17 ideas for perfect weekend trips from Stuttgart - (2023)

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If you live in Stuttgart (or even if you're just visiting), consider yourself pretty lucky. In just a few hours in either direction, you can find yourself immersed in a completely different country and culture.

There are lots of fun weekend trips you can take by car or by train.

This article highlights 17 weekend trips you can easily take by car. If you prefer the train, it is also an option for all these trips.

Sometimes it makes more sense to drive. This is especially true if the train journey will be longer and will require many stops and changes. And sometimes it's faster/cheaper/more convenient to take the train.

All times take traffic into account and are more realistic. Stuttgart's traffic is notorious for its horrendous stasis (traffic jams) and in my experience this reputation is accurate. So while I did my best to give more accurate times, it could always be longer due to traffic.

Please note that these are all weekend trips and not day trips. Some travel ideas may be more suitable for a longer weekend (3-4 days), but allable todone in a weekend.

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Driving Tips

Vignettes and tolls

  • Austria requires all vehicles to have a vignette (sticker). These can be bought at gas stations near the border and cost around 10 EUR.
  • Switzerland has an expensive vignette that will cost you around $40-50 depending on the exchange rate. We usually avoid Switzerland as a cross country trip unless it saves us a lot of time.
  • The main highways in Italy have tolls, and they are increasing. They all accept cards, but it doesn't hurt to have cash on hand just in case (in fact, I always recommend having cash on hand when traveling anywhere in Europe).

Tickets and Fines

If you don't pay the vignette or tolls, expect hefty fines. If you are going to visit Europe, make sure you have an international driver's license, especially in Italy. They have fined several tourists who do not have one. Just go to any AAA office, bring a passport photo, pay $20, and you're good to go.

The same applies to speeding. Speeding in Germany leads to small fines of 10-25 EUR. Speeding in any other country results in much higher fines, which can be hundreds of euros. So make sure you keep an eye on your speed.

train tips

For trips originating in Germany, I recommend booking throughDeutsche Bahn. If you prefer to book in person, the Hauptbahnhof in the center of Stuttgart has a reservation office.

There are regional ticket deals you can buy to save money. For example, each state has its own regional ticket offer. In Baden-Württemberg you can buy a regional ticket for 24 EUR and go to Heidelberg.

There are also one-day tickets in Germany that cost 42 EUR. Then you can add up to four people for €7 each. This is a great way to save money when traveling in a group.

There are many savings opportunities both in Germany and in neighboring countries via bahn.com. I recommend exploringtheir official websiteor visit us in person to learn more.

Let's dive in! With these weekend getaway ideas, you'll have enough to keep you busy every weekend for half the year.

1. Visit the Alsace region of France

  • Distance: 222 km (137 miles), about 2 1/2 – 3 hours
  • Country France
  • Currency: Euro

Topping this list is one of my favorite regions of France. Known for its fine wine, rolling vineyards, castles and pretty villages, this area will blow you away.

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This area, which straddles the eastern border between France and western Germany, has changed ownership between the two countries many times. Because of this, the area has both Germanic and French influences. This is readily visible in the German half-timbered houses alongside the French wrought-iron railings.

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The largest city in the area is Colmar with around 70,000 inhabitants. There are many beautiful towns within 30 minutes of Colmar, including Ribeauville, Eguisheim, Riquewihr and Kaysersberg (link to all cities on Google Maps).

Don't miss out by staying in one place. Make a plan to visit at least three, if not all, of the cities.

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If strolling past impressive centuries-old castles is your thing, there are many in the area. I recommend the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg as a must. To get there, you have to drive through a long hilly road to reach the top and the castle. When we got out there was an inversion and we enjoyed the view of the clouds.

This area is also famous for the Alsace wine route.

2. Explore Neuschwanstein, Germany's Fairytale Castle

  • Distance: 222 km (137 miles), about 2 1/2 – 3 hours
  • Country: Germany
  • Currency: Euro

A few hours south of Stuttgart is the world's most famous castle, Neuschwanstein. The castle was used as the model for Disney Castle and has acquired the nickname over the years.

