The Ultimate Travel Guide to Munich, Germany
Munich, the capital of Bavaria, is a modern cosmopolitan city with reminders of her colorful history and local culture at every twist and turn. Located at the foot and to the north of the majestic Bavarian Alps, Munich is divided by the broad river Isar, a venue for rafting and, unique in Europe, river surfing in the summer.
It’s not only the world-famous Oktoberfest which actually takes place at the end of September that attracts countless visitors from all over the world to the blue and white city, but also the exquisite museums, churches, and palaces like the Residenz. Add to this parks, art galleries, Bavarian traditions like the Viktualienmarkt, first-class shopping centers and a funky nightlife and you’ll never be short of things to do and see whatever your tastes.
Moreover, Munich is an ideal starting point for day trips to one of the idyllic Bavarian lakes, like Tegernsee, Lake Starnberg or Chiemsee, all just a short drive away.
In this Munich Travel Guide blog post, we’ll give you important travel tips with budget tips and advice on things to do and see, itinerary, the best hotels to stay, and more.
Best time to visit Munich
Year around really. Risks of thunderstorms and showers are highest in late spring and early summer but they don’t last long. Munich covered in snow in the winter is a fairy tale. Unless you specifically want to visit the Oktoberfest you might want to avoid a visit as it gets very crowded and the prices rise sky-high.
How to get there
Munich has an international airport, connected to the city center by airport bus and light railway. Both end at the Hauptbahnhof, Munich’s central train station. It’s an important hub for train travel to Italy, France and other regions of Germany. Local trains run to the lakes and to Salzburg in Austria.
Munich has an extensive Metro system, above and below ground. In addition, there are buses and the traditional shrieking trams in the city center.
You’ll find many pedestrian zones, but a word of caution. Watch out for cyclists. They do have cycle lanes but don’t always stick to them. They tend to whizz around at neck-breaking speed, unlike the more sedate cyclists of Amsterdam.
You’ll find bicycles for hire everywhere, so if you like you can explore Munich by bike too. Otherwise, walking is a pleasure, especially in the extensive English Garden or along the paths of the river Isar.
Places to stay in Munich
Hotel Bayerischer Hof
Address: Promenadepl. 2-6, 80333 München, Germany
Phone: +49 89 21200
My home from home in Munich is the Hotel Bayerischer Hof. I love an elegant family owned hotel which offers top luxury and all amenities combined with a personal touch which you won’t find in hotels belonging to a chain. A special treat is the rooftop swimming pool with a roof that is opened in the summer until late at night so you can swim below the stars. From traditional Bavarian cuisine to exotic (it has Traders Vic), the restaurants of the Bayerischer Hof cater to every taste. An added bonus is a popular theatre in the basement and a shopping arcade where you can literally buy everything from a toothbrush to a diamond necklace. 5 star luxury at its best.
Address: Theodor-Dombart-Strasse 4, Schwabing, Munich, Germany, 80805
A somewhat cheaper option is the modern Pullman Hotel near the Bohemian district of Schwabing. A shuttle bus connects the hotel to the airport, otherwise, you are just a few steps away from the Englischer Garten and after that the city center.
Hotel Super 8 Munich City West
Address: Landsberger Str. 270, 80687 München, Germany
Phone: +49 89 55898370
An even more economical option is the Super 8. The hotel features modern rooms and there is easy access to the city center by metro and tram.
Best places to eat
Beer and Weisswurst go hand in hand in Munich, a must try for every visitor. Just remember, that Weisswurst is only served until 12am when it’s fresh. The best place to taste the national dish is in the open air (in summer) and in one of the many Beergardens, sharing a long table and bench with locals and tourist alike. One of my favorite places to do so is in the Beergarden of the Viktualienmarkt.
Another must is a visit to the Hofbraeuhaus. The temple to Bavarian brewery and food since 1589, it’s the place to eat dumplings, pork, sauerkraut and everything else calorie-laden which comprises Bavarian cuisine.
If you want an elegant sit-down meal, head to Dallmayr. Tradition is big in Munich and Dallmayr is another example. It started out as a coffee shop and has expanded to a Delikatessen on the ground floor and an exquisite restaurant on the first floor. My favorite: pasta with white truffles.
The best of Bavarian food in the surroundings of a 16th-century vaulted cellar is the Palais Keller in the Hotel Bayerischer Hof.
If you are in the vicinity and just want a cheap but savory snack, head to one of the many stalls inside the Hauptbahnhof. Leberkasesemmeln is a favorite.
Things to do and see
My first stop in Munich is always the Marienplatz in the center of the Old Town. Bordered by the Old and New Town Hall I never tire of the Glockenspiel and the figures coming out of the clock tower at the hour. At one corner in the tower is a delightful museum, the toy museum with one of the most extensive collections of Barbie dolls.
Just behind lies the iconic Viktualienmarkt, a daily market which offers every imaginable food and fruit. Not only is the display enticing, so are the Munich housewives in their dirndls haggling over prices. I head north toward Theatinerstrasse, past Munich’s most emblematic church the Frauenkirche with its onion-shaped tower tops.
Following the Theatinerstrasse, I’m on my way to the Englischer Garden, Munich’s largest park, bigger than Central Park in New York. My destination is the Residenz, Europe’s largest urban palace and the sparkling treasury with the collection of works of art, furniture and crown jewels of the Bavarian Wittelsbach kings.
Munich has countless museums, from antiquity to modern art, the most famous being the Alte and Neue Pinakothek. Along Theatinerstrasse and Maximilianstrasse, you also find art galleries and designer shops with the latest fashion. In between shops and tailors that make dirndls and even Lederhosen to order, at mind-boggling prices.
In the evening you might want to visit the National Theatre or the Opera and afterwards dance the night away at one or more of Munich’s coolest nightclubs. P1 has been around forever, in fact since 1949. Whereas Harry Klein, no less popular is a newer addition to the nightlife scene. Head for Schwabing, still known as the artsy district of Munich.
After you have explored Munich, you may want to drive about 6kn further Northwest to visit the fabulous Nymphenburg Palace and garden, also known for its exquisite porcelain manufactory.
Lastly, should you have come for the Oktoberfest, which this year is celebrated from 22nd September to 7th October, here is the full program.
Be prepared for drunken crowds but also tons of fun. Once you have visited Munich, you will want to return to enjoy the laid back people, their funny accent and a lot of things you missed out on your first visit.
Munich Travel and Tour Packages
Munich Grand Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour
- See all of the best sights in Munich.
- Enjoy the freedom to hop off at any of the tourist stops, perfect if you prefer to explore that spot by yourself for a while longer.
- Relax on the comfortable and spacious seats of the bus as you are taken to Munich’s tourist attractions.
Munich by Night
- Munich City tour with a tour guide
- Dinner in Hofbräuhaus
- Ascent to the Olympic Tower (includes 1 drink)
Munich City Tour and Guided Visit to Bavaria Film City
- See the magnificent highlights of Munich on a city tour.
- Take a behind the scenes guided tour of Bavarian Film City and learn about the studio’s long traditions.
- Enjoy comfortable transfers in an air-conditioned coach.
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