If you’re planning a trip to the historic city of Munich, Germany, we encourage you to enhance your time by renting a car in Munich to explore the breathtaking scenery and stunning vistas of the Bavarian Alps, just a few hours to the south! There are numerous fantastic alpine drives in Europe, and the best part is that you don’t have to travel far from a historic city center to enjoy the bucolic countryside, stunning alpine roads and scenery and enjoy quintessential German culture during a day trip from Munich Germany.
Here’s our recommendation for a drive to discover adventure and epic Alps road trip you’ll never forget. Get behind the wheel and make memories exploring these stunning destinations you can drive to during a Munich day trip!
Read on to Drive to Discover the adventures that await you in Germany!
1. Start Your German Alps Adventure with a day in Munich
After arriving in Munich, we recommend that you take a day or two to explore this historic city and discover all that awaits you before hitting the road. From fantastic street food to art exhibits at Pinakothek der Moderne, Alte Pinakotehek, or the Museum Brandhorst, there’s an abundance of culture to soak in and enjoy during time spent in this fascinating city.
After you’ve had your fill of fine food, culture, and exquisite architecture, pick up your rental car at Munich Airport or rent a car at Munich Central Rail Station and hit the road – your first stop is less than two hours south-east of Munich at Berchtesgaden. You can get there via the A8, and during this short 154km drive you’ll enjoy a rapid transformation from the iconic city skyline of Munich, to the rolling hills of Bavaria, which gradually rise into the foothills and timeless beauty of the Alps!
Next stop: 2 hours
2. Explore Berchtesgaden
Nestled within a picturesque setting in the Bavarian Alps in southern Germany, Berchtesgaden lies a stone’s throw from the Austrian border. Steer your rental south of the city and you’ll enter Berchtesgaden National Park – a stunning natural wonder which extends across three valleys which run in parallel to one another. From Berchtesgaden’s quaint village streets you’ll be able to take incredible photos of Watzmann, the third highest mountain in Germany, which is a renowned rock-climbing destination. The city is set in the shadow of this majestic peak, and on clear days the site is truly something you’ll never forget.
After enjoying a lunch in this gorgeous alpine community, turn your car west toward your next Alpine destination: Reit im Winkl. It’s 66km along the B305, a drive which will treat you to stunning views of the Bavarian Alps for the duration.
Next stop: 1 hour & 13 minutes
3. Tour Reit im Winkl
Known locally as a snow magnet for its unique location in the German Alps, Reit im Winkl is a little-known gem in southern Germany not frequented by tourists, even though it’s within easy driving distance of Munich. Nestled on the German/Austrian border, this stunning village faces the iconic region of Tyrol – one of the most popular alpine driving destinations in the world.
If you’re looking for the perfect place to get away and feel refreshed as part of your Bavarian Alps road trip, Reit im Winkl might be just the place. It is known well as a place of restorative and curative air (in fact it’s certified as such!), and is also a popular ski resort, making it an attractive destination at any time of year. Whether you want to get outdoors for some skiing and snowboarding in winter, or prefer to enjoy the fresh alpine air during Germany’s fantastic summer months, Reit im Winkl is a truly memorable stop on this trip.
From Reit im Winkl hop into your Germany car rental and head west on the A8 to Rottach-Egern – a place you won’t want to miss!
Next stop: 1 hour & 25 minutes
4. Relax in Rottach-Egern
On the southeastern corner of charming Lake Tegernsee, a visit to Rottach-Egern in Germany’s lovely Upper Bavaria region is a fabulous way to enhance your alpine driving tour of southern Germany. Nestled in the Tegernsee Valley, many of the small historic settlements in this area have merged to form Rottach-Egern, a diverse lake town in a beautiful Bavarian district just north of Austria. We encourage you to take the day to drive along the shores of Lake Tegernsee, where there are several beautiful spots to enjoy a picnic lunch picked up in Rottach-Egern, and while you’re in town you should stop in to visit St. Laurentius Church – a stunning landmark whose ornate pink, white, and gold ceilings are truly one-of-a-kind.
From Rottach-Egern, it’s a short and beautiful drive (just over an hour) to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the last stop on your drive to discover tour of the Bavarian Alps! Take the B472 and A95 to get there.
Next stop: 1 hour & 14 minutes
5. Experience Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Sprawling within a valley in the iconic Oberbayern region of southern Germany (right on the Austrian border), Garmisch-Partenkirchen is truly a one-of-a-kind destination. Travel here, and you’ll never forget the fresh air, quaint alpine architecture and stunning vistas. Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain, is nearby and this fabulous alpine village played host to the 1936 Winter Olympic Games.
Whether you’re seeking one last chance to breathe in the fresh alpine air before returning home, want to snap some memorable photos with Zugspitze’s famous peak in the background, or wish to enjoy some skiing or other outdoor fun, a stop in Garmisch-Partenkirchen will be one destination you’ll never forget!
Next stop back to Munich International Airport: 1 hour & 22 minutes
Rent a Car For Your Bavarian Alps Road Trip Adventure
At the end of your road trip through the German Alps, you’ll return to drop off your rental car at the Munich International Airport before your return flight. One of the best parts of touring southern German by car is that you’ll be free to set your own pace. If you find a fabulous little restaurant on the side of the road – spend an hour or two. If you decide you’d like to spend the night in a charming little alpine village so you can rise and take in the mountain sunrise – no problem!
Pin and start planning your adventure!
If you’d like additional travel inspiration for your trip to explore castles in Germany, or other historic destinations check out our German Road Trips, and if you’d like to see how much you can save on your next trip by bundling discounted airfare with your hotel reservation and car rental, give our travel specialists a call toll-free at 1-888-223-5555. We look forward to helping you plan the ultimate trip to southern Germany, or wherever your travels take you.