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What many people don't know is that there is much more to do in this area besides visiting the castle (although I do have an article aboutvisiting Neuschwanstein here). The sweet town of Füssen lies below the castle along the river Lech. Along the river there is a popular artificial waterfall called Lechfall, which is worth visiting.

There is also a large lake, Forggensee, which offers views of the castle above.

Hohenschwangau is another large castle nearby that is also worth a visit.

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For the more active, the famous Highline179 footbridge, named the longest Tibetan-style footbridge by the Guinness Book of World Records, is nearby.

Here you can walk over the 406 meter long pedestrian bridge and explore Ehrenberg Castle. The bridge was built almost 380 feet (115 meters) above the ground, so if heights aren't your thing, you may want to skip this part of the tour.

3. Drink wine along the Mosel River

  • Distance: 291 km (180 miles), approximately 3 1/2 hours
  • Country: Germany
  • Currency: Euro

Tucked away in western Germany (west of Frankfurt and south of Düsseldorf) is the beautiful Mosel Valley. This region is best known for its white wines and vineyards that surround the Mosel River.

The area was first popularized by Rick Steves and continues to be a popular spot for local and international travelers.

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Coming from Stuttgart, I was struck by how different this part of the country feels. It's much more relaxed, the people are generally friendlier, and since you're closer to France, there's a bit more variety in food options.

The most popular cities are Cochem, Bernkastel-Kues and Hatzenport. When we visited, we stayed in Cochem and we loved it. There is the great Reichsburg Cochem castle, perched on top of a hill overlooking the city. All of these towns are located directly on the river and all are surrounded by vineyards and rolling hills.

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While Riesling is the most popular wine, you can also find Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc.

Like most of Germany, there are walking and cycling paths throughout this area.

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4. Take the bullet train to Paris

  • Distance: 500 km (311 miles), about 3 hours
  • Country France
  • Currency: Euro

One of my favorite things about Stuttgart is that you can hop on a train, fly at speeds of over 200 mph (320 km/h) and set foot in Paris in 3 hours. All this is possible via the TGV train, which runs several times a day, and single tickets cost as little as €40 each way.

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Once we left on a Friday at 5pm and he came back on Sunday night. This gave us almost 48 hours in Paris and we didn't have to take any time off.

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There is SO MUCH to do in Paris that honestly two days is not enough. But you can get an idea of ​​this city on a weekend trip. I prefer to live near Notre Dame as it is quite central (ie 2nd, 5th, 6th or 7th arrondissements). It's a good idea to use the metro to get around quickly, since Paris is really a big city.

The most popular things to see include the Sacre Coeur, the Eiffel Tower, Nore-Dame, and the Louvre. I also recommend booking a show at the Moulin Rouge, visiting the incredible Palais Garnier opera house, and going underground to walk through the famous catacombs.

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5. Slap even Karlovy Vary

  • Distance: 420 km (260 miles), about 4 to 4 1/2 hours
  • Country: Czech Republic
  • Currency: Czech crown

For a restorative spa experience across the border, Karlovy Vary will certainly fit the bill. Located in western Bohemia, you will find the highest concentration of thermal springs and healing salts in the world.

It is an exclusive city that has been home to wealthy Europeans and Hollywood stars for centuries. There are 79 hot springs and 13 are accessible via colonnades in the city.

To get a closer look at the colonnades, you can take an underground hot spring tour during the summer months.

If you want a stress-free spa weekend, I recommend bookingSpa Hotel Purkyneright along the river. ThatHotel PavlovIt is a small castle that has many treatments including water therapy, acupuncture, massage, and a sauna. It is also located in the center of the city so you can easily walk everywhere.

See also:The 20 Best Festivals to Visit in Stuttgart, Germany (From an Expert)

6. Explore the Black Forest

  • Distance: 125 km (80 miles), about 1 1/2 – 2 hours
  • Country: Germany
  • Currency: Euro

The Black Forest, or Black Forest, is a large mountain range in southern Germany. There's so much to do in this condensed area of ​​southern Germany that it really deserves its own post, but I've included the highlights here.

