Julie Austria, Germany, Itinerary 81 Comments

Bavaria is the southeast region of Germany, the land of fairytale castles, Oktoberfest, and lederhosen. With the Alps to the south and idyllic towns dotting its hillsides, Bavaria is a beautiful and romantic destination. View the Alps from Germany’s highest peak at Zugspitze, tour crazy King Ludwig II’s storybook castle Neuschwanstein, learn about WWII history in Munich and Berchtesgaden, and even take day trips into Austria. Bavaria is one of our favorite spots in the world and you will see why on this fast but very enjoyable Bavaria itinerary.

10 day Bavaria Itinerary

How to Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left hand corner of the map to view the layers (Where to Go and With More Time). You can click the check marks to hide or show layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each point of interest. If you click the star next to the title of the map, this map will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

Bavaria Itinerary Day 1

Arrive in Munich, Drive to Berchtesgaden

Arrive in Munich in the morning. Pick up your rental car and drive southeast to Berchtesgaden. It is a two hour drive (150 km). Spend the afternoon visiting the town of Berchtesgaden. Want to try giant, German cream puffs? Visit Windbeutel Baron for over-the-top desserts and awesome views over Berchtesgaden.

Tonight, sleep in Berchtesgaden.

Windbeutel Baron

Bavaria Itinerary Day 2


The two main sites in Berchtesgaden are Lake Konigsee and the Eagle’s Nest. If you are traveling with children or want to take a tour of the underground salt mines, Salzbergwerk is another option for today’s activities.

Lake Konigsee is Germany’s highest lake. It is a beautiful lake framed by towering, green mountains. Tour boats run frequently, taking visitors around the lake. There are plenty of restaurants down by the water’s edge for great lunch and dinner options. Hikers may prefer to hit one of the trails in Berchtesgaden but this will not leave much time in the day to get to the Eagle’s Nest.

The Eagle’s Nest, Hitler’s command post during WWII, cannot be missed, even by those who are not history buffs. Start at Dokumentation Obersalzberg, a museum that gives an overview of Hitler’s life, vision, and eventual outcome. Most of the exhibits are in German although there are some English translations. Buses run from the Dokumentation Center up to the Eagle’s Nest. These buses are the only way to get to the Eagle’s Nest; you are not permitted to drive if you have a car.

The Eagle’s Nest was Hitler’s command post during WWII. This historical building is now used as a restaurant. The best part of visiting the Eagle’s Nest is getting a bird’s eye view over Germany and Austria. It is best to visit the Eagle’s Nest when the skies are clear.

Eagle's Nest

Salzbergwerk is a 90 minute tour through the underground salt mines. Don special jumpsuits, ride on an underground train, and slide down wooden chutes. It’s a great activity for kids…fun and educational.

End your day with dinner in Berchtesgaden.

Bavaria Itinerary Day 3

Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg, Austria lies just over the border from Berchtesgaden. It takes just 35 minutes by car. Spend the day touring Salzburg, visiting the Salzburg Fortress, Mozart’s birthplace, the Old Town, and Schloss Mirabell. You can even take a “Sound of Music” tour.

For a detailed itinerary for Salzburg that covers the main sights in town, read our post about How to Spend One Perfect Day in Salzburg.

Return to Berchtesgaden.


Bavaria Itinerary Day 4


After breakfast at your hotel or guesthouse, drive west to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It takes two and a half hours (200km), arriving in Garmisch around lunchtime.

Spend the afternoon checking into your hotel and exploring the main part of town. Have dinner here. Or, if you are traveling with children, consider visiting the Olympic Village, where you can ride chairlifts up the mountain and stand on top of the ski jump. Our kids loved the toboggan ride.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is going to be your home base for the next three days, until you head north along the Romantic Road.

Garmisch Bavaria itinerary

Bavaria Itinerary Day 5


This is best done on a clear day. You want to be able to get the best views over the Alps.

There are several ways to get to the summit of Zugspitze…by hiking or by cable car. Most people choose to ascend Zugspitze by cable car. Note, that if you plan to hike up to the summit of Zugspitze, it is a two day journey.

To help you plan your day, we cover how to visit Zugspitze from Austria and Germany in our guide to Zugspitze.


Bavaria Itinerary Day 6


Neuschwanstein is one of Germany’s most photographed icons. Thousands of visitors flock here everyday to see this fairytale castle. Neuschwanstein can get quite crowded, especially during peak season. But don’t worry, there is a way to avoid these huge crowds of people.

