Munich is the capital and the biggest city in Bavaria. It’s also the 3rd largest city in Germany (after Hamburg and Berlin). If look closely at Munich you will notice two things: 1) the city looks very new, everything appears to be recent; 2) There seems to be a lot of construction work… Why? Munich is 60 years old because it is still being reconstructed from WWII. It sounds almost unbelievable, but it’s true! Munich was almost completely destroyed by the bombings, more than 90% of the buildings in the historic center.
So, is it worth it to visit Munich? What to do in Munich?
Top things to do in Munich
Munich free walking tour
One of the best ways of quickly getting to know a city is doing a walking tour. Nowadays in almost any big European city, you have one or many free walking tours. Visiting Munich we end up doing the “in Munich” free walking tour and we really enjoyed it. The tour guide was very good and knowledgeable. He was funny and knew a lot about the city and its traditions (mainly beer related, obviously 🙂 ) even though he wasn’t German. Moreover, he was an ex-teacher and that showed in the very detailed but clear way he explained and reviewed what he had to show us.
This is the heart of Munich, the old (but new) town. It’s usually very crowded and it’s in an area full of bars, shops, and restaurants. It’s also famous for its Christmas markets, so if you are going in December that will be a big plus. Marienplatz is also where the Rathaus (town hall) and the Glockenspiel tower are.
Looking for accommodation?
These are the best luxury hotels close to Marienplatz.
Or if you want to party, here you can find the best party hostels in Munich!
Englischer Garten is the main city park of Munich. It’s a hugely, vast park and one big reason to really enjoy a city like Munich. There you can go for a walk, run or even partake in sports with locals or other tourists. It’s also fun to watch adventurers surf in the river rapids! Or if you are brave enough to join them. As it would be expected the Park has a few beer gardens 🙂
Viktualienmarkt is Munich’s farmers market or at least started as so. Now it’s so much more than just a farmers market. It’s always buzzing with people trying to buy all kind of things: flowers, plants, herbs, meat, fish, wine, milk, vegetables, fruits, honey… We had a fantastic soup there to warm us up. Tip: it’s closed on Sundays.
Bavaria is full of castles and palaces with huge wonderful gardens. Nymphenburg is another great example. It’s built in baroque style and has beautiful interiors. If you really can’t go to the ones in the countryside (or can’t get enough of it), this is a great option!
Hofbrauhaus am Platzl
The Hofbräuhaus is a pub, a very touristy pub, but it’s a must go place in Munich. There you will experience a true Bavarian night, although there are more tourists than locals. But this is more than just a pub. It has a huge history that connects to Bavarian history itself. It was originally built in 1589 as the official royal brewery and only opened to the public in the 19th century. In 1919 the communist government made the beer hall their headquarters, and in 1920 the Nazis held their first (of many) meeting in the festival room. During WWII it was almost completely destroyed and then rebuilt (as Munich itself). One could argue that drinking a beer there is a history lesson.
When visiting the Deutsches Museum you will experience science and technology. If you are really into it you can be there hours or even a full day to discover all of it. It has 5 big themes:Natural sciences; Materials, energy & production; Traffic, Mobility & transportation; Communication, information & Media; Man & Environment. Be aware that some parts aren’t translated into English…
Ticket price:11 Euros;
Opening hours: 9:00 to 17:00
The Olympiapark is the site of the 1972 Summer Olympic games. It’s a great place for a walk and to visit one landmark of sports history. The tensile roofing structure of the stadium and other buildings are eye-catching and outstanding. Almost any sports fan will recognize them very quickly.
BMW Welt & BMW Museum
These are very close and within a walking distance from Olympiapark. They are a must if you love motorbikes and cars, particularly BMW. We went to both but actually preferred the BMW Welt.
BMW Welt is more like a show where you can see the Cars & Motos, actually touch them. They have a price tag, you can even buy them :). It was fun to play around for a while. And it’s free! We always love free activities.
BMW Museum is an old-style museum and only worth it if you are very into it. It’s 10 euros but you do get to see more than 100 cars and motorbikes. Old, new, special editions… Even a few airplane motors. But it should have more interactivity the modern museums.
The Allianz Arena is the home of the powerful FC Bayern Munich. If you are a sports fan you will like to be able to visit the inside of the stadium, the locker rooms, the mixed zone, the tunnel and getting closer to the field. The stadium itself is one of the most beautiful in the world, particularly at night.
The FC Bayern Museum is an opportunity to see the all the trophies and revive the great games and players of FC Bayern. Again, this should be a much more interactive museum. Near the museum, there’s also a store with every possible FC Bayern item for sale.
The best option would be visiting the stadium on a match day, and have the full experience.
Visiting Dachau is easily the least fun of the top things to do in Munich. In retrospective, in our opinion, it’s also probably the most important. To sum it up, Dachau was the first concentration camp and the model where all the others were made. It had a big role in one of the darkest times in recent history. Discovering History, expanding your knowledge or simply understanding a new perspective on something is a big part of traveling. Doing a tour in Dachau memorial site delivers all of this! We wrote a full review of our visit to Dachau.
Day trip to the Bavarian Castles
There are many day tours to the Bavarian castles/palaces, particularly to Neuschwanstein, aka the Cinderella castle. However, if you are on a road trip like us, you can drive yourself and chose which castles to visit. We recommend Neuschwanstein (obviously), Hohenschwangau Castle (it’s right next to Neuschwanstein) and the Linderhof Palace (aka the little Versailles). This is really one of the must do things in Munich. Don’t skip it, even if some of the castles are overcrowded.
Go to a wine or beer festival
You are obviously thinking of Oktoberfest… 🙂 And so are we! But do you know that there tons of more festivals around Munich? If you can’t during Oktoberfest, check the calendar of the other festivals, it’s very probable that you’ll have one during your stay!