Germany is famous for its history, nature, sense of humor, and free-spirited people. Okay, maybe I'm wrong with the last two things. But this federal state is full of natural treasures, and the density of them in Bavaria is even on higher levels!
To fit all wonders of Bavaria into one week can be a bit tricky, but I've put together the best the region has to offer.
This itinerary also expects you to be driving between the stops. But trust me, driving in Germany is a treat, not a pain in the ass. Autobahns (aka highways) are in perfect condition and there is no speed limit on German highways whatsoever. So, buckle up!
You might also be interested in reading:
You can check my Google Map list of places to see in one week in Bavaria
This is the itinerary route:
Day 1: Nuremberg (sleep in Nuremberg)
Day 2: Regensburg (sleep in Nuremberg)
Day 3: Eagle's Nest (sleep in Berchtesgaden)
Day 4: Berchtesgaden (sleep in Berchtesgaden)
Day 5: Königssee (sleep in Garmisch-Partenkirchen)
Day 6: Garmisch-Partenkirchen (sleep in Garmisch-Partenkirchen)
Day 7: Neuschwanstein Castle (sleep in Garmisch-Partenkirchen)
Main sites visited on day 1: Nuremberg Castle, Albrecht Dürer’s house, Hauptmarkt + Frauen Kirche, Germanisches National Museum, Nuremberg Nazi Rally Party, Nuremberg Trials Memorial
Restaurant tips: Bratwursthäusle | Bratwurst Röslein | Machhörndl Kaffee
Hotel recommendations: The Park Plaza Hotel | PrivatHotel Probst | Adina Apartment Hotel
Further reading: What to do in Nuremberg | 1 day in Dresden | 13 best places in Dresden
We've spent the first day of this Bavaria trip Itinerary in the second biggest city of this federal state. It's full of beautiful architecture and interesting places that you can perfectly fit into a 1-day visit.
Nuremberg is a city that's famous because of its history more than anything else. So, some of the places you're going to visit will be somehow connected to the past of Nazi Germany.
Looks a little bit crooked, doesn’t it?
The best place to start your tour of Nuremberg would be Nuremberg Castle. Inside of the castle is not that interesting as the medieval exterior architecture, and almost no information in English is provided there and it's not guided either.
Albrecht Dürer’s house
A few minutes' walk from the castle is in my opinion the top attraction of Nuremberg, Albrecht Dürer’s house. The famous painter lived there from 1509 until his death in 1528. The house has five open stories full of his marvelous painting or recreation of his studio, all connected by telling the story of his life.
Frauen Kirche at Hauptmarkt in Nuremberg
Almost all the interesting attractions lie in walking distance to each other in the Old Town's area. In its heart lies Hauptmarkt and Frauen Kirche as its crown jewel. Breathtaking gothic building you can't miss, just stop by for a while and be amazed. I sure was! The entrance is free, so don’t hesitate to peek inside!
The second part of your day would be rather educational as you're already taken away by the perfectly decorated facades and monumental buildings. The first stop simply has to be Germanisches National Museum. There's plenty of interesting things and facts for you to see. Too bad you won't understand them, unless you speak German. EVERYTHING is in German there, ja? So, if you can't speak German, get an audio guide for €2 or you won't learn a thing.
Nuremberg Trial Memorial is in still active Palace of Justice
Further stops are closely connected to the Word War II history. The famous Nuremberg Trials took place in the Nuremberg Palace of Justice, where the leaders of the Nazi regime had to answer for their crimes in a courtroom that's still active to this day. In the Palace's top floor, you will find the memorial dedicated to Trials with the exhibition full of information about horrific Nazi crimes.
Both breathtaking and terrifying at the same time
Nazis chose Nuremberg as their headquarters for the massive propaganda rallies even before they came to power in 1933. Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds is a museum with exhibition dedicated to Nazi history. It’s an impressive and dark place, I got chills just standing there. It's an important monument explaining the reality of the Nazi regime and most importantly its origins, which need to be reminded.
Note: As of February 2023, the main part with permanent exhibit is under construction, so only interim exhibit is available to visit.
For the first two nights, it's best to stay in Nuremberg. From my great experience, I can recommend to you the hotel we stayed in. The Park Plaza Hotel is in a perfect location within walking distance of the Aldstadt. Together with clean rooms, wonderful stuff and a fresh buffet style breakfast, it makes perfect value for your money option.
