Munich is a city that keeps drawing me back. The first time I visited this amazing city, I was overwhelmed with what to do. There are so many things to do in Munich. I have been fortunate to return to Munich several times, and have drawn up a travel guide on the best things to do here in this awesome Bavarian capital. Want to learn more about one of my most favourite cities in Europe?
Munich has a lot to offer travellers looking for the ultimate getaway. Not only is it the site of the world-famous Oktoberfest, but also has a long, interesting history to be discovered.
For me, I recommend at least 5 days to really enjoy visiting the city. The city is an excellent base for many different day trips around Bavaria, more on this later! Over the years, I have probably spent a couple of weeks in Munich and the surrounding areas. Trust me, there is so much to do here!
Getting to Munich
Travel to Munich is really easy. Located in the southern Bavarian region of Germany, Munich has an international airport and train station. For example, flights into Munich from European cities like London take less than 2 hours, as well as being really cheap! Additionally, Germany has a fantastic train system that is connected throughout the country. Many can get to Munich Hauptbahnhof (Main Train Station), from cities such as Berlin, Dresden, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Hamburg. If you want more details on this and booking tickets, please visit the Deutsche Bahn website here.
What To Do in Munich
So, let’s dive in and explore this amazing city. Here’s all the best things to see and do in the city.
You can’t visit Munich without spending some time in Marienplatz. I would dedicate at least an hour to admiring this picture-perfect square, which has some of the most beautiful buildings in the city. First up, let’s see the top sites in Marienplatz:
Neues and Altes Rathaus- New and Old Town Hall
Neues Rathaus is the gorgeous neo-gothic seat of the mayor and city council. The impressive facade of the building will stop all visitors in their tracks for a while. But, make sure to be in the square at 11am or 12pm, so that you don’t miss the world-famous Glockenspiel! This is where dancing figurines come out of the facade for a 12 minute spectacle showcasing the stories of Munich.
Secondly, the New Town Hall is the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall). This gorgeous, white, gothic structure was built in the 14th Century. Also, the Old Town Hall houses a toy museum which is worth a visit if you have young children!
You will probably find yourself pass through this lovely square throughout your time in Munich. Also, there are several restaurants, serving food and drinks if you want to sit back and enjoy the view for a while.
St Peter’s Church
Just a 1-minute walk off Marienplatz, is the stunning St Peter’s Church. In order to get a better view of Munich, I recommend visiting this Church. Not only is it the OLDEST church in Munich, dating back to 1180, but it also has a really cool tower you can climb to get a panoramic view of Munich! Also, on really good days, you can see the Alps over 100km away! Although, please bear in mind that the only way to get up to the viewing platform is by climbing 306 steps, with no alternative access.
Next up, you can’t visit Munich without stopping in for a stein or two in Hofbräuhaus. If you want to get to the heart of Bavarian culture, then look no further. The beer house was built in the late 1500’s, and here they began brewing the famous Hofbrau beer.
Since then, Hofbräuhaus has become world-renowned for it’s large beer hall, daily Oom-pah bands and beautiful beer garden. Although you may feel this is just another tourist attraction, Hofbräuhaus is still the popular watering hole of the locals. In fact, many of the locals have their own personalised beer steins for when they visit!
Although Hofbräuhaus is a must see attraction, it can be a little pricey to eat in here for those on a budget. The restaurant will serve traditional Bavarian dishes like pork knuckle and spaetzle. Even if you decide not to eat here, you must enjoy a beer in here and soak up the atmosphere.
Make sure to set aside some time to explore the site, it’s very large and set over 4 floors. Also, you can collect the famous beer tokens as well as shop for souvenirs to take home! We bought a couple of beer steins which I still drink beer out of now- it takes me back!
#3- Englisher Garten
Next stop, we are heading to the Englisher Garten! In the height of summer, we ended up spending an entire day here. This 910 acre park is one of the largest urban parks in the world! However, it’s not just a park- there is so much to see and do here, such as:
- Eisbachwalle- when heading towards the park, you may see some surfers on the way! There is an artificial stream which runs through the park, which only skilled surfers are allowed to ride the waves on! However, it still makes good watching!
- Monopteros- this small but pretty 16m high Greek-style temple sits upon a hill offering impressive views of the surrounding areas.
- Chinese Tower- another cool structure is the Chinese Tower. A 25m wooden pagoda.
