Munich is known to many Western and Northern Europeans only because they pass through the city on their way to winter sports or a summer destination. However, it is certainly worth making a stopover of a few days here. The city has a cosmopolitan atmosphere and yet is very relaxed. A city trip to Munich is therefore highly recommended. We list the highlights for you.
Capital of Bavaria
Munich is the capital of Bavaria and the third largest city in Germany. The city has about 1.5 million inhabitants and is economically and culturally very important for the country. You do not notice much of the great damage that the city suffered during the Second World War. Almost all the historic buildings in the city centre have been rebuilt to their original design. Although many buildings are not very old, the historical character of the old town has been perfectly imitated.
The city has something for everyone, whether you like shopping, culture or history. Of course, you can enjoy a beer in one of the many beer gardens. We’ll be happy to list the highlights for a city trip to Munich for you.
In fact, you should start your city trip to Munich at the city’s most famous square, Marienplatz. There’s something going on here every season and every moment of the day. Enjoy the chimes, the people and the atmosphere that reigns in the square. There is an annual Christmas market in it too. There is also a golden statue of the Virgin Mary. From the Marienplatz you walk into several nice shopping streets. In addition, the various other attractions of the city are within walking distance of the square so it really is an ideal start to your sightseeing in Munich.
In this square stands the stately town hall with arcades in pointed arches, bay windows, galleries and turrets. The name suggests that there is also an Altes Rathaus and that is true. The Neues Rathaus has the famous chimes as a special attraction. At different times of the day, many figures depict historical events in the city, accompanied by an enormous carillon. The total performance takes about 12 minutes and is very nice to experience.
From the 85-metre-high tower of the Neues Rathaus, accessible by lift, you have a beautiful view of Marienplatz and the surroundings of Munich. In clear weather, the Alps are visible.
Near Marienplatz stands the beautiful Frauenkirche, built with dark red bricks. The two church towers tower impressively above the church. This Gothic building from the beginning of the 1400s is the largest cathedral in the city at almost 110 metres’ long. It seems that no less than 20,000 churchgoers can enter it! A special detail is that at the entrance of the church the footprint of the devil can be seen.
The southern tower can be visited. A small part is walked via narrow stairs, then a lift brings you comfortably up to the top. From here, you have a great view over the city and its surroundings. In 2004, Munich decided that no buildings may be built higher than the Frauenkirche.
The Munich Residenz is the largest palace in downtown Germany and is more than 600 years old. A tour of the interior leads you through historic chamber ensembles – in different epoch styles. This is because the residence has constantly expanded and rebuilt over the years. A visit to the treasury of the residence, the beautiful Cuvilliés Theatre in Rococo style, and the beautiful Hofgarten is worthwhile.
The Viktualienmarkt is Munich’s largest market. Every day, except Sundays, the inhabitants come here between 8 am and 8 pm to get their fresh produce. Besides fruit and vegetables, you find bakers, butchers, fish sellers, delicatessens and flower stalls. Viktualien is derived from the Latin word victus, which means ‘supplies’ or ‘food’.
Each year at the Viktualienmarkt, the highlight of Munich’s carnival season takes place: “the dance of the market women”. The women of the market stalls show off various dances in their beautiful costumes on the street. The market is located in the centre of the city, not far from Marienplatz.
One of the largest city parks in the world is located in Munich: the Englischer Garten. The name Englischer Garten was chosen because the park was designed in the style of an English landscape garden. It does not resemble the baroque French castle gardens at all. Hence this name.
A ring road divides the park into two parts. Of these, the northern part is the quietest. If you like walking or jogging, it is best to stay in this part of the park. The southern part is busy especially when the sun is shining. Many inhabitants use this area to relax in the park.
Important buildings in the park are the Chinese Tower and the Monopteros, a round temple in the Greek style. Because it lies on a hill, you have a nice view over the park and the city. In winter, the inhabitants use the hills for tobogganing.
The beautiful palace Nymphenburg has been the setting for Bavarian monarchs for centuries. Construction started in 1664. During this time, it has had many expansions. Therefore, there are various architectural styles used and you can see the influences of various building periods well reflected in the palace. The palace is partly accessible, just like the royal stables with beautiful carriages. The park around the palace is really beautiful. You will see many pavilions, ponds and beautiful fountains.
The many beer gardens
In Munich you literally cannot ignore the many beer gardens. You will find more than 100 of them scattered around the city. The most famous beer gardens are those of the six local breweries Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner and Spaten.
A beer garden is a large garden with long wooden tables at a beer counter or traditional restaurant. Of course, you can enjoy just a delicious beer, but it is more fun to take some traditional Bavarian food too. Think especially of dishes with lots of meat, cabbage and “Knödel”. These are balls made of pasta dough, potato dough, bread dough or any other mixture of these types of dough. Of course, you will be served in a traditional Bavarian outfit.
In addition to the already mentioned famous beer gardens, you will also find various nice beer gardens in the Englischer Garten. The one at the Chinese Tower is especially very popular. This beer garden can handle up to 7,000 visitors.
The Deutsches Museum is one of the most important German museums. Here you will find almost 30,000 objects about the history of technology and science. This makes it the largest technology museum in the world. The museum is located in a beautiful building on an island in the centre of the city. The very first German car can be found in this museum. In addition, there is a lot of attention to aerospace. This therefore has to be on your list when you visit Munich for a city trip.
In connection with the 100th anniversary in 2025, a major renovation of the museum will take place until 2020. Parts of the museum are therefore (temporarily) inaccessible. Check the museum’s website for current information.
Other places of interest in Munich
Besides these highlights, there is much more to experience in Munich. For football lovers, a visit to the Allianz Arena is a must. The car enthusiast will have a great time in BMW Welt. Museum lovers can indulge themselves at the Museumsinsel, with several beautiful museums. And those who love shopping can take a well-stocked wallet to Maximilianstrasse. Want more inspiration for your city trip to Munich? Take a look at the city’s official website.
Practical information for a city trip to Munich
How to get there
Munich is easily accessible by car. The city is located on the transit route to the south. Therefore, the city is ideal for making a stopover of a few days and enjoying a city trip to Munich.
Of course, it is also possible to go to Munich by plane. The airport is located just under 30 kilometres northeast of the city. By motorway you are – if there are no traffic jams – in the centre relatively quickly. In addition, you can reach the centre by train in about 45 minutes from the airport.
Staying the night in Munich
Munich has many hotel accommodations in all price ranges. For an up-to-date overview, please visit Booking.com.
We visited Munich once at the end of a camping trip through Italy and spent the night at the Thalkirchen city campsite in the south of the city. You can get to the city centre by bus. The sites are small; campervans are positioned so that it looks like you are in winter storage. But because we were in the city all day, we didn’t find it a problem. The sanitary area needs renovation. As we had facilities in the campervan we were not bothered, but for people who love space and comfort in a campsite, this is not ideal accommodation.
Best period for a city trip to Munich
A visit to Munich is ideal in spring and autumn. Temperatures are good and rainfall is not too bad. In the summer it can be fairly warm in the city. In addition, it is high season then, with higher prices and longer queues for attractions as a result. So, plan your city trip to Munich preferably outside this period.