Nice design and amazing clean rooms we enjoyed in The Park Plaza Hotel in Nuremberg.
Main sites visited on day 2: St. Peter's Cathedral, Steinerne Brücke, Regensburg Altstadt, Altes Rathaus, Thurn and Taxis Palace
Restaurant tips: Storstad | Gasthaus Hummel
Hotel recommendations: The Park Plaza Hotel | PrivatHotel Probst | Adina Apartment Hotel
Further reading: 13 best places in Dresden | 10 facts about Neuschwainstein | 5 reason to visit Eagle's Nest
The infrastructure and highways in German are in exquisite condition, you can drive almost everywhere in no time. From Nuremberg to Regensburg, it'll take you about 1 hour 15 minutes and you're there! Ready for another day of one week in Bavaria itinerary!
St. Peter's Cathedral in Regensburg
Regensburg's Old Town is a part of UNESCO World's Heritage. Once you're there, you understand why. Old gothic churches and buildings are breathtaking. The one that stands above the rest is St. Peter's Cathedral also known as Regensburg Cathedral. It's an iconic gothic building, its gothic decorations and towers reminded me a Town Hall in Brussels. The interior of the Cathedral is comparably astonishing with the colorful stained glass and silver altar. You can take a guided tour or just walk around with your jaws dropped by yourselves.
The best views of Regensburg you can get are from the stone bridge nearby. The Old Stone Bridge Steinerne Brücke is the oldest of its kind in Europe! It's a pedestrian bridge over the Danube River just a few minutes' walk from the cathedral. Once you cross the bridge, on the other side of it there's not much to do, so after you're done taking pictures, take a walk back to the Old Town part.
The Old Town Hall in Regensburg Altstadt
In the Regensburg Altstadt center is Altes Rathaus, Regensburg's Old Town Hall. You can visit the medieval courtroom inside too! Or maybe you would like to see an old torture room? You can do that, too, but only with the guided tour.
The best thing you can do around the Altstadt is just to walk around, admire the old buildings, and maybe have a cup of coffee in one of the many cafes there. The interesting mixture of Romanesque and Gothic architecture is something you don’t get to see every day!
Thurn and Taxis Palace in Regensburg
If you walk about 10–15 minutes from the Old Town, you get to Thurn and Taxis Palace. The old German castles became my thing on this trip, they're just so magnificent. And this one is no exception. The neo-renaissance rooms filled with Rococo furniture; that's how German royalty lived.
You can visit the inside of the castle only with the guided tour, that speaks German, but you can get an English audio guide. You can buy the tickets online. In winter, the Christmas markets take place in front of the palace.
Viewpoint over the Eagle’s Nest with the mountains in the background
This day will have one stop only, because the visit to Eagle's Nest will take you a bigger part of the day. If you are not a lame person who would rather go by bus. Don't be a lame person, be cool like us and hike up the hill! The views are worth the pain in the legs later!
Eagle's Nest is another symbolic place connected to Nazi German history. People often think it was Hitler's residence. However, that's not completely true. In fact, probably the cruelest person of our times was afraid of it. Allegedly, he was scared that he would get stuck in the elevator that leads through the mountain to the top. What a brilliant idea to build it that way then, huh?
What a view!
Nowadays, it's a restaurant run where you can enjoy nice Bavarian dumplings. We almost ran the whole hike fueled by the thought of this divine delicacy. Once we got to the restaurant and were ready to shove plenty of dumplings down our throats, true disappointment came. They don’t accept credit cards... So, be smarter than we were and bring cash with you, we obviously didn’t have any.
Now to the hike. It starts close to the parking lot, where you can leave your car, and leads up the forests and rocky slopes with an elevation gain of 900 meters (2,950 feet).
Officially, four hours are recommended for the hike, but we did it in two (and our calves ached for the next three days). I honestly think nobody would take more than 3 hours and that that dramatic sign at the start saying 4 hours is just trying to make you buy tickets for the bus.
The hike starts under the tree line, so you have to wait for the views until you reach the top. But the pristine nature and solitude on the trip up the mountain makes it worth it (get ready for crowds!).