- Schonfeldwiese- okay, this one caught us by surprise! So, this area of the park is dedicated for nudist sunbathers. This is a big part of German culture, but I did get caught off guard at first!
- Japanese Teahouse- a beautiful teahouse gifted by the Urasenke Teahouse in Kyoto. This pretty structure sits on a small island in the park.
Where to Eat in Englischer Garten
After all that exploring, you will have worked up an appetite! Luckily, there is some excellent options for places to eat in the Englischer Garten. For us, we chosen the ‘Biergarten am Chineser Turm’. There are options to dine inside or outside, which we did due to the summer heat. Here, you can get a selection of various Bavarian foods and snacks, such as sausages and schnitzels.
We grabbed some Bratwurst and chips for €7,90 and a litre of Hofbrau for €8,00 each. Although a little on the pricer side, it was absolutely delicious! It was lovely to sit and enjoy the sunshine whilst sipping an ice-cold beer!
#4- Schloss Nymphenburg
Now are you ready for a real treat? Next, you mustn’t miss out on a visit to Schloss Nymphenburg! This BEAUTIFUL complex consists of palaces, parks and lakes which formed the summer residence of Bavarian royalty. Built in 1664 as a gift from Elector Ferdinand Maria for his wife Henriette Adelaide of Savoy after the birth of their son, Max Emanuel I. This incredible building will stop you in your tracks!
The Palaces are set in 490 acres of immaculate park-land, which is now a much-loved recreational ground for the locals in the city. You could easily spend hours strolling these beautiful gardens, which offer impressive views of the palace.
Access to the gardens is free, however if you want to visit inside the Palaces, you will pay an entrance fee. Depending on what you want to visit, the best value is the combi ticket which costs €15 for adults, or free for under 18s. For more information on tickets and opening times, please follow the link here.
Getting to Schloss Nymohenburg is fairly easy. You can walk from the Munich Old Town, which will take about 1.5 hours, or grab the tram. Tram no.17 towards Amalienburg, outside the Hauptbahnhof will take you directly to the Palace. The stop is called Schloss Nymphenburg!
#5- Take a Third Reich Walking Tour
Another must-do activity is to book a Third Reich Walking Tour! On this 2.5 hour tour, you will have an expert guide take you to some of the key sites in Munich during the Third Reich. This sobering tour will take you to places like Königplatz, where mass Nazi rallies were held.
Tours start and end in Marienplatz and cost about €20 per person. You can buy tickets here on Viator where I booked mine! I cannot recommend it enough.
#6- Munich Residenz
Make sure to visit the Munich Residenz. This decadent building showcases the long history of rulers in the area. A former castle built in 1385, it became a seat of government in 1508. After this, it would remain a royal residence until 1918.
Nowadays, you can visit the former royal residence and learn about it’s history. Entrance is €9 for adults and you receive a free audio-guide. The residence is situated a 3-minute walk off of Marienplatz.
Some 45 minute walk, or 25 minute train ride to Olympia-Einkaufzentrum will take you to the site of the 1972 Olympic games. Originally, Germany had decided to make Munich the home of the ‘Green Olympic Games’. This was to move away from negative images in the aftermath of the Hitler’s 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. However, fate would take a cruel twist, when 11 members of the Israeli team and a West German policeman were murdered by terrorists in the ‘Munich Massacre‘ on the second week of the games.
Nowadays, the park is a wonderful place to visit. You may have noticed throughout this post, that Munich has a lot of green for such a large city! Here in the Olympic park, you can see the former stadiums and walk the grounds. Additionally, you must visit the 291m Olympia tower and get a 360 degree view of the city. Also, in the summer you can go rowing on the Olympic lake!
Right next to the park is also BMW-Welt, where you can take guided tours through the BMW museum and production factory. Find out more here!
#8- Home of FC Bayern Munich
Why not go and catch a game at the home of FC Bayern Munich whilst you’re here? If there isn’t any games on, you can visit the Allianz Arena and take a guided tour. One for the football fans among us! Tickets and details on guided tours can be found here.
The atmosphere in the beer houses in Munich is epic any time of year. So, now imagine that and times it by 100. You have Oktoberfest. The world’s largest folk festival takes place annually in Munich and is visited by some 6 million people! The festival takes place between mid-September and the first Sunday in October.
There are pros and cons of visiting Munich for Oktoberfest. Personally, if you are a first time visitor to the city, I would not visit during this season. Prices for accommodation and flights soar, and the city becomes packed! However, as a second time visitor to Munich, and a beer lover, Oktoberfest was a festival experience of a lifetime!
