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Munich and Bavarian Alps Itinerary

So I’m starting to solidify my specific plans. How does this itinerary sound.

Saturday May 23: fly into Munich arriving Sunday morning

Sunday: arrive and take train to Füssen explore Füssen and surrounds. Sleep in Füssen

Monday: tour Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein, bus to Reutte and Ehrenberg. Sleep in Füssen.

Tuesday: rent car and visit Linderhof, Ettal Monastery, Wieskirche, and Zugspitze then back to Munich. Explore Munich. Sleep in Munich.

Wednesday: Dachau, Residenz, English Gardens, Hofbrauhous. Sleep Munich.

Thursday: Zoo, Museums (Pinokothek der Moderne open late). Sleep Munich

Friday: train to Oberammergau. Passion Play. Sleep Oberammergau. This in the only day set in stone as the ticket is purchased.

Saturday: on to Austria. I haven’t put this part together yet.

I know I’m cramming quite a bit into two and a half day in Munich but I’m having a hard time giving up anything in the Alps. I know I could swap Munich and Füssen but it seems a hassle to get to Oberammergau by bus and it doesn’t seem like a good idea to arrive there by car during the Passion Play. I’d love to hear suggestions.

Posted by
18301 posts

Glad you know it. Yes, you are cramming too much into your time, both before and in Munich. You have four venues planned for a lot of days. Prioritize the venues, because you'll probably only make two, possibly three, per day.

It's no hassle to get from Füssen to Oberammergau by bus. There are buses, some direct, some with a change of buses at Echelsbacher Brücke. Just know that the last one leaves Hohenschwangau at 5:18 PM, makes the aforementioned change, and gets to Oberammergau at 6:37 PM. These pages give the bus schedule between Füssen and Garmisch-Partenkirchen via Oberammergau. If you don't speak German (or even if you do) Montag - Freitag is Monday to Friday, Samstag is Saturday, Sonntag is Sunday, and Freiertag is Holiday.

Or look them up on the Bahn schedule website (yes it includes buses as well as trains).

I like your plan not to do anything stenuous on Sunday right after you arrive, but it might be easier to just spend the first few days in Munich before making the trip on to Füssen. On Sunday you'll be pretty "fogged" from jetlag, and the trip all the way to Füssen takes several more hours and would have one, maybe two, train changes.

Posted by
794 posts

Start prioritizing your stops; you might be able to visit everything you planned, but you won't have any time to enjoy them. The Zugspitz takes 3-4 hours on it's own, and you have about 4 hours of driving (alone) planned for Tuesday.

Posted by
298 posts

So if I’m going to Innsbruck (later in the trip) is Zugspitze redundant?

Posted by
295 posts

Would it be possible to flip things around so that you go to Oberammagau after Fussen and before Munich? That would make more sense to me, especially since you will have a car. I would also be inclined to do the Zugspitz while down there too.

I think 2.5 days in Munich is fine and what you have planned there is do-able in that time.

Posted by
18301 posts

if I’m going to Innsbruck (later in the trip) is Zugspitze redundant?

Innsbruck is a town; the Zugspitze is a mountain. How could they be redundant.

If you go up the Zugspitze, as a rule of thumb, go up before noon. Later in the day it tends to be "socked in" (enclosed in clouds).

I think Tuesday is a mess.

rent car and visit Linderhof, Ettal Monastery, Wieskirche, and Zugspitze

The only high priority thing on Tuesday, imo, is Linderhof. In 2007, I stayed in Oberammergau and planned to visit Linderhof and Ettal, although in researching the trip I really couldn't find much of an attraction in Ettal. It's in a gorgeous setting, but the tour didn't look like it showed much. I went first to Linderhof. The tour of the palace at Linderhof didn't take much time, but there are the grounds and the grotto, Including the palace tour, the grotto, the grounds, and lunch at the Gaststätte, I was there until after three o'clock. By the time I finish Linderhof, I was "sightseeinged out"; I decided to forget Ettal and went back to my room in Oberammergau for dinner.

The next day, I hade a one-hour bus change at Wieskirche. I peeked in at Wieskirche. It's just another gaudy Rococo church, of which there are so many in Bavaria. After already seeing a few, the rest just look the same. After five minutes I had seen enough, and I went across the street for lunch.

