Bavaria is located in the southeastern corner of Germany. It borders three countries: the Czech Republic to the east, Austria to the south, and - over the waters of Lake Constance - Switzerland in the southwest.
Bavaria's southern neighbour, the state of Baden-Württemberg, is on the western border, while to the north the states of Hesse, Thuringia and Saxony form the link with the more distant parts of the country.
Munich, the capital of the state, acts as an administrative and cultural hub, but is also a transportation centre for the tourist destinations of the southern and middle parts of Bavaria.
Nuremberg, Bavaria's second largest city, acts as a slightly less important road and rail travel hub for the northern part of the state.
The most popular airport for intercontinental and European arrivals is Munich Airport. It is located a fair way outside the city centre but is right on the motorway network and has both S-Bahn (regional rail) and bus services to Munich. One of the busiest airports in Europe and the second largest in Germany, it offers the widest range of airlines and destinations.
An alternative to Munich which is growing in popularity is Allgäu Airport near the town of Memmingen (to the west of Munich near the border with Baden-Württemberg). The airport is a decent alternative for those looking to travel to the western and southern parts of Bavaria. The drawback is the choice of airlines and destinations is limited to European budget airlines. Buses and trains are available for those relying on public transport.
Bodensee Airport at Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance just over the state border in Baden-Württemberg is a much smaller version of Allgäu Airport - fairly limited mainly European budget airline choice, although destinations within Germany are also on offer. Convenient for those looking to stay in the Lake Constance region who can find a suitable flight.
Two other alternatives for the southern part of the state (Upper Bavaria) are over the border in Austria. Both of the airports at Innsbruck and Salzburg have a thriving tourist industry in summer and winter, which means a good choice of destinations and competitive fares. Innsbruck is a better option for the mountain villages and towns to the south of Munich, while Salzburg is located on a main motorway and rail link to Munich.
In the northern part of Bavaria, Albrecht Dürer Airport just outside Nuremberg offers a decent range of European destinations as well as flights within Germany. The airport is connected to the main railway station via underground trains and is near the main motorways.
However, probably the most popular international airport for the northern end of the state would be the airport at Frankfurt, the largest in Germany and one of the busiest in the world. Although it is located in the neighbouring state of Hesse, the wide range of airlines and international destinations and the relative proximity and good connections to towns like Bamberg, Bayreuth and Würzburg mean that it is a valid alternative for travel to Franconia.
Bavaria is linked to the north and to Austria by high-speed Intercity-Express train services through Nuremberg and Munich (the route between the Bavarian cities is one of the fastest lines in the country). Other major ICE rail links run to Stuttgart and Frankfurt. A further high-speed line is under construction between Nuremberg and Erfurt in Thuringia.
The German rail system has limited special offers on longer-distance high-speed services if booked at least a number of days in advance.
One of the best rail bargains in any state is the day pass for the (slower) regional services. In Bavaria's case this is called the Bayern-Ticket and offers unlimited travel on local services from 09.00 to 03.00 the following day (or from midnight on weekends).
The single price is low (25 Euros at the time of writing) but the real bargain is that extra people can be added to the ticket up to a maximum of five for only 6 Euros a person. Thus five people can have unlimited travel for a day in Bavaria for only 49 Euros. (Note that Intercity services are not included.)
Like the rest of Germany, Bavaria has an extremely efficient motorway network which allows quick access to most parts of the state.
The following major national motorway routes run through Bavaria:
Bavaria is the most mountainous of the German states and care should be taken driving on more local alpine roads all year round, but especially in bad weather conditions and in winter. Snow chains and winter tyres can be obligatory.
The German automobile club is called ADAC and it offers information on traffic and road conditions on its website (German only):