful Fairytale Cities Near Munich
Let’s explore the most beautiful Bavarian and Austrian cities near Munich reachable by train within 1-2 hours. The cities below are listed in no particular order. I recommend visiting them all if you have time because each city has its own unique charm and interesting things to see and explore.
Distance to Munich – 89 Km
Travel time by train – 1 hour 23 minutes
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is the most famous alpine town in Bavaria. Located at the foot of the Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany at 2,962 meters (9,718 ft), it can be a great base for exploring the Bavarian Alps. In winter it turns into a prominent world-class ski resort and in summer it turns into a paradise for hikers, climbers, and mountain lovers. Another reason to visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen is that it is a traditional Bavarian town with an international flair. Its colorful historic buildings with painted facades called “Lueftlmalerei” make it one of the top fairytale towns in Germany. This kind of facade painting is widespread in the alpine regions of Bavaria and Austria.
Top Attractions in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
- Lake Eibsee
- Partnach Gorge
- Hollental Gorge
- Linderhof Palace
- Mountain Alpspitze
- Mountain Kreuzeck
- Olympic Ski Jumping Hill
Distance to Munich – 125 Km
Travel time by train – 2 hours 7 minutes
Füssen is a beautiful town in the heart of Bavaria nested between the Alps. It is most known for the world’s most famous castle – the Neuschwanstein Castle also known as the Disney’s Castle or Cinderella’s Castle. It is possible to visit Füssen and Neuschwansten Castle as a Day Trip from Munich. You can get to Füssen by train, car, bus, or by taking a tour. The biggest advantage of taking a tour is that you will have a professional English-speaking guide telling you all the stories about Bavaria’s crazy Kind Ludwig who built the Neuschwanstein Castle, plus visit another famous castle from the Kind Ludwig – the Linderhof Palace. This way you 2 the most famous and the most beautiful castles in Bavaria in one day.
Top Attractions in Füssen
- Neuschwanstein Castle (Disney’s Castle)
- Hohenschwangau Castle
- Füssen Old Town (Altstadt)
- Lechfall Waterfall
- Hopfgensee Alpine Lake
Distance to Munich – 106 Km
Travel time by train – 2 hours
Mittenwald also known as “Village of a Thousand Violins” is another fairytale alpine town on my list with a very traditional Bavarian flair. It is known for its colorful painted houses and its violin-making history. Mittenwald is also a starting point for great hiking and climbing routes, mountain biking trails, and beautiful lakes.
Top Attractions in Mittenwald
- Historic old town
- 4th century St. Peter and Paul Church
- Lake Lautersee
- Leutasch Gorge (Leutaschklamm)
- Karwendel Alps
- Watch the Cows Come Home (Almabtrieb )
Distance to Munich – 54Km
Travel time by train – 1 hour 6 minutes
Tegernsee town is one of the closest cute towns near Munich located at the shores of the lake with the same name. Tegernsee and its surrounding areas are famous for being home to the German elite such as FC Bayern football players. Their luxurious villas and chalets are hidden behind the trees from curious eyes, but you can still see a traffic jam of Ferraris, Porsches, and all kinds of weird-looking motorcycles on the cute narrow roads around Lake Tegernsee, especially in summer.
Top Attractions in Tegernsee
- Have a traditional Bavarian lunch and a beer at the famous local biergarten with amazing lake views
- Take a boat trip or go swimming in the lake Tegernsee
- Go hiking. Some of the most beautiful hiking routes starting directly from Tegernsee are Prinzenweg and Neureuth
Distance to Munich – 140 Km
Travel time by train – 1 hour 30 minutes
Regensburg is the fourth largest city in Bavaria and with its rich history is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe. It used to be the northernmost city of the Roman Empire. Since 2006 Regensburg has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the top attractions in Germany.
Top Attractions in Regensburg
- Old town
- Regensburg Cathedral (Dom) – most famous gothic architecture in Bavaria
- Medieval stone bridge over the Danube – the oldest surviving bridge in Germany
- Regensburg Sausage Kitchen – the oldest continuously open public restaurant in the world.
- Thurn and Taxis Palace
Distance to Munich – 110 Km
Travel time by train – 2 hours 8 minutes
Burghausen is situated on the Salzach River near the Austrian border. It is famous for the Burghausen Castle, which is the longest castle in the world and is over 1 kilometer long. The castle is built on top of a hill and has panoramic views overseeing the downtown and the river. It was built in the 11th century and has a rich history.
Top Attractions in Burghausen
- Take a walk in Burghausen Old Town (Altstadt)
- Explore Burghausen Castle and enjoy panoramic views
- Colorful Town Hall
- Take a swim in Wöhrsee Lake and the pool
Distance to Munich – 170 Km
Travel time by train – about 1 hour by fast ICE train, much longer with regional trains
Nuremberg is the second-largest city in Bavaria and it is famous for its Christmas market and medieval castle Kaiserburg. The Christmas market in Nuremberg is one of the most famous Christmas Markets in Bavaria and in the world. It is open from the end of November until January. Despite its old and rich history, Nuremberg is quite often linked to World War II and the Nazis. So if you are particularly interested in this part of German history, you can visit some Nazi party rally grounds in Nuremberg.
Top Attractions in Nuremberg
- Old Town
- Keiserburg castle
- Nazi party rally grounds
- Karolinenstrasse shopping street
- Christmas market
Distance to Munich – 194 Km
Travel time by train – 2 hours 15 minutes
Passau is another cute Bavarian city bordering Austria and lying at the confluence of the Danube, Inn, and Ilz rivers. The old town of Passau is known for its baroque architecture and 13th-century hilltop fortress.
