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Munich to Salzburg

We will be traveling to Munich, Salzburg and Vienna next month. What are best sights to see on the way from Munich to Salzburg? Prefer something that is not too touristy.

Thank you.

Posted by
33339 posts

They are so close.

Are you on the trains or driving?

Posted by
33339 posts

oh dear. Do you know where you will be parking the car in Salzburg? The city, in my experience is extremely expensive to park in. I'd expect the same in Vienna.

If you have a German rental it won't have the mandatory road toll Vignette required in Austria. You need to purchase it before driving on any covered roads - there are both automatic number plate cameras which hand out photo tickets to violators of that law and actual police a few miles inside the border who patrol for that violation. Expensive, much more than the fairly reasonable price for the Vignette.

Austria requires IDP.

But back to the question.

About half way between Munich and Salzburg quite close to the Autobahn is a large lake with a palace in the middle, one of King Ludwig's (of Neuschwanstein notariety), Chiemsee. You can take a steam train to the dock and then a boat takes you over to the Herreninsel from when you walk to Herrenchiemsee New Palace (Neues Schloss Herrenchiemsee) which should break up the journey nicely.

Or maybe Bad Tölz, the other direction?

I'm afraid that lots of tourists go to both. Both well worth seeing, that's why the tourists go there.

What sort of things do you want to see that is both not touristy yet a top sight? I'm not being catty, trying to understand exactly what you're after. It is only a 2 hour drive so I wonder what you're looking for.

Are you aware of the very high charge for one way rentals into another country?

Posted by
27 posts

We found out about the high rental cost when looking at them today. We haven’t actually booked a rental car yet. We would be returning the car in Vienna at the end of our trip. Is that a terrible idea?

If there are small towns, wineries, pretty lakes etc, I’d be interested in those. We plan to spend a day at the two castles, so I think we will need a break from the crowds after that.

Posted by
5140 posts

A terrible idea? No. Expensive? Most definitely. The drop off fee in another country from that which you rented from is usually several hundred euros extra. Plus the cost of the vignette (mandatory) plus the cost of an IDP ( small cost but also mandatory) Plus the cost of parking in Salzburg and Vienna ( can be hard to find and also expensive).

The alternative is the train. City center to city center. Frequent. Not expensive. As Nigel said, there's not that much to see between Munich and Salzburg other than the lovely scenery and Chiemsee (although it might still be cool there in April).
For trains from Munich:
From Salxzburg to Vienna:

Posted by
2528 posts

A possible alternative is to take the train to Salzburg. Rent a car when leaving Salzburg and return the car on arriving in Vienna. If you are really just interested in the cities, all train is great and lets you look at the scenery instead of the road.

Posted by
35 posts

We are taking a train from Munich to Salzburg next month. Then a train back into Germany to Fussen. Most of our trip is in Germany, we just really wanted to see Salzburg. My husband has made all the plans. I think we will both have lovely trips. We've used trains and rental cars in both France and Italy in the past. Then both have benefits.

Posted by
6809 posts

"If there are small towns, wineries, pretty lakes etc, I’d be interested in those. We plan to spend a day at the two castles, so I think we will need a break from the crowds after that."

Welcome to the forum, asbinzer.

I'd like to help, but your driving plan for this day is not easy to understand. "a day at the two castles"??? Are you saying that from Munich you are planning to drive to the Füssen area for Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau? (These two are often referred to as "the two castles" by newcomers on this forum. This shorthand is much easier than spelling them! But it's still not clear because there are other similar places in the general area.)

If so... the Füssen area is not in between Munich and Salzburg but well to the south, near the border with Austria. And if so again, then what you are asking about is a rest stop - or maybe some of the "best sights" - that happen to lie right on your driving route. Do I have that right?

If I do, then Munich > Füssen > Salzburg will require 5 hours of driving. You did not say you'd be spending the night in Füssen, so let's assume not. Your time in Füssen will not be a full day, but it will still not be short. A plan like this would make for a long day indeed. Assuming you take the fastest driving route for Füssen > Salzburg, you might make a brief stop near Bad Tölz or in on Lake Chiemsee, near Prien or Bernau.

But as the advice you've received indicates, there are some global problems with your plans. Some basic changes are probably in order.

Posted by
27 posts

Our day at the Fussen area is separate from the trip between Munich and Salzburg. I would have included that in my original post if that were part of my plan. Even as a “newcomer”, I know that is too much to do in one day!

What I’m looking for are ideas for other areas to stop on the way between Munich and Salzburg, assuming we have a car. It sounds like Chiemsee might be a good place to visit. It looks beautiful.

Posted by
6809 posts

Alright, that plan information helps. And I'll assume Füssen is a day trip, with that night spent again in Munich.

"What I’m looking for are ideas for other areas to stop on the way between Munich and Salzburg, assuming we have a car."

