Munich is a great gateway for hiking in the Bavarian and Austrian Alps. Within just over an hour’s drive from the city, you can get to numerous trail heads. Even better, often you don’t even need a car. Most trails are accessible via an excellent network of public transport. Here are four day trips and three weekend trips just a stone’s throw from Munich that I have done over the last two years.
1. Hirschberg (1, 670 m)
The Hirschberg is the destination of a classic Munich day trip to the Bavarian Alps. This summit peaks over the Tegernsee South of Munich and provides lovely views over the lake and on towards the city. It is also close enough to a an eponymous hut (Hirschberghaus), making it a nice and easy day trip with a good opportunity to enjoy a well earned beer on the descent.
- Start of the hike: Bus stop Kreuth, Rathaus
- Travel from Munich: Train to Tegernsee, then bus to Kreuth (1 hr 40 mins) or by car via A8, A318 and A307 (1 hr)
- Difficulty: easy
- Walking time: 3.5 hrs
- Elevation difference: 900 m
- Refreshments: Hirschberghaus
More details: Hirschberg: the art of perfect timing
2. Garmisch-Partenkirchen’s notorious mountain: Wank (1, 780 m)
Although the unfortunately named Wank is one of the less known peaks around Garmisch, it makes for an easy day hike that can be done even at the beginning of the season (as opposed to the better known peaks around Garmisch). The whole mountain is also less scared by ski lifts, but still has a cable car. A great bonus if you just want to dash up for views of the Wetterstein range (incl. the Zugspitze) on the other side of Garmisch.
- Start of the hike: Garmisch-Partenkirchen
- Travel from Munich: direct trains to Garmisch (1hr, 20 mins), car via A95 (1 hr) parking at the train station
- Difficulty: easy
- Walking time: 6 hrs
- Elevation difference: 1, 050 m
- Refreshments: Wankhaus (at the summit)
More details: The hiking season has started!
3. Tegernseer Hütte (1, 650 m)
This is another Munich day trip classic. The Tegernseer Hütte is perched up on a rocky ridge between the Buchstein and the Roßstein. The views from the hut are great, a lunch of traditional Bavarian staples tastes much better high up in the Alps and the wheat beer is a treat.
- Start of the hike: Bus stop/ parking lot Tegernseer Hütte on the A307 between Kreuth and the AT border
- Travel from Munich: Train to Tegernsee, then bus towards Pertisau (2hrs 10 mins) or by car via A8, A318 and A307 (1 hr 15 mins)
- Difficulty: medium (very difficult if you decide to ascend the Buchstein)
- Walking time: 5 hrs
- Elevation difference: 830 m
- Refreshments: Tegernseer Hütte as well as smaller huts along the way
More details: The last day of summer at the Tegernseer Hütte
4. Ettaler Manndl (1, 633 m)
The trip up Ettaler Manndl requires advanced hiking skills, including some relatively serious scrambling. In fact the final stretch of the route is an easy via ferrata. This is probably one of the closest via ferrata to Munich, for anyone wanting to try one. The fearless can give it a go without via ferrata kit, but I’d recommend bring it with you. Else you might not make it all the way up.
- Start of the hike: Ettal
- Travel from Munich: Train to Oberammergau or Oberau, then a bus (roughly 2 hrs). By car via A95 (1 hr)
- Difficulty: very difficult/ easy via ferrata
- Walking time: 3.5 hrs
- Elevation difference: 750 m
- Refreshments: none, only in Ettal
More details: Ettaler Manndl – a lesson learnt
5. Crossing the Untersberg (1, 972 m)
The Untersberg is a substantial elevated plateau in the Berchtesgadener Alps between Bischofswiesen and Salzburg. The plateau is hollowed out with numerous caves (incl. the largest German cave), but also has a hut – the Stöhrhaus. It is possible to do this trip in a day, but it is much nicer and easier if done as a weekend trip over two days, with a night at the Stöhrhaus.
- Start of the hike: Bischofswiesen train station
- End: Bus stop “Eishöhle” north of Marktschellenberg
- Travel from Munich: Best by public transport. Train to Freilassing, then train towards Berchtesgaden (2 hrs 45 mins).
- Travel back to Munich: By bus from “Eishöhle” to Salzburg. Then by train (2 hrs 45 mins).
- Difficulty: medium
- Walking time: 10 hrs (day 1: 4.5 hrs; day 2: 5.5 hrs)
- Elevation difference: Ascent 1,350/ Descent 1,500
- Refreshments: Stöhrhaus (overnight; book in advance: 0049 8652 7233); Toni-Lenz-Hütte (day 2)
More details: Crossing the Untersberg in the Berchtesgadener Alps
6. Hiking in Kleinwalsertal (2, 013 m)
The Kleinwalsertal is a popular hiking destination. The valley itself is actually in Austria, but it is only accessible via a road from Germany. Since the Kleinwalsertal is quite far away from Munich, it is best to plan a whole weekend of hiking with a night at one of the local mountain huts. This was my preferred route for a weekend trip, which we walked a good part of, but didn’t managed all of it due to bad weather.
- Start of the hike: Mittelberg
- Travel from Munich: 2,5 hrs drive via Kempten or direct train to Oberstdorf (2,5 hrs) and then bus to Mittelberg.
- Difficulty: medium
- Walking time: 10 hrs (day 1: 5.5 hrs; day 2: 4.5 hrs)
- Elevation difference: Total ascent 1, 400 m/ descent 1, 450 m
- Refreshments: Mindelheimer Hütte (overnight; book online), Fiederpasshütte (day 2)
More details: trip #2 from: Four routes for a hiking trip to the Kleinwalsertal in Allgäu
7. Rumer Spitze (2, 454 m)
The final trip is also the most ambitious on the list. It’s destination – the Rumer Spitze – towers over a suburb of Innsbruck from the Karwendel range on the Austrian – German border. The hike is fairly long and requires some scrambling in the final ascent to the summit. The Pfeishütte serves exceptionally good local food.
- Start of the hike: Scharnitz train station
- End: Rum
- Travel from Munich: Best by public transport. Train to Scharnitz (2 hrs)
- Travel back to Munich: Train from Rum (change in Innsbruck, 3 hrs)
- Difficulty: medium to difficult
- Walking time: 12.5 hrs (day 1: 5 hrs; day 2: 7.5 hrs)
- Elevation difference: Total ascent: 1, 500 m/ descent: 1, 700 m
- Refreshments: Pfeishütte (overnight; book online)
More details: An attempt at the Rumer Spitze
- A classic sightseeing walk through Munich
- 90s revival bike trip from Munich to Passau
- Walking at the foot of the Zugspitze