Please sign in to post.

Munich - How many day, Day trip to see the castles, and Hotels

Hi all!

I am hoping to include Munich in my first trip to Germany. I am planning to spend 1.5 days in Munich and do a one-day trip to experience the Bavarian nature and the King's castles - Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau.

Some questions that I hope to get your experts' advice!
1. Is 1.5 days (one full day and 1 full morning) enough to see Munich during the Christmas period (first week of Dec) and the Christmas markets (I read that there're more than 10)?!

  1. Day trip to Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. Rick Steves recommended to take bus tour!
  2. Any recommended tours? Is Oberammergau usually included in the tour? Or is it better to do a self-directed trip (train and more)?
  3. Is the Mary's Bridge open in early December? I read that they may close the bridge if there's snow!

  4. Any hotels to recommend? I have booked Motel Ones in most places like Frankfurt but the Motel Ones in Munich are not near the old town - Marienplatz.

Thanks!

Posted by
4976 posts

With the post- COVID airline chaos, I would add an extra day to your arrival city, in the event your flights are delayed and you don't get to Munich on that first day. On my two post- COVID trips, one flight was delayed by 24 hrs, and the next was delayed by 4-5 hrs, causing missed connections, and checking into our hotel at 1:00am. Sadly, we all need to have plan B's in the current airline situation.
N'stein is highly overrated , in my humble opinion, which is shared by many here. There are so many other charming German towns for Xmas markets. How many nights total in Germany, and where else are you going? The Munich markets are not the most memorable. I'd suggest Stuttgart and nearby Esslingen, which is really incredible.
Safe travels.

Posted by
4421 posts

The best part of N'stein was our stay in Fussen. If I'd never been to N'stein, I wouldn't have missed anything. It's a palace, not a real castle.

Posted by
7804 posts

Day trip, no, better to spend some time in the Garmisch/Fussen area.
Go up the Zugspitze, do the castles and enjoy this wonderful place.

Posted by
450 posts

Motel One Sendlinger Tor is a 2 minute walk to the U-Bahn and various S-bahn platforms (take you anywhere) and a 1 minute walk to Sendlinger Tor. It’s very centrally located for the old town. Asamkirch is literally right there - that’s how we started the RickSteves audio walking tour. It’s a really good option. One caveat: the mattresses are hyper soft.

1.5 days is good for Munich.

I’ve been to Neuschwanstein twice. Most recently because it was my wife’s bucket list. It's interesting, especially if you combine it w Höhenschwangau, and especially if you want to hike up to Marnenbrücke. That said… it is a bit overrated. There’s a great hotel in Füssen - Hotel Sonne if you do plan an overnight. It might not be close to the bus stop though (?)

Not sure about the rest of your itinerary, but there are lots of great castles to see that aren’t “Ludwig” castles. Burg Eltz is a great castle, as is Hohenzollern. Rothenburg is not a castle per se, but it’s awesome after the tourist busses leave at night.

Oberammergau is a separate tour but I imagine you could find a tour that is a combo. Never been

Posted by
78 posts

Hi all!

Thanks for your help!

So the background info! I have planned my Germany itinerary (focusing on Stuttgart, Esslingen, Nuremberg) in the last weeks ago thanks to the wonderful advice from the RS forum. However, when I shared my itinerary with my German friend yesterday, he suggested that I add Munich and see some nature in the Bavarian area. Hence, I am not sure now if I should change my itinerary!

Welcome any welcome advice if itinerary 1 or itinerary 2 may be better for first-time visitor to Germany who like to experience Christmas Market and immerse in culture, traditions, and some nature (and not have to hurry too much)! THANKS!

Here are my 2 itineraries!

Original Itinerary 1 (without Munich)
France Day 1: Arrive Strasbourg at noon (overnight Strasbourg)
France Day 2: Strasbourg (overnight Strasbourg)
France Day 3: Colmar (overnight Colmar)
France Day 4: Train from Strasbourg to Stuttgart (arrive at noon) (overnight Stuttgart)
Germany Day 1: Arrive Stuttgart at noon (overnight Stuttgart)
Germany Day 2: Esslingen Medieval Christmas market (either day trip or spend a night)
Germany Day 3: Arrive in Nuremberg at around 2pm (overnight N)
Germany Day 4: Nuremberg (overnight N)
Germany Day 5: Nuremberg (overnight N)
Germany Day 6: Train from N to Frankfurt (overnight F)
Germany Day 7: Frankfurt (overnight F) - morning flight back the next day