Once you get to the top, you still aren’t at the top. There’s the elevator, which takes you to Eagle’s Nest. If you went by bus cheer hooray, your bus ticket also applies for the elevator. If you hiked up, well, then you’re screwed if you also want to take the elevator. You can’t buy tickets for the elevator separately, so there’s another 10-minute hike waiting for you. But don’t be sad, the elevator is nothing spectacular.
Kempinski Hotel was our base for the next two nights. It lies on the hill and offers spacious rooms, sauna, and a pool. As most of the times in Germany, the staff was very friendly and helpful, we enjoyed our stay in this hotel with amazing interior.
Kempinski Hotel with its modern interior is a great place to stay!
Main sites visited on day 4: House of the Mountains, Berchtesgaden's salt mines, Berchtesgaden National Park, Wimbach Gorge, Watzmann Therme
Restaurant tips: Holzkäfer
Hotel recommendations: Hotel Grünberger superior
Further reading: What to do in Nuremberg | 1 day in Dresden | 10 best things in Berchtesgaden
In this Bavaria Itinerary we have only one day to spend in Berchtesgaden. But I can imagine vacationing there for several days, maybe even weeks. The beautiful view of snow-capped mountains, delicious food and beer, stunning hikes. This place has it all.
National Park Center House of the Mountains in Berchtesgaden
And by that, I mean literally all, even the museum of Berchtesgaden! The House of the Mountains is Berchtesgaden’s visitor center. It used to be a hotel and the building will catch your eye immediately. Once you step in, you’ll find yourself in a museum dedicated to Berchtesgaden and to the Alps in general. The exhibition educates about the nature and peaks of the national park.
Explore the underground of Berchtesgaden salt mines
Another stop, Berchtesgaden’s salt mines. Interesting fact, they're still active! They’ve been used without interruption since 1517. To explore the impressive and salty underground, you can take guided tours in the mines (about 1 hour long). You will see there a salt cathedral, various salt rooms and caves, a salt lake and miner's slides. Yeah, you heard right, there are two slides. They are no Space Mountain rides, but still, a little salty Disneyland.
Get the tickets online before you go to avoid lines, that can take a while there.
Tip: If you like your salt mines with a view, check out Salzwelten Hallstatt in Austria. I put them on day 4 of my Austria itinerary... come to think of it, you could potentially connect that itinerary with this week in Bavaria if you have more time!
The whole area of Berchtesgaden National Park is a perfect place for hiking. It offers more than 210 km of hiking trails from easy trails to challenging hard paths. One of those is Wimbach Gorge hike (Wimbachklamm in German, ja?). The hike starts at parking lot, and leads through the gorge to Wimbachschloss. The hike is moderate level and will take you about 2.5 hours to complete. Wonderful hike you should not miss.
Some of the tourists were especially handsome!
And after a long day, let's relax a bit. Watzmann Therme, the thermal baths in Berchtesgaden are waiting! The baths contain indoor and outdoor pools, saltwater pools, water attractions, and saunas. All of that with a beautiful view of the Alps in front of you. What a way to chill for a bit and recharge your batteries after yesterday's hike!
The next stop, Königssee!
Another day trip in this Bavaria one week itinerary is to a lake. Don't reach out to your bikinis just yet, remember we are still in temperate climate zone. So, if you're not visiting in summer or aren't Wim Hof's twin, maybe skip this bath.
But definitely don’t skip the whole trip, a cruise on the Königssee is awaiting you there. It's undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Berchtesgaden! And it's only 15 minutes' drive away from the city.
We parked our car in Schönau am Königssee, the town on the northern tip of the lake. The parking costs €8 per day and it’s just next to Jennerbahn, the cableway that takes you to a viewpoint of the Eagle’s Nest, Watzmann and the rest of the Alps. However, I think it's super expensive, it costs €38 for a round trip.
Can't leave without a proper selfie!
From the parking lot it takes 10 minutes to get to the Königssee Lake. You can take a trip across the lake in an electric boat as we did. I strongly recommend getting there early in the morning, because if you're visiting during the main season you can get stuck in a line for hours waiting on a free boat. You can also buy the tickets online to wait even less time, one ticket costs €22.
The ship takes you to the other tip of Königssee, where you get off and take a short, 20-minute walk to Obersee. We decided to continue for another 30 minutes to Fischunkelalm, a farm with delicious food and fresh milk, and another 20 minutes to Röthbach Waterfall.
