Hiking in the Bavarian Alps from Munich
The Top 5 Hiking Destinations
Discover the enchanting landscapes of the Bavarian Alps on a hiking tour just a stone's throw away from Munich. Picture-perfect rolling hills, rocky ranges, lush meadows and turquoise lakes await. The Bavarian Alps range among the top reasons why Munich locals love their city so much and many regularly embark on tours to the nearby mountains. So why don’t you immerse yourself in the authentic Munich lifestyle by extending your stay beyond the city limits and adding a fun day of hiking to your stay?
There are numerous options and destinations to choose from and making a choice can get a little overwhelming. So let's explore the Top 5 Hiking Destinations that are accessible within 1 to 2 hours by train from Munich Central Station (or by car, of course). All these destinations offer trails for various levels and ensure a memorable experience in the heart of the Bavarian Alps. Get ready for your hiking day trip from Munich!
Hiking From Munich – Destination No 1: Mangfall Mountains
The area around Lakes Schliersee, Spitzingsee and Tegernsee in the Mangfall Mountains (named after the Mangfall River that spoils Munich with its excellent drinking water) is a favourite with Munich locals. So if you want to spend a day like a local would, these are the areas to check out. Here, you’ll find anything from lovely rolling hills and easy trails to more challenging routes in more rocky terrain. Benefit: The travel time from Munich is rather short (around 1 hour) and the many chalets ensure that you can treat your palate to some authentic Bavarian food during or after your hike. Take RB 57 to Tegernsee or RB 55 to Schliersee (with a connecting bus to Spitzingsee).
Not sure where to start with your planning? Keen to learn about the area from a local guide? Choose one of our hand-selected itineraries in the area and enjoy your day with a hiking guide who will meet you at Munich Central Station. Two lovely Easy Hikes in Sound of Music worthy terrain are our Alpine Village Explorer or our Mountain Pastures. You fancy a more challenging hike? Check out Best of Tegernsee. The title says it all really! Or look into The Great Traverse, connecting Schliersee and Tegernsee.
Hiking From Munich – Destination No 2: Upper Isar Valley
Munich wouldn't be Munich without its famous river Isar. This mountain river was once a major transport route (beer, spices, wood and travellers were carried on rafts) and after a major renaturation project in the early 2000s is now a natural jewel with lush meadows, beaches, hangout spots and green water inside the city. So don't miss your chance to check it out while in Munich!
A hiking day trip into the Upper Isar Valley takes you closer to the source of this beautiful river (the actual source is out of reach unless you have your own wheels and a bike – or don't mind some serious hiking). And the surrounding Karwendel, Kochel and Mangfall Mountains near Lenggries are also a sight for sore eyes: Here, you'll find anything from lush and green to dramatic and rocky. Hop onto the RB 56 to Bad Tölz or further south to Lenggries to explore the area or drive down to Sylvensteinspeicher, Jachenau or Ahornboden (this is much easier if you have your own wheels).
Keen to embark on an adventure in the Upper Isar Valley without having to plan? Meet your local hiking guide at Munich Central Station for two Easy Hikes in the area: Our Hiking and Alpine Coaster truly is a tour for all generations with its fun alpine coaster ride(s). Zoom Up conveniently takes you up the mountain in a cable car. At the top, gorgeous long-distance views of the Alps await and various chalets are at hand to treat our palates!
Hiking from Munich – Destination No 3: Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Mittenwald
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is located between three mountain ranges – the Wetterstein Mountains, the Ester Mountains and the Ammergau Alps – and therefore offers an amazing array of hiking near Munich. The train that runs south from Munich Central Station (RB 6 or RE 61) has several good hiking stops along the way (Eschenlohe, Oberau, Farchant). Garmisch-Partenkirchen itself is famous for its Olympic history: In 1936, during the 3rd Reich, the winter games were held here and a lot of the infrastructure remains. Amongst others the famous and dangerous ski jump.
Stay on the train for two more stops to Mittenwald, nestled between the Wetterstein and Karwendel Mountains. The cute old village centre is a few steps from the train station and is famous for its artistically painted houses (the so-called Lüftlmalerei) and its violin-making. Famous violin-makers have called Mittenwald home since the 17th century and this village of 7000 inhabitants still boasts around a dozen violin-makers and one of two German schools for violin-making. Several hiking trails start right at the outskirts of the village.
If you don't want to wing it yourself, book a hiking tour from Munich in the area. Munich Wanderland offers two hikes through Partnachklamm – an Easy Hike and a Mid-level Hike. Or join us for Garmisch Delights if you also want to explore the old town centre of Garmisch. 360° takes you through the village of Mittenwald and up a mountain with spectacular views in all directions. Alternatively, look into our Panorama Hike that starts half way between Garmisch and Mittenwald.