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The most popular small town in the region isTriberg,Home of the famous German cuckoo clocks. You can spend an afternoon walking through the small town, finding the perfect watch, and climbing the Triberg waterfall (Wasserfalle).

If you like gin, you can make one.Visit to the Monkey 47 distilleryas it is right in the Black Forest and about an hour from Triberg.

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If you want to camp, I recommend staying inLago Titisee(there is camping and a small village area). For hiking, some of the best hiking spots include Feldberg, Beiersbronn, Schluchsee, and Bad Wildbad.

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Accommodation can be difficult in some of the more remote areas, so I recommend looking around.ferienhausmiete.de.PILit is also a good choice when looking for vacation homes.

7. Visit the largest lake in Italy: Lake Garda

  • Distance: 540 km (333 miles), about 6-7 hours
  • Country: Italy
  • Currency: Euro

i wrotea whole postdedicated to my love for this area of ​​Italy. Though popular with Europeans, Lake Garda doesn't make headlines in the United States.

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This lake is absolutely huge. You feel like you are in the sea. In addition to being the largest lake in Italy, the landscape that surrounds it is what really makes it unique. To the north are the huge alpine mountains. When you arrive at the lake, and especially when you go along the lake to the south, you are greeted by palm trees and the typical Mediterranean atmosphere.

The lake is surrounded by beautiful towns. If you are driving from Stuttgart, the closest city is Riva del Garda, and it is also the largest. Because of this, there are many places to stay and many things to do.

If you want something smaller and with a wow factor, stay in Malcesine or Limone Sul Garda.

This lake has one of the best windsurfing spots in the world. There are classes at one of the many schools. For more information about the lake, you can check my articleall about Lake Garda here.

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8. Hike through the Dolomites

  • Distance: 500 km (310 mi), around 6-7 hours depending on where you go
  • Country: Italy
  • Currency: Euro

The Dolomites are a large mountainous region in northern Italy. These mountains stand out with their tall, jagged peaks that reach nearly 11,000 feet. Some of the best mountain towns to visit include Bolzano and Merano. For a smaller, nicer town, check out Chiusa/Klausen.

This area is perfect for anyone who wants to get out and explore nature. The best places for hiking include Seceda, Tre Cime di Lavaredo and Mordor. There are also many lakes to visit, including the popular Lago di Braies and Lago di Dobbiaco.

Bolzano is a major city in the region that mixes German and Italian vibes. We stayed nearby after a trip to Lake Garda in a hillside villa. It could be a good base camp for day trips to the Dolomites as it is an hour away from many of the hiking spots.

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9. Explore Heidelberg Castle

  • Distance by car: 120 km (75 miles), about 1 1/2 hours
  • Distance by train: about 1 hour from Hauptbahnhof
  • Country: Germany
  • Currency: Euro

Situated right on the Neckar River and with the imposing castle dominating the city, Heidelberg has been attracting people for centuries.

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Heidelberg Slots: The highlight of the city is the castle, which is located on top of the hills. Throughout history, the castle has been attacked and partially destroyed, and in the 18th century it was left in ruins by two lightning strikes.

So when you walk through the castle much of it is still in ruins. There is an entrance fee and once inside you can enter the Renaissance castle and walk around the large grounds.

To explore the interior, you need a guided tour.

There is an amazingly large apothecary museum with old medicines from all over the world, showing the history of medicines. There is also an intricate laboratory and a large apothecary garden. It is the largest museum of its kind in the world.

Up here you can enjoy the view of the Neckar river and the city of Heidelberg below.

Here's another fun fact about the castle; it houses the largest wine barrel in the world.

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But there is much more to Heidelberg than just the castle. It is a large university town with a 1.1 kilometer long pedestrian zone, one of the longest in Europe.

On the other side of the famous Karl Theodor Bridge, climb the Philosophenweg (Philosopher's Walk) for views of the castle and the city.

