With its big-city culture combined with rural alpine charm, Munich manages to combine urban living with Southern European class — living a good life while staying elegant and smart.
Visitors like Munich for its handsome parks and palaces, world-class museums and galleries. But most of all, you will find yourself charmed by Munich’s sociability and passion for outdoor life.
So, if you are considering Munich as your next travel destination, here are the best places to visit!
Innenstadt Sud and Nord: the Old Town and the heart of Munich
Visit the Marienplatz and see the Munich Glockenspiel
Munich’s Marienplatz, which translates to “St. Mary’s Square”, is the city’s main square. Since its earliest days, it is Munich’s iconic structure and a great place to people watch.
The first thing you see when coming to Munich’s Marienplatz is the impressive Neues Rathaus on the North side which features a glockenspiel. Consisting of 43 bells and 32 life-sized figures, the glockenspiel will chime and re-enact two stories from the 1600s.
Just before Christmas, the Munich Christmas Market opens at Marienplatz, selling Christmas goods, food and drink.
Bonus tip: check out Cafe Glockenspiel nearby for a quick break over a cup of coffee and admire its awesome spiral staircase set against the pink cafe walls.
Tango at the Hofgarten
The Hofgarten is a green oasis in the city center where you can sunbathe and have a picnic. Tango dancers gather every Friday evening in the Hofgarten. Because of this, you’ll find dancing over the marble floors in the Diana Temple in the center of the garden.
This is also where you will find the Kunstverein München, an art association that focuses on solo and group exhibitions of artists.
Visit a former royal palace turned museum, the Munich Residenz
It is easy to imagine Bavaria’s royal family living in the rooms of this grand palace. Today, the Munich Residenz is open to the public. Its grounds are laid out in seven large courts, including the Court Garden.
Step inside the Residenz Museum which houses art collections covering the Renaissance, early Baroque period and Rococo era.
Drink at Munich’s famous beer gardens
Germans love to spend lunch breaks under the shade of a beer garden. The one at Chinesischer Turn is especially popular. It offers a touch of Oktoberfest beneath the shade of trees and on Wednesdays, a band plays from the top of the tower.
Next, head to Königlicher Hirschgarten, Bavaria’s largest beer garden serving beer from a barrel. Augustiner Stammhaus, the third largest beer garden, is also a pretty courtyard, lined with mussel shells and Isar pebbles.
With an atmosphere that brings out the fun in everyone, you may find yourself linking arms with a stranger to sway to the music of the band at the city’s beer gardens.
Buy foods for a picnic at the Viktualienmarkt
Bavaria’s largest and best-known open-air food market is easily recognised by its colourful maypole towering over the square. The oldest farmer’s market in Munich, Viktualienmarkt’s vendors offer almost everything from meat, fruit and vegetable produce to a flower market as well.
There are also bread and pastries, wheels of cheese and cured meats that make up a good picnic spread. Tables and benches are provided for visitors to sit while they eat sausages, pretzels and food prepared in mobile kitchens.
Have a picnic at the Englischer Garten
After filling up your picnic basket, head to the Englischer Garten, one of the largest parks in the world for a picnic. Within the park, there is a Japanese teahouse with tea ceremonies regularly performed here. Then, head to the Chinese Tower for a refreshing beer under shady chestnut trees.
Increase your knowledge at the Deutsches Museum
One of the largest science museums in the world, the Deutsches Museum and its 17,000 artefacts are curated in exhibits ranging from ancient instruments to the latest science on global warming.
Study and examine from replicas of the Red Baron’s plane from World War I, a Venetian gondola and a 19th-century wooden fishing boat. There is always something happening; from demonstrations of electricity to concerts showing how musical instruments work.
Visit Frauenkirche, Munich’s major landmark and symbol
Frauenkirche is a major landmark to Munich and the twin onion-shape domes are considered a symbol of the Bavarian city.
The south tower is normally open to those wishing to climb the stairs for a unique view of Munich and the nearby Alps. Highlights inside the church include the 1622 Tomb of the Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian in black marble and bronze figures.
Also, seek out the devil’s footprint inside the church, said to be left by the devil after he came to inspect the place of worship, leaving a footprint that still can be seen today.
Head to Peterskirche, Munich’s beloved parish church
Peterskirche, known as Old Peter, is Munich’s beloved ancient parish church on Petersberg. Built in Gothic style in 1386, the St. Peter’s Church also exhibits its former Bavarian style.
The church’s offers a sweeping bird’s-eye view of the city and as far as the Alps. It is a 299-step tower, famous for its eight clock faces matched by eight bells and reaching a height of 91 meters.
Admire a Rococo architecture church, Asamkirche
A masterpiece of Rococo architecture, the beautiful Asamkirche is decorated with stucco figures, frescoes and oil paintings. Its exterior is equally impressive with a large doorway flanked by massive columns and a figure of St. John kneeling in prayer atop.
Highlights of the interior include the ceiling fresco “Life of Saint Nepomuk”, framed by four spiral columns leading to the high altar.
Drink at the world’s most famous pub, Hofbrauhaus
No trip to Munich is complete without a visit to the famous pub, Hofbrauhaus. The beer house produces a special kind of dark ale, once reserved only for the royals of the 14th century.
Have a chill afternoon at Hofbrauhaus, sipping a cool beer in the shady courtyard or in the lively beer hall with jolly Bavarian music playing in the background.