I don't know about renting a car in Füssen and driving directly to GaP to go up the Zugspitze. As near as I can tell, the car rental place won't open before 8 AM. It takes time to rent a car, and then you have an hours drive to the Garmisch-Partenkirchen station. It's going to be difficult to get up the mountain early and avoid the clouds. Maybe if you drive directly to Eibsee and take the Seilbahn (cable car) to the top of the Zugspitze... You would probably be better to spend the night in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. There is a bus that leaves Fussen around 5 PM for Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Posted by
298 posts

I should have been more specific. I’m planning to go up to Hafelekar near Innsbruck. Of course the views will be different but it would be a similar experience to Zugspitze.

As for moving Oberammergau, that is the one thing that is set as I already purchased my ticket for the Passion Play.

My son and I just got back from two weeks in Germany. We flew into Munich and went straight to Garmisch. While there we went to the Partnachlamm. It was so beautiful. We hiked almost to the top and there in the clearing was a restaurant called Kaiserschmarr'n, named after a pancake-like dessert made with rum-soaked raisins. It was delicious.
The next day we went to the Zugspitze. Next day, Ettal Abbey and Oberamergau. The next day we went to Mittenwald and rode on the Karwendelbahn up to the top. I hope if you go you will wear tennis shoes or hiking shoes. I didn't know you could get out and keep going up the mountain by foot. The view was breathtaking.
Then we went to Fussen, shopped in the old town for a dirndl for my son's girlfriend, and got my son lederhosen. Next day on to Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau.
Next day to the Highline 179 in Reutte. We took a bus from Fussen to Reutte and then from there to the Highline 179. What they don't tell you is that that bus doesn't take you back to Reutte. So we took a scenic walk down a lovely path (marked to Reutte) to the bus stop. However we missed the bus, so we kept walking to the closest hotel, got a beer and called a taxi to take us back to the bus station in Reutte so we could get back to Fussen.
Next we went to Munich. My son's friend had been to Munich before so he was our tour guide. He loves to walk and my son didn't mind, but my feet were pretty tired. I did manage to get around the city.
One of the most fun places we went was the Hirshgarten, Germany's largest biergarten. We also went to the Englisher Garden and to the Chinese Tower. We toured some beautiful cathedrals, happened upon a music festival, Karlsplatz, the market. After his friend left, we had an afternoon and the next day before coming home. We visited the Nazi Documentation Center in Munich and Dauchau the next day.
I personally love the alps area the best! I hope this is helpful. Oh, we happened upon a local music/beer festival in Oberamagau, which was by the Passion Play Theatre. It is a lovely town.
If you don't have a car, be sure to check the bus schedule or you may spend lost time waiting at the bus stops.

Posted by
2987 posts

OK this needs reworking.

Move your Munich days to immediately after your arrival. Then the castles/Fuessen (not sure if Reutte is worth it on a trip this busy, anyone else what to weigh in who's been there? I've heard many people baffled that RS suggests Reutte as a base. I thought Fuessen was nice for being so close to such a highly visited attraction, but I visited in winter.

After Fuessen, move to a base in Oberammergau and explore Linderhof and Ettal from there - you don't need to rent a car for this portion. We walked to Ettal from Oberammergau but you can take a bus, too - and it's a 30 minute bus from Oberammergau to Linderhof. Skip Zugspitze since you're going to Innsbruck - I've done both and Zugspitze is a long journey, whereas the mountain in Innsbruck is a downright joy to get to thanks to the fancy system they have - 30 minutes from downtown Innsbruck to the top of a mountain! Weiskirche is famous for it's postcard-like setting but you'll see other churches like that just on the train/bus, and the interior is nothing you can't see anywhere else in Bavaria, even in Munich at the Asamkirche which is way more interesting.

In Munich you've also got to be more realistic about what you can do per day. Dachau is a half-day trip. The Englisher Garten is huge. The Residenz will take minimum 90 minutes. You can't do all 3 in a day. I'd do Dachau in the morning, relax in the Englisher Garten in the afternoon (weather permitting) and do the Hofbrauhaus in the evening, although I'd prefer to just have a drink and explore the 2nd floor mini-museum then actually eating there (better value at the Chinischer Turm biergarten and the food isn't much better at Hofbrauhaus, or for a proper dinner downtown Andescher Am Dom is great (get reservations) or the Augustiner Keller out past the train stration if you want to eat with locals with fantastic food.

Lee found a bus that goes in a reasonable time from Fuessen to Oberammergau, this doesn't show up on Google maps, bizarrely, but it looks like an acceptable way to get there.