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10. Explore historic Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber

  • Distance: 151 km (93 miles), about 1 1/2 – 2 hours
  • Country: Germany
  • Currency: Euro

Almost any list of things to do near Stuttgart includes Rothenburg et al. Tauber, but I promise there's a good reason for that.

As one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Germany, Rothenburg is well worth a day trip. The city is completely surrounded by walls, and many of the walls have walkable stairs.

It is quite a touristy town full of shops, restaurants, cafes and beautiful architecture. You can easily spend a day walking the streets, enjoying a meal, and exploring.

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Here is a museum of torture that shows crime and the justice system of the Middle Ages. Aside from some of the horrible stuff that was done, it's pretty interesting.

The city becomes quite quiet at night, but hotels and homestays are available within the walled city.

You can also combine Rothenburg and Nuremberg for a long weekend trip. I would recommend going to Rothenburg early, spending a few hours there, then having lunch and heading to Nuremberg in the afternoon. From Rothenburg to Nuremberg it is only one hour (without traffic).

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11. Visit the university city of Innsbruck

  • Distance: 331 km (205 miles), about 4 to 4 1/2 hours
  • Country: Austria
  • Currency: Euro

Innsbruck is a fun and easy weekend getaway from Stuttgart. In a few hours you are in the middle of the mountains in a nice university town.

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Innsbruck is a city, indeed a city, of about 300,000 inhabitants. There are a large number of students and a few universities, the most popular being the University of Innsbruck.

Since there are so many university students, you can find great deals on food and drinks. But you can also find elegant rooftop bars and exclusive restaurants such as Oniriq, awarded with a Michelin star.

There are many b&bs around the city. we have livedKasperhof apartamentosoften. It is just outside the busy Old Town area and has many walking trails that you can walk from the gardens. We love it because it's quiet, overlooks the city, and with a quick bus ride you're in the center of Innsbruck.

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If you want a little more nature, there are many lakes nearby. Achensee and Piburgersee (see means lake) are beautiful and about an hour from Innsbruck.

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For culture, there are plenty of museums, including Schloss Ambras, a medieval castle turned Renaissance.

It's easy to spend a weekend here walking around, visiting the lakes, walking through the old town, visiting a few museums, and visiting the site of the previous Winter Olympics (1964 and 1976).

12. Ride a zeppelin on Lake Constance

  • Distance: 194 km (120 miles), approximately 2 hours
  • Country: Germany, Austria, Switzerland
  • Currency: euro or Swiss franc

Only about two hours south of Stuttgart lies one of the largest lakes in Europe. There are three countries that border the lake, including Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Towns, beaches, parks and more line the shores of this lake.

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For the more active, there is a bike path that runs along the lake.This sitehas tons of ideas for walkers and cyclists alike. They even have a route planner to help you with your trip.

I recommend staying on the German or Austrian side to avoid paying really high Swiss costs and almost $50 for a vignette.

The island of Lake Mainau is a beautiful "garden island", full of different flowers that bloom throughout the year. It's a lovely place to walk and explore (here's yourofficial link).

Lindau is another island in the lake that has a direct train from Stuttgart (it takes about 3 hours by train). They also have a fantastic Christmas market.

It's a cute little town that has that typical German feel; half-timbered houses, hearty German food and small shops in the old town (Altstadt). There is also a beautiful little port with a lighthouse (see below).

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But there are many other beautiful cities to explore. I really enjoyed living in Meersburg. It is a small town located on a hillside by the lake. There are plenty of restaurants, cafes, and things to do. I enjoyed walking the narrow alleys both up and down the hill and stopping at the shops.

Frederichshafen in Germany is also quite popular to visit and is home to the Zeppelin Museum. In fact, from here you can take a Zeppelin and over the lake (Here is the link)!

The Austrian side is quite small and the main city is the larger city of Bregenz.

13. Go to Mozart's birthplace

  • Distance: 380 km (236 miles), about 4 1/2 hours
  • Country: Austria
  • Currency: Euro

Salzburg is a small city but big enough that you canspend a weekend hereand not boring. Add in the surrounding salt caves, more than 70 lakes (including the 'famous' Lake Halstatt) and the ice caves in Werfen and you'll soon want to return.

