Munich, the capital of Bavaria, is a culturally rich city known for its music, art, museums, and architecture. Munich has a cultural heritage dating back to the days of the Holy Roman Empire. The city has an urban landscape with plenty of parks, gardens, and greenery that provide a comfortable atmosphere and opportunities to explore and relax. Make sure to take a guided bike tour to explore Munich.
Munich’s beautiful architecture, which ranges from the gorgeous Gothic spires of the Frauenkirche to the sleek modern designs of the Olympic Park, gives recognition to the city’s rich history. Munich’s world-class museums include the Deutsches Museum and the Alte Pinakothek, which have some of the finest collections of art and artefacts in Europe.
Munich is known for its vibrant atmosphere, with a lively nightlife, plenty of parks and greenery, and delicious Bavarian cuisine. You can even take a guided Beer Hall and Brewery Tour or enjoy an evening of Bavarian beer and food! Munich has something for everyone, whether you're interested in history, culture, nature, or simply vibing in the lively city.
Day 1: Old Town
Spend your first day in Munich's Old Town, right in the city's centre. Munich's Old Town, also referred to as Altstadt, is the city's historic core and is home to numerous attractions. Old Town was first established as a small village on the banks of the Isar River in the Middle Ages. The community expanded over time, and by the 14th century, it had become the Duchy of Bavaria's capital as well as a significant trading hub.
Munich was expanding and prospering up until the Thirty Years' War, when a large portion of the city was destroyed. Munich was host to a number of significant events during World War II in the 1920s and 1930s, including the founding of the Nazi movement. A large portion of the city's historic structures were burned or damaged, and the community once again experienced enormous loss. Munich and its old town was, however, rebuilt from the ruins after the war to create a now-vibrant and busy neighbourhood, home to several stores, restaurants, landmarks, and attractions.
Local Places to Eat:
- Bratwurstherzl is a 17th-century Bavarian-Franconian restaurant that will have you laughing and drinking with your mates while enjoying rich, hearty fare.
- Hofbräuhaus München is a 3-floor beer hall that dates back to the 16th century. It has a Bavarian restaurant, entertaining shows and an upbeat vibe. You can even take a tour of Hofbräuhaus and enjoy a ‘mass’ of beer!
- Mariannenhof is a vibrant tavern with mouth-watering Schnitzel, steaks, and burgers and is just a few minutes outside of Old Town.
I adored Marienplatz, the central square right in the heart of Germany, when I went. It’s just so darn charming! The square is lively and cosy, and it is named after the Marian column located in the centre of the square, which was erected in 1638 to celebrate the end of the Thirty Years' War.
Marienplatz is surrounded by beautiful historic buildings, including the Old and New Town Halls, which are among the city's most famous landmarks. The Old Town Hall dates back to the 15th century and features a beautiful Gothic façade. The New Town Hall, which was built in the late 19th century, features stunning neo-Gothic architecture and is home to the famous Rathaus-Glockenspiel, which plays daily at 11am and 12pm and is an absolute joy to watch. You can even take a guided tour of the New Town Hall.
The square is also home to a number of shops, restaurants, and cafes, making it a popular destination for both locals and travellers. Enjoy a cup of coffee or a meal while taking in the sights and sounds of the bustling square.
I wish I had been able to see the inside of the Munich Residenz, but I only saw it from the outside, which was nonetheless beautiful. Construction of the palace began in the 16th century, and over time multiple architectural styles came into play: Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical. The building covers an area of over 130,000 square metres and includes over 130 rooms, making it one of the largest palaces in Europe.
Today, the Munich Residenz is open to the public and houses a number of museums and galleries that showcase the history and art of Bavaria and the Wittelsbach dynasty, who ruled the region for over 700 years. Peruse the various rooms and halls of the palace, including the opulent Cuvilliés Theatre, the Baroque Hall of Antiquities, and the Neoclassical Hall of Fame. The Treasury is also a must-see with its collection of royal jewels, crowns, and other precious objects. You can also take a private tour to discover the palace in depth or attend a concert in the Munich Residenz.
Bayerische Staatsoper (Bavarian State Opera House)
The original opera house, which was called the Cuvilliés Theatre, was built in 1753 and served as the court theatre for the Bavarian royal family. It was named after its architect, François de Cuvilliés, and was renowned for its ornate Baroque decorations and impressive stage machinery. Take an evening off to go see a gala concert right in the Cuvilliés Theatre!
In the 19th century, a new opera house was built on the same site and it was designed by Karl von Fischer in the neoclassical style and featured a larger stage and auditorium. The interior of the opera house is as impressive as the performances that take place there, with a grand foyer, ornate chandeliers, and plush seating. The stage is also state-of-the-art, with sophisticated lighting and sound equipment that can accommodate even the most complex productions.
