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First time itinerary help: starting in Munich ending in Prague

Hi all - as the title says it will be my first time in this part of Europe.

Two of us are starting in Munich on September 19, 2023 to experience Oktoberfest. We’ll stay 2 nights. We would like to visit other destinations, including ending our trip with 2-3 days in Prague before flying out on the 29th. We do not plan to rent a car and feel comfortable navigating rail and short flights if more efficient.

Could some of you seasoned travelers help me decide where to visit between Munich and Prague? I’ve considered Salzburg, Vienna, and Budapest. I’ve also looked into going the other direction to get to Prague, but it’s all unfamiliar territory.

If it helps: we enjoy local cuisine, wine/winery scenery, hiking, live music (from classical to classic rock), beautiful views, unique destinations, smaller crowds (I know I know - Oktoberfest is the exception). We don’t like to spend hours in museums or on guided tours unless they’re truly special.

I don’t want to overcrowd our itinerary jumping from city to city, but I’m feeling lost on where to head from Munich until we get to Prague. Thank you for any insight!

Posted by
1488 posts

Czesky Krumlov is worth a visit. You need to take a bus or shuttle to get to it. I suggest Munich--train to Salzburg, shuttle to CK (stay overnight), shuttle to Prague. We did this exact thing in reverse. We also went to Budapest and Vienna (before Prague), but we had 3 weeks in total. I suggest that with just 10 days, you don't have enough time to add in Vienna and definitely not Budapest.

Posted by
324 posts

I agree with the suggestion of Salzburg after Munich.

And one hint about's great, but arrive late morning, have lunch, and leave by mid afternoon before the serious drunks start winding up.

Posted by
2674 posts

A good day trip from Munich is the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial that is reachable by direct train (30m):

Salzburg is an easy 2h direct train ride from Munich that makes a great day trip and is a bit out of the way if going to Prague. I suggest adding a night to Munich and take a day trip to Salzburg. Taking a train from Salzburg to Prague takes 7h 15m and requires a connection. Do you really want to take one of the days you’re spending in central Europe sitting on a train all day? The scenery from the train window is not going to be anything you haven’t seen already. Grass and trees look the same there as here. Not only that, scenery if fleeting when passing by at a hight speed.

Another suggestion is going from Munich to Cesky Krumlov which is easier said than done. This involves two transfers taking 7h. Why waste a day trying to get somewhere when you only have ten nights.

A direct train from Munich to Prague takes 5h 45m and you need a minimum of three nights in Prague not two and you could easily add another night.

A direct train from Munich to Vienna takes 4h 15m and I suggest four nights in Vienna. In Vienna you have the Hofburg Imperial Apartments and Treasury, Vienna State Opera (classical music), Kunsthistorisches Museum and Schönbrunn Palace and all deserve some time there. You can even take a day trip to Bratislava’s old town by direct train (1h) but you would want to add a night. Vienna is also known for their wine gardens.

A direct train from Vienna to Prague takes 4h 45m.

Posted by
850 posts

You have basically 8 days to sightsee, as the first and last will be travel days. With that I'd plan on visiting a maximum of three cities. Since you have Munich and Prague, I'd recommend either Salzburg or Nuremberg. Both are fairly easy to reach via train from either of your two main places of interest. Both are well worth a 2 day visit. The train to Prague from Nuremberg is a little easier, because the one from Salzburg has a transfer in the middle. I've done both routes with no issues multiple times. If you choose either Vienna or Budapest as the third city you will lose another day traveling as that's 4+ hours by train for each leg.

Since you'll only have (basically) two days in Munich I'd skip Dachau. Spend the time in the old city with the museums, sights, and shops. I'd head for the fairgrounds in the early afternoon, and plan on staying until at least 10pm at Ockoberfest. You should see it when it's lit up at night.

There's not much wine scenery in the areas you're considering; you'll be in beer country for the most part. And while you can do a lot of walking in those cities, when you're using public transport there not a lot of hiking either, unless you plan to get off in some of the places along the way, and you're not going to have the time.

If you want scenery Salzburg has more than either Nuremberg or Munich, and if you want a good hike try following the walled fortifications across from the citadel, or walk all the way around the base Hohensalzburg, which can be done in 3-4 hours if you don't get distracted.

You should get a fair share of live music no matter where you go, although both Munich and Salzburg have famous music schools. In the evenings you'll find a number of buskers playing for the crowds. Find one you like and a table nearby, and sit, have a drink and enjoy.

Munich should have the majority of the crowds, and you're traveling at the end of the season, so that's good.

If you really want to avoid the crowds and see some country, consider Munich, Regensburg, Pilsen, Prague.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you for these thoughtful suggestions. I hate to give up Vienna in this itinerary, but I’m leaning toward it as it seems out of the way unless anyone thinks flying vs train could make it worthwhile. Definitely taking Budapest off the list for now as well. Truly appreciate you all!

Posted by
2179 posts

The train to Prague from Nuremberg is a little easier, because the one from Salzburg has a transfer in the middle.

The same is true for Nuremberg-Prague. Either change in Schwandorf to the ALEX from Munich, or change in Cheb to a CD train. I prefer the latter variant, because this route through the Sumava to Plzen is more scenic.

Posted by
6307 posts

"Where to visit between Munich and Prague," if you don't want to "overcrowd" your itinerary, should probably exclude the Austrian towns and Budapest.

"If it helps: we enjoy local cuisine, wine/winery scenery, hiking, live music (from classical to classic rock), beautiful views, unique destinations, smaller crowds (I know I know - Oktoberfest is the exception)."

Good that you know what you want to see/do in a general way!!