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I recommend staying in or near the great old town (Altstadt) so you can easily walk everywhere. You can easily spend half a day exploring the old town. Be sure to visit Mozart's birthplace, located on the pedestrian street.

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There is the great Hohensalzburg fortress high up at the end of the old town. You can go up to the castle or take a cable car for a fee.

There is a beer garden and a beautiful view once at the top.

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As Mozart's birthplace, there are plenty of opportunities to hear a concert. There is onevery popular tourwhich includes a Mozart concert in the fortress and a river cruise.

This is also the area where the sound of music was filmed and there are many sightseeing tours. I muchrecommend this trip; I learned a lot about the places and I loved our tour guide.

14. Explore the beautiful National Park of South Germany (Berchtesgaden)

  • Distance: 424 km (263 miles), approximately 4 1/2 hours
  • Country: Germany
  • Currency: Euro

If you've ever heard of Hitler's Eagles Nest, then you're already familiar with Berchtesgaden. It is a large national park near the Austrian border and located in the Alps. You can actually combine a longer tour to include Salzburg and this beautiful area.

Although it is a national park, there is actually a small town of about 7,000 people called Berchtesgaden. It's mostly touristy, but it's super cute and worth exploring for a few hours. It's also a good base camp for exploring.

Here are the most popular things to do in Berchtesgaden National Park.

Hitler's Eagle's Nest:The most popular activity is to visit Hitler's Eagle's Nest. This former teahouse (yes, it was built as a teahouse for the man himself) sits more than 3,000 feet above the valley and offers sweeping views of the Alps and surrounding valley. To get there you have tobook a tripleaving Obersalzberg.

Take a boat trip across the Königssee (King's Lake): South of Berchtesgaden lies the beautiful Königssee. it is a large alpine lake that really has to be seen from the water. There is a boat ride that runs all year. If you are visiting on your own, you can book tours in advance.using its official link.

There are also many combined tours, most from Munich or Salzburg, which is also an option.

I loved this tour because you get to see the entire lake instead of a small section at the north end. The boat trip takes you to St. Bartholomew's Church, which is only accessible on foot or by boat. There is a rocky area that you pass through that is known for its echo abilities.

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As we walked, someone blew a trumpet and it resonated beautifully off the jagged rocks that surround the lake.

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Explore the salt caves (Salzbergwerk): This is a fun experience for children and adults. The salt mine can only be seen through a guided tour. The tour takes you through the history of the mine, going down a couple of slides in the caves (you can skip them), and showing the mechanics of working a salt mine.

It's an interesting way to explore another history of this region and see some really cool caves.

15. Enjoy the Champagne region

  • Distance: 470 km (292 miles), about 5 1/2 – 6 hours
  • By train: TGV Bullet train to Paris (3 hours), then from Paris to Reims (45 min.)
  • Country France
  • Currency: Euro

I recommend doing this tour over a longer weekend and combining it with Paris if you have at least 4-5 days.

The most important champagne region is in and around Reims. This is a well marked 'Route du Champagne' route from the Montagne de Reims. There are also four other regions if you have more time.

It is recommended to avoid the harvest season in late summer. Visit the site during the off-season in October and November. You can do a self-guided tour, but it requires a bit more work. A good place to start is to lookofficial website(use Google Translate to translate the site into English).

OthereasierThe way to do a wine tasting and explore the region is with a tour. I love to branch out on my own, but sometimes a tour is a much better way to explore.

In this case, I think a tour is a better way to go. You don't need a DD (designated driver) and you don't need to figure out where you're going. Many places require advance reservation and a tour does all the work for you.

This day trip from ReimsIt is reasonably priced and goes to many tastings throughout the day, especially at the Moët and Chandon cellars. Along with the tastings, you will also learn about the champagne process. Oh, and lunch is included!

If you are in Paris, Irecommend this tripwhere is the eightyes eight, tastings. You also get a free lunch and visit the Moët and Chandon cellars as part of this tour.

Both are small group tours with a maximum of eight people.

