Home to both suit and lederhosen wearers, Mediterranean street cafés and Central European beer halls, ambitious art and high-tech industry - Munich is a success story that lives up to its contradictions. The city centre, which can be explored on foot, has a small-town flair but is home to world-class attractions: galleries and museums, evidence of the Bavarian monarchy, a suburb full of memories of the Olympic Games and many a thought-provoking site.
Wiesn, beer and chic - Munich has much more to offer! Take at least three full days to explore the capital of the Free State of Bavaria. With almost 1.5 million inhabitants, Munich is Germany's third-largest city after Berlin and Hamburg. The city on the Isar is also known for its Bavarian way of life, which culminates once a year in the Oktoberfest.
Not to be missed on a tour of Munich are Marienplatz, the Old Peter, the English Garden, the Residenz on Odeonsplatz, the original Munich Hofbräuhaus, the German Museum, for those interested in sports FC Bayern, the Olympic Park and for culture and shopping maniacs the Glockenbachviertel. Pack it in!
The most beautiful sight in Munich is without doubt Marienplatz with its impressive Gothic town hall. The square is the centre, heart and soul of the old town, a popular meeting place in the middle of which stands the Mariensäule, erected in 1638 to celebrate the victory over Sweden during the Thirty Years' War. Many city walks start here. Adjacent to Marienplatz is the famous Viktualienmarkt with its many tempting food stalls and the Old Peter. The city's oldest parish church is one of Munich's landmarks and its viewing platform offers one of the best and cheapest views over the city. Admission costs a mere 3 euros plus some sweat (the more than 300 steps can only be climbed on foot).
Don't miss the Residenz on Odeonsplatz. The square with the Feldherrnhalle and the Theatinerkirche is worth a visit on its own. But the real attraction is the Residenz. A visit to the wonderfully designed inner courtyards and state rooms is a must on any visit to Munich.
Not far from the Residenz is the English Garden, a must when the weather is nice! In the southern part there's something for the eye: the surfers on the Eisbach! That's right. You can surf in the middle of Munich. On the standing wave of the Eisbach.
Fancy a coffee? The Park Café in the Old Botanical Garden attracts visitors with its beautiful rooms designed with great attention to detail. And best of all: the food is delicious. Especially the tarte flambée!
Strengthened, we go on a round of shopping. The counterpart to Zurich's Bahnhofstrasse is called Maximilianstrasse in Munich. Similar to Zurich, many alternative and small labels have taken up residence in Munich in the meantime. In the Glockenbachviertel, for example. The shop "About Given" sells fairly and organically produced clothing. More unusual items can be found at "Akjumii" one street over. In the store with a studio, the two young label founders also make custom-made clothes on request. Vintage lovers should not miss the "Wunderkammer" of "Alva Morgaine". Phasenreich" in Reichenbachstrasse is an organic café and organic fashion store for unusual gift ideas in one. A wonderful place to browse and buy one or two beautiful items.
If you're feeling peckish, you can find a quick and healthy lunch at Urban Soup, right on the Viktualienmarkt. Munich's Hofbräuhaus offers a good meal with brass band music and, of course, beer à gogo. By the way, you can find great souvenirs at Little Bavaria right next to the Hofbräuhaus. Gifts made of wood can be personalised with writing here. So it doesn't necessarily have to be the Masskrug, which is of course also available here.
You should bring at least half a day extra to admire the Olympic Park and its surrounding attractions. It's hard to believe, but among Munich's main attractions is the bustling BMW World in the north of the city centre. The carmaker's combined exhibition and event hall can be visited free of charge. The museum costs extra. The detour to the Olympic Centre is also worthwhile because of the extensive Olympic grounds and the Olympic Tower. On the one hand, I can recommend the freely accessible walkway up to the Olympic Hill. Secondly, there is the best view over Munich from the 291m high Olympic Tower. There is also a revolving restaurant below the three-storey viewing platform. If you're interested in Munich's underwater world, Sea-Life has countless marine creatures from all over the world to marvel at, in addition to the fish species that are native to the Isar.
By the way, I stayed nearby at the Leonardo Royal Munich Hotel with very friendly staff. With the underground in front of the building, you can be in the old town or anywhere else in no time at all. This also includes the Allianz Arena, where the great FC Bayern plays its home games. At least one public training session takes place every week on the training grounds on Säbener Strasse in the south of Munich. You can watch them free of charge and stock up on the latest fan merchandise in the shop.
Not a spectacle, but moments of silence await you at the Dachau concentration camp memorial. In the first Nazi concentration camp, 200,000 people were imprisoned here and 43,000 died - an oppressive visit that you won't forget in a hurry.
For those interested in culture, the Maxvorstadt district offers a compact range of around 25 museums, exhibition halls and cultural institutions. The architectural mix in the so-called Kunstareal is exciting and reveals a lot about Munich's past. In addition to modern museum buildings, around Königsplatz you will find buildings of European classicism, listed city mansions such as the Lenbachpalais, contemporary witnesses of National Socialism and, right next to it, the NS Documentation Centre, which opened in 2015 in a strictly cubic design.
In the evenings, a variety of restaurants await your culinary discovery.
Classic in the "Meisterstück" restaurant, where everything revolves around Munich's master brewers and butchers. The meat of the craftsmen is either grilled or prepared in the smoker.
Or in the innovative "Bapas" with a promising menu that includes Bavarian specialities in "small". So you can try mini roast pork, Kasspatzn, Leberkäse and Reiberdatschi without a guilty conscience. Modern Bavarian cuisine of a high standard is served at Schwarzreiter, where Germany's youngest star chef Maike Menzel is currently working. Or Asian after all? The Malaysian restaurant Champor is not exactly cheap, but anyone who likes spicy food simply has to go there. For a nightcap and a stroll through Munich's sea of lights, head to the casual Juliet Rose Bar near the Isar Gate late at night.
And one last tip for those looking to save money: if you plan your visit to Munich to celebrate your birthday, there's free admission to all of Munich's indoor and outdoor swimming pools, the Olympic Tower, Bavaria Filmstadt and the FC Bayern Erlebniswelt. If that's not worth it!
How to get around:
On foot in the centre, otherwise by underground or alternatively by rental bike from www.bikebringer.de
How long to go:
Best time to go:
All year round
Marienplatz, Olympic Park, Residenz, English Garden with Eisbach wave.
Free travel and numerous discounts
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