If you decide to experience Oktoberfest, ensure you plan your trip well in advance. Don’t forget to purchase your Drindl or Lederhosen!
Alternatively, if you decide Oktoberfest just isn’t for you, then you can visit the Bier and Oktoberfest museum, to get an insight into the festival and sample some beers whilst you’re there!
#10- Take a Day Trip
I’ve already mentioned that spending a couple of days in Bavaria is not enough. In order to truly appreciate the region, I would set aside at least one week. However, if time is of the essence, then you still must take advantage of Munich’s location and do a day trip.
Here is my list of best day trips to take from Munich- I have written more comprehensive guides on these places, which are linked on most:
- Dachau Concentration Camp- I believe everyone should visit a concentration camp once in their life. Dachau was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. The camp is a 40 minute train journey from the city centre. I recommend booking a guide for expert knowledge and incredible stories.
- Schloss Neuschwanstein- The beautiful, fairy-tale, iconic castle. This is a bucket list destination for most travelers. I recommend spending more than just a day here though. See my post here for more info.
- Nuremberg- again, I do recommend spending two-days in this awesome city, but it can be done by day trip too. An hours drive/ train ride from Munich, Nuremberg is a medieval city and a history lovers paradise. It is my favourite city in Germany, read why here.
- Linderhof Palace- another commission by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, this pretty palace is set in mountains just an hour south-west of Munich.
- Grainau and Eibsee- an hours drive south of Munich will take you to the town of Grainau. The starting point for Eibsee Cable Car. If you fancy grabbing a cable car right to the top of Germany’s highest mountain, Zugspitze?
See what I mean about spending some time around here!?
Other Things to Know
There is still an abundance of things to do and see in Munich. Whether it’s getting lost in the Old Town or passing the time in one of the city’s many beer gardens, it won’t disappoint.
Where to Eat
You will be spoiled for choice here in Munich! Whether you want Bavarian food, or any cuisine that reminds you of home, you will find it here. A restaurant we have returned to in Munich, and recommend to anyone travelling is Chopan. If you want an incredible meal out, go here. They serve traditional Afghani food here, and genuinely, when we booked our return trip to Munich, we said “Can’t wait to eat at Chopan again!”. We try a mix of dishes each time, and my favourite is ‘Narenj Palau ba Kababe Morgh wa Badenjan Borani‘, grilled, marinated chicken with almonds, egg-plant, tomatos and other sides.
There is an excellent selection of vegan and vegetarian restauarants in the city, too. As well as lots of different cuisines, including Italian, Mexican, Balkan and Indian. Do make sure that you stop in one of the many traditional Bavarian restauarants in town. My favourite is Nuernberger Bratwurst Glochkl am Dom, for an excellent variety of German sausages and sides. I recommend getting a sharing platter to try a bit of everything!
This is always a difficult question to answer, because everyone is different. However, Munich is equipped for budget travel with a wide variety of hostels available. Additionally, you can eat and drink on a budget by shopping in the local supermarkets for breakfast items and water etc. When we travel to Munich, normally we stay in a 4* hotel like the Holiday Inn and eat out twice a day. We do drink a lot of beers in Munich, so this ramps up the price too! I would say we average €120 a day between two adults, excluding accommodation.
Munich, must like all of Germany, has excellent transport services. The city is served with trams, buses and trains (S-Bahn and U-Bahn), which is all very easy to navigate! It may be worth looking into purchasing a Munchen City Card or City Tour Guide ticket, which can be valid for one day or five days. This card offers free use of public transport and discounts for all tourist attractions, restaurants, shops and some events. You can purchase them online here.
Where to Stay
As already mentioned, Munich has an easy to use public transport system. Meaning that you can stay in any part of the city and be well-connected. Naturally, the Old Town is more expensive to stay. We’ve stayed in various areas throughout the city, and whilst all were nice, I found Isartor to be my favourite area. There is a lovely selection of bars and restaurants here, and our hotel had the U-Bahn right underneath it.
Final Thoughts on Munich
Munich is a city for everyone. As you walk through this city, you will be embraced by the locals and fall in love with Bavaria. My love affair with Germany began right here in Munich, and it is a city I will visit time and time again in my lifetime.
With beautiful green parks, brilliant beer gardens and so much to see, you will find Munich an incredible place to visit. Don’t delay, make Munich your next destination!
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