The trick to having the best experience at Neuschwanstein is to arrive early. When I say early I mean at least a half hour before opening time, especially during the summer months. Get the full details in about how to plan your visit in our Guide to Neuschwanstein.

From Garmisch-Partenkirchen it is a one hour drive to Neuschwanstein. Plan on leaving your hotel at least an hour and a half before opening time. Arriving early lets you purchase your tickets into the castle for the first tour of the day. It’s a quick tour and in less than an hour you will be free to explore the grounds around the castle.



Don’t miss Mary’s Bridge. This is the spot to take those iconic photographs you always see of Neuschwanstein. Cross the bridge and head up the hiking trails for views down to the castle. You will leave most of the tourists behind and get stunning views over the valley that most people miss. This is also a great spot for a picnic!

Over Neuschwanstein

You have the option to also visit Hohenschwangau Castle, located just down the hill from Neuschwanstein. Not as showy or spectacular as Neuschwanstein, it may be worth it for those who love castles.

You will have the rest of the afternoon free to relax or explore the other small towns in the area between Füssen and Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Bavaria Itinerary Day 7

Innsbruck, Austria

Austria is filled with small, photogenic cities and Innsbruck is no exception. This city is an hour and a half drive from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, making it another great day trip to add onto this Bavaria itinerary.

Innsbruck was the site of the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics. Things to do in Innsbruck include walking through the picturesque old town, ascending the funicular for views over Austria, climbing the tower in the town square, and visiting the Olympic village and ski jump.


Bavaria Itinerary Day 8

Romantic Road to Rothenburg ob der Tauber

This is a huge driving day. If you hate the thought of sitting in your car for hours and hours, you may want to skip this day. But, if you want to see one of the most picturesque towns in Germany, don’t miss this. It is worth the drive.

The Romantic Road takes visitors small town hopping as they head north from Garmisch-Partenkirchen to Wurzburg. In this itinerary, I only give one day for the Romantic Road, which forces you to skip the small towns in between. If you have time in your schedule, considering adding a day, visiting the towns along the way, sleeping at the halfway point. Our time was limited so we chose to skip right to the highlight of the Romantic Road.



From Garmisch-Partenkirchen it is a 3 hour journey (330 km) by car directly to Rothenburg. If you leave early enough, you will arrive in Rothenburg in time for lunch and can spend the afternoon touring the town. It only takes several hours to visit Rothenburg. The best things to do are wander the colorful streets, view the town from the top of the clock tower, go shopping, and dine on Schneeballen.

Rothenburg Street

Rothenburg Colors Bavaria itinerary

Sleep in Rothenburg or drive to Munich (255km, 2 hours and 15 minutes by car). Once in Munich, drop off your rental car.

Bavaria Itinerary Days 9 & 10


There’s a lot to see and do in Munich and everything is connected by public transportation. The top things to do are to visit Dachau Concentration Camp, stroll or bicycle through the Englisch Garden, have beer at one of the many beer halls (Hofbrauhaus is the most famous), see Marienplatz (the main town square), go to the BMW Museum and BMW Welt, and visit yet another Olympic park.

Hofbrauhaus Bavaria itinerary

With More Time (Places to Add on to Your Bavaria Itinerary)


Liechtenstein can be visited in one day from Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It is 200 km by car or just under three hours of driving. Yes, it is a far distance to go, but when else will it be this easy to get to this tiny country?

What is there to do in Liechtenstein? You can walk up to Vaduz Castle for views over Liechenstein, visit the town square, and visit the wine cellars of the Prince of Liechtenstein. Postage stamp collectors will love the National Museum. We visited Liechtenstein, and even though it was not the most thrilling destination, I am glad we got to see it.

Spend more time on the Romantic Road

This Bavaria itinerary does not allow for much time on the Romantic Road. Add on one to two days to take in all the sites, including Wurzburg.


Bavaria’s second largest city. Spend a day or two here touring the city, drinking beer, and in the winter, shopping at its fabulous Christmas market.


Hallstatt is a fairytale town that is located near Salzburg. It’s best visited on a day trip from Salzburg, however, if you have even more time, consider a one night stay here. Here is how I would add Hallstatt onto this Bavaria itinerary:

On day 3, spend the night in Salzburg, rather than returning to Berchtesgaden. The following morning, go to Hallstatt, and sleep in Hallstatt or Salzburg. The following morning drive to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. This adds one day to this itinerary. You can drive to Garmisch-Partenkirchen on the same day that you visit Hallstatt, but it will be a long day with a big drive at the end of it.

