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Munich and Salzburg Flight/Train and Itinerary Suggestions

Dear Travelers: Planning 4-5 days Munich and 3 days Salzburg 7-9days late June to July 4. Coming from JFK/NYC. Will take public transportation and maybe a day tour or two. (My last big trip was Sicily and I enjoyed the mix of touristy, big town, small town).
Q1: Should I fly into Salzburg stay 3 nights, then train to Munich 4-5 nights and fly out of Munich? Or fly straight into Munich and take train to Salzburg, and then return on train to Munich? Or Fly to Munich, stay2-3n Munich and then train to Salzburg 3nand then return to Munich for 2-3n (then would be 3 hotels)?
Q2:Take a lake tour out of Salzburg or a lake town near Munich? Walk, short hike, maybe a boat ride, picture taking, lunch.
Q3: Dachau - is it too depressing? I have never been to any of the camps, thought it is historic and to witness and honor those gone.
Q4: Salzburg - any music recommendations - would like to listen to some Mozart in his city. and/or Marionette theater?
Any other recommendations for sights, lodging, restaurants would be appreciated. Thanks, P from NYC

Posted by
6399 posts

Regarding your Q1, there are few flights to Salzburg. Munich is the way to go, direct from NYC, and it is easy to get to Salzburg upon arrival (local commuter S-Bahn train to Munich Ost, then train to Salzburg).
And 4-5 days in Munich sounds like a lot. I'd spend a 4th day in Salzburg instead, for day trips.

Posted by
2680 posts

I agree with balso, five nights in Munich is excessive. What makes Munich stand out is its old town and a day trip to Dachau that requires a half day. To be honest, if you’re organized you can spend two nights here and be ready to move on.

Posted by
18823 posts

Right now, it looks like you could save $100 by flying on Lufthansa from EWR vs JFK with nonstop flights to Munich. I'd say go to Salzburg right away after you land in Munich.
Plenty of Classic music concerts in Salzburg. You can google it to see what is available while you are there.

Posted by
9 posts

Wow thanks for suggestions, will definitely look more time in Salzburg area. And plan on flying to Munich and taking train - another post mentions buying the Bayern ticket for regional travel and not transferring at Hauptbahhof due to construction....

Posted by
6312 posts

Dachau - is it too depressing?

IME... jolting, upsetting, depressing - and unnecessary for me and the people who went there with me. We already had a strong grasp of what took place during the Holocaust prior to going, so there was little new of value to learn. The target audience for concentration camp memorial sites in Germany - and there are several scattered around the country, not just Dachau - is essentially the German people. It was their government and their forefathers who participated, and it is proper that they be reminded of the country's historic responsibility for what happened. It's also a healthy jolt of reality for those who, for whatever insane reason, might choose not to believe that the Holocaust ever happened... There are such people, and they need to see and learn about places like Dachau.

I'm certain I'm in the minority, here, but for the general tourist population, I cannot find a good reason to recommend it. Dachau might take only half a day to visit, but it is guaranteed to ruin one's day for anything else. It is not a tourist attraction. IMHO, the way to honor the victims is to enjoy the new and very different Germany that sprang from the defeat of fascism - and to do what you can at home to prevent authoritarianism, fascism, ethnocentrism, and genocide from springing up when it starts taking root.

Posted by
6312 posts

Planning 4-5 days Munich and 3 days Salzburg 7-9days

As for Munich, I feel much like Marypat does. Minimize your time there, seeing specific things that interest you.

I do like Salzburg a lot. It does get inundated with tourists in high season, which translates into a pricey stay and crowds at times. But there's a ton to do nearby that makes staying a while in the area worthwhile...

Berchtesgaden: The Koenigssee, the Eagles Nest, the Jennerbahn lift, salt mine, and more.
Werfen: Hohenwerfen Castle and Falconry show, the Sound of Music Trail, the Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave
Hallstatt: A distant day outing, beautiful spot.

Staying outside Salzburg can be a good option. Note that starting this year, you can make free day trips into Salzburg by train from Berchtesgaden, which makes it an even better base town.

The Guest Card comes with your stay at no charge, providing discounts and free local bus transport, as well as the train to Salzburg... but apparently the B'gaden site hasn't translated this last perk yet, which is promised on the GERMAN page with the following words...

"Seit März 2023 können Sie zusätzlich kostenlos mit der Bahn ab Berchtesgaden oder Bischofswiesen über Bad Reichenhall bis nach Salzburg fahren."

So I could in fact see a stay of several days in B'gaden with 1-2 day trips from there into Salzburg as a possibility.

Posted by
18823 posts

another post mentions buying the Bayern ticket for regional travel and not transferring at Hauptbahhof due to construction..

Yes, you can use the Bayern Ticket and transfer at Munich Ostbahnhof for the regional train to Salzburg.

Posted by
3713 posts

I would fly into Munich and go to Salzburg immediately, as mentioned above. I like to minimize hotel changes!

I'm a fan of Königssee. Beautiful lake. Nice boat ride. Can take the boat to the Salet stop. There is a 10-15 minutes walk to Obersee, a smaller lake. You can hike around Obersee in probably another 30 minutes or so (path is a little rocky in places). Then you can go another 30-45 minutes to Röthbach Waterfall.

I've never been to Dachau. I have been to Auschwitz. Never need to see another camp.

I liked the Mozart concert at the fortress. Good musicians. Nice venue. The marionette theater is worthwhile.