The public square Karlsplatz, often referred to as Stachus, is situated in the heart of Munich, Germany. Karl Theodor, the elector who ordered the square's construction in the 18th century, is honoured by the name of the square. With a wide selection of adjacent stores, eateries, and entertainment venues, Karlsplatz is a well-liked tourist and local destination. With numerous tram and metro lines passing through it, the square serves as a significant transit centre.
The Karlstor, a gate that serves as the western entrance to Munich's old town, is among the most prominent structures on Karlsplatz. The gate was first constructed in the fourteenth century and then restored in the baroque style in the eighteenth century. The fountain in the middle of Karlsplatz is another noteworthy aspect of the area. The fountain, which features the legendary representations of Bavaria, the Danube, the Isar, and the Iller, was made by German sculptor Adolf von Hildebrand in the late 19th century.
Viktualienmarkt (Victuals Market)
A sizable open-air market called the Viktualienmarkt, or the Victuals Market in English, is situated in the heart of Munich, Germany. It is one of the most well-known and well-liked marketplaces in the area, drawing both residents and visitors. The market has a long history, beginning in the early 19th century when it was first held outside the city walls as a farmers' market. It flourished and expanded over time, developing into the thriving attraction it is today. The name of the market is derived from the Latin word "victualia," which means food or supplies.
Around 140 stalls selling a range of goods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses, bread, pastries, spices, flowers, and much more, can be found at the Viktualienmarkt today. The market also features a number of eateries and beer gardens where guests may relax while having a meal or beverage. The Maypole, or Maibaum, which is located in the middle of the market, is among Viktualienmarkt's most well-liked attractions. The Maypole, an iconic Bavarian design, is adorned with vibrant ribbons and carvings that honour numerous regional crafts and trades. In addition to being a terrific area to dine and shop, Munich's Viktualienmarkt serves as a centre for cultural activity. Throughout the year, the market frequently organises events such as live music concerts and traditional dance performances. So go and live your best life by taking a 2-hour gourmet food tour, trust me, you do not want to miss out.
The church is named after its creators, the Asam brothers, who were both artists and architects. They built the church in the mid-18th century as a private chapel for their own use, but later opened it to the public. While the outside of the church may be modest, with a plain facade and a small dome, the interior is ornate and richly decorated, with intricate carvings, frescoes, and sculptures.
Look up at the ceiling fresco, which depicts the coronation of the Virgin Mary. The fresco is painted in such a way that it appears to be a three-dimensional dome, even though the actual dome above it is relatively small. The altar is also particularly impressive, with a sculpture of the Virgin Mary and an elaborate canopy overhead.
A cultural organisation in Munich called the Münchner Stadtmuseum is committed to preserving and promoting the history and culture of the city. The museum is situated next to the Marienplatz and the well-known Frauenkirche in the centre of Munich. Since its founding in 1888, the museum has developed into one of Munich's most significant cultural institutions. It contains a sizable collection of items, works of art, pictures, and documents that chronicle the history of the city from its earliest times to the present.
Each of the collection's various parts focuses on a different facet of Munich's history and culture. Among the more noteworthy areas are:
- The City History section, covering Munich's history from its founding in the Middle Ages to the present.
- The Arts & Crafts department, which displays the creations of regional artists and craftspeople from different eras.
- The Music section contains artefacts about Munich's rich musical history, including its illustrious orchestras and composers.
- The Photography section features a sizable collection of images depicting Munich life during the past 200 years.
The Münchner Stadtmuseum also presents a variety of temporary exhibitions throughout the year that cover a wide range of subjects relating to Munich's history and culture in addition to its permanent collection.
Places to Stay:
Budget Friendly - Euro Youth Hotel Munich
The Euro Youth Hotel is a historic building from the 1880s and is only a 2-minute walk from Munich Main Station. It has an old wooden staircase, marble floors, and chandeliers. Each of the light-filled rooms has a handmade hardwood bed, complimentary linens, and safes. Each morning there is a breakfast buffet that is all-you-can-eat.
The Rathaus-Glockenspiel, the Bavarian National Museum, and Marienplatz are all close by to this hotel. The property is allergy-free and is situated 200 yards from Bavarian State Opera. A hairdryer, complimentary toiletries, and a shower are included in the private bathroom. Bed linens and towels are provided in the hotel rooms. Munich Residence, New Town Hall, and Mariensäule are popular attractions close to WDREI Hotel.
In Munich, 450 yards from the Bavarian National Museum, the domus Hotel provides lodging with complimentary WiFi and a sun patio. The on-site restaurant is open to visitors. There is a flat-screen TV in each room. The garden can be seen from several apartments. Both the Bavarian State Opera and the Hofbräuhaus are just 650 yards from the domus Hotel.
