Bavaria is one of the most beautiful regions in Germany. Picturesque landscapes and scenery, rich history and culture, charming towns and magnificent castles are some of the reasons to visit the Bavaria region. Below you will find our perfect one week road trip itinerary in Bavaria that includes visiting cities, castles, scenic routes, nature sights and even a Legoland!
We travelled to the Bavaria region in Germany a few years ago in late spring. We started in Munich, where we spent few days, then went south to Linderhof Palace, Pilgrimage Church of Weis and Fussen. From there we visited the famous Neuschwanstein Castle, Alpsee Lake and Hohenschwangau castle. On the way to Rothenburg ob der Tauber we also made a stop at Legoland. We finished our trip in Nuremberg, where we spent two days exploring the city.
So, here is our detailed one week road trip itinerary in Bavaria.
Days 1 and 2 – Munich and Nymphenburg Palace
Start your visit with Munich – the capital of Bavaria. Arriving in Munich by plane or car spend a couple of days in the city with its historical buildings, many museums, old town and traditional Bavarian food.
We stayed in a hotel not far from the center of Munich and explored the city on foot. Here are some of the things to see in Munich in one day.
Marienplatz – Munich’s central square that has been the city’s main square since 1158 and features the neo Gothic New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus). Don’t miss Rathaus-Glockenspiel – a beautiful clock with bells and dancing figures.
Just two minutes from the New Town Hall you can find Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus) – the 14th century building with a clock tower next to it.
St Peter’s Church – Roman Catholic church with its 91-metre tower, the oldest recorded parish church in Munich.
Munich Residenz – the former royal palace. Visit it for its architecture, inner decorations and displays from the former royal collections.
Frauenkirche – Gothic church with iconic domed towers. Also known as Münchner Dom, it’s considered a symbol of the city of Munich. You will find it on many postcards and other souvenirs from Munich.
Karlsplaatz – another nice square in the city center (only 10 minutes walk from Marienplatz) with a big fountain in the middle.
Theatine Church – a church with a bright yellow facade built in the 17th century in baroque style.
St Michael’s Church – one more historical landmark worth visiting this Renaissance-style church is the largest Renaissance church north of the Alps.
We spent the whole day walking around Munich city and enjoying its sights. To reach some of the attractions we used public transport, which is an easy and convenient option when visiting Munich.
There are many things to see and do in Munich and I am going to write a dedicated post about Munich some time soon.
Nymphenburg Palace and Park
Day 2 of our Bavarian trip we spent in Nymphenburg Palace and Park. This huge royal palace complex consists of the 17th century palace, big park, landscape gardens, few smaller houses and a carriage museum. It’s totally worth a dedicated visit if you are in Munich.
During out visit the weather was really nice and warm and we spent quite some time walking in the huge park and palace’s gardens. At summer time you can even have a ride on a gondola on the central canal of the park.
We bought combo tickets that allowed us to visit inside the palace, the park and four smaller houses or pavilions – Amalienburg, Badenburg, Pagodenburg and Magdalenenklause.
Finally, visit the Museum of carriages and sleighs (Marstallmuseum) within the Nymphenburg complex. There is a big collection of royal carriages, coaches and sleighs.
We spent half of the Day 2 in the Nymphenburg Palace and Park. In the late afternoon we finished the sightseeing of Munich and admired the city at night.
The next morning we rented a car and headed towards our next destination on the ‘One week road trip itinerary in Bavaria’ – Linderhof Palace.
Day 3 – Linderhof Palace, Church of Weis and Fussen
Linderhof Palace is located about 1.5 hr drive south of Munich in a scenic setting of Bavarian nature and mountains. The palace was built in the 19th century by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in Rococo style and was inspired by French Versailles.
Linderhof Palace is open for visitors and there are several really impressive rooms to see. Such as the Hall of Mirrors or King’s Bedchamber with an exceptional amount of golden decorations, ornaments and art. Taking photos is unfortunately not allowed inside the palace and tours are guided only. Check their website for more information on visiting.
Not just the palace itself but Linderhof Park is quite remarkable too. There are beautiful terraced gardens, many sculptures, a fountain with a 25 meter high water jet and several smaller pavilions. Make sure to allow yourself some time to walk around the park. Check out Venus Grotto, Moorish Kiosk, water cascades and Neptune Fountain and other parts of the Linderhof Palace complex.
We spent a couple of hours in Linderhof Palace and Park and then headed to Wieskirche. We made a few stops on our way just to enjoy scenic views of the Bavaria region and charming little towns along the route.
The Pilgrimage Church of Wies
The Pilgrimage Church of Wies (or ‘Wieskirche’ in German) is a Rococo style church built in the 18th century. It doesn’t look like anything special from the outside, but its interior is quite extraordinary. Make a stop at Wieskirche and go inside to marvel at its rich rococo design and decorations. The church is one of the most important places of pilgrimage in southern Germany and it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983.
Our last stop on Day 3 of the ‘One week road trip itinerary in Bavaria’ is the small and lovely town of Fussen (or Füssen).
