Welcome to the magical land of Bavaria, a region in Germany steeped in history, natural beauty, and a wealth of cultural treasures.
With its fairytale-like castles, picturesque villages, and breathtaking alpine landscapes, Bavaria is a destination that will captivate your imagination and leave you with unforgettable memories.
In this guide, we will take you on a journey through some of the top places to visit in Bavaria. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or simply looking for a unique European adventure, Bavaria has something for everyone.
Visas and Entry Requirements for Bavaria
Before we get started, make sure you know Germany’s entry requirements for your nationality. Tourists from around 60 countries can visit Germany, and the rest of the Schengen Area, without applying for a visa for up to 90 days in a 180-day period.
Just be aware that there is a new European entry requirement starting in 2024. If you’re eligible for visa-free entry to Germany you’ll need to apply for ETIAS. More information about ETIAS and entry requirements can be found on this page.
Neuschwanstein Castle: a Must-See
Built on a rugged hill in the Bavarian Alps, Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the region’s top attractions. This castle was commissioned in the 19th Century by King Ludwig II and, fun fact, it inspired the design of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Join a guided tour to learn about the fascinating history of this enchanting castle and take in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Hohenschwangau Castle: a Royal Retreat
Just a short distance from Neuschwanstein, you’ll find Hohenschwangau Castle.
Built by King Maximilian II of Bavaria, it was the childhood home of King Ludwig II. The interior walls and ceilings, designed by Domenico Quaglio, are particularly impressive depicting scenes from German folklore and legends. Look out for a swan painting, a recurring theme throughout the castle.
As well as exploring the castle’s beautiful interiors, you can take a stroll through its lovely gardens, offering stunning views of the nearby Alpsee.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Step Back in Time
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is German for Red Castle above the Tauber. It’s so-called because of its location overlooking the Tauber river. This well-preserved medieval town is a treasure trove of history and charm. Wander through its narrow, cobblestone streets and marvel at the colourful half-timbered houses, ancient city walls, and charming market square.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Medieval Crime Museum for a fascinating glimpse into the past, or indulge in a traditional Schneeball pastry at a local bakery.
The Romantic Road: A Scenic Journey Through Bavaria
Stretching just over 350 kilometres from Würzburg to Füssen, the Romantic Road takes you on a journey through picturesque towns, lush countryside, and majestic castles.
This popular driving route is perfect for those who want to experience the best of Bavaria at their own pace. Stop in picturesque towns like Dinkelsbühl and Nördlingen, and be sure to explore the beautiful Würzburg Residence, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Following the Romantic Road you can also see the previously mentioned Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles. It’s a fantastic option to see as much of the Bavarian region as you can.
Berchtesgaden National Park: Bavaria’s Natural Paradise
If you’re a nature lover, you won’t want to miss the breathtaking beauty of Berchtesgaden National Park. Here, you’ll find some of Germany’s most stunning alpine landscapes, complete with crystal-clear lakes, soaring mountain peaks, and lush forests.
Don’t miss a visit to the famous Königssee, a fjord-like lake surrounded by mountains. You can take a boat ride and make the most of the peaceful surroundings.
You can also go skiing in Berchtesgaden if you’re after an adventurous trip to Europe.
Munich: Bavaria’s Vibrant Capital
No visit to Bavaria would be complete without spending time in its bustling capital, Munich. Rich in history and culture, Munich offers an array of attractions for visitors to explore.
Wander through the lively Marienplatz, a central square in Munich famous for the Glockenspiel, Old and New Town Halls, and Christmas markets. For art lovers, a visit to the Alte Pinakothek, with its impressive collection of works by the Old Masters is a must. Other highlights include Hofbrauhaus, one of the city’s oldest breweries, and Nymphenburg Palace.
Getting to Bavaria: Airports and Transportation Options
Bavaria is well-connected to the rest of the world. Here’s how you can easily make your way to this enchanting region of Germany.
Major Airports in Bavaria
There are several airports in Bavaria that provide convenient access to the region’s top attractions:
Munich Airport (MUC)
As the largest airport in Bavaria and the second busiest in Germany, Munich Airport is the primary international gateway to the region. It is well-connected to destinations worldwide, making it a convenient starting point for your trip to Bavaria.
Nuremberg Airport (NUE)
Situated in the northern part of Bavaria, Nuremberg Airport offers a smaller but still well-connected option for travellers. It serves a variety of European destinations, making it a suitable choice if you’re visiting from within the continent.
Memmingen Airport (FMM)
Also known as Allgäu Airport, Memmingen Airport is a smaller regional airport located in the southwestern part of Bavaria. It offers a limited number of routes, mostly within Europe.
Train and Bus Connections
If you’re already in Europe, travelling to Bavaria by train or bus can be a convenient and scenic choice. High-speed ICE trains can get you to Munich from major cities across Germany as well as Europe in just a few hours.
For budget-conscious travellers, long-distance bus services such as FlixBus offer a more affordable option. Buses connect Bavaria to various European cities and often provide amenities like free Wi-Fi and onboard entertainment.
Driving to Bavaria
Road-tripping to Bavaria can be an excellent way to experience the region’s stunning landscapes and charming towns. Germany’s well-maintained Autobahn network connects Bavaria to the rest of the country and neighbouring nations, making it easy to drive to your chosen destination.
Keep in mind that some stretches of the Autobahn have no speed limits, so always stay aware of your surroundings and follow local driving rules.
With numerous airports, train and bus connections, and well-maintained roads, getting to Bavaria is simple. Once you’ve arrived, you can begin exploring the castles, towns, and natural landscapes that this captivating region has to offer. Have a great trip!
About the author:
Steve Rohan is a writer from Essex, England. He has traveled to over 60 countries, lived in Armenia, China and Hong Kong, and is now living the digital nomad life on the road.
Steve prefers “slow travel” and has covered much of the world by train, bus and boat. He has been interviewed multiple times by the BBC and recently featured in the documentary Scariest Places in the World. See the About page for more info.
Where I am now: Yerevan, Armenia 🇦🇲