Updated Itinerary 2 (if I add Munich and castles)
France Day 1: Arrive Strasbourg at noon (overnight Strasbourg)
France Day 2: Strasbourg (overnight Strasbourg)
France Day 3: Colmar (overnight Colmar)
Germany Day 1: Train from Strasbourg to Esslingen for medieval Christmas Market (overnight Esslingen)
Germany Day 2: Train from Esslingen to Munich (overnight Munich)
Germany Day 3: Day trip to Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau (overnight Munich)
Germany Day 4: Train from Munich to Nuremberg. Arrive in N at 2pm (overnight N)
Germany Day 5: Nuremberg (overnight N)
Germany Day 6: Nuremberg (overnight N)
Germany Day 7: Train from N to Frankfurt (overnight F)
Germany Day 8: Frankfurt (overnight F) - morning flight back the next day

Cheers,
Wendy

Posted by
3879 posts

My suggestions:

  1. I would save myself a hotel change at the beginning of the trip. Colmar is only about a 30-minute train ride from Strasbourg. You can stay late and still get back to Strasbourg at a reasonable time. I would spend all the nights in France in Strasbourg.
  2. If the goal is Christmas markets, I think you cheat yourself if you skip Stuttgart. Esslingen is spectacular, but Stuttgart's market also is top notch. If you can do them on a non-weekend night, you will enjoy them even more. They are pretty crowded on weekend nights (at least were pre-COVID).
  3. If you want to keep the Munich part of the trip and see the Alps, that's fine. There are bus tours that cover both Neuschwanstein and Oberammergau. 10.5 hours. Long day.
  4. The Nuremberg market was utterly miserable on weekend nights due to the crowds... like hard to move miserable. Catch the market during the day if there on the weekend. I don't know if you ever found a hotel, but Hotel Victoria is great. Reasonable price. Close to the train station. Close to the markets. Close to a little artisan village just inside the city walls. Highly recommended
  5. Frankfurt is where I would subtract a day to get in Munich + Stuttgart (sorry, Ms Jo).
Posted by
556 posts

If you want to do Munich Christmas Markets I would suggest skip Marienplatz. OK nice to take a look but thats it.
My favorite ones are:
Tollwood Winter Festival on the Theresienswiese - this for me is a must do every year. Different from the typical ones you find everywhere in Germany
Haidhausen Christmas Market at Weissenburger Platz - mostly locals
Christmas Market at the Chinese Tower - usually I'm walking from Odeonsplatz through the English Garden. And when there is snow and it is dark it is unforgettable. Well during that time hardly any snow in Munich anymore but still I would recomend it :-) Drink some nice Glühwein after the walk to the market.
Have a great time

Posted by
78 posts

Hi all! Thanks so much for your advice!

I looked through many past forum posts thanks to your suggestions. It seems most people have said that Neuschwanstein is overrated.

I have some more questions as I decide if we should squeeze Munich in.

  1. Sorry this may be silly question - Is Munich worth it for a quick trip? Rick Steves has it as 3 stars as the first place he recommended. I am wondering if it's better for me to take it slow and explore more of Stuttgart (like the Baroque Christmas Market in Ludwigsburg and “chocolART” festival Tübingen as I will be there in the first week of Dec) or even visit the Black Forest and get some nature.

  2. Weather in the first week of Dec: Will there be snow in Stuttgart/Munich or any parts of Germany?

  3. Zugspitze - Garmisch/Fussen area: Will the area and ropeway be open in early Dec? I assume I can see snow and do some snow activities like sledding/snow walk in the area? If so, it may be interesting to take a few days out from Stuttgart/Nuremberg/Frankfurt for 2 days in the Alps?

Thanks all!

Best,
Wendy

Posted by
4976 posts

We were underwhelmed by the markets in Ludwigsburg. Save you energy for the Stuttgart and Esslingen markets, and maybe the Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart.
Safe travels!

Posted by
3879 posts

The numbers for my answers correspond to your question numbers.

  1. I personally don't think Munich is worth the detour unless you are dying to see the Alps and want to use it as a springboard to the Alps. As for Ludwigsburg, I agree with Pat. I have this happy memory of snowfall at the Christmas Market there and a great little band playing "Let it Snow." But... the market itself, while okay, is my least favorite of the Christmas markets I have visited. Stuttgart and Esslingen markets, though, are great.
  2. As noted above, I had some snow when in Stuttgart/Ludwigsburg a few years ago. It was a rather wet snow, but festive nonetheless. It will be more likely, I think, in the higher elevations of the Alps.
  3. I do think if your reason for going to Munich is to use it as a springboard for the Alps, then maybe it would be better just to go to the Alps. I thought about Garmisch-Partenkirchen, but it will make for a 4.5-5 hour travel day from Stuttgart (and you will most likely pass through Munich on the train at the half-way point to get there). G-P has the Zugspitze but also has Partnachklamm -- a beautiful gorge with walkways right along the gorge. I would recommend walking from one end of the gorge to the other end along the walkway, but then ascend up above the gorge for the walk back that will take you across a couple of bridges that cross the gorge. You will walk past the ski jump and Olympic stadium used for the 1936 Winter Olympics as you walk to the gorge.
Posted by
2460 posts

I agree with Dave. No reason to overnight in Colmar - stay in Strasburg. From Nuremberg visit Rothenburg odT and Bamberg.

