Princesses, dinosaurs and Lego: three things Miss M loves the most. Luckily for us, you can find all three things in and around Munich. Here are our suggestions for some fun day-trips with kids in and from Munich, based on the recommendations of our four-year-old.
Here are our five tips for day trips within Munich
1. Olympia Park
The site of the 1972 Summer Olympic Games is now home to many tours and events, including concerts, exhibitions and sporting events.
Check out the calendar of events when you know you are going to Munich to see if there are any shows you might want to see. Just as an example: over the next few months, there are concerts by Volbeat, Michael Bublé and David Guetta, as well as a flea market, a Paw Patrol show and FMX sports. On two recent trips, we saw Ed Sheeran and Metallica in the Stadium. In Summer the Park also hosts circuses and fairs.
Roof climb and flying fox
Do the stadium roof climb and flying fox. This tour will give you views that you won’t find anywhere else in Munich. To do this tour, children should be at least 10 years old and have a minimum height of 1.40 metres and a minimum weight of 30 kg.
Climb the Olympic Tower. Towering 291.28 metres over the park and the city, it is the tallest structure in Munich and its best-known landmark. The viewing platform is 190 m above ground and provides great panoramic views of Munich and even across the borders into Austria.
Go for a swim
Take a dive in the pools where the 1972 Olympic swimming and diving events were held. Recently renovated, the “Schwimmhalle” has five swimming pools, a sauna area and a fitness centre. In Summer, kids can use the free-climbing wall, trampolines and table tennis and play on the playground.
Watch the sharks and other reef inhabitants feed, visit Nemo, and feel the underwater world at the interactive rockpool experience at Sea Life. Tickets are much cheaper online, so buy them in advance. Miss M loved the rockpool but was reluctant to touch everything at first.
If you (or your child) like cars, admire the vehicles at BMW World and the BMW Museum. Both contain various exhibitions on topics such as the group brands, innovative technologies, brand milestones or specific car types, such as roadsters and art cars. Entry to BMW World is free; Tickets to the BMW Museum cost EUR 10 for adults and EUR 7 for children. Even on a trip to the Olympic Park with my father (a mechanic and car lover), we only visited BMW World as both would have been too much.
2. Allianz Arena
Home of FC Bayern Munich, a visit to the Allianz Arena is a must for any lover of soccer. Most games are sold out well in advance, but if it is not a game day, you can do a behind-the-scenes tour of the arena or visit the FC Bayern Erlebniswelt. Or both!
Peter is a fan and has done the tour a number of times. We have also been to matches (Miss M went for the first time last weekend) and the Erlebniswelt. What I like about the museum is that it give club developments a historical context.
The Erlebniswelt has a special kids corner, with a trophy building section and an indoor skills pitch.
3. Deutsches Museum
I must admit, it has been a few year since I last visited the Deutsches Museum, but it is impressive, even for adults.
Artificial lightning, a replica mineshaft, a replica of the Alta Mira cave paintings and the planetarium are the highlights of the show. Some exhibitions are currently closed for renovation (reopening 2021). However, even without these exhibitions, you would have to walk more than 9 km to see the whole museum.
Since we were there last, the Museum has added a Kids’ Kingdom, designed specifically for children aged 3 to 8 years. It has a range of experiments for kids to explore, such as balance and pulley games, a giant guitar and a building site with giant Lego blocks. I know we could lose Miss M in the workshop for a number of hours!
Tickets cost EUR 14 for adults and EUR 4.50 for children. Entry is free for children under 6 years of age.
4. Nymphenburg Palace
Unless you are planning to see Neuschwanstein on a day trip from Munich, a visit to Nymphenburg Palace and Park makes a great day trip in Munich and satisfies any princess desires. It is a huge complex and it is difficult to see it all, especially with a young child.
Construction started on the ‘Nymphenburg Summer Residence’ in 1664. Since then it has grown from a cubic palace with some outbuildings to a palace with north and south wings and an extensive garden.
You can visit 21 rooms in the palace – most in the South and Queen’s Apartments. You can view the palace on your own or hire an audio guide handset. Unfortunately, unlike the audio guides for the Palace on Dam Square, the audio guides at Nymphenburg are not free.
For me, the more impressive part of Nymphenburg is the park and garden – all 180 hectares of it. It includes fountains and pump houses, woods, meadows, 20 hectares of water and four separate palaces. These are all quite unique and special in their own way. Also worth visiting is the Marstallmuseum, or museum of carriages and sleighs, which houses 40 carriages and sleighs, as well as the Bäuml collection of porcelain.
There is so much to see that you will have to be selective, especially if traveling with children.
