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3 Nights in Munich and 3 Nights in Salzburg (Austria)?

Hello Seasoned Travelers,
We have never been to Germany before and will be flying into Munich two weeks ahead of the Berlin Marathon, the event that prompted us to finally book this trip. We have planned 3 nights in most of our stops to try to avoid feeling too hurried (Munich, Salzburg, Prague) but 5 nights in Berlin to account for race related activities. In Munich, we are looking forward to the Residenz Royal Palace, Porsche museum (day trip to Stuttgart), Dachau, English Garden, BMW World, and just walking or biking around town. In Salzburg, we would like to see the Werfen Ice Caves, Hallstad Salt Mines, Mozart's residence, perhaps a Sound of Music tour and concert, St. Peter's Monastery & Catacombs, Alstadt. Actually the list of everything we'd like to see is much longer but we know we can't see it all. Here is the decision we are trying to make now: extend our time in Munich to 4 nights, which would reduce our time in Salzburg to 2 nights or leave it at 3 nights each? For those of you who have been to both places, what do you recommend?

Posted by
74 posts

I have been to Munich many times, staying each time at least 3 days, sometimes 10 days. There are so many things to see in the town and around it that you need at least 4-5 days just to scratch the surface (see the film below). I also visited Salzburg 2 times. It is nice but you don't need more than 2 days.

Posted by
1442 posts

Don’t reduce Salzburg - ice cave is one day, salt mine is another.

Posted by
2113 posts

It looks like you have a fair amount of "big city" in your itinerary. Salzburg gives you a chance to see a small city with day trips to unique things like the ice caves and salt mines. I'm with stephen -- I would keep Salzburg at 3 nights.

I didn't include Dachau in my Munich stay but have been to Auschwitz. Don't underestimate the degree to which a visit to a concentration camp can rattle/depress you. I would not, for example, plan Dachau in the morning and then BMW Welt in the afternoon... you and your family may not be in much of a mood to enjoy cars after encountering and contemplating the depth of Nazi/human depravity.

Posted by
5289 posts

Dont underestimate the time it takes to get from one city to another - it eats up at least a half day. Note that Stuttgart is a three hour train ride away from Munich. Add time to get to the Porsche museum, to and from the rail station etc., and you've got a long day for a couple of hours there. Even driving. That's one third of your time in Munich.

Posted by
25 posts

Hello Therese-- I was just in both locales. Based on your energy and interests, do 3 nights in each town.

Posted by
7821 posts

You have a long list of things you want to see and a short time to do them in. I like to think of my trips in terms of how many nights I will be somewhere to get a more realistic idea of how much time I really have. Then I prioritize my desired activities, knowing that I can't do it all. If you spend 3 nights in each place that will give you 2 full days there. Now look at your list and be honest with yourself about what you might be able to do. As a previous poster said, changing locations will take at least half of a day. A trip to Stuttgart will take an entire day if you will be on a train for 6 hours round trip. Is it worth it to you to spend one of your two days doing that? Only you know the answer. Dachau is at least half of a day, and as was mentioned before you can't know what you will feel up to doing afterwards. When we went to Dachau (I do recommend it) it definitely affected my mood the rest of the day. There's no way I would have been up to frivolity after that experience. You can tour it on your own, but I took a Radius tour (office is at the main Munich train station) and felt it was a worthwhile experience. In Salzburg a SOM tour will eat up a good part of the day. We took a Bob's SOM small van tour which also took us into the countryside. You could combine that with other things in Salzburg and then choose either Hallstatt/Salt Mines or Werfen Ice Caves for your other day. Good luck with your plans and I hope you have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you for the additional comments. We decided on three nights in each location and recognize that we simply will not get to see everything that we are interested in. On the second day in Munich, we will get a car to take to Stuttgart and Dachau (different days) and our other tour stops until we get to Berlin, where we will turn in the car. Hopefully, this will save us some time and give us greater flexibility (and I've booked accommodations with free parking). My husband is such a Porsche fan, we've decided that stop will stay on the itinerary as it is a highlight for him, and the marathon at the end of the trip is mostly for me. A visit to Dachau is important to both of us. Thank you for your thoughts on how we may be affected by this visit. We anticipate and will not shy away from the feelings that will naturally arise from being there, and we will be realistic and flexible in our expectations of ourselves as we process this experience.

Posted by
599 posts

Since you're taking day trips from Salzburg, I would stay with 3 and 3. Also, we found Dachau more somber than outright depressing.