Visiting the Dachau Memorial outside of Munich is something every visitor to the city should do. In my opinion, to truly understand a destination you need to see both the dark and the light side. Doing a Dachau Concentration Camp tour is a dive into the dark side of German history. It needs to be seen by every person in hopes that the mass extermination of a race doesn’t happen again.
This blog post breaks down how to visit Dachau on your own and gives recommendations on tours to join for those with limited time and navigational savvy. For anyone visiting Germany Dachau is one of the Munich Day Trips I recommend.
Dachau Concentration Camp Tour
Dachau: The First Nazi Concentration Camp
On March 22, 1933, the very first prisoners are transported to Dachau, a former gunpowder and munitions factory. Those people were political prisoners in direct opposition to Adolf Hilter and the ideology of the Nazi Party.
Throughout the rest of the 1930s and into the early 1940s transformed from a hard labor camp into a place of death and mass murder. Some say that Dachau is where Hilter’s “Final Solution” for the Jews was first thought of.
From 1933 until it’s liberation by the U.S. Army on April 29 1945 Dachau housed over 200,000 prisoners and over 30,000 people were murdered.
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Dachau Concentration Camp Tour: DIY
During my visit to Dachau, I did a DIY tour before spending time exploring Bavaria and going to Oktoberfest. During my student abroad in college, I visited Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar, Germany and the guided tour was difficult for me. I felt that I needed more time to just be in the space and reflect. When the tour took us inside the crematorium I had to leave. It was too much for me. Because of my experience at Buchenwald I decided to go on my own.
Transportation from Munich to Dachau
For many people, transportation is what prevents them from going on day trips without a tour. From experience, it was very easy to find my way from Munich to Dachau. I took the train from central Munich and then a bus to the Dachau Memorial. For more in-depth information click the link below to learn how to get from Munich to Dachau.
Get the Audio Guide
If I’m at a museum, memorial, or historic site that has an audio guide chances are I’m getting it. The audio guide at Dachau is by far the best one I’ve ever listened to. There is so much information in the audio guide including history, information about the grounds, and recordings of people who witnessed the atrocities that took place there.
The audio guide comes in the following languages:
- Arabic (العربية)
- Dutch (Nederlands)
- French (français)
- German (Deutsch)
- Hebrew (עברית)
- Hungarian (magyar)
- Italian (italiano)
- Mandarin (中文)
- Polish (polski)
- Portuguese (português)
- Russian (русский)
- Spanish (español)
- Turkish (türk)
The auto guide will ensure you see everything at Dachau and will guide you throughout the site. If you’re not ready to move on to the next area all you have to do is hit pause. For me this is perfect because at times I was so overwhelmed I needed to stop, sit, and take it all in.
Join the daily Tour
If you’re looking for more information the Dachau Memorial site runs a tour each day. I personally did not go on the tour, but you can find more information on it by clicking here.
A Place of Remembrance
When visiting Dachau please remember that you are visiting a memorial where thousands of people suffered and tens of thousands died. During your visit you should not:
- Bring children under (or over) the age of 14 that are not emotionally mature
- Be taking selfies
- Having loud conversations
- Be running and playing in the grass
- Act in a disrespectful manner towards the site or staff
Dachau Concentration Camp Tour: Guided
Guided tours are great for people worried about getting lost on the way to Dachau – even though you shouldn’t be because its super easy to get from Munich to Dachau – or for those that are short on time.
Recommended Dachau Concentration Camp Tours from Viator
For a half-day (approximately 5 hours) tour look into this Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site Tour from Munich by Train. The guide is trained and authorized by the Dachau Memorial. If you do a guided tour never book with a company whose guides are not authorized by the Dachau Memorial.
The tour’s starting point is on Arnulfstraße in Munich and the cost of transportation is included in the cost. Please note before booking that this tour is for people ages 14 years of age and up.
For an even more in-depth look at the Holocaust and the evil behind the SS, I recommend this Dachau Concentration Camp and SS Shooting Range Hebertshausen from Munich. This includes a guided tour and free time at Dachau and a visit to the SS Shooting Range where SS officers murdered over 4,000 people. This tour is not recommended for people under the age of 14.
Transportation is included on an air-conditioned coach bus and departs from Bahnhofplatz in Munich.
Recommended Tours from Get Your Guide
If you’re short on time this Dachau Memorial Site Half-Day Tour from Munich is great. The tour lasts about 5 hours and departs from the Radius Tours office in Munich Central Train Station (Hauptbahnhof). The guide is trained and authorized by the Dachau Memorial which is a must. Please note before booking that this tour is for people ages 14 years of age and up.
For a full day experience and a much more in-depth tour go on the Munich and Nazi History Combination Day Tour. In the morning you will tour and have free time on your own at Dachau. Upon returning to Munich you’ll have time for lunch (not provided) and then meet up after for a walking tour of the city to learn about locations relevant to the Nazi party and Adolf Hitler.
The tour will meet at Marienplatz in central Munich right in front of the Tourist information center, and all transportation costs are covered for the duration of the tour. Please note before booking that this tour is for people ages 14 years of age and up.