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Need help with Bavaria Itinerary

Hello -
Family of three (child will be 10) going to Munich/Bavaria in August. We'll have 8 days on the ground. My thoughts are, head to Berchesgaden for 2/3 nights with a side trip to Salzburg (overnight, or just day?), then onto GP, then back to Munich for 2 nights. We'll obviously hit the castles, luge, etc (some fun for the kid), but, should we be seeing more? I do like the thought of at least two nights in one place at a time. We also love train travel, but, would a car be easier here? Husband speaks fluent German and lived in Freiburg, so communication and getting around not an issue. Thanks so much!

Posted by
2347 posts

What do you like? And the 10 YO? Castles? WWII? Munich is 2-3 days, min. You have 5 days laid out. 2 nights in Salzburg would be good. You could go easily find enough there.

The car depends on what you want to do. Munich is easy with using public transport. Cars in big cities are simply not helpful.

Posted by
3586 posts

You will not need or want a car in Munich or Salzburg- so assuming you are flying in/out of Munich you could do 3 nights Munich then train to Salzburg- 2 nights- then train or bus to Freilassing- just back over the border to pick up a car for your Berchtesgaden/Garmisch portion. And yes- you will want a car to visit castles etc but you will want to pick up/return car in Germany for lowest rates.
We dropped our car in Garmisch (Hertz thru AutoEuope) right across form the train station then took train into Munich. We enjoyed the drive from Fussen to Garmisch- you could also end up in Fussen and train back to Munich from there

Your 10 yo might enjoy a visit to salt mines outside of Salzburg.
We also enjoyed the Festung Hohensalzburg- and hiked along the Monschberg ending at the museum there.

Posted by
2347 posts

We have a family picture from 1960 when I was in grade school in the salt mines. We are all wearing miner outfits. Cute.

Posted by
16 posts

The 10 yo is a great traveler and usually goes with the flow-she does like some adventure, and I think Bavaria will be right up her alley! I’d say a little WW2, but don’t want to make it a daily focus. Salt Mines seem fun for her (and us!).
Thoughts on more than one day in Salzburg? And is Dochau a full day trip from Munich? I think we’d rather leave Munich for the end of the trip (flying in/out). Thanks in advance, all!

Posted by
75 posts

Dachau is just half an hour from Munich by train. Old town Dachau is also very nice little town to visit. Most people go only to camp and don't even know that town exists. I think that for Berchtesgaden 2-3 nights is maybe too much if you think just the place (not including Konigsee etc). i made a trip from Munich to Ettal, Linderhof Palace and Oberammergau all in 1 afternoon (1/2 a day) and it was highlight of my stay-pure Bavaria. Garmisch-Partenkirchen is just half hour ride further. Linderhof is fantastic and impressed me more than Neuschwanstein. There are so many things in Munich to see that that you can stay there for 5-6 days and not to even scratch the surface. Salzburg is nice but there are many interesting places much closer tu Munich.

Posted by
1353 posts

Just a warning to not take your 10 y/o to Dachau (I realize you didn't say you were). We took our then 11 y/o and if I had it to do again I would have skipped it for that trip. He did really enjoy Hallstatt and the salt mine tour there. He didn't care so much for Neuschwanstein, but enjoyed castle ruins more especially Erhenberg and Rheinfells neither of which are in Bavaria, but there may be other ruins in Bavaria I'm not aware of? The ruins were more fun because he could climb all over / under them.

Posted by
3083 posts

I think you are planning a marvelous trip. Your time is short and there are many things to do in all the places you are planning to go. If it were me, I would want no more than 3 hotel stops on such a short trip (and maybe just 2). I would encourage you to overnight in either Salzburg or Berchtesgaden, but not both; both are worth a day trip from whichever base you choose. In choosing which to use as a base, I think it comes down to what sounds more appealing for a few nights -- beautiful scenery with good hiking (Berchtesgaden) or a town with old-world charm and a variety of activities (Salzburg).