16. Explore the famous Jungfrau region of Switzerland

  • Distance: 350 km (217 miles), about 4 1/2 – 5 hours
  • Country: Switzerland
  • Currency: Swiss Francs (CHF)

The Jungfrau region is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful areas of the country. Millions of people are drawn to the rugged mountain peaks, emerald green lakes, cities only accessible by cable car or train, and hundreds of waterfalls.

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interlakenit is a popular city nestled between the fantastic lakes of Thun and Brienz. It's a popular spot for action-seekers, and you'll often see base jumpers, hikers, mountain bikers, and people diving into the water.

The town itself has plenty of unique shops, tons of restaurant options, and oddly enough, a Hooters.

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We went paragliding and it was the highlight of our trip. Ten years later, we still talk about this part of the trip!

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If you want to explore pedestrian-only cities (no, cars are not allowed), consider staying in Wengen or Mürren.whyit is an important tourist city that can be reached from Lauterbrunnen. To get there, you take a cog railway over 4,000 feet above sea level.

The cities can be a fun day trip from Lauterbrunnen, or you can spend the night in one of these quiet spots.

LauterbrunnenIt is another area to visit. This is where you'll see the famous waterfalls as you descend a deep valley fringed by massive jagged mountains. I would recommend stopping in the cute town of Lauterbrunnen and also walking or walking on some of the many trails in the region. There are more than 500 km of trails in this valley!

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For better vantage points, there are plenty of cable cars, cogwheels, and trains that will take you to higher altitudes. Some popular places includeSchilthornmountain where a 1969 James Bond scene was filmed.

Or you can take a train (okay, a couple of trains) to the top of the famousJungfraujoch, called Top of Europa. Once here, you can enjoy the view across the highest train station in Europe. No matter what time of year you travel, you're bound to see (and experience) snow. The great Aletsch Glacier is here and there is a great viewpoint.

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Grindelwaldis another popular city that can be reached by car or by train. It's a quaint ski town that's also great in the summer. This town is full of shops, carriage rides, cafes and restaurants. First Mountain is a very popular location for outdoor adventures. There are zip lines, cliff walks, coaster carts, and more.

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17. Explore Munich, one of the great cities of Germany

  • Distance: 233 km (144 miles), about 2 1/2 – 3 hours
  • Distance by train: Less than 2 1/2 hours, usually €40 each way
  • Country: Germany
  • Currency: Euro

Munich is an easy weekend trip, either by car or by train. Use my tips above to book your train trip.

There is a lot to do here. I think it's enough to start as a weekend trip (from dinner on Friday and return on Sunday evening) to get an idea of ​​the city. But you could easily spend 3-4 days here.

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Here are some popular and fun things to do

  • Walk through the great Englisch Garten. It's so big that you can probably only peek at it, but it's definitely worth a look. There is a large Japanese tea house that is quite beautiful and also many biergartens throughout the area.
  • Watch people surf on the River Eisbach at the southern end of the English Gardens. Yes, you read that right, this is one of the most popular river surf spots in the world. Even if you're not really into surfing, it's still cool to watch.
  • Explore the Munich Altstadt and enjoy the beautiful Marienplatz.
  • Take a day trip to the Dachau concentration camp.
  • Head south to Neuschwanstein Castle. There are group tours that run every day if you don't have a car or don't feel like driving. It's a beautiful stretch of Germany that goes south to the foothills of the Alps. One advantage of a tour is that they have tickets and everything is reserved. But if you go on your own, book your ticket in advance.
  • To visit a museum. I really enjoyed the Deutsches Museum (aviation, science, technology) and there are many others. If you love cars (or just do), the BMW Museum is also fun to explore.
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If you liked this article, check out some of my other articles on Germany:

  • 5 Beautiful German Cities You've Never Heard Of
  • Visit Neuschwanstein Castle in winter
  • The beautiful Christmas market at the Hohenzollern castle
  • Bad Urach Waterfall Day Trip from Stuttgart
  • Visit Triberg, home of the famous German cuckoo clocks.

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