The only little thing that bothered me about the trip is the cruise itself. On the way there, you are enthusiastic and take photos. On the way back, you’re just bored. You’ve already photographed everything, and the ship goes slow. One journey takes about an hour, but it sure feels like much more.
If I were you, I would choose a hotel in Garmisch-Partenkirchen for the last three nights. It’s a perfect location for your final trip base. I recommend the Hyperion Hotel Garmisch – Partenkirchen, which offers a large pool, nice modern rooms and a breakfast buffet with a great selection.
Lovely Hyperion Hotel Garmisch – Partenkirchen with a pool and soo comfy beds!
Main sites visited on day 6: Zugspitze, Partnach Gorge hike, Olympic Stadium, Ludwigstrasse
Restaurant tips: 4ECK | Weingart's
Hotel recommendations: Hyperion Hotel Garmisch – Partenkirchen
Further reading: What to do in Nuremberg | 1 day in Dresden | 10 best things in Berchtesgaden
The town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a paradise for skiers in winter, for hikers in summer. But it's best known for the highest peak of Germany Zugspitze with amazing views from the top! You can hike it, but as we have only a day in itinerary for Garmisch-Partenkirchen, we decided to take a cable car, because the hike would take you almost a whole day. On top of that, the panoramic views from the cable car are something you shouldn't miss. I recommend going in the morning to get the top scenery.
The highest peak of Germany, Zugspitze
After the Zugspitze trip, drive about 45 minutes to the next stop on the list, which is Partnach Gorge hike. It starts close to the huge parking lot, where you can leave your car, and next to the Olympic Stadium. The hike is moderate level, it'll take you about 3 hours to complete it. The gorge is beautiful, you'll pass a few tunnels in the rocks on your way, which makes it a little more dramatic! Don't forget to wear proper shoes, the path can get slippery.
Lovely streets of Garmisch-Partenkirchen
If you're not too tired after the hike, I recommend taking a walk through the eastern part of the town, Partenkirchen. Its main street is Ludwigstrasse, which is nice and romantic for an evening stroll, don’t you think? The houses in the street have colorful façades and wooden balconies, all well-preserved. Nice place to walk around or have a nice romantic dinner in one of the restaurants.
I've saved this gem of the Bavarian Alps as this itinerary's grand finale. Neuschwanstein Castle is its real name and not only a tongue twister, but it sure looks like one! The pronunciation is devil's work unlike the divine castle. It looks like a castle straight from a fairy-tale, it's also rumored, that it was Walt's Disney inspiration for his castles!
You can take nice walk to the castle from parking lot or take a bus. I recommend walking to the castle, especially if you’re not time oriented. It’s only 1.2 km (0.7 miles) long, but rather steep, it can be challenging for less fit people. But once you overcome it and get to see the scenery from up the hill, you will immediately forget about the hike.
The most impressive thing about Neuschwanstein is definitely the exterior. If you expect the interior of the castle to be that breathtaking too, I have to disappoint you. This is not to say you shouldn’t go inside, just don’t set your expectations too high. There are only 12 completed rooms, which are not even fully furnished—the Throne Room with no throne speaks for itself. Therefore, the tour takes only about 30 minutes. Also note that taking photos inside the castle is prohibited.
Also, you can visit the inside only with the guide. If you're not into that, it can bother you a bit. You can get the tickets online in advance, which I—as always—highly recommend.
If it's not on socials, you haven't been there, right? Don’t worry, there's a place only 15 minutes away for a perfect selfie! Marienbrücke is that place. The way there is once again a bit steep, and once you get there, you'll probably have to wait a while. Everybody wants this Instagram worthy selfie, so expect a line there.
Perfect spot for a picture!
If you are not lazy though, don’t stop at the bridge and continue up the hiking trail. You will find more viewpoints along the road higher on the cliffs. It’s quite challenging, so be sure to have the right shoes for the dirty road. On the other hand, most people will be waiting in line on the bridge, while you take perfect pictures of the castle with the mountains in the background and the gorge in front.
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I've put together a list of the 11 best lakes in Bavaria, and let me tell you, they offer way more than just crystal-clear waters and Instagram-worthy photo spots.
I hereby present to you a Detailed 1-day Dresden itinerary! It’s packed to the brims—you can stretch it out to 2 days by visiting all of the museums I mention (but no more than that, it’s not that amazing).