Zipping around on the Autobahn is quick and efficient, so rent a campervan and set out from Munich to explore on this one-week Bavaria road trip. Germany’s southern border is dotted with pastoral villages and clifftop castles, with many of the country’s most scenic campgrounds.
You’ll visit important historic sites like the moving Dachau Concentration Camp and fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle. Discover classical music just over the border in Salzburg and unwind on pristine Lake Chiemsee.
Throughout your Munich road trip, be sure to sample authentic Bavarian foods like Weisswurst (white sausage), Kaiserschmarrn (scrambled pancakes), and Käsespätzle (mac and cheese).
Basing yourself at one of Munich’s many surrounding campgrounds, a visit to Dachau is an important pilgrimage, though indeed a solemn experience. Established in 1933, Dachau was one of the first Nazi concentration camps.
Nowadays, the site has been transformed into an incredibly moving museum and memorial. Though once a place of unspeakable horror, Dachau today serves as a sobering reminder of the past, so that history does not repeat itself.
Give yourself a few hours of your Bavaria road trip to explore the site unrushed and let its stories sink in. When you’re ready, leave your campervan back at the campsite, hop onto public transit, and treat yourself to a more light-hearted evening back in Munich.
The city’s many lively beer gardens beckon! One of our favourites is Augustiner-Keller, a buzzing biergarten within staggering distance of Munich Central station.
from our depot
Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site
Nazi concentration camp turned museum and memorial
Classic Bavarian beer garden in Munich
Next to Munich Central train station
Convenient to Dachau & Munich centre
Plan to arrive in Schwangau early, as its most popular attraction draws huge crowds of tourists year-round. The enchanting Neuschwanstein Castle is worth it, though.
Perched on a hilltop high above the Bavarian Alps, it looks like something straight out of a fairytale, because well, it is! The iconic limestone façade and deep blue turrets served as Walt Disney’s inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle at Disneyland.
Make sure you have at least a full day to see the castle and use the next day to add some interesting detours to your Bavaria road trip. If time allows on your way to Salzburg, visit Linderhof Palace, another rather ostentatious abode of King Ludwig II’s.
Otherwise, park your campervan in the charming village of Ettal and explore the Benedictine monastery with its elaborate, frescoed dome. Strangely enough, the monks who lived here brewed their own beer, which you can still sample (responsibly) in the abbey’s liqueur distillery.
Famous hilltop castle, right out of a fairytale
Benedictine monastery with frescoed dome
Bavarian cuisine in a fairytale hotel
Authentic biergarten near Ettal Abbey
Convenient place to stop in Ettal
Lakeside campground close to castle
Driving east on the famous Autobahn, you’ll reach Austria in no time. The attractive city of Salzburg is just twenty minutes from the border, with Alpine mountains to the south and the Salzach River running through its centre.
The left bank contains Salzburg’s medieval Old Town, watched over by the imposing hilltop fortress, Hohensalzburg. On the right bank, you’ll find the captivating Mirabell Palace and its opulent gardens, one of many Salzburg filming locations for The Sound of Music.
Pick up a Salzburg Card from the tourism office and skip the queues at most major museums and attractions. There is much to explore here, so plan on staying put for a few days to get your fix of baroque architecture, classical concerts, and stunning Alpine views.
from Ettal near Schwangau
Take the funicular uphill for panoramic city views
Made famous by a certain movie-musical
Once the composer’s home, now a museum
Bio Burger Meister
Budget-friendly burger joint
Traditional Austrian tavern & brewery
Cool and colourful African cafe
Park Garage Linzer Gasse
Garage by Kapuzinerberg Park
Camping Panorama Stadtblick
Sweeping Alpine views, close to town
Zipping back towards Munich, the final stop on this Bavaria road trip itinerary is the stunning Lake Chiemsee. Nicknamed the “Bavarian Sea” on account of its enormous size, Chiemsee is a popular overnight trip from Munich with a charming nearby town centre and multiple lakeside campgrounds.
On the largest of the lake’s three islands, you’ll find the extravagant Herrenchiemsee Palace, another castle built by the vain King Ludwig II. Styled after Versailles, the palace remains unfinished and has since been transformed into a museum and gallery.
All accessible by a quick ferry ride, the lake’s islands also contain a Benedictine monastery, beer gardens, and multiple scenic nature trails. After an adventure-packed road trip, you’ll enjoy relaxing and admiring stunning views of the shimmering Chiemsee lake.
Rest well and in the morning, stop in the nearby town of Prien for a hearty breakfast before you bid Auf Wiedersehen to Bavaria and head back to Munich.
Sumptuous island palace in the middle of the lake
Island eaterie with lake views
Casual coffee and breakfast spot in town
Parkplatz am Bahnhofplatz
Convenient parking in town centre
Panorama Camping Harras
Lakeside location and nice facilities