With Less Time

Is this Bavaria Itinerary Too Long? What do we recommend skipping?

If you only have a week, you can still see most of what is on this list. On a good weather day, see Neuschwanstein in the morning and Zugspitze in the afternoon. We did it and loved it!

See Salzburg, skip Innsbruck. Yes, Innsbruck is beautiful, but Salzburg has more “must-see” sites.

Spend only one day in Munich. Visit Dachau in the morning, tour the heart of the city in the afternoon, and end your day at a beer hall.

Best Time for This Bavaria Itinerary

Any time of year. The summer is peak season. The temperatures are pleasant but expect rain (and crowds of people). While we were here in August it rained almost every day in the afternoon for a few hours. Winter is the time for Christmas markets, skiing, and being able to visit many places with a lot fewer tourists. Spring and fall are shoulder seasons. It would be beautiful to see Bavaria in bloom in May or on ablaze with autumn colors in the fall.


Oktoberfest is a 16 day beer drinking party in Germany. It takes place in Munich, Germany. View the official website for Oktoberfest here.

  • Oktoberfest 2023:  September 16 – October 3
  • Oktoberfest 2024: September 21 – October 6
  • Oktoberfest 2025: September 20 – October 5

About This Bavaria Itinerary

Toboggan Bavaria itineraryWe recommend renting a car. The roads in Germany are fast, safe, and easy to drive. You can get to many places using public transportation but having a car makes life a lot easier. With this itinerary, pick up and drop off your car in Munich.

Your days in Garmisch-Partenkirchen can be rearranged. Plan on visiting Zugspitze on the day with the clearest weather forecast. Weather conditions change rapidly in Bavaria. If you wake up to crystal clear skies in the morning, they may not last long, especially during the summer months!

If you are traveling with kids, do not miss the toboggan (Sommerrodelbahn) in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. We went back several times and Tyler and Kara never got tired of it.  

You will need accommodations for three nights in Berchtesgaden, four nights in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and three nights in Munich.

Do you have any questions about this Bavaria itinerary? Let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Germany

BAVARIA, GERMANY: In Bavaria, learn how to visit Neuschwanstein palace, how to visit Dachau Concentration Camp in Munich, ride the cable car to Zugspitze, and visit Berchtesgaden.

SAXONY, GERMANY: In Saxony, visit the fairytale bridge called Rakotzbrücke and the amazing Bastei Bridge. Put both of these together, plus the town of Görlitz, into one big day trip from Berlin.

BERLIN: Start with our article Best Things to Do in Berlin for a big list of things to do in the city. Plan your visit with our 5 Day Berlin Itinerary and what to expect on a visit to Teufelsberg.

AUSTRIA: Learn how to spend one day in Hallstatt, one day in Salzburg, and get a list of the top 10 things to do in Vienna. We also have a guide to the best things to do in Innsbruck.

SLOVENIA: We have articles about the best things to do in Slovenia and how to plan your time with our 10 Day Slovenia Itinerary. For more information, read about Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj, and Ljubljana.

Want to learn more about traveling in Germany? Check out our Germany Travel Guide.


Bavaria Germany Itinerary Travel Guide


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Comments 81

  1. Avatar for KK

    Great write up! Thank you. Planning to do this during Christmas time. Are there parts of this itinerary I will have to forego because of winter/bad driving conditions etc.? Christmas time in Germany should be magical.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      You’re right, Christmas in Germany should be magical. I think you’ll be able to do everything. We haven’t been to Germany in the winter but I imagine they are good about plowing roads if it does snow. I can’t think of any place you will drive that takes you high up into the mountains, where snow could really be an issue. So, aside from a massive snowstorm while you are there, I think you should be good to go. Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Michał

    Thank you for including Rothenburg – I have visited it yesterday and it was a blast! Strangely enough, some streets were empty (making the experience even better).

    If you visit Germany again, do not forget to come to Ulm and see Ulmer Munster – the tallest church in the world. Visible from nearly every part of the city 🙂

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  3. Avatar for Boris

    Hi Julie,
    love this itinerary… it was mentioned that you will need accommodations for 3 nights in Berchtesgaden, 4 nights in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and 3 nights in Munich.

    Can you recommend places to stay in those cities?