If Berchtesgaden is the place, I would encourage you to think about Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden as a place to stay; it's just outside Berchtesgaden and has an iconic church that was painted by Eisenhower during his swing through Bavaria at the end of WWII. Königssee is a large, lovely lake in the area that is surrounded by mountains. It is touristy at its main entrance but is very non-touristy at its far end, where there is a nice family-friendly hike. Hop on the boat and take it to the Salet Obersee stop. Hike to Obersee, then around the right side of this small lake, then through the cows hanging out in an alpine meadow to Röthbach Waterfall. Another great hike is from the church at Ramsau through the Zauberwald (Magic Forest) and on to Hintersee (don't miss a collection of dwarves at work and at play, driven by a small waterwheel along the way). Berchtesgaden also has a salt mine. The Rossfeld Ring Road (Rossfeldpanoramastraße) offers very nice views of the Alps. Eagle's Nest? A pretty insignificant place in and of itself. Best understood in the broader context of the Obersalzberg complex, of which Eagle's Nest was a fairly insignificant part.

As for Salzburg, it has: Hellbrun Palace with its trick fountains, Mirabell Gardens with its Dwarf Garden, the fortress, the marionette theater, the gorgeous buildings in the Altstadt, Mozart balls, Redbull Hangar 7, a cool library in the new town with its Panorama Cafe (staffed by individuals with intellectual disabilities), and a decent playground along the river walk on the left side as you walk toward the new town.

Posted by
16 posts

Thank you -
Jill - why a warning not to take her to Dachau? I understand the importance of history there, and we don't shy away from that (her great-grandfather, my grandfather, was captured during the war). Though some of the things she will see may be troubling, it is history and something we will prepare her for.
Dave - thank you for the feedback! I'd love to do two stops overnight, but think three is more feasible with so much area to cover. Def won't do both Salzburg/Berch overnight, one or the other.
mislavzoranic, I'm thinking now we should do at least 3 nights in Munich.
Any thoughts on going to Innsbruck for a day? We do love food, and i've heard the food scene there is marvelous. Should we be more ambitious than just Southern Bavaria, or am I good thinking this portion will be sufficient? Thanks!

Posted by
5615 posts

"...why a warning not to take her to Dachau?"

Your child is 9 now, right? The Dachau KZ website itself cautions parents that the exhibits may not be appropriate for kids under 12:

I believe the memorial site at Dachau was developed at the urging of former prisoners as a permanent reminder, mainly to Germany, of the country's evil deeds during the last century. Millions of older German school children and adults have since passed through the facility, dealing a heavy blow to those who might otherwise have been tempted to deny that which Nazis had hoped to keep secret.

IMHO Dachau is not a "given" that short-term visitors such as yourselves must necessarily include during their personal vacation time. What you will add to your knowledge of this dismal era will probably not be much in the way of new understanding, but instead a lot of ghastly details and images that might be hard to shake, even for adults. It will probably be a rough day for everyone. Your choice, of course.

Posted by
3261 posts

Whether or not to take your daughter to Dachau depends on your child. My daughter wanted to go to the Holocaust museum in DC on her school's 5th grade trip. The teacher looked at me like I was crazy but we went anyway and it was not a problem. If your daughter gets upset easily I wouldn't take her but if not, 10 year olds are probably well aware that there is evil in the world-my daughter was in kindergarten during 9/11 and the three of us had just been in NY the previous month-I still tear up thinking about having that discussion with her.

Posted by
119 posts

I second Dave's suggestion of Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden. We spent three night there last August and I thought it was one of the most lovely places I have ever been. The hiking was beautiful and the scenery so different from the hiking we do in the Pacific Northwest. We loved the cows, cowbells, alms and huts for food and drink. You can find a range of hikes from easy to very challenging. Most hikes are accessible by bus, but a car would give you more flexibility - especially if you wanted to get to the lake early to catch a boat and then hike.

We stayed several nights in Salzburg and rode bikes out to the Palace. We loved the fountain tour and the guide made the tour especially fun for the children in the group. Just a heads up - hotel prices in Salzburg in August were the most expensive of any city we visited on our 3 week trip.

We also spent several nights in Munich on our trip. From an adult perspective, we enjoyed it, but I can't imagine that much of what we did would have been a huge hit with a 10 year child. (Museums, Nazi Documentation Center, city walks)

The train between Munich and Salzburg was very scenic.