Although Munich draws a lot of tourism for its sampling of contemporary Bavarian culture and the beer extravaganza that is Oktoberfest, there is a lot to do within a day's travel time of the city that is often left unexplored. This is tragic!!! Despite our melodrama, it's true that some of the greatest adventures in Germany are within a few hours of Munich, whether you're looking to bike in the city, up mountain slopes, or around pristine lakes; ascend the highest peak in the country or take a cable car into the Alps; or even dip your toes in glacial lakes that overlook Hitler's World War hideout or sleep in a portaledge on the literal face of a cliff.
The city of Munich has large tracts of green space for those so inclined to attend to cultivated, metropolitan nature. The English Garden is the most famous and one of the world's largest, located in the district of Schwabing. It has a massive beer garden, a man-made river where surfers test their mettle, and everything else you'd expect from a large city park. The gardens and open spaces of Nymphenburg Palace west of city center are worth a stroll in conjunction with a palace visit, while the zoo in Tierpark Hellabrunnin Thalkirchen is one of the biggest anywhere.
If you plan to be in Munich for a short time or are there for the first time, we can forgive you overlooking a chance to step out of the city. Otherwise, a lack of adventure experiences is totally on you. First off, look into purchasing a Bayern Ticket, which discounts small groups and allows for unlimited regional travel all day. We suggest riding south toward the Austrian border, where the main geographic change occurs in the form of the Alps. Zugspitze, the tallest mountain in Germany, lies to the southwest and is an adventure worth tackling if big mountains are your thing (and a cable car for the rest of you); otherwise, the nearby Garmisch-Partenkirchen ski area is a great alternative. About an hour west is the Pfonten forest, where the unique adventures of Waldseilgarten (sleeping in trees, skateboarding in trees, you know, the usual things that human beings have done in trees for thousands of years now) call out to travelers. Directly south of Munich, the small town atmosphere of Lake Walchensee is coupled with a backdrop of the snow-capped Alps; don't linger here too long, though, because the charming community of Mittenwald and the Karwendel Nature Reserve lie further along Route 11, providing the best place from which to explore the German side of the Alps. Then again, you can keep following the border east to the Bavarian Sea (Lake Chiemsee), and then to the incredible Berchtesgaden National Park, a rock climbing and hiking paradise nestled like a peninsula on the Austrian border; the town of the same name is also home to Eagles Nest, where Hitler was said to have a base of affairs.
There is not much of interest for an outdoors-lover to the west or north from here, but to the east is the Bavarian Forest. For hiking enthusiasts especially, these spruce forests and low-lying mountain ranges are great for a day in the midst of nature. There are other, smaller scale adventures to be had in the myriad lakes and forests in circumference around Munich, but unless you live in the area and have already been to the aforementioned places, then stick with our list. For more information, check out our activity pages or consult with the embark community.