If you do the Munich variation and want to see N’stein, do it as an organized bus tour that visits Linderhof and Wies church also.

Posted by
450 posts

I agree that Munich may not be worth a detour, but I absolutely do think the Mountains of Germany and Austria are a special place.

Consider a couple nights nestled into an alpine hotel near Berchtesgaden

Posted by
78 posts

Hi! Thanks Dave, Stephen, and Chris!

Hello! Sorry we are still thinking if we should skip Munich and the Alps this time as it may be too rushed.

Wondering if there are any castles and nature spots that I can visit easily on day trips from Stuttgart / Esslingen?

From my research:
- Hohenschwangau Castle - Is the castle worth a visit? With a stop / overnight at Tubingen for the ChocolART - International Chocolate Festival?
- Rothenburg ob der tauber is a popular recommendation. But it is about a 3-hour train ride from Frankfurt. What's the best way to visit Rothenburg as a day trip when we travel from Nuremberg to Frankfurt?

Thanks!

Posted by
3879 posts

I think skipping Munich and the Alps is a grand idea! That's what I would do.

I'm guessing you mean Burg Hohenzollern for the castle? That's the one I would pick from Stuttgart. It would take about 2 hours to get there in the morning, but you could break up the return with a stop in Tübingen. The castle has a Christmas market, too! Watch a video of Sam Walton, an entertaining teen from my neck of the woods who moved to Stuttgart about a decade ago, at the castle during the holiday season: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOT2cL3PKrA

Sam went to the Tübingen chocolate festival, too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cWiucwK0ZM

Rothenburg ODT can be done by train from Nuremberg. Two train changes -- a little over an hour each way. Many people say it's worth an overnight to enjoy it and all its cuteness after the crowds have thinned (and to take the night watchman's tour!). It's never really spoken to me, so I've never been there. Esslingen gives you a cute, medieval Fachwerkhäuser town to visit that (unlike Rothenburg odt) required minimal rebuilding after WWII, so I personally don't see Rothenburg as a critical experience for your trip, but I will leave it to you to judge how important it is to see.

Posted by
11 posts

Greetings - an American chiming in and far from a frequent European traveler so take this for what it is worth. I visited Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau and Linderhof about 25 years ago. They are amazing. Are there or could there be others that are "better" in some way? Maybe, probably or definitely. But I would never state any of them as overrated. If you have spent most of your life in the US any of these palaces will be amazing visits and create phenomenal memories.

Posted by
34 posts

Two personal opinions:

  1. Don't stay anywhere only one night (except perhaps Frankfurt on your way to the airport). The constant packing/checking-out/hauling luggage between locations/checking-in/unpacking wore on me over our last trip.

  2. Unless you have a personal reason to be there, such as family, you don't need 2 1/2 days in Nuremberg. I'd cut off a day and spend more time in Munich.

We spent 3 full days in Munich (plus two more days in the Bavarian Alps) and could easily have spent more time in Munich.

Posted by
2920 posts

Just want to say we loved Rothenberg. Stayed overnight nearby (we had a car). Nightwatchman Tour was a highlight for us.

Munich. Not a fan. We visited three times for a day and hen for a few hours. I’d rather be in the alpine towns and villages. I’d suggest staying in Garmisch or Fuessen.

Neuschwanstien. To me it’s over rated but I wouldn’t have missed going. Doing this with Hohenschwangau is ideal. Linderhof is maybe the most amazing interior. Over the top.

Zugspitze is well worth doing. Snow is practically guaranteed at the top.

We did two late November trips to Bavaria. Snowed on both trips and made it all simply magical.

Posted by
450 posts

Regarding Hohenschwangau; personally, I think it’s a better experience than Neuschwanstein but there is something to be said for seeing both. It’s hard to go to that area and NOT see one of the tourist landmarks of Germany. But honestly, the best parts were outside looking at the castle, imo.

I think Marienbrucke is weather dependent more so than seasonal.

Personal preference but imo Rothenburg is different at night after the tour busses head out. I like the bustle of the daytime crowds, but nighttime is just special. Is it worth a single night? I dunno. That’s up to you. I prefer it to Nuremberg, but that’s just me.

Posted by
78 posts

Thanks all for your amazing advice!

We decided to save Munich and the Bavaria Alps for another trip (hopefully)! And we will not rush through Nuremberg and add 1 day + 1 night at Rothenburg. The hotels in Rothenburg are expensive! Any recommendations?

Posted by
556 posts

| We decided to save Munich and the Bavaria Alps for another trip

I think this is a very good idea. So much to do and so much to see :-)
I find it even not so easy to decide where I would want to stay if I've never been to the Bavarian Alps before. There are so many cute places, despite the ones everybody is recommending.