Hiking from Munich – Destination No 4: Chiemgau and Inn Valley
For those who want to travel east, the Chiemgau and Inn Valley offer excellent walking and hiking near Munich.
The lush and green Inn Valley boasts great hiking tours on both sides of the river: in the Mangfall Mountains to the west and in the Chiemgau Mountains to the east. A little further south, the Inn River demarcates the border between Austria and Germany. On the Austrian side you’ll find Kufstein with its old castle and the dramatic Kaiser Mountains (that literally translate as Emperor's Mountains) in the backdrop. Look for train RB 54 and its stops for good hiking east of Munich.
Even further east, Lake Chiemsee features great walking and boating options, a beautiful Versailles style castle on Herrenchiemsee island (built by the same king as Neuschwanstein – Ludwig II) and a beautiful monastery and art shops on the smaller Frauenchiemsee island. Check out Train RE 5 for your trip to Prien.
You want to skip the research and spend a day hiking off the beaten track with a local Munich guide? Our beautiful Farmhouse Hike (a Mid-level Hike) takes you from Munich to the Inn Valley, boasts excellent views of the Kaiser Mountains and you enjoy lunch at a 1000-year old mountain farm.
Hiking from Munich – Destination No 5: Neuschwanstein Trails
If you come to Munich from abroad, chances are that a visit of Neuschwanstein castle is on your agenda anyway. This castle by our all-time favourite fairy-tale king Ludwig II is nestled in the Allgäu Alps and surrounded by great hiking options. Ludwig II was an avid hiker himself. So is there a better way to explore one of his favourite areas than by foot? If you want to experience the surroundings of Neuschwanstein in more depth, you might want to stay for more than one day. But even if you are just out on a day trip from Munich, you can stretch your legs on the nearby hiking trails.
The journey takes 2 hours from Munich Central Station. But beware: Neuschwanstein gets very very busy. It is one of Germany’s favourite sights with over 1.5 million visitors per year. So, if you are into a more laid-back and local experience while you are in Munich, you may want to look into Destinations 1 to 4.
Munich Wanderland offers a secret tour to the castle on a hiking day trip from Munich. It is not listed on our website (because we like to take our guests to less known places). But please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested and we’ll send you the offer (castle visit included).
What do I need to bring for my hiking adventure in the Bavarian Alps?
Bring extra layers as the weather in and around the mountains can change quickly. One of the layers should be waterproof.
Wear sturdy shoes boasting excellent profile and grip (ideally boots). Poles will also be helpful.
Don't forget your hat and sunglasses, along with a generous application of sunscreen.
Bring cash as not all places in the countryside accept cards (Germany is not always as technologically advanced as its stereotype!).
Bring enough water (at least 1.5 to 2 litres per person) and either snacks or enough food for lunchtime if there are no chalets or restaurants along the way.
Carry a first-aid kit on your adventures and stay connected with a fully charged phone for any unexpected emergencies. In case of an emergency, call 112 in Germany or 140 if your phone is dialled into the Austrian network.
Ideally, you’ll pack all of the above into a comfortable backpack with a rain cover. If you don’t have a cover, you can always place your items in a bin liner before putting them into your backpack.
When is the best time to go hiking near Munich?
The sweet spot for hiking near Munich is from mid-April to October — when the weather's just right. By mid-April, the snow has usually cleared on the lower mountains. This can vary from year to year, however, and there may still be snowy and icy patches on north faces and in forests. The first snow can also arrive earlier than October. So please keep an eye on the forecasts.
Thunderstorms are a risky affair in the mountains: A thunderstorm can build up literally out of nowhere within 15 minutes, even if it is not in the forecast! So please use a good local weather app (such as Bergfex) for the exact location leading up to your tour and monitor the situation on the day of.
A little warning: The mountains are no playground. More and more people get into trouble and send distress calls every year. But make no mistake: Help can be difficult to come by in some places! We therefore urge you to take all the necessary precautions before you go on your hike. Start early in the day, plan your trip thoroughly and don't overestimate your stamina or surefootedness.
Too much information? We have a simple solution!
You don’t want to plan your hiking day trip into the Bavarian Alps from Munich yourself? Why not book one of our delightful hiking tours starting from Munich Central Station. Your personal guide will meet you at the station and will be with you all the way. Save time that you would spend on tedious planning and enjoy the company of one of our three local and personable guides. See our selection of Easy Hikes, Mid-level Hikes, Winter Hikes and Customised Hikes starting from Munich to find your favourite tour.