Munich is one of Germany's most popular cities for tourists, but did you know it's also the perfect base for exploring surrounding Bavaria? There are so many incredible sights within a day's distance of Munich that you could spend your entire vacation taking day trips. Even if you're simply looking to spice up your next visit to Munich, consider these amazing Bavarian attractions as you plan your trip.
The Eagle's Nest
As its name suggests, the Eagle's Nest is a sky-high perch that affords you a panoramic view of the Bavarian Alps and Lake Königsee, which sits just beneath it. Although a bus runs to the mountain peak throughout the day, the most rewarding route to the Eagle's Nest is a two-hour hike from Berchtesgaden, the town at its base. Views and weather are best in the spring and summer, but no matter when you go, the Eagle's Nest is a convenient 2.5-hour train ride from Munich.
Before there was Germany there was Prussia, and although the Southerners of modern Germany might prefer simply being Bavarian, one relic of the Prussian past beckons you to visit. Located in Hechingen, which is around 3 hours each way from Munich by train, Hohenzollern Castle evokes the splendor of Prussia's most famous ruling dynasty. Although Hohenzollern Castle seems timeless, it officially dates to the year 1264, making it one of the oldest surviving structures in Germany.
Munich attracts beer drinks from all over the world during Oktoberfest, but if you're looking to sip German bier during the proverbial off-season, get yourself to Bayreuth, which is less than an hour from Munich on any of several daily trains. Maisel Brewery is located here, and you can indulge in a tour of its facilities for between 16-19 euro per person, depending on the season. Even if you plan to head back to the Bavarian capital with your sobriety intact, you'll appreciate the legacy of composer Richard Wagner, who hit many a right note in Bayreuth.
Although the sadness of Dachau's past goes without saying, visiting the site of the former concentration camp is a humbling, and maybe even transcendental experience. Although Dachau, which is about a 40-minute S-Bahn ride from Munich's Hauptbahnhof, gave birth to the chilling phrase "Arbecht Macht Frei" (Work Makes Free), its memorial courtyard reminds you that you must never forget what happened here. Take your time exploring the museum for an emotional, informative look back at Dachau's not-so-distant past.
Landsberg am Lech
Medieval Landsberg am Lech is yet another reminder that you needn't travel more than an hour from Munich to be in another world. A city of towers, Landsberg am Lech boasts monoliths dedicated to witches and mothers alike, and even the virtue of beauty. Consider turning off your electronics as you walk along the walls of the old city, and you might feel like you've stepped back to a distant time.
No matter which of this fabulous day trips you choose to embark on, you can begin and end your day in a comfortable Munich hotel in the heart of the old town or near local attractions like the English Garden or Residenz Palace. You might not ever want to leave Munich, but Bavaria beckons you to explore.