When in Munich, I booked a day trip to visit the Dachau concentration camp. Is it a good idea to visit a concentration camp? I’m still not sure about it.

Dachau - International Memorial
International Memorial

The Nazis and the horrors of concentration camps were well covered during my history lessons at school. Sometimes too much. Writing this post tonight may bring back nightmares because of the unbearable photos and videos from documentaries I saw on the topic. Still, I think it’s good that we know about it that much and that we don’t forget how bad it was; I hope it can help not to repeat History.

Learning about the propaganda and how the Nazis got elected is essential to open our eyes to some dangers in politics. And keeping in mind the tragedy of the concentration camps is necessary to remember how far some humans can go for an ideology and how a minority of haters managed to raise an army and get followers to help them destroy some populations. 

From the minute I thought about booking a visit to Dachau concentration camp, I knew it would be a heavy and challenging moment. The idea was already making me shiver and feel uncomfortable. No envy nor excitation at all, no arousal from curiosity, no expectations… I didn’t really want to go.

Honestly, isn’t a kind of sordid voyeurism? Or was I just using this excuse because I didn’t feel brave enough?

Visit Dachau Concentration Camp
Work sets you free

I truly wasn’t sure I could cope with it. I didn’t need to see more horrors and learn more details about these places. I’m not particularly a history fan. I was not attracted to the negative vibes and feeling to stand where thousands of people got tortured and killed. I don’t think I owe visits to tragic places for those who fought for my freedom: for me, there are many other ways to remember them with more regular and meaningful actions in my life.

I actually had no desire at all to visit Dachau concentration camp. 

But here I was, in Munich, about half an hour from Dachau. As close as I would ever be to one of the first Nazi concentration camps established soon after Hitler took power back in 1933. Munich was just a quick stopover on my way back to France from Austria. I had never considered the possibility of visiting a concentration camp before my new friend from the hostel dormitory raised the idea. She was going there the next day. As I had no plan, she offered me to join what is known to be one of the best day trips from Munich.

I finally stopped thinking about it and decided to follow her steps to a closer look at a dark side of European History.

Visit Dachau Concentration Camp

I had no particular reason to visit Dachau concentration camp. Sorry, there is no obvious answer to the “why” question. It might have been the fear to regret to skip it more than I could ever regret to go there.

As expected, the visit was moving and highly uncomfortable.

I felt sick many times, but I never regretted my decision to join the tour. I recommend it to those who are hesitating. From my experience, the guide was essential to making the visit interesting and worthwhile. It takes a whole new dimension sharing the visit with someone passionate and highly knowledgeable who provides explanations and answers questions. A professional guide enhances the history lesson and memorial work. It helped to picture what was happening there and to imagine slightly how hard life and survival could have been. Of course, I read about it more than once. But hearing the stories while standing there makes it real. The impact is a lot greater with some connection happening.

This historical tour can leave many open questions about today’s world and humanity.

Looking for a tour to visit the Dachau concentration camp? Check out this one on Viator*. You will meet with a guide in Munich and go together by train to Dachau to visit the concentration camp. I liked being in a small group and having different opportunities to ask questions (on-site and on the way back).

Have you ever visited a concentration camp? Why? Share your experience in the comments below!

Where is Dachau concentration camp?

Dachau is in the South of Germany, about 20 kilometres north of Munich. We were told it is a charming village to visit, although it is mainly known for its horrific concentration camp.

How to go from Munich to Dachau concentration camp

Catch a train to Dachau

It’s the quickest and most comfortable way. It only takes about 20 minutes with the normal train (S-Bahn S2 line) to go from the centre of Munich to Dachau. From Dachau train station, you can catch bus 726 to visit Dachau concentration camp. You can get the Munich XXL Pass at an automated machine. It will cover your trip from Munich to Dachau concentration camp by train and bus. Check out these directions, and you will not get lost!


Munich is easy to reach as it’s connected by two highways: A8 and A9. It takes about half an hour to drive from Munich to Dachau concentration camp: take the A9 (Nuremberg) then the A99,then A92 to the Dachau exit, and finally the B471 towards to the Dachau-Ost exit. There is a parking on Alte Römerstraße but you may have to pay.

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why visit dachau concentration camp


Eloise is the creator and writer of MyFavouriteEscapes.com. She writes about her experiences exploring exotic destinations and finding hidden gems closer to home. Her goal is to share tips and stories to inspire and encourage others to go on their own adventures. She loves outdoor and nature-based activities like scuba diving, hiking, kayaking, and sailing. She grew up in France and has lived in England and Turkey before calling Australia home for the past decade. So let's get ready for another adventure!

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Roberta

    Ahh..I never even heard of this one. I wanna visit Auschwitz and maybe Bergen Belsen because I’m interested in seeing that even tho I know I would probably be very sad and heartbroken. It’s a good thing tho because people should never forget about it. Thanks for sharing your story !

    1. Eloise

      I’m with you, it should never be forgotten. It’s sad how we tend to forget/ignore history too easily and repeat the same mistakes. Thank you for commenting, Roberta!

  2. Mike Hamm

    I’m an American who went to Dachau in 2001 with some people I was working with near Munich. When I was in school we learned so much about WW2 and concentration camps that I had a bit of curiosity. A very sobering and enlightening visit. No one should have a good time visiting one of these concentration camps. I’ll never forget it. I was shocked at how many Catholics were imprisoned/ exterminated. Not as many as the Jews, but a fair number. Maybe second most.

  3. Cwatkins

    Back in the late 70’s my father was in the Army and we were stationed in Germany. Every now and again my father would ask me if I wanted to go for a ride. That usually meant a trip to the car wash . Then we would go over to one of the military bases to clean the inside and wax the car. As there are 7 kids in my family I was always glad to spend time w/ dad alone.
    This particular time we drove well past the car wash. My father never said where we were going until we got there. I was 13 or 14 at the time and couldnt tell you much about the Holocaust. I didnt know what Dachau was at the time. I think in military schools they gloss over things that our fathers may have been involved in. Kind of like Veit nam. They dont want looking at your father as a killer or your host country as a bunch of savages. I’m glad I didn’t know too much when I went there. I wouldnt want to connect with so much pain. The sense of it is still there..the showers…the ovens.. How so many people were so close to all of this yet did nothing to stop it totally blew my 13yo mind. Not sure why my dad chose to take me. Glad he did.

    1. Eloise

      Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s interesting that you got there by “surprise”. I can only imagine how war and its atrocities can be a hard topic to talk about with your children.

  4. Bob DeMallie

    My wife and I had the opportunity to visit Buchenwald Concentration Camp in 1990 while we were serving as short term missionaries. It’s located just outside of Weimar Germany. It was a very moving experience and will never forget it. My wife’s father was with the soldiers who liberated Dachau Concentration camp and wouldn’t talk about what he saw as it was too horrible. Everyone should visit a concentration camp as we should never forget the atrocities committed by pure evil.

  5. Ginny

    I visited Dachau in 1986 while living in Europe. It was a tremendous educational journey, while also being overwhelming. Seeing the ovens and just being in the very place where so many were murdered, brought me to tears as did my being in the places in Jamestown and Yorktown, Virginia where the slaves were sold. Evil is real!

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