I only gave in to the temptation to book a ‘Bavaria highlights’ day trip from Munich because I was nursing the queen of all hangovers following a 12-hour stint at the famous Munich Oktoberfest. But that’s another story.
It sounded a bit touristy but usually places that are massively popular with tourists are big drawcards for good reason and this was certainly true in Bavaria.
Here are my recommendations for an easy day trip from Munich to see the chocolate box highlights of Bavaria:
When people talk about the highlights of Bavaria the first thing that comes to mind is Neuschwanstein Castle.
Over 60 million people have visited this iconic palace in Germany’s Bavaria since it opened to the public in 1886. That’s the sort of statistic that can make independent travellers turn up their noses…
It was the model for the original Disneyland Sleeping Beauty castle and Neuschwanstein Castle is simply stunning.
It’s actually not that old and was privately funded by Bavaria’s ‘mad’ King Ludwig II as a memorial to Germany’s king of opera – Richard Wagner. I’m not a huge fan of his music and the interior rooms decked out to suit various Wagnerian epics left me with eyebrows raised.
Ludwig intended the construction on the ruins of another castle to resemble his romantic view of German knight’s fortifications. Sadly he didn’t live to see it completed.
Spiralling debts from this and other building projects and erratic behaviour led to his deposition by the Bavarian government and he subsequently died under unexplained circumstances.
Sad history aside, the approach to Neuschwanstein through the forest is lovely. If you don’t feel like walking up the hill to the castle from the village, a man with a horse and cart will oblige. And the views over Bavaria’s idyllic countryside and Lake Schwannsee from the castle are wonderful.
Next stop on the Bavaria day tour was Linderhof Palace, another of Ludwig’s building projects but one he did live to see completed.
This pocket-sized schloss is a confection of white and gold, clearly inspired by the palace of Versailles in France. The formal gardens are extensive and delightful, as is the setting against a fir-covered Bavarian mountain.
The final stop on this Bavarian day trip from Munich was Oberammergau, home to the ancient Oberammergau Passion Play.
You’ll have to wait until 2020 for the next play, which is only performed once per decade.
In any case, the chocolate box village is studded with wooden chalets frothing geraniums from every window box. The perfect end to a perfect day trip from Munich to see the highlights of Bavaria.
By Natasha von Geldern
Do you have any recommendations for things to do next time I’m in Bavaria (and not hungover)?