Sticking just to that route you can skip the Bad Tölz suggestion. Look into your Chiemsee options. A second option involves a slight detour into Aschau, where a mountain lift brings you into the "Kampenwand" area for some nice trails and views of the Chiemsee and the Alps beyond.

TRAINS serve both Lake Chiemsee and Aschau. The town of Prien on Chiemsee Lake is one of the stops on the direct Munich > Salzburg route, and there are lockers there for your bags during your stopover. Aschau would involve a train connection - but with no lockers at that station, I don't know what you'd do with your bags exactly.*

*CORRECTION: The Prien station (where you must change trains to reach Aschau) of course has lockers. So you'd drop bags there and retrieve them when you return to Prien for the train ride to Salzburg.

We stayed in Aschau when we visited.

By train, the Munich > Prien > Salzburg journey costs €31/ 2 persons with the "Guten Tag Ticket" (day pass you buy at the station.) By car, GAS ALONE for this trip will cost €25.

If no one has mentioned it... the car could be used on your Munich > Salzburg day if you dropped it in GERMANY just before crossing the Austrian border in the town of FREILASSING (in order to avoid the heavy drop-off fee.) It's only a few minutes into Salzburg from there by public transport. Once in Salzburg, you'd look to the Austrian Railways system for ticketing to Vienna (with any stopovers you wish to make.) A quick look at the prices in April shows tickets can be had for roughly €20 each for this trip.

Posted by
27 posts

Thanks so much; that information is very helpful!

Traveling by train will be a new experience, but we are looking forward to it. Our son is studying abroad in Austria so he will be a big help once we meet up with him.

Appreciate all the great tips!

Posted by
6809 posts

Traveling by train will be a new experience, but we are looking
forward to it.

To use the train for the Munich > Füssen > Munich outing, the Bayern Ticket day pass will cover the rails there and back as well as the bus ride to/from the N'stein ticket center (figure about 5 hours on trains and buses.) Buy it at the station in Munich and familiarize yourselves with the rules of use before boarding. "The two castles" there are not actually castles but palaces, just as the Füssen-area map identifies them: "Schloss" (German for palace) Neuschwanstein (30-min. max guided tour) and "Schloss" Hohenschwangau. N'stein, built only 20 years before WW I, was made to look like a medieval castle just for show, but it missed the Middle Ages by about 400 years.

If you want to see real CASTLES, you might instead make a point of doing that from your Salzburg base:

For Hohenwerfen (and its falconry show) take the train from Salzburg to Werfen (a scenic 40 - 50-minute direct train ride along the Salzach River.)

Posted by
7031 posts

@asbinzer, If you do decide to drive, you might want to consider staying outside of Salzburg. That's what a friend of mine and I did - we got a room at a hotel called Haus Ballwein that was just outside the city. There was a bus stop right up the road, so each day we left our car at the pension and took the bus into the city each day. It worked out really well and allowed us to avoid the limited and expensive parking in the Aldstadt.

Posted by
6682 posts

@asbinzer: Is this your first trip to Europe or have you been here before?

I'm asking because I get the impression that it is your first trip to Europe and you are just renting a car because you are used to that being the only way to get around. Munich-Salzburg-Vienna is a very easy train trip. And if you choose the Railjets, very comfortable as well.

Posted by
27 posts

First trip to Europe in many years. As I said, we haven’t rented a car yet.

Just looking for helpful tips!

Posted by
6682 posts

In that case, first find out what you want to see and where you want to go. Then, find out what the best way to get there is.

Posted by
464 posts

We enjoyed taking the train when we went to Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna. It was relaxing and we could enjoy the mountain views. We took the Railjet from Munich to Salzburg and the Westbahn from Salzburg to Vienna. If you wish to explore nearby there are buses to Hellbrunn Palace near Salzburg and other small towns as well.

Posted by
209 posts

In case you decide to go by car let me add some more ideas:
The normal route would be highway A8. You could visit the sight described by @Russ or do the detour to Berchtesgaden and Königssee.
One reason to taken a rental car would be to avoid the motor way and cruise through the countryside and stop for a view a walk or coffee wherever you like.
E.g. start from Munich on A94 heading east, leave highway at Forstinning and drive through the Ebersberger Forst to Ebersberg and head towards Wasserburg am Inn for sure worth a stop.
Continue to Seeon Monastry to stroll around or enjoy lunch and go further via Seebruck and Traunstein towards Freilassing and Salzburg. Alternative you could drive (really small roads) via Amerang and Eggstätt to Gstadt am Chiemsee
From Gsadt you could visit Fraueninsel by public boat
In case you go by train from Munich (or Freilassing) to Salzburg don’t miss the view when crossing Salzach river towards Festung Hohensalzburg (just a minute before arriving).