Top Attractions in Passau
- View the Meeting Point of Three Rivers
- See the Biggest Organ in Europe in St. Stephen’s Cathedral
- Climb up to Veste Oberhaus fortress and enjoy the views
- Walk around Passau old town (Altstadt)
- Visit St. Paul Church
- Visit the Passau Glass Museum (Glasmuseum Passau) which holds the world’s largest collection of European glass.
- Take a cruise over the Danube River
Distance to Munich – 240 Km
Travel time by train – 2 hours 25 minutes
Lindau is a fairytale town located on the shores of the lake Constance (Germ. Bodensee). It is known for its old town on the Lindau island and the harbor. Lake Constance is one of the largest lakes in Europe and it is shared between Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. I recommend visiting Lindau in the summer months from May to September to enjoy the harbor and also visit nearby towns Meersburg, St. Gallen, and Bregenz.
Top Attractions in Lindau
- Lighthouse and Bavarian Lion Sculpture
- Mangturm Tower also known as the Rapunzel Tower with Rapunzel’s hair hanging from a window.
- Historic Town Hall
- Old town and the harbor
- Panoramic boat tour on the largest lake in Germany and Austria
Best Austrian and Swiss Cities Near Bavaria
Distance to Munich – 143 Km
Travel time by train – 1 hour 47 minutes
Salzburg is the closest Austrian city near Munich very close to the German border. This beautiful city is easily reachable by train. If you like various Baroque churches, fairytale castles, and fortresses then you should visit Salzburg. It is also home to one of the most famous composers of all time Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The historic medieval center of Salzburg was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
Top Attractions in Salzburg
- Hohensalzburg Fortress
- Mirabell Palace
- Mozart’s Birthplace
- Salzburg Cathedral
- Residenzplatz ( the main square)
Distance to Munich – 280 Km
Travel time by train – 3 hours 8 minutes
Schaffhausen is the nearest Swiss city to Munich located on the German-Swiss border. There are no direct trains from Munich to Schaffhausen, which significantly increases the travel time. I recommend either taking a tour where transportation will be included or going there by car.
Schaffhausen is famous for Rhine Falls, the largest and most powerful waterfalls in Europe. They are 150 meters (490 ft) wide and 23 meters (75 ft) high. There are several viewing platforms with views of the waterfall built on both sides of the Rhine River. These are reached via steep and narrow stairs from Schloss Laufen or by boats. There are also several boats available that will take you closer to the falls and provide an unforgettable experience. If you prefer to explore the Rhine River and waterfalls on foot, there is a sidewalk on the railway bridge (Rheinfallbrücke) upstream of the waterfall.
Top Attractions in Schaffhausen
- Rhine Falls
- Rheinfall Park
- Laufen Castle
- Munot Fortress
- Schaffhausen Old Town
- IWC Museum (Swiss Watches)
Best Cities in Munich Metropolitan Area
Distance to Munich – 40 Km
Travel time by train – 53 minutes
Erding is a small town which is part of the Munich Metropolitan area. It is mostly a residential area and not a tourist town. But there is one thing that attracts thousands of visitors and locals to Erding – the Therme Erding. It is the largest thermal spa in the world! Guests can enjoy 27 slides (including slides with virtual reality glasses), a wave pool, an exotic spa, VitalityOasis, and Spa Area & Saunas.
Top Attractions in Erding
- Therme Erding
- Erdinger Brewery
- Museum Erding
- Farmers’ House Museum (Bauernhausmuseum)
Distance to Munich – 27 Km
Travel time by train – 34 minutes
Starnberg is the most affluent city in the Munich metropolitan area. Located on the shores of Lake Starnberg, it is the locals’ favorite recreational zone close to Munich. From luxury beach clubs and wellness areas to sailing and paddle boarding, everyone will find here what they are looking for and have a great time.
Top Attractions in Starnberg
- Andechs Monastery and Brewery
- Lake Starnberg watersports
- Seebad Spa and Wellness
- Buchheim Museum of Imagination
- Possenhofen Castle
Distance to Munich – 30 Km
Travel time by train – 23 minutes
Dachau is a medieval little Bavarian town on the outskirts of Munich with a dark past and buried secrets. It was one of the first concentration camps built by Nazis and the longest-running one.
Over 32,000 innocent souls were brutally murdered here during the WWII. Today the memorial Site in Dachau serves as a reminder of its dark history.
Bavaria is not only about fairy tale castles and beer gardens. Understanding the World War II history and the Third Reich should be part of your German and Bavarian Itinerary.
Top Attractions in Dachau
- Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site
- Dachau Palace
- Dachau Old Town (Altstadt)
Distance to Munich – 39.6 Km
Travel time by train – 43 minutes
Freising is a historic Bavarian town near Munich and home the the oldest working brewery in the world. It is the closest town to Munich’s International Airport, making it a great place to start your Bavarian Itinerary right after your arrival.
Freising’s old town is located on top of two hills with great views. Atop one of the hills, you will find the former Weihenstephan Abbey, the monastery brewery where Benedictine monks started brewing beer a thousand years ago. Today it is a Bavarian State Brewery and the oldest brewery in the world.
Top Attractions in Freising
- Brewery Weihenstephan
- Freising Cathedral
- Old Town (Altstadt)
- Sichtungsgarten Weihenstephan Botanical Garden
Bavaria is home to some of the most beautiful and charming cities and towns in Germany. Most of those fairytale towns are easily accessible from Munich by train. While it is possible to see those towns just in one day, I do recommend staying overnight to enjoy each town fully without being in a rush. I often return to my favorite Bavarian cities a few times a year, to experience their unique atmosphere in different seasons.
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