Day 2: Outside of Old Town
Spend the majority of your second day in Munich venturing outside of the Old Town. Outside the boundaries of the city centre, discover another side of Bavaria and take in the region's rich history and culture. Beyond the city centre, there are opportunities to engage in a variety of outdoor sports and to experience Munich's stunning natural surroundings, including the Alps.
Take a minute to reflect on those who suffered during these horrible ages as you learn about key historical events and locations, such as the Dachau concentration camp. The Bavarian kings constructed a number of opulent mansions in the areas surrounding Munich throughout the 17th and 18th century. One of these palaces was Nymphenburg Palace, which is situated roughly 6 kilometres west of the Old Town. The 1972 Summer Olympics were held in Munich, with many of the events taking place in the areas outside of the Old Town. The Olympic Stadium and other venues hosted activities like athletics, football, and gymnastics. The newly built Olympiapark, located about 5 kilometres north of the Old Town, served as the principal venue for the games. However, the games were marred by a tragic terrorist attack in which eleven Israeli athletes and coaches were killed by Palestinian terrorists.
Local Places to Eat:
- Servus Heidi has classic Bavarian fare using locally sourced ingredients that is served in a woodsy restaurant with a beer garden.
- Münchner Stubn is set in a stylish modern pub with multiple wood-clad rooms that serves burgers, Schnitzel, beer, and other Bavarian classics.
- Restaurant & Weinhandel Broeding is the classiest restaurant with some of the most refined European cuisine and Austrian wine that you will ever taste. You and your bae need to try this romantic restaurant with an intimate setting and a courtyard.
The English Garden was created in the late 18th century by Sir Benjamin Thompson, an American-born physicist who was also known as Count Rumford. He designed the park in the style of an English landscape garden, with winding paths, open lawns, and naturalistic water features.
Today, the English Garden is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, offering a variety of activities and attractions. Walk or cycle through the many paths the park offers. There are also several beer gardens located throughout the park, where visitors can relax and enjoy a cold beer or a meal. You can also feel free to take a guided tour of the Gardens and Marienplatz.
The Eisbach, a small river that runs through the park, has a man-made wave that attracts surfers from all over the world. Feel free to watch the surfers in action from a nearby footbridge. The Chinese Tower, a large wooden structure that houses a beer garden and live music, and the Monopteros, a small Greek-style temple that offers panoramic views of the park and the city beyond are definitely worth checking out.
Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site
The Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site was a very sobering experience for me. While it is 16km away from Munich, it is 100% worth the short trip. The camp was initially set up as a place to imprison political dissidents, but over time it was expanded to include other groups such as Jews, homosexuals, and disabled individuals. This site reminds us of the horrors of the Holocaust while providing a space for reflection and contemplation. It is estimated that over 200,000 prisoners were held at Dachau during its 12-year history, and tens of thousands died there from starvation, disease, and other forms of mistreatment. There is a half-day guided tour of the Memorial Site to provide more information.
The Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site was opened in 1965 as a permanent memorial and museum to the victims of the camp. Not only can you explore the site, but you can also view a number of exhibits and artefacts that illustrate the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime. The preserved barracks provide a glimpse into the harsh living conditions experienced by the prisoners, and the crematorium, where the bodies of deceased prisoners were incinerated. There is also a reconstructed gas chamber and a memorial sculpture that honours the victims of the camp.
The attention to detail from the builders of the Nymphenburg Palace is what has stayed with me over the years. The Palace was built in the 17th and 18th centuries as the summer residence of the Bavarian monarchs and is now a popular tourist attraction. The palace was commissioned by the Elector Ferdinand Maria and his wife, Henriette Adelaide of Savoy, and was designed by the Italian architect Agostino Barelli. Over the centuries, it was expanded and modified by various architects, resulting in a unique blend of architectural styles. Take a guided tour of Nymphenburg Palace to further understand German history.
Inside the Palace, visitors can explore the many rooms and halls, which are furnished with period furniture and artwork. The stunning Marble Hall, which features an ornate ceiling painted by Johann Baptist Zimmermann, and the Porcelain Room, which contains a collection of exquisite Meissen porcelain, are my two favourite rooms. There are also several smaller buildings located on the grounds, including the Amalienburg, a small hunting lodge that is considered one of the most significant examples of Rococo architecture in Germany.
Munich’s Olympiapark München, often known as the Olympic Park Munich, is home to a sizable sports and entertainment facility. It was constructed for the 1972 Summer Olympics and has since grown in popularity among both tourists and residents. The park's approximate 850 acres are home to a number of amenities, including a stadium, a swimming pool, an ice rink, a music hall, a tower, and a number of smaller sporting arenas. The Olympic Stadium, with a seating capacity of 69,250, is the focal point of the park and is utilised for a range of events, including as football games, concerts, and festivals.
