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Guide to Visiting Dachau Concentration Camp in Munich

If you are thinking of visiting a concentration camp during your trip to Germany, Dachau is the closest one to Munich. Here's how to visit it

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

5 min read

Guide to Visiting Dachau Concentration Camp in Munich

Dachau entrance gate | ©David Pursehouse

Dachau is one of the concentration camps erected during World War II. Today, it has become a museum to honor the victims and to remember the horrors committed during this historical period in order not to repeat them.

1. Visit the Dachau concentration camp

Entrance to Dachau concentration camp | ©Terence Burke
Entrance to Dachau concentration camp | ©Terence Burke

If you are staying in Munich you will find it very easy to get to the remains of the Dachau concentration camp, as it is located only 13 km from the city, which is a half hour drive and about 20 minutes by train. You can get there and back in one day and you have the option to do it on your own or as part of an organized tour.

You have to keep in mind that the entrance to the Dachau museum camp is free, so an organized tour will provide you with transportation from Munich and the services of a specialized guide who will accompany you on your visit to the camp. Considering the enormous historical burden of this place, my recommendation is that you do the tour with someone specialized to help you put into context everything you are seeing.

2. This is the organized visit to the Dachau concentration camp from Munich.

The barbed wire fences surround the entire field | ©matryosha
The barbed wire fences surround the entire field | ©matryosha

The Dachau concentration camp is considered one of the most popular guided tours among all those who travel to Munich. With the guidance of a guide, the tour of the Dachau camp is a history lesson that you will hardly forget once your trip is over.

What is this excursion about?

You can book your place for this tour online by selecting the day you want to visit. If you change your mind or if you have any problems, you don't have to worry; you can cancel your reservation free of charge up to 24 hours before the date of the tour.

This experience is available in English and Spanish and the total duration will be half day. You will have lunch in Munich and spend the afternoon in the city. The procedure is as follows: you will meet your guide early in the morning near Munich's main train station, from where the local train will take you to Dachau.

Itinerary

Once you arrive at Dachau Station, a bus will pick you and your group up and take you to the concentration camp memorial museum, where your guide will show you around the camp for approximately three and a half hours. At the end of the tour you will return to Munich by train.

Ana's Traveller Tip

Remember that children under 14 years of age are not allowed to visit and keep in mind that although photography is not forbidden, it is a place where respect is always requested when taking pictures.

3. What you will see in the Dachau concentration camp

Monument of Nandor Glid | ©FaceMePLS
Monument of Nandor Glid | ©FaceMePLS

Make no mistake: a tour of the Dachau concentration camp may not be suitable for the sensitive because of the connotations of this place. In fact, under 14 years of age are not allowed to enter. This does not mean that the experience is not recommended both historically and humanly, but it is advisable that you know what you are going to see there.

The visit is organized to give a historical review of the whole history of the camps; this involves knowing how and for what purpose the first ones were created, how many of them derived in what the Nazis called "the final solution", how the prisoners arrived at the camp and how they were distributed, how the punishments and the way of life they received there were and, finally, how in 1945 this and other camps throughout Europe were liberated.

Areas included in the tour

  • SS training camp
  • The counting square
  • The Nandor Glid monument
  • The administration building
  • Religious memorials
  • The monument to the unknown soldier
  • The barracks
  • The crematorium

4. Practical tips for your visit to the Dachau Concentration Camp

Barracks where prisoners were crammed together | ©Sean Biehle
Barracks where prisoners were crammed together | ©Sean Biehle

The Dachau concentration camp is about half an hour's drive from Munich and about 25 minutes on the S2 commuter train that leaves regularly every day from Munich Central Station. Please note that if you arrive at the Dachau train station you will have to take bus 726 to the camp.

As for the timetable, the Dachau concentration camp is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm, but since the entrance is free, you may find a high influx of people especially on weekends, so I recommend you to choose the first hour of the morning.
Once you get there, you can book a guided tour or rent an audio guide in several languages if you have not hired the guided tour from Munich. The duration of the tour will be about three and a half hours, so I recommend comfortable shoes and clothes.

The most important thing is that during the visit you remember that you are in a place with a history very hard behind it. My advice is that, out of respect, avoid taking pictures as much as possible and maintain a respectful attitude towards the victims and the rest of the visitors.

5. Visit the Dachau concentration camp on your own

Crematorios | ©Sean Biehle
Crematorios | ©Sean Biehle

Both the Dachau camp and most of the remaining camps in Europe are a history lesson in themselves and are best enjoyed with a guide explaining the details of how they were built, what happened and how, at the end of the war, the prisoners were released and the remaining officers were tried.

If you choose to organize your own visit to Dachau I recommend documentation before visiting the camp and purchase the audio guide at the entrance for a price of about 3 euros. The entrance is free and to avoid crowds it is best to go during the week and early in the morning. Calculate that the visit to the whole complex can take about three hours.

How to get there

As for how to get there, the Dachau concentration camp from Munich if you do not have hired transportation, the best option is the suburban train. The train is the S2 and departs from the central train station in Munich. Each way can cost about 6 euros, but you can buy a one-day tourist pass that will cost about 8 euros and you will amortize only with the round trip to Dachau.

After about 25 minutes, you will arrive at Dachau station and take bus 726 direction Saubachsiedlung which will drop you directly at the camp gate.

6. Other interesting activities in Munich

Neuschwanstein Castle | ©Nikita SEMERENKO
Neuschwanstein Castle | ©Nikita SEMERENKO

The Dachau concentration camp tour is not the only one you can do from Munich. A very popular excursion that I recommend you to include in your trip and whose character contrasts greatly with the harshness that can be the visit to the Dachau camp is the visit to the Neuschwanstein Castle.

This castle is one of the most famous in Bavaria and is said to have inspired Disney to create the famous Sleeping Beauty castle. In addition, the surrounding landscape is an ideal contrast to change of term and relax after remembering the horrors of the Dachau camps. Here is a link to my article on How to Visit Neuschwanstein Castle.

Frequently asked questions

  • Which concentration camp is the closest to Munich?

    The nearest concentration camp to Munich comes in the form of Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, lying 30 km (18 mi) north of Munich.

  • How long does it take to visit Dachau concentration camp?

    It takes roughly between 40-50 minutes to drive from Munich to Dachau when accounting for traffic, however there is also a direct train that takes you to Dachau in 20 minutes.

  • What should you wear to a concentration camp?

    Considering the generally sombre tone of the experiences, most organisations and establishments say you should wear clothing that is both appropriate and respectful.