    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      I don’t have specific recommendations for each of those cities but you can look up places to stay on Booking.com. That’s the website we use to find and book 95% of our hotels when we travel. Cheers, Julie

  4. Avatar for Faye

    Hi Julie, many people recommend on not driving in Germany due to gas being expensive, speed limits, traffic and parking. We are still deciding as we thought that driving would be more convenient for us since we have a baby, toddler and my parents in this trip. We plan to go in May next year. We plan on seeing Rothenberg ob der Tauber, Heidelberg, Stuttgart, Fussen (including the Bavarian villages and castles), and Munich in Germany. We also plan on going to Austria to see Salzburg, Hallstatt and Vienna. We would like to end the trip in Milan if doable as we’d like to see Lake Como and others. Did you rent a car in Munich and use the german car in Germany alone and rented another car in Austria? Or was it just one car you rented in Munich to explore Austria as well?

    Thanks a lot for your help in advance!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      We have driven in Germany on three different trips to Europe. Two of the times we only had the rental car for our time in Germany, this Bavaria itinerary being one of them. On a different trip, we rented a car in Slovakia, went to several other countries, including Germany, ending in Switzerland and dropping the car here. It is expensive…not only gas but also the drop fee for dropping the car in a different location. But we have found driving in Germany to be very easy to do. Parking can be tricky in towns but Google Maps can route you to where you need to go, and most likely you’ll be parking in parking garages.
      With all the places you want to visit, a road trip does make sense. You could first price out one rental car for the entire trip and if it is crazy expensive, then price out two: one for Germany and Austria, picking it up and dropping it off in Munich, then taking a train to Milan, and either renting a car here or use public transportation to visit Lake Como. You might be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to drive in Germany and Austria.
      Cheers, Julie

  5. Avatar for Valentina
  6. Avatar for Thomas J Driscoll
    Thomas J Driscoll

    For those who have more time, I would definitely recommend visiting the beautiful Bavarian town of Mittenwald, as well as Oberammergau, site of the famous Passion Play. If staying in Garmisch- Partenkirchen, try the Hotel Schatten in Partenkirchen. I’ve stayed there several times and give it an “A” for its Gemuetligkeit! If in Mittenwald, I recommend the Hotel Post.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      1. Avatar for Bhawna
        1. Avatar for Julie Post

          You will just have to change the first part of this itinerary.
          Day 1: Arrive in Salzburg, visit Salzburg Day, stay in Salzburg
          Day 2: More time in Salzburg, stay in Salzburg
          Day 3: Visit Berchtesgaden from Salzburg, stay in Salzburg
          Day 4: Drive to Garmisch, stay in Garmisch
          The remainder of the itinerary will be the same.
          Cheers, Julie

  7. Avatar for Sarah

    We did a similar trip this summer. A great place to stop with kids between Munich and Rothenburg is the Fossil Quarry near Eichstatt, where you can hire a hammer and chisel for each child and they get to bash rocks to find fossils! Was a great stop between them (and we grabbed a quick lunch in McDonald’s in Eichstatt!).

  8. Avatar for Bailey Abroad
    Bailey Abroad

    This makes me want to go back!! We went in July of 2015, we were based in Ingolstadt north of Munich for 3.5 weeks and took long weekend trips. Bavaria was by FAR my favorite region. The scenery is just incredible! And Rothenburg may just be my favorite city in the world. I’d highly recommend the Night Watchman’s tour, it’s super crowded in July, but such a good way to see the whole city and get the history of the town. Thanks for sharing this, it was a fun read!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  9. Avatar for Eric Dryer
    Eric Dryer

    Curious would adding Vienna and Prague after Munich be do able after your 10 day itinerary? If we did that would you recommend starting in Prague and finishing our trip in Bavaria? Or go from Munich by train to Vienna and Prague? To make it a 2 week trip? Thanks

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Yes, they would make great additions to this trip. You can add them onto the beginning or at the end just as you stated. How you choose to add them would be personal preference and maybe where you can get the best flight deals (for example, maybe it is cheaper to fly into Prague and out of Munich). Cheers, Julie

  10. Avatar for Karin Hausman
    Karin Hausman

    Hi, We hope to follow your wonderful itinerary the first week in May. DO you have advise on where to stay or eat at these locations? I would love any recommendations. Thanks

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      I don’t have any specific restaurant or hotel recommendations. We stayed at a great apartment in Garmisch-Partenkirchen but unfortunately it is no longer available. We use Booking.com to find our hotels and book our accommodations, so you could start your hotel/apartment search here. Cheers, Julie

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