I'd like to say that Oktoberfest was some grand experience that took my breath away... I just can't. It's an overcrowded beer fest. Nevertheless, it's famous enough to have attracted you to Germany, and you will have the 21st through the 25th - 5 nights - if you spend the final three nights in Prague, 6 nights if the final two are spent there. And that is a good amount of time to see some of Germany.

So I will not focus on additional places in other countries, but on GERMANY, which is the forum you have chosen, and on the INTERESTS you have stated, as well as places that are actually BETWEEN Munich and Prague.

WINE: Franconian Wine Country lies north of Munich. Würzburg (home of the Residenz Palace - a must-see UNESCO World Heritage site) is also a major train hub in the Main River Valley and the unofficial wine capital of the region. SEE THE MAP. Think vinotheques, hiking, biking, festivals. You can stay with one of the winemakers if you like.

IPHOFEN is a particularly picturesque historic wine village on the main rail line that leaves Würzburg for Nuremberg. Very much worth a visit.

Sommerhausen, Marktbreit and Ochsenfurt are charming wine towns closer to Würzburg. Video report by rewboss below. You can get to these places easily by public transport as well.

FRANKONIAN OPEN AIR MUSEUM: take a self-tour of this unusual outdoor museum showing how local folks lived in the area over the last 500 years. It's in Bad Windsheim (easy to reach by train.) On-site restaurants focus on local Franconian cuisine.

BAYREUTH is a nice town with a fabulously opulent opera house that you can tour. Maybe the opera schedule is obliging?

NUREMBERG is a fantastic and charming city, very underrated, very doable on foot for the most part. It has its own castle and numerous other sights. You might want to spend a few hours there if there's something you wish to see, but it's not about nature, hiking, etc. That said, it's a great place for WALKING through the handsome old town sector, which is largely car-free, and you are more likely to catch a concert or an organ recital in a place like Nuremberg.

BAMBERG (north of Nuremberg) is big on local beer and Franconian cuisine; its old town is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. I love the place.

Franconia may be unfamiliar territory - but for you, so are Budapest and Vienna, right? Don't let unfamiliarity put you off.

Posted by
274 posts

We did this very trip in Sept 2022.

Oktoberfest-it was great. Be aware, the train from the airport can be modified to skip stops near the Wiesn. We found that out the hard way. Lucky a local helped us get on a train back to our stop. If your hotel is near the Wiesn, your train stop could be affected.

Download the official Oktoberfest app. It is full of information. There are rules-review them, especially with bringing a purse. No large bags allowed. There are some good blogs too. Between the blogs and the app we were prepared to not miss out on anything.

Don’t worry about reservations for during the day. We got into all the tents, had great food, beer, music and service without a problem. Every tent has a different vibe. Augustiner was our favorite. We did come back in the evening. Tents were packed. We briefly went in one and quickly left. (We were enroute to the BOEE tour and did not want to catch COVID). It was fun to walk around with the beautiful lights of the rides and concessions. There are not a lot of drunks or unruly people at night. Police presence is visible but not obtrusive. Everyone is having a good time.

We are not museum people either, but the Green Vault in Dresden was interesting and beautiful. Dresden was really nice. Especially since it has only been recently rebuilt (1990’s) since WW 2. Dresden was once called the Florence of the Elbe. I wish we had another day there, we only had an afternoon and an overnight stay. One night and a full day can be adequate. The cafe scene is pretty cool too.

Dresden to Prague is an easy train trip. Be aware there are 2 stops for Prague. A commuter type station and the main station. We got off at the commuter station . Skip the first stop and get off at the main station. Language barrier caused this. We were told this was our stop when it wasn’t. I think because these are former communist regions, I just observed some differences. But this is also the charm of traveling. You can form your own opinion.

Before we got to Dresden, we went through the Ore mountain region. A rental car is a must to do this though. There are no trains or buses that make this part of Germany easy to access, which is exactly why we went there. It is off the beaten path but is the center of woodcarving. Seiffen is like a year round Christmas village. This is where you can find beautiful hand made items. I’m a shopper so going to a town built around Christmas shopping was great.

Munich-Dresden-Prague will be enough and doable by train. Prague is great. We were there for 3 days.

Posted by
6307 posts

Prague's main station is "Praha hl.n." on the both the Czech (CZ) German (DB) railway web sites. When you buy your ticket, you will have a choice of different Prague stations - Prague has 4 rail stations - and once bought, your ticket will likely indicate the station name you chose - and that same name will eventually appear on the arrival signage within your train as well as on trackside signage at the station. Wherever you are coming from, don't get off at some other one (Praha - Holesovice, for example.)

Throughout Germany, main stations carry the abbreviation "Hbf." after the city name. Berlin Hbf. or München Hbf., for example. Hbf is short for Hauptbahnhof (main station.) Usually, that's where you're headed.

It's handy to know these little things so that you aren't relying on information and language skills that either you or the person you are asking is/are lacking. Sure beats having to learn Czech or German.

Posted by
274 posts

Russ- this Info would’ve been handy 4 months ago. Hahaha. We tickets to the main station. A lot of people were getting off. I didn’t think it was correct, but we got off anyway. I had asked the conductor and another passenger if there was another station and was told no. The Rick Steves Prague book and map only talked about the main station, no mention of the others. We started walking to the hotel and that’s when we realized our mistake. We had to take an Uber. Instead of being a half mile from the hotel, we were probably 3 miles away!

Posted by
106 posts


I did Budapest and Vienne this past summer. Budapest was interesting and Vienna was fabulous. If you decide to do Salzburg, skip Budapest due to time constraints. Instead, stop at Melk Abby between Salzburg and Vienna.

  • James