Munich is the third largest city in Germany, one that is flourishing in terms of both wealth and rich cultural history. Munich (München) delights in its own particular brand of contrasts: legends and age-old customs exist side by side with smooth BMW’s, boutiques carrying the latest fashions, and museums that hold world-class selections of famous artists. Throughout the Oktoberfest season participants from all over the world turn out to toast the famous Munich Bavarian beers and delight in the German cuisine.
When To Go:
In Munich, it can at times be extremely frosty in winter, particularly in January — and likewise very warm in summer, yet with cool, stormy days even in July and August. Spring and fall are frequently extended. The top traveler season is from May to October; this is when the most favorable climate condition exist in Munich: not too cold, not humid, and the best time to ski on the Alps.
Here are the top
things to do
when in the city of Munich:
The church of St. John of Nepomuk (Asam’s Church) is a church in the center of Munich dedicated to the patron saint of Bavaria and Bohemia — where he was born and where he eventually drowned in the Danube. The building, built around 1733, is unusual, as it was originally designed to be a private chapel and is quite small; framed by houses and homes, it is however perhaps the best example of Baroque church in the city.
was built in the mid-18th century, is situated next to the residence of the original owners and has surprisingly fine furnishings and acoustics.
An incredible harmony of shapes and decorations awaits you inside; the majestic altar with the image of the Trinity; stucco ornaments as observed in the charming chorus; the ceiling, decorated with frescoes of the life and martyrdom of the saint; and some confessionals originally intended for youths. St. John of Nepomuk is a highly revered saint in several European countries and for this reason the church is very popular with tourists. The best time is to go there in the morning for a better look at the interior. On the outside it looks like a normal church, but once inside it leaves everyone speechless.
is one of the great places to spend time while in Munich. It is designed for outdoor recreation with clean, manicured lawns where you can soak up the sunshine, explore the summer beer gardens, admire the view of the picturesque river, and spend the whole day without getting bored.
The park is very large and filled with attractions that you can visit. Stop by the Von der Tann-Strasse, pass by the Japanese tea house, check out the Shvabinger and see the amazing surfers that surprise passersby near the House of the Arts. Have lunch near the Chinese Tower and stroll along the Monoptera where there are long and spacious lawns. Here you can even arrange a picnic, lie down on the grass, and enjoy a glass of beer and the warm atmosphere of the place. It is famous for being one of the ten largest urban gardens in the world. This attraction can be both enjoyed in the summer and winter season.
Even if you are not an expert on or connoisseur of fine art, be sure to visit the Pinakothek. It houses the finest art masterpieces and highlights Germany’s enduring culture and love for the arts. Although a part of Pinakothek is closed for renovation that will last until 2017, it does not stop tourists from visiting this attraction to admire the works of Da Vinci, Rubens, El Greco, Botticelli, and Rembrandt.
is not that large but allows for a quiet pace; you can see everything in two or three hours. It offers an amazing collection of artworks belonging to the 14th-18th centuries. The art museum houses a large-volume collection of the German masters, along with Italian, French and Spanish painting. It has austere and minimalist interiors, which gives every visitor an opportunity to focus on the works of art.
You can walk all day long from one room to another and be amazed by the grandeur of the place and the paintings. On the ground floor there is the opportunity to dine, buy books and albums with pictures to help you remember the Pinakothek.
is one of the most beautiful squares in the world where the Huntsman (reconstructed) is very grand and majestic, as well as the monument to the Virgin Mary, all plated in gold. The animated characters of the clock (Glockenspiel, a carillon of 32 animated figures at the Neus Rathaus) dance each time the bell chimes at exactly 11 am and again at the next show at 5 pm. The famous carillon is audible throughout the square, while the sound is animated with robots in the guise of riders and dignitaries.
It creates a pleasant feeling that the whole square will stop to listen to the melody –with all noses pointing to the sky. The atmosphere turns into magic if it starts to snow. The Marienpltz is located at the main city center of Munich, and is very clean and orderly. It has a street full of shops and is close to parks (one is right behind). Across the square there is a tower, and one of the popular things to do is to climb all the steps to see the city from above. In the evening it gets even more beautiful when the square is all lit up and filled with people of all types and nationalities.
St. Peter’s Church
Just 306 steps and a little patience is what it takes to reach the top of
St. Peter’s Church
and its bell tower (302 feet high) to enjoy a nice view of the entire Munich city. This church is a short walk from the Marienplatz and very striking for its brightness. The climb to the bell tower is very challenging because in several places it is so narrow that there will be traffic jams of people going up and down. Same thing at the top, the space is so low that it is difficult to make the rounds. However, the view is breathtaking and makes one forget the effort.