In Summer there is an extra enticement – gondola rides on the Middle Canal! A ride costs EUR 15 per person for a 30-minute ride. I know Miss M would love it!
Finally, Nymphenburg even has a dinosaur museum, at least at present! Part of the permanent exhibit of Biotopia (previously the Museum Mensch und Natur (Museum of Humans and Nature)) looks at the history of life on earth and dinosaurs. It will close at the start of 2020 and reopen in mid-2025.
If your child is like Miss M and loves animals, a visit to Hellabrunn is a must. If you’d like to know more, check out our post about this wonderful zoo.
Outside of Munich
We found all three elements that Miss M loves in Munich (at least until renovations make that more difficult). It is even easier to find each element on day trips from Munich.
A castle is a castle, but Neuschwanstein is the quintessential fairy tale castle. It is one of the most frequently visited castles in Germany with 1.4 million visitors annually. It was also Walt Disney’s inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom.
Unsurprisingly, it is always incredibly full. Entry is only via public tour, with over 6,000 tour tickets sold per day in Summer. Don’t be surprised if the only tickets available is for a tour that commences hours later than you intended. Reserve your tickets online (only possible up to two days in advance). Please note: there are a lot of stairs on the tour.
Unsurprisingly, high visitor numbers are a burden on the castle. Certain parts of the interior may be covered with scaffolding or furnishings may have been removed for repair or replacement. You will also be extremely lucky to get a photograph of the outside of Neuschwanstein without some scaffolding. I have visited Neuschwanstein at least 5 times over the years and am yet to see it with no scaffolding whatsoever.
The walk up to the castle is also rather steep. If you can, catch one of the horse and cart rides up the hill (cheapest if you buy a return ticket). Kids love it. In Winter, passengers are given blankets to keep warm and the ride itself is quite magical.
There are also hikes that you can do around the castle. The views from the Marienbrücke (Maria Bridge) of the castle are fantastic, but the hike is not easy for small children. If you have a pusher or stroller and want to go for a walk, try the route around the lake.
2. Dinosaur Museum Altmühltal
Our little dinosaur aficionado loved this new Museum, which is a mix of:
- traditional museum with fossils,
- a walk through the woods (and the time periods) with life-sized dinosaur models that kids can touch, and
- a ‘research’ area with dig pits.
You can find a detailed post with more information here.
Nothing is as Bavarian as the Tegernsee, at least according to locals. In Summer, this may just be true. The blue sky and white clouds reflect clearly in the lake so that it looks like a huge Bavarian flag.
Tegernsee has fantastic playgrounds (e.g. Rotnach-Egern) or you can ride the cable car up to the top of the Wallberg. Kids over five years of age can challenge themselves to complete one of the high-wire courses at the Kletterwald Tegernsee (April to mid-November). Ride the toboggan track and reach speeds of up to 40km/h (mid-April to end October). Take a ride around the lake on one of the boats. In Winter, go sledding on one of the many bo
Garmisch-Partenkirchen has a number of family-friendly activities.
It hosted the 1936 Winter Olympic Games and you can still visit various Olympic sites. Take a cable car up to Germany’s tallest mountain, the Zugspitze. Alternatively, take the Alpspitzbahn to Osterfeldkopf and view the amazing panorama from the AlpspiX – a two viewing platforms that hang over the side of the mountain in an x form. This is not good for those who are afraid of heights (but kids seem to love it).
The historic town centres of Garmisch and Partenkirchen are sweet and worth strolling through. Both have cafes with delicious cakes and ice cream.
If you like nature, don’t miss the 700m long Partnach Gorge (Partnach-
Halfway between Munich and Stuttgart is Legoland and the final element of our trifecta.
Legoland is an amusement park, where everything is Lego-themed and, to the extent possible, made of Lego. It is designed for children aged two to 12 and has rides and attractions for each age group. Adults wonder at the Lego creations, especially the cities (and Star Wars statues) in Miniland.
We spent a day in Legoland this Summer on the way to Italy and Miss M cannot wait to go again. We found the dinosaur rides early on (yes, there were dinosaurs) and then made our way around the park, riding on as many rides as time (and height) permitted. At some stage in the next couple of years, we plan to go again on our way to (or from) Munich and can make a day o fit.
Princesses, dinosaurs & Lego: find all three on day trips in and from Munich
With a little creativity, you can find all three elements – princesses, dinosaurs and Lego – in Munich. It is even easier to find this trifecta on day trips from Munich. There is more than enough variety to find a day trip that will satisfy all ages and interests.
What day trips would you take in or from Munich?