Maxvorstadt and Schwabing: Art Museums in the Kunstareal District
Visit the Pinakothek Galleries
The Pinakothek Galleries are considered to be the finest group of art museums anywhere in Europe. First of the three is Alte Pinakothek, one of the most important galleries in the world for Old Master paintings and classic paintings.
Next, head to Neue Pinakothek for its display of 19th and 20th-century of art ranging from Rococo to Art Nouveau. Lastly, head to Pinakothek der Moderne for one of the world’s largest museums devoted to the visual arts which include works by Picasso and Warhol.
Visit an art gallery in an Italianate villa at Lenbachhaus
This beautiful city gallery displays 19th- and 20th- century works of art. The tiny garden is also a delight — a blend of modern and classical statues and fountains. The gallery collections here showcase the development of painting in Munich from the late Gothic period up to the present day.
The most popular collection of paintings in here are by Munich-based group, Der Blaue Reiter, which includes over 300 works by Wassily Kandinsky who founded the movement.
West Munich: a Palace, a Garden, a Park and a Car Museum
Visit Nymphenburg Palace in West Munich
Schloss Nymphenburg is one of Germany’s grand palaces and has a beautiful park. The palace was the main summer residence of former rulers of Bavaria and its central structure contains gorgeous galleries, including Ludwig I’s Gallery of Beauties.
See yourself reflected 10-fold in the Hall of Mirrors in the hunting lodge and visit the shell-encrusted hermitage. Be sure to also visit the Badenburg, said to be Europe’s first post-Roman heated pool.
Have a stroll at the urban Olympiapark
The Olympiapark is hugely popular with its skyline and its tower offers a great view of Munich and the Alps. When you tour the area, you’ll see Olympiasee, a huge artificial lake and the Olympiaberg, a 53m hill made from wartime rubble.
Also known as the Olympic Tower, The Olympiaturm is a structure built around the Olympic Park. The design of the glass roof is modeled on the Alps. Access is only available during the summer and through a guided tour. This is a nice spot to see the city, thanks to its panoramic terrace.
Learn about BMW’s innovations at the BMW Museum
This automobile museum provides a display of transport technology housed in a half sphere. Over a quarter of a million visitors come to the BMW Museum annually to see its vintage models. Their exhibits also cover social subjects such as the changing family life as well as the role of women in the automobile industry.
Take a simulated journey into the future with solar-generated cars or design your own model and watch it develop on computers.
Other Places to Check Out
Visit a royal residence in Schleissheim Palace
The Schleissheim Palace consists of three palaces in a grand park. The palace was a summer residence of the rulers from the House of Wittelsbach. Don’t miss the classical works in the Great Gallery.
Time travel at the interactive exhibit of Bavaria Filmstadt
Take a look behind the scenes of Europe’s largest film studios at this theme park. Some of the attractions here include the 4D Motion Ride, as well as the Filmstadt Atelier, which celebrates 100 years of film and television.
Join a guided tour through the original scenery used in film sets and discover the exciting aspects of film making. Tickets to the Bavaria Filmstadt vary for the number of attractions. The Filmstadt Complete includes all 3 attractions which is definitely the best bang for your buck.
Reflect at Dachau Concentration Camp
Known as the site of the Nazi’s first concentration camp, Dachau is a quiet yet pretty town. Follow the “path of the prisoner”, walking the same way as prisoners back then. The original facilities are available to visit and examine in detail.
Day Trips from Munich
Take a day trip to see the magical Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle is a magical white fairytale castle nestled in the pine forest of the Bavarian Alps. The castle is a popular tourist attraction in Bavaria and served as inspiration for Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Go on a guided tour to see its grand decor and vast wall paintings. Also, a guided tour is the only way you can see inside the castle and you must show up on time as the tour starts.
If you want to take some photos of the castle, follow the signs to Marienbrücke (Mary’s Bridge), a bridge which is about 15 minutes walk away and with great views! The bridge path, however, is not one for those who are afraid of heights.
It is also important to note that Neuschwanstein Castle can be fully booked during the summer. So, it is a good idea to reserve tickets at least two days in advance.
See Linderhof Palace, southwest of Bavaria
Set among forest scenery, the Linderhof Palace was used by King Ludwig II as a retreat. The French gardens are a nice place to explore, with the highlight being an exotic Moorish kiosk with a peacock throne acquired by Ludwig in Paris.
Daily guided tours take place from April to September, 9am to 6pm, and 10am to 4pm from October to March.
Participate in winter fun at Bad Tölz
The beautiful spa town and mountain adventure park of Bad Tölz, is the perfect base for skiing and other mountain activities. Bad Tölz is located 25miles (40km) away from Munich city will take an hour to get here by train.
View Bavaria’s biggest freshwater lake in Chiemsee
Chiemsee’s lush scenery and picture-perfect Alpine backdrop draws visitors to its shores for water activities. The lake’s main highlight is Herrenchiemsee, Ludwig II’s summer palace. Guided palace tours are available from 9am-5pm in the summer and 9.40am-3.30pm in the winter.
Best Time to Visit Munich
Munich is busiest between April and September when the weather is at its best. May is the start of the beer garden season while in summer, the city is popular for its opera festival and lively parks. Beer lovers visit during Oktoberfest at the start of autumn whilst December is packed with shoppers who come for the Christmas market.
What do you think of the recommended places in Munich? Do you know any more places that we have missed? Leave your comments down below!