Munich, the capital of the Bavarian region, is one of Germany’s wealthiest and most important cities. Each year in late September tourists from all over the world flock to the city for the legendary Oktoberfest parties, a tradition which has lasted more than 200 years, starting out as the celebration of a Royal marriage. Whatever time of year it is, Munich is an excellent city to visit; surrounded by sun dappled forests in summer and snow-capped peaks all winter, there’s sure to be something going on. The city has a fantastic arts scene, fascinating history and a welcoming culture soaked in some of the world’s finest beer. Be sure to check out our picks for what not to miss out on when you come to stay in Munich.
Altstadt München (Old Town Munich)
Munich’s history, since its founding in the 12th Century, is fascinating and the buildings of the Old Town district tell some wonderful stories. Be sure to check out the Frauenkirche, the city’s most famous cathedral, and both the new and old Town Halls. Sendlinger Tor, the ancient gateway to the medieval city, is also located here. There are plenty of less famous buildings dotted around the Old Town area, that altogether help create an excellent atmosphere and a lovely place to spend an afternoon. Many of Munich’s beer halls, including the most famous one: Hofbräuhaus München, are located here.
Visit a Hofbräuhaus
Beer is one of the cornerstones of Germany’s culture, the Hofbräuhäuse of Munich are the place to experience this culture at its best. In modern times, the state-owned Hofbräuhaus München has become one of the city’s best loved attractions. Although some say that it is overly touristy, both the beer and the food are of excellent quality. Munich is packed with more beer halls, bars and breweries than you could possibly hope to visit with your liver intact. A trip to Bavaria would not be complete though with trying a few of the local beers and the simple, delicious dishes of sausages, roasted meats, potato and cabbage which traditionally accompany them.
The ‘English Garden’ is a huge urban park, which starts close to the centre of Munich and rolls out all the way to the outskirts of town. Englischer Garten is one of the largest urban parks on the planet, with an area larger than that of New York’s Central Park. The gardens are littered with monuments and attractions, from the historic to the quirky. One of the most popular spots is the Eisbach, a canal with an pumping mechanism that creates a stationary wave, ideal for practicing surfing in a city that’s over 500 kilometres from the sea.
The perfect place for a family day out, Blomberg Mountain is a short, scenic drive away from Munich. The mountain hosts an outdoor activity park, the main attraction of which is an toboggan run, open all the year round. The park also features an alpine rollercoaster, several ropes courses set high up in the trees, trampolines, bungee ropes, a petting zoo and of course the obligatory beer garden.
Although it’s a bit of a drive from the city, Neuschwanstein Castle is one of Bavaria’s most iconic sights; well worth the trip if you are staying in Munich. The Castle was built in 1882 as a private retreat for Ludwig II of Bavaria, and is now one of the world’s most famous, purportedly the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. The castle is located at the south west border of Bavaria, close to the foothills of the Alps. 800m above sea level, visitors are treated to a commanding of the surrounding hills on all sides.
It’s been more than 40 years since Munich hosted the Olympic Games, however, the stadium and park where many of the events took place all those years ago is still well worth checking out. The stadium is still used regularly for sport events, music performances and other exhibitions. Guided tours of the park can be booked all year round. For thillseekers there is also the option to climb up on to roof of the stadium, and make your way down again via a flying fox or by abseiling.
The Pinakothek Galleries
The Alte Pinakotek (old masters), Neue Pinakothek (19th Century Painters/Sculptors) and Pinakothek der Moderne are three of Munich’s main art galleries. All are located in the city’s Kunstareal museum quarter, along with a plethora of other artistic and historic attractions. The name comes from the Ancient Greek work ‘Pinacotheca’, meaning picture gallery. The 3 galleries contain a magnificent range of works from important figures throughout history. Also part of the Pinakothek complex is the super modern Brandhorst Gallery, which opened in 2009 and hosts an impressive collection of works by 20th Century American artist Andy Warhol.
Dating from the early 19th Century, the Müller´sches Volksbad is one of Europe’s most beautiful swimming pool complexes, with a full spa, massages and hairdressers on hand and a café with a beer garden. The baths were built with an incredible art nouveau design, topped a magnificent dome. They were donated to the public by their engineer, Karl Müller. The bath’s piece de resistance is the Roman steam baths, which use modern technology to provide a range of different temperatures , and even an open air courtyard.