There are dozens of great day trips from Munich. This is one of my personal favorites, but it must be done by car or you’d never fit it into one day. With a car, from Munich, this is a relaxed day with beautiful views all day long. Total driving time should be about 3.5 hours.
It’s about an hour and a half from Munich to the first stop: Weltenburg Monastery
Stop number one is the oldest monastery brewery in the world and the oldest monastery in Bavaria. The monastery was founded around the year 620 and brewing production started in 1050. The brewery has won numerous international brewing awards and is considered some of the finest beer in the country.
Its location, directly on the Danube in what is known as the “Danube gorge” is a strikingly beautiful bend of the river. Weltenburg has a large beer garden in its courtyard and beer and other souvenirs can be bought to go as well. The monastery’s church, designed by the famous Asam brothers of Munich, has one of the most beautiful altar pieces this writer and tour guide has ever seen in any country. The altar is late baroque in style and is of Saint George killing the dragon. If you’ve seen the Asamkirche in Munich, you’ll want to see this church.
The second stop on this road trip is to a massive modern monument built by King Ludwig the first between 1842 and 1863 called the Befreiungshalle or Hall of liberation. It was built to commemorate the victories against Napoleon between 1813 and 1815. Itself a spectacularly beautiful structure, it also offers an amazing view of the Danube and Altmühl rivers from its top.
The third stop, just upstream from the Hall of Liberation, is Castle Prunn (Burg Prunn). It is a proper medieval castle built on a rocky ledge overlooking the Altmühl River. It was first mentioned in 1037, lived in for hundreds of years, and still looking good today. Tours are conducted in German and English daily. Depending on your timing, you will most likely have to wait at least 30 minutes for the next tour, making this the perfect spot to stop for lunch. Directly between the parking lot and the castle there is a Bavarian restaurant with a beer garden.
The fourth and final stop before heading back to Munich is another castle, or really castle ruins. This 11th century castle was not tremendously important to the region, but is honestly a lesser known tourist sight that is closer to what a real castle lover wants to see than the majority of castles accessible to tourists in Germany. It’s the ruins of what used to be a common castle in the medieval period. After seeing a high end castle like Burg Prunn, this one serves to show you what happened to the lesser majority.