My wife and I are planning on visiting Munich and Bavaria at the end of May and the beginning of June. We have 1 week to spend and would love some help planning our time. How many days should we spend in Munich vs surrounding areas? What are the area highlights? We think renting a car for 4-5 days is an option so keep that in mind. Thanks!
Inside Munich city, you can visit the following places
Around Munich city, you can go to the following places:
These days, renting a car may work out cheaper in Germany. For going to places around Munich, renting a card is definitely a good idea, but, not within the city. Also, it is not required. The public transport in Munich is very efficient. You can buy tickets at any kiosk anywhere in the city. Please check the local transport deals from MVV and DB. Both of them together may give great deals.
Also, for any kind of travel related information, you can always go to the Reiseburo at the main station at Munich. They can guide you well and also you can buy the tickets right there without having to stand in multiple lines.
For going around Munich, you can take day trips which you can purchase in Karlsplatz/MarienPlatz area (which is walkable from the main station).
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Do not rent a car and expect to drive in Munich, it is seriously a challenge to drive and park there. It can be done, but only if your navigating partner is adept at selecting streets that change from two way to one way and then back again, not to mention the fact that trams and buses are everywhere. Plan on using the Munich City transportation system (subways, buses and trams) as it goes everywhere worth going in Munich, Rent the car only when you are ready to commence your "outside Munich" part of the trip. And once again, parking is brutal in Munich, if you do not stay in a hotel that provides parking, finding a spot can be a big challenge !
You should perhaps consider the following Bavarian locations; Neuschwanstein Castle but get your tickets online and way in advance as this is a very popular destination.
Driving to Neuschwanstein from Munich via the Romantischer Strasse (take the E533 from Munich to Route 952 and grab some pastry & coffee in Starnberg). The drive from Starnberg to the castle is very pretty, and mostly two lane traffic through rolling hills all the way there.
The Neuschwanstein area has some great hiking (up behind the castle, a beautiful pic spot) and some good restaurants in the city below. I would suggest that you either stay in Schwangau or consider driving to Garmisch-Partenkirchen and stay there. The sights in & around Garmisch, are well worth the drive, ie; Zugspitze, or Partnachklamm, or consider taking one of the many beautiful hiking spots in that area or in the Wetterstein.
Now comes the dilemma, do you drive further east and head toward Chiemsee (and see one of Ludwig's other castles Schloss Herrenchiemsee, or do you drive west towards Lindau and the Bodensee? I would suggest that you should consider driving to the Chiemsee area, which would not only place you close to Munich for your departure, but it would also provide you with a scenic route through Bavaria and a number of interesting locations in and around Chiemsee.
Remember, in Germany, the left lane is only for passing, you cannot "just drive" in that lane. And yes, the speed limits are unlimited on the Autobahn once you are some distance outside a major city, but on the country roads (which are all excellent by the way) there are speed limits and the Police there do use radar. Keep your eyes open for speed traps!
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Okay so I am in Munich and throughout Bavaria at least 7-8 times per year (and yes Oktoberfest is an annual pilgrimage for me)... So If you are going to go to Munich it's fun if you want the city life and decent beer, great bars etc. But because you are going to be there in the beginning of summer you should check out Konstanz... One of my favorite cities in the area, plus you will be near a city (before you cross the lake) that is the number 1 hops producer in the world (also some of the best beer).
Hope this helps!
This is not really an answer to your question but a suggestion. With the short time you have you might enjoy Salzburg and Hallstatt, Austria after Munich. Salzburg is only about 1 l/2 hrs from Munich and Hallstatt about an hour from Salzburg. It would be a total change from Munich and so very beautiful. Have a great trip.