No trip to Germany is complete without visiting Munich. Sure, its best known for the rowdy beer drinking party that is Oktoberfest. While everyone knows you can have an epic time at Oktoberfest, there is so much more to Munich than just beer (like these top 7 cafes in Munich). Don’t worry though, you will find plenty of beer as well! On our Bavarian tour, Marty and I had the privilege to see the castles of the Romantic Rhine, stay in a quintessential German town, and eat the best sausages ever in Nuremberg after seeing the incredible Munich. Whether you have one day in Munich or one week in Munich, this post is for you. We will highlight where to stay in Munich as well as our top 10 things to do in Munich.
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Where to Stay in Munich:
Just like any other town, Munich is divided into many neighborhoods, each with their own personality and interests. For this post, we are going to focus on the top neighborhoods for tourists.
Maxvorstadt- This is a great area to stay in if you are interested in the art galleries and museums of the city. Since you’re close to the universities in this neighborhood, you will find many different options for food and a bustling atmosphere. Maxvorstadt is also a budget-friendly option.
Altstadt-Lehel- Most of the tourist sites are in this charming area. Great for the first-time visitor or those who are limited on time as you are within walking distance of most things a tourist would want to see. This convenience does come with a price tag though, so keep in mind that you are paying more for convenience.
Ludwigsvorstadt- The place to stay if you are visiting Munich for Oktoberfest.
Schwabing- Close to the English Garden and surrounded by bars and cafes, Schwabing is a good home base for those that like a bohemian vibe.
Accommodations: We love to stay like locals when we are traveling, and one of the best ways to do that is to use Airbnb. Airbnb allows you to book an entire home or just a room with one of their certified home providers. Never used Airbnb? Well, you’re in luck! Use this link to get a $40 credit toward your first booking.
If you prefer hotel accommodations, then, of course, there are many options. We love to book through Hotels.com. Their rates are super competitive, and you earn free stays when you sign up for their reward program. That’s awesome! If we can’t find the perfect hotel on Hotels.com, then we also use Booking.com or Tripadvisor. You really can’t go wrong with any of these!!
One Day In Munich
If you only have one day in Munich, don’t worry. There is still time for you to see many of the tourist sights and still get a taste of this great city. With only one day in Munich, I would suggest seeing starting in the Marienplatz with a great walking or bike tour. Or maybe you just want to get right down to business and start your time here learning all about the Munich beer scene? If that’s the case, then jump right in with a beer tour!
After your tour, then I would spend time in the Viktualienmarkt grabbing some lunch and enjoying a brew in the outdoor beer garden surrounded by chestnut trees. Be sure to save time for a visit to the world-famous Hofbrauhaus before you leave-you’ll be glad you did!
Top 10 Things to do in Munich
The Marienplatz is the central square of Munich, and probably one of the most photographed areas of the city. We found this to be a great starting point since from here you can easily explore other parts of the city. At the Marienplatz, you will find the new and old town hall, and of course, the famous Glockenspiel.
We made sure to be in the Marienplatz at 11 am to see the Glockenspiel come to life. The show also happens at noon year-round and 5 pm in the summer. The Glockenspiel rings and then the 32 life-sized figures come to life to tell two famous Bavarian stories. The top half tells the wedding story of a local Duke complete with a jousting show and all. The bottom half shows the copper’s dancing to bring life back to the scared city after the plague. Overall, the Glockenspiel show was rather uneventful, but it’s just one of those things that you do, so go ahead and be a torist and join the other hundreds of people looking up at 11 am.
2. Cathedral Church of Our Lady
The impressive dome twin towers of this church make it a beautiful addition to Munich, but it’s the tale that goes along with this church that we loved. While participating in one of Munich’s walking tours, our awesome guide told us the story of the “devil’s footprint”. According to legend, the devil demanded that the church is built without windows. He was hoping that this would impede anyone from wanting to worship here since it would be so dark and uninviting. When the devil came to review the church, thanks to an architectural illusion, no windows could be seen. The devil left feeling satisfied. When he returned at the completion of the church, he realized he had been tricked and stamped his foot so hard in anger that he left a footprint just inside the church door.
Despite the legend, this church really is beautiful and historic. The two towers have 10 bells that ring throughout the day and the church will seat 4,000 people. You can go up to the top of the south tower to get a great view of the city and the nearby Alps.
3. Asam Church
The Asam Church is probably one of the smallest, but the most ornate churches in Munich. Originally intended to be the private church to two brothers, who lived next door, the hierarchy of the church insisted it is open to the public. Today you can see the beautiful baroque facade and the gorgeously lavish interior.