Fussen is located at the very south part of Germany, close to Austrian border (check out my post about Innsbruck if you decide to go to Austria too). Fussen is a nice town to stay and explore. It’s also a very convenient base if you are visiting the famous Neuschwanstein Castle.
Walk around the town, enjoy its traditional Bavarian architecture and neat houses, check out St. Mang Basilica and visit the High Castle.
Cross the Lech river via the Lech bridge and walk to the Lech falls (I know, lots of ‘Lech’ in that sentence!)
Spend a night in Fussen and head towards Neuschwanstein Castle in the morning.
Day 4 – Neuschwanstein Castle, Hohenschwangau castle and Alpsee Lake
Only a few minutes drive from Fussen is Neuschwanstein Castle – perhaps one of the most famous castles in Europe. The castle was built in the 19th century. Standing on top of a hill surrounded by greenery, Neuschwanstein castle actually inspired the creation of some of the castles in Disney movies.
We recommend taking a walk in the forest to Marienbrücke – a bridge with stunning views to Neuschwanstein Castle. After enjoying the view from the bridge, walk down to the castle to have a closer look.
You can go inside to Neuschwanstein Castle as part of a guided tour. Alternatively just walk around and enjoy the views to the castle from different points.
The next castle to visit in this area is Hohenschwangau castle. It was built in the 19th century and was the childhood residence of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. Hohenschwangau castle stands on a hilltop overlooking the lake of Alpsee and the village of Hohenschwangau.
If you are visiting in summer and you have some time left after visiting the castles you can rent a boat to go out on Alpsee lake.
At the end of Day 4 of our itinerary we returned to Fussen to spend another night there before continuing our trip towards Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
Day 5 – Legoland
When we were planning our trip in Bavaria we found out that there is a Legoland. Of course, our boys insisted we fit visit to Legoland into the itinerary. So, here we are – Day 5 of our Bavarian trip was mostly spent in Legoland. We had fun at the rides, admiring big structures made of Lego and just chilling out in the middle of our busy itinerary.
If you are not interested in Legoland, either head straight to Rothenburg ob der Tauber or consider other stops on the way there. Some of the points of interest are Partnachklamm and Kuhfluchtwasserfälle – both are beautiful nature areas with gorges, waterfalls and hiking trails, and Mittenwald – a pretty little Alpine village.
Another option would be to visit Legoland from Munich. It’s about 1.5 hr drive and you can easily make it a day trip from Munich. Tickets to Legoland can be booked online and they are not tied to a date. That gives you an extra convenience if the date of the visit depends on other travel plans, weather, etc.
In the evening we arrived at the next destination of our One week road trip itinerary in Bavaria – Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
Day 6 – Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a popular tourist destination in Bavaria for its well-preserved medieval old town. Name of the city translates from German as “Red castle above the Tauber” as it overlooks the Tauber river and has lots of red roofs.
We recommend spending the whole day in Rothenburg (we ourselves spent 2 nights there). Walk around the city to admire its architecture, old and tidy houses and narrow cobbled streets. You can walk on the old town walls and there are cannons on display in one of the towers.
Watch the astronomical clock of the Ratstrinkstube building coming to life every hour. Visit the “Käthe Wohlfahrt” Christmas store and museum (open all year round). Enjoy the views to the town and survived castle gates from the Burggarten park.
If you are staying the night in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, don’t forget to go for a walk after dark – the old town illuminated by street lights is simply magical.
Read full post about this charming town: Visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber – a fairy tale town in Germany
Days 7 and 8 – Nuremberg
Last destination of our trip was Nuremberg (or Nürnberg in German) – the second largest city in Bavaria, famous for the trials of Nazi leaders post WW2. Nuremberg is rich in history and there are many sights to see and places to visit in the city.
We spent the last days of our trip in Nuremberg. It’s a very pleasant city with a well preserved old town. It has its own castle with great views over the city and quite a few nice bridges over the Pegnitz river. Here are some of the things to see in Nuremberg on a short visit.
No visit to Nuremberg can be complete without visiting Nuremberg Castle in the old part of the city. While most of the city is quite flat the fortified complex of Nuremberg Castle stands elevated over the city. So, when visiting the castle and walking in its inner yards you will also enjoy the view to the city below.
Walking around the city visit Albrecht Dürer’s House, Tiergärtnertor – the 13th-century city gate with a large tower and Nuremberg’s main market square with the 14th-century fountain – Schöner Brunnen.
Visit such historical landmarks as medieval churches of St. Lorenz and St. Sebaldus, Hauptmarkt, The Frauenkirche, Mauthalle and Pellerhaus.
Nuremberg is worth a dedicated post, which I am planning to write very soon.
After spending a night in Nuremberg, the next day we headed to Munich airport to catch our flight back home.
Everyone in our family enjoyed the trip in Bavaria. I think one week is a good amount of time to get a great taste of this beautiful region. We really liked it and I was thinking that if I lived in Germany it would definitely be in Bavaria!
Read next about another beautiful region in Germany – Middle Rhine