Posted by
298 posts

Revised Itinerary

Sunday May 24th - arrive - Explore Munich likely using Rick’s City Walk - English Gardens - early night

25th - Zoo - Hofbrauhaus or similar

26th - Dachau setting out early to arrive at opening - Alte Pinakothek (open late)

27th - rent car - Linderhof - Ettal - Fussen

28th - King’s Castles (I should be able to do more this day, open to suggestions, perhaps some biking)

29th - Oberammergau and the Passion Play

30th - on to Austria

Things to keep in mind. This is the Passion Play year. That means Oberammergau will be very different than it is the other 9 years. It will not be possible to use it as a base. I have already purchased my ticket for the Passion Play meaning Oberammergau on the 29th is fixed and cannot be moved. I will also be traveling alone.

Posted by
130 posts

Looks like you want to visit 3 of Ludwig's castles, which, in my opinion is probably about 2 too many. As others have said, you have too many things planned for each day. Where do you live? Is it really a good use of your time to go to a zoo in Munich? I can see visiting places that you can't see here, but we have lots of great zoos. I wouldn't use any part of my European trip to visit a zoo.

Posted by
298 posts

Joy - I wonder if you are responding to my original itinerary or the revised one?

As for the zoo. I intend to visit four or five. I have an excellent local zoo which I visit several times a week. I know most of the animals by name. Yes, I’ve met tigers and elephants and giraffes before at multiple zoos. But each one is an individual with their own personality and I haven’t met any of the ones in Germany and Austria. Also, each zoo is unique with a history. The zoo in Munich was the first to organize by geography rather than species. The zoo in Vienna is the oldest continuously operating zoo in the world. Vienna’s aquarium is housed in a WWII flak tower. The tiny zoo in Innsbruck specializes in native Alpine species and has a species of bird that no other zoo in the world has. Yes we do have excellent zoos in the United States but we also have excellent museums and churches and parks and mountains. No one argues against going to Europe because the US has those, I see zoos in the same light. Sorry if this was a bit long but you can see I’m passionate.

Posted by
2987 posts

Julie - I think your revised itinerary is better. Less criss-crossing around.

I had originally questioned the zoo myself, did a little research, and now want to go to that zoo, so I didn't end up making that part of my critique. Looks like an amazing place!

I don't know what to say about the car rental/parking situation. I visited Oberammergau a few years ago in May and it was sleepy, that obviously won't be the case here. That said, it's a fairly spread out town and as long as you're good on your feet, you could probably park at one of the camping areas just outside from town and walk in, but again, I don't know what it's like during the Passion Play. That's why my recs suggested not having a car at all, since the things you want to do - aside from the original talk about the Zugspitze and Weiskirche - don't really require a car. That said you will get around faster with one.

If I were doing your trip, I'd not get a car. That said, when I visited Oberammergau, I did have a car's a toss up as to what the bigger time/money sink will be.

edit: I'm still confused as to where your base is from 27-30. If you can still get a decent hotel room, and you're renting a car, I'd base in Oberammergau for 3 nights, and use a rental car to visit the other places. I don't know how early Oberammergau fills up for the Passion Play but the place we stayed at had a parking spot so if that's an option for you now...

Posted by
298 posts

Pretty much the only way to get a hotel reservation in Oberammergau next year is with a ticket package. Those are only available for one or two nights. I have a one night package staying there the night of the 29th. I’m planning to stay in Fussen the 27th and 28th.

Posted by
2987 posts

Julie - OK, that makes more sense to me now.

Since lodging in Oberammergau with a car is out, is the car really necessary? It seems like your issue with parking in Oberammergau persists.

Posted by
298 posts

I was planning to only have the car on the 27th. If I can truly do the things I want that day with out one I would prefer not to deal with hassle of renting one.

I just noticed you are from Stuttgart. My family was stationed near there with the army when I was really little. Unfortunately I was too little to remember much.

Posted by
50 posts

just a few observations: the abbey at Ettal is splendid, a cherub in every corner, gilded angels flying everywhere. You'll need hours at Linderhof for both gardens and palace. Just walking into the area will take at least 20 minutes, then 20 minutes to exit. Mittenwald is one of the most beautiful towns in the area. I'd read up on Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein--they are very time consuming and after reading what Rick Steves et al say about them, you might want to just see the exterior--a drive by. Dachau is sobering and worth the visit. When you get to Austria, spend time in Salzburg. The salt mine tour is interesting as is The Sound of Music tour. good luck.

Posted by
298 posts

My time in Austria will pretty much be split between Salzburg and Vienna

Posted by
3022 posts


Enjoy the zoos! My version of this is libraries... I like to pop into local public libraries when I visit Europe (and other places!).