4. Nymphenburg Palace
Nymphenburg Palace was built in 1664 and was originally the “summer residence” for the Bavarian royal family. Getting to Nymphenburg Palace is super easy. From Karlsplatz, hop on tram #17 and you will be at the Palace stop in about 20 minutes. When you get off of the tram, the palace is a short walk away.
I absolutely loved Nymphenburg Palace. It was one of the highlights of Munich for me. The carriages in the carriage house were breathtaking as were the palace grounds. Be sure and walk to the Amalienborg with its wall of mirrors and beautiful Rococo style.
In the main palace, you can see King Ludwig’s Gallery of Beauties, pictures of what he said were the most beautiful women in the world. You also get to tour several of the chamber and antechamber rooms along with the Great Hall.
5. Eat the Best German Food
Of course one of the great things about Germany is the food. Everywhere you look are pretzels, pretzels with cheese, pretzels with butter…..well, you get the idea. While the pretzels are amazing and trust me, we ate at least one every day we were there, there is more to German food than just pretzels. I know German food might be an acquired taste for some people, but you really do have to give it a try. Between schnitzel, quark balls, spaetzle, and all the German sausage, I bet you will find something you like.
For authentic German pastries, you have to visit Cafe Frischhut, located across the street from the Viktualienmarkt. Marty and I wandered into this wonderful shop by chance one morning looking for some breakfast. Since we didn’t speak German, I just pointed and held up my fingers as to how many. A nice German man behind me spoke English and help explain to me what I was ordering and advised that my choices were excellent. We had an amazing ausgezogene and schmalznudel, both paired great with coffee. The best part about this place….you get to watch them make the pastries right there. You know they are fresh when you can see them being made!
6. Tour the Viktualienmarkt
This historic food market right in the heart of Old Town Munich is a must see. I was amazed at the freshness and quality of the food. I guess that’s why tourists and locals flock to this great outdoor market. At the center of the market is a wonderfully shaded beer garden. The beer that is served at the market changes daily, just check the sign above the beer counter for the brewery of the day.
Here is what I suggest, tour the market sampling the great German cuisine. While doing so, purchase a few of the items you like until you have enough for a nice picnic, find a table in the beer garden without a table cloth (these are the ones you can picnic at as long as you buy a beer) and then go grab a beer and enjoy the atmosphere of a true Munich beer garden.
7. Egyptian Museum
Marty and I made our way to the Egyptian Museum to escape the summer heat, and I can tell you we were NOT disappointed. While this is by no means the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts, it has earned worldwide recognition for the pieces it houses. We loved the layout of the exhibit and found it very easy to navigate. Often in museums, I experience sensory overload from the vast amount of information and items surrounding me, but I didn’t feel this way at all during our visit to this museum. Marty and I slowly meandered our way through the rooms and corridors of the exhibits all while interacting with our free multimedia guide. We really enjoyed our visit to the Egyptian Museum.
8. See Munich’s Old City Wall and Gates
Sadly, most of Munich’s old city wall was destroyed, but you can still see three of the remaining gates, and then use your imagination to fill in the gaps from there. Just down the street from Marienplatz in three directions, you can easily find the old gates.
9. Drink the Best German Beer
German beer is special. No, really, it is! Marty and I usually don’t like beer, but in Germany, we found ourselves really enjoying the beer! Maybe it’s because of the purity laws. The Reinheitsgebot, the beer purity laws, state that German beer can only be made with water, hops, and malts.
There are beer gardens all over Germany, but no visit would be complete without visiting Hofbrauhaus. This iconic beer hall is always full of excitement and huge pretzels! Enjoy the lively atmosphere inside listening to the oompah band and making new friends. In a German beer hall, you don’t shake hands where you meet new people. You look them in the eye, hold up your beer and say “Prost!” Just keep in mind that every time someone sits at the table this will happen, and it’s impolite not to participate, so you can get drunk fast.
10. Take a Tour
Walking tours are a great way to get to know a city, and in Munich you will find plenty of them.
Marty and I did a private Munich Old Town Tour and had a blast! Our tour guide was so knowledgeable teaching us the history and culture of Munich. We learned several quirky facts and received recommendations from a local on places to eat and hang out. We wound our way through the town visiting the Munich Residenz, Hofbrauhaus, Cathedral Church of Our Lady, and the Viktualienmarkt to name a few.
Of course, being the foodies we are, we also had to explore the food scene, and there is no better way to do this than a food tour!! You can eat your way around Munich on this tour. Two hours of eating and learning about the food history of a region is heaven to me. Don’t miss out on this great option!
We hope this top 10 will help you to plan your trip to Munich. The town is charming and the people are so personable and kind. We would love for you to comment below and share your favorite things to do in Munich!
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