Our return trip to the states is from Munich at 4 pm on September 28th. We didn't realize it's Octoberfest ;) until after we'd made our flight reservation. Octoberfest looks amazing but we aren't up for it this year. What advice do you have for us? We will be in Salzburg prior to leaving for Munich. Can you suggest a town near Salzburg or near Munich (north or south) where we could spend a couple days prior to our flight? We'd love to stay at a 3 or 4 star hotel in a pretty setting with ability to travel to Munich prior to flight. Thanks.
The Park Hotel in Erding, Germany. 15 minutes from Munich airport. Train nearby. A few minutes walk to the old town of Erding. Very charming. I never went to Therme Erding but it’s supposed to be all that.
I have to say with a 4pm departure time, you can easily stay within 2 hours of the airport.
Erding is in the Munich S-Bahn area, so hotels will be expensive during Oktoberfest. I would rather go to Landshut or Regensburg. Both have a direct train to the airport.
Bamberg is my favorite small town in Germany. It's in the northern part of Bavaria state. It's only a couple hours from Munich.
Bamberg is relatively small, but it has a lot of great sites and history. Bamberg Cathedral has a Tilman Riemenschneider-carved altar, the famed Bamberg Reiter statue and the remains of the only pope interred north of the Alps. The town also hosts a museum for ETA Hoffman, a fantasy writer and composer, who worked in the early 19th century. (He is the original author of The Nutcracker, a story popular among Russians.) Bamberg also hosts a superb beer brewing museum.
There is an old palace -- or Residenz -- of the local ruling family fascinating to see.
Bamberg was the home of Claus von Stauffenberg, the officer who came very close to killing Hitler; had he succeeded, the war would have almost certainly ended months earlier than it did and millions of lives would have been saved. I'm told the Stauffenberg family castle can be toured, but I didn't know he was from there when I visited Bamberg in 1996. I did not see it, unfortunately.
Several rivers converge in Bamberg, which is great for bicycling. The town has a pleasant city center partly closed to traffic (and, thus, noise) with eateries aplenty.
Dont give up on Oktoberfest. There's more to it than beer drinking and oompah. It is a world famous event that you might as well look into while there. Go during the day, and you'll see it's more like a giant carnival with multi-generational families walking about, and it's easily accessible from anywhere in Munich by U-bahn. Stay as little as you want, but at least you'll know what its like.
Will you DRIVE to the airport? Bamberg > MUC airport terminal will require 2.5 hours of driving; by train it's the same or longer, with 1-2 changes of train.
I'd go with sla019's suggestion. Landshut involves just 30 minutes by direct train. That same train line offers direct train service from Regensburg, a UNESCO World Heritage site, in about 80 minutes. Both are pleasant, worthwhile towns to visit. If you have 2 days in that area, you could stay in Landshut and take a train to visit Regensburg during your time there.
If you'll have a car, driving time is comparable for a stay in either Landshut or Regensburg.