It is one of the oldest churches in the city — built around the twelfth century — although it then underwent subsequent reconstruction in Gothic style. In the following centuries the twin bell towers were replaced by a single central religious building that underwent alterations to Baroque and Rococo. Of note, it has kept inside the frescoes and stucco of Zimmermann, the works of Günther, the five statues of Jan Polack and a statue of St. Peter (altar).
A visit to the museum of science, the
, will help you understand the meaning and consequences of many important moments that have marked the field of inventions, construction and research — along with a cultural background on scientific topics. The hours spent at the Museum are a journey through time and the history of human technology, making it very interesting and ideal for kids. There are things here that are really amazing and the fact that some of them are interactive only adds to the interest of every curious visitor.
The huge site is divided into sections devoted to each branch of technology and science, and there is much to see in the 6 floors. In some sections there is the problem of non-bilingual German / English signage and explanations — leaving the Deutsch side definitely more enriched. Don’t fail to see the reconstruction of the mine in the basement. It is one glorious find and a great diversion from the other tourist attractions of the city.
The museum houses the most prestigious models of the glorious house of BMW. It is just well done, and structured to highlight both the older and the latest offerings of the prestigious car brand. The most exciting parts are the ones with models in the 3 Series, Formula One cars Piquet, Heidefeld and the models of the sports department. It is definitely worth a visit for car enthusiasts who are eager to be able to touch any model as in the big car dealerships. The
is certainly also ideal for children as they are excited to be able to turn inside the BMW Welt sitting on the new I3 electric or climb astride a motorcycle at any of the displayed units.
The huge collection of cars will probably not be a surprise as you learn to understand why the Germans are one of the leading car manufacturers in Europe. Spanning the entire history of the Bavarian model to samples between bikes, cars, formula one, if you like the genre and car technology it is worth the $11.30 entrance.
Tierpark Hellabrunn Zoo
Tierpark Hellabrunn Zoo
is a short walk from the Metro and offers a great variety of animals to see. The park is very big and it takes a long time to see it all — and it’s worth it if you have children with you. The animals enjoy its wide and open spaces. The location is on a bank of the river Isar, creating an even more natural area as the habitat of its animals. You can find restaurants, self-services and bars, cleanliness is everywhere, the animals are well cared for and there are times when you can even watch their meals.
There is an amazing bat cave to explore and lots of open spaces to stroll. For children there is a nice and spacious playground and parents can comfortably sit in the beer garden to enjoy Bavarian delicacies. The chimpanzees, orangutans and gorillas represent the most interesting sights. Budget at least three hours to explore and take pictures with the animals at this amazing zoo.
Bayerische Staatsoper Opera House
Take the rare opportunity to listen to classical music at the
Bayerische Staatsoper Opera House
. The entrance tickets can be bought on site at the theater. (It is cheap compared with the leading classical theaters elsewhere in Europe.) The building itself is designed in classic style, with an inconspicuous exterior in general — in the winter it merges with its gray surrounding buildings. The internal decor of the theater is also somehow not lavish, but more memorable. A buffet is made available if you exit to the balcony during intermission; you can have a glass of champagne as you watch the entire area.
If you’re a lover of good opera, this site is a must in your travel itinerary. The opera is open all year, except for the month of August and the first half of September (Theater holidays) and on a few holidays on which it is closed. The utilization of the Opera is currently 95% per year. This is a reflection of the popularity of this house. Parking is in the underground garage of the State Opera House, in front of the Joseph Place.
Munich Residence (Residenz Munchen)
is a mandatory place for a visit along with Nymphenburg Church of St. Peter and the St. Michael’s Church. In Munich, there are a lot of museums, but the Residence is the most interesting among them. The tour is simple and easy to understand with an audio guide. The beautiful rooms of the palace consist of three parts — the Residence itself, the Treasury, and the Theatre (not to be confused with the Bavarian State Opera). Some days the theater opens at 2:00 pm, so if it is important to visit and plan the tour with this in mind. The whole excursion hardly takes more than 1 – 1.5 hours. Then take a walk in the courtyard residences or for much better sights go to the English Garden (very close).
You can also visit a row of wonderful pubs and shops, as well as many other attractions. It is a marvelous palace with lots of lovely interiors. Be particularly impressed by the baroque ruin, collected seashells with mermaids and Neptune — and enjoy taking pictures while having a tour of the rich treasure trove on these premises. There is also a large collection of busts of Roman emperors and other prominent personalities of the ancient era.