Our first night in Germany was spent in the town of Dachau, which is essentially a suburb of Munich. But maybe suburb isn’t the right word… it has too many negative connotations. Dachau is an absolutely lovely little town situated on the outskirts of Munich.
We actually made a slight change in travel plans while we were in Florence and decided to go to Germany two days early and skip Switzerland. This ended up being an amazing decision. However, due to the fact that we were visiting Munich during Oktoberfest, places to stay were either fully booked or outrageously expensive. Since one of the main things we wanted to see in Munich was the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial, we decided to just go ahead and stay outside the city for the first two nights.
After an incredibly long day/train ride from Florence, Italy, we arrived in Dachau close to midnight and checked in to our AirBnb. To say that this was the best place we have ever stayed would be an understatement.
While you should absolutely check out the listing linked above, I wished I had brought my DSLR so I could take some pictures that would really do the place justice. Our AirBnb was a labor of love, built by the loveliest mother/daughter/son team. Our host was an exceptional artist (working largely in tiles and glass) and it showed in every detail. Not only was the home lovely, but they went out of their way to make us feel as welcome as possible. This includes inviting us to breakfast, where they had local pastries, meats and cheeses. We would honestly go back to Dachau just to stay there again. I know this is just rambling at this point, but it was truly an exceptional experience.
To get in to town, we walked through a forest just outside the property. It was such a beautiful, relaxing way to start the day.
For our full day in Dachau, the Concentration Camp Memorial was the large part of our day. Having grown up in a Jewish family, it has always been a dream to see a concentration camp in person. Seeing Dachau was heart-wrenching, engrossing, beautiful, and tragic. I think we all vacillated between tears and being engrossed in the history for the several hours we were there.
I think the main thing we all noted at Dachau was what a beautiful, respectful job was done commemorating such a tragedy. The camp has been made in to something of a park (not a public park) and it feels truly peaceful inside the walls.
We were there several hours before realizing we had barely even skimmed the surface of everything there was to see. We made our way through the museum, the barracks, and the crematorium before calling it a day. I would guess we were there about 4 hours and probably could have spent at least another 2-3 hours to get all the information.
After leaving the camp, we went in to town to explore and grab dinner. The actual town of Dachau is absolutely beautiful and so quaint. It is definitely somewhere I could see us living.
The actual town of Dachau felt largely untouched by tourism. We had a lovely dinner in town and enjoyed a few German beers (though we were sad to say goodbye to Italian wine!).
The town of Dachau isn’t a place that is on many people’s agenda, but I promise it is worth the visit. Dachau feels like a true German town was a wonderfully special experience for us. We couldn’t have anticipated how much we would love Dachau, but needless to say, we were so sad to leave our beautiful home after two nights.