Olympiapark München also has the Olympic Tower, a 291-metre structure that provides panoramic views of Munich and the surrounding area, and the Olympic Hall, a circular venue that can hold up to 14,000 spectators and is utilised for entertainment such as concerts and athletic events. The park also features various gardens, parks, and green spaces, making it a popular site for picnics and outdoor activities. Whether you're interested in sports, music, or simply enjoying the great outdoors, Olympiapark München is a diverse and lively complex that has something to offer everyone.
European art from the Middle Ages until the end of the Baroque era is the focus of the Alte Pinakothek museum in Munich, Germany. One of the oldest and most significant art museums in the world, the museum was established in 1836. Around 800 paintings from across Europe may be found in the Alte Pinakothek's collection, with a focus on Italian, Spanish, German, Dutch, and Flemish works from the 14th to the 18th centuries. Masterpieces by artists that you would definitely recognise - including Albrecht Dürer, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Rembrandt, Rubens, and Vermeer are included in the collection.
Albrecht Dürer's "Self-Portrait," painted in 1500, is one of the most well-known pieces in the museum and is regarded as one of the greatest self-portraits in art history. Peter Paul Rubens' ‘The Last Judgment,’ Leonardo da Vinci's ‘Madonna and Child,’ and Jan Vermeer's ‘The Small Street’ are a few other renowned pieces. The museum itself is a work of art in and of itself, including a gorgeous neoclassical outside and an attractive interior with elaborate ceilings, marble floors, and lavishly adorned chambers. Early in the new millennium, the Alte Pinakothek received a significant refurbishment that modernised the structure while retaining its historical features.
The BMW Museum is devoted to the history of BMW, one of the top automakers in the world, and includes a number of displays that highlight the business's automobiles, motorbikes, engines, and technological advancements. The museum received a significant makeover in 2008 that increased the display space and incorporated new multimedia features. It was first inaugurated in 1973. Currently, the museum is 5,000 square metres in size and houses a number of interactive exhibits and displays.
Visitors to the BMW Museum can learn about the development of the iconic BMW 3 Series, the company's early history, and its journey into alternative fuel technologies through a range of themed exhibitions. A variety of temporary displays that highlight various facets of BMW's history and innovation are also available at the museum. The ‘BMW Art Vehicles’ collection, which includes vehicles painted by renowned painters including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jeff Koons, is one of the attractions of the BMW Museum. A wide range of interactive exhibits are also available at the museum, where visitors may learn more about the engineering, design, and performance of BMW vehicles.
Munich is home to Munich's Siegestor, often known as the Victory Gate. Designed by Friedrich von Gärtner, it was erected between 1843 and 1852 as a tribute to the triumphs of the Bavarian army during the Napoleonic Wars. The gate may be found near the end of Ludwigstrasse, a wide avenue that connects the city's core to the university neighbourhood. It has four substantial columns that support a central arch and is constructed in the neoclassical style.
The Victory Gate is embellished with several sculptures and reliefs and is rife with symbolism. The south side's reliefs illustrate scenes from the Battle of Hanau, while the north side's reliefs display scenes from the Battle of Leipzig. With a lion at her feet, Bavaria is portrayed in the sculpture on the top of the gate. She is surrounded by four female figures, each of whom stands for one of the four virtues: wisdom, bravery, peace, or victory. Munich and Bavaria's histories both bear significant weight on the Victory Gate. Although suffering damage during World War II, it was later brought back to its former splendour. It now stands as a notable landmark in Munich and a representation of German pride and history. Travellers and locals alike enjoy visiting this place to see its architecture, sculptures, and historical significance.
Places to Stay:
Budget Friendly - Ausbildungshotel St. Theresia
A terrace, restaurant, bar, and free WiFi are available throughout Ausbildungshotel St. Theresia. Konigsplatz, Munich's Central Station, and Olympiapark are all within 2.5 miles of the property. The building is allergy-free, and bed linens and towels are provided in each room. The Ausbildungshotel St. Theresia offers a breakfast buffet to its visitors. Pinakothek der Moderne and Alte Pinakothek are both located 2.6 miles from the hotel.
Mid-Range - Motel One München-Parkstadt Schwabing
The Motel One München-Parkstadt Schwabing is located 1.7 miles from the BMW Museum and 2.7 miles from the English Garden. MOC München, Olympiapark, and the Alte Pinakothek are all within three miles of the site. Each room has a private bathroom with a shower, air conditioning, a seating area, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, and a safety deposit box.
Luxury - Hotel Kriemhild am Hirschgarten
Nymphenburg Castle, the Hirschgarten park, and the beer garden are all within a short walk from Hotel Kriemhild am Hirschgarten. The Hotel Kriemhild am Hirschgarten's spacious, bright rooms provide all the essential modern amenities. Many restaurants and shops are just a short walk away in Romanplatz, while the nearby tram service can carry you swiftly to the main train station (11 minutes) and the city centre, 3.1 miles away.