Munich City Guide
Munich is the capital of Bavaria. Bavaria is located in the south east of Germany and is the largest state in Germany. The city of Munich is situated on the River Isar, which flows north of the Bavarian Alps.
Munich is the third largest city in Germany after Berlin and Hamburg. The city is a major financial and publishing hub and is also a world renowned vacation destination. Munich’s main claim to fame is it being the host city of the famed annual beer festival, the Oktoberfest. This festival, which is held over 16-18 days from late September to early October is the world’s largest fair and attracts more than 6 million revelers who annually book vacations to Munich to participate in the festivities. The Oktoberfest is largely considered to be an ode to the city’s beer drinking passion as Munich is home to many breweries and raucous beer halls and beer gardens.
Besides the beer fest, Munich is equipped with various other attractions like world class museums, parks and green spaces and spectacular Gothic and Baroque architectural gems.
Where to stay in Munich
Central Munich, which consists of Karlsplatz and the pedestrian shopping zone that leads to Marienplatz, has the highest concentration of hotels in the city. This central area also contains the historic Alstadt (Old town) which contains most of the landmarks of the city. Most visitors to Munich prefer to stay in Central Munich as it is an immensely convenient area and is easily navigable on foot.
These two areas are considered to constitute the upscale academic district of Munich as they play host to the Ludwig-Maximilian Universität. However aside from the university, they also offer charming boutique hotels, chic stores and many specialty restaurants. So if the focus of your Munich trip is to discover new and exciting restaurants then the Schwabing area of the city may be a right fit for you.
Haidhausen is the nightlife and entertainment district of Munich that hosts numerous dance clubs, discos and restaurants. If you have an interest in exploring Munich’s many nightlife options then one of the many hotels located in the city’s Haidhausen district should get your vote on where to stay in Munich.
Places to see in Munich
Munich is home to several interesting museums like the Museum Brandhorst, the City Museum of Munich , the National Bavarian Museum, the Deutsches Museum, the BMW museum and the Alte Pinakothek amongst others.
The Deutsches Museum
This museum which is located in the Isar River was established in 1925 and features many interactive exhibits that showcase the myriad science and technology trends in the world.
Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site
Dachau, which is located close to Munich, was the site of one of Hitler’s horrific concentration camps where millions of Jews and other enemies of the Reich were murdered. This concentration camp was the first concentration camp to be established by Hitler and the Nazis. Today the Dachau concentration camp hosts a poignant museum that catalogues the many excesses and barbaric practices of the Nazis.
Pinakothek der Moderne
The Pinakothek der Moderne is Munich’s museum of contemporary art that features artworks that hail from the 19th and 20th centuries. This fascinating museum showcases masterpieces created by all the modern masters from Picasso to Warhol and if you are a fan of contemporary art then this museum should be considered as a must do for you.
The BMW museum
If you are a car enthusiast desirous of a visit to the mushroom shaped BMW museum, which is located close to Munich’s spanking new futuristic BMW world at Olympia Park, then you should consider a visit to Munich. The museum has seven exhibition halls that offer many interactive multimedia displays feature various models of these coveted automobiles. The BMW museum also houses a café and a shop that sells prints, photographs, models, T-shirts and other BMW paraphernalia that make for great souvenirs and gifts from your vacation in Munich.
Alte Pinakothek is Munich’s art museum which has a collection of nearly 1000 paintings. The museum’s permanent collection features the works of artists from the 14th to 18th centuries. This museum should be considered yet another must-do for any arts enthusiast on a visit to Munich.
If you love your beer and are visiting Munich for the Oktoberfest, then a visit to the the famous restaurant/beer hall/ beer garden, Hofbrauhaus should be considered as a must-visit. Hofbrauhaus, which dates back to 1644, was founded by Wilhelm V. Duke of Bavaria who wanted to establish an indigenous Munich beer. He then went on to find this famous brewery, which is in operation until today. The brew house at Hofbrauhaus has a gigantic beer hall that can accommodate 1300 people comfortably though the brewery also has several other attractions like a beer garden, which is especially popular beer enthusiast during the summer months.
The Schloss Nymphenburg
The Schloss Nymphenburg is yet another popular attraction of Munich which is located 8 km out of the city. This villa was originally built as a summer home for the Munich aristocracy in 1664. The villa was subsequently expanded and built on by successive owners. Schloss Nymphenburg and its surrounding grounds offer various entertaining attractions like the collection of 36 provocative paintings which were commissioned by the Bavarian King Ludwig I, a porcelain museum and a display of Ludwig’s elaborate coaches.
The Marienplatz is Munich’s main square and it accordingly hosts its most important historic buildings including the city’s neo-gothic town hall (Rathaus), which features the famous Glockenspiel that never fails to enthrall and delight visitors as it chimes the hours. The chimes ring out with forty-three bells and the rotation of clockwork figures that tell tales from Munich’s rich history. If you are on vacation Munich with your children then this quaint spectacle is definitely not to be missed.
Munich’s huge Olympia park complex was erected for the 20th Olympic Games, which were held in 1972. The main stadium has a capacity for 70,000 spectators and is topped by the largest roof in the world that extends for 66,890 metres (720,000 square feet). This roof is made of tinted, acrylic glass and is used to harvest the rain water, which is then used to fill the Olympic Lake. The complex even hosts the 290 metre tall Olympic Tower that hosts a revolving restaurant and observation terrace which afford gorgeous vistas of the complex.
Legoland can be accessed via an hour’s drive from Munich and it is a great option for a day trip with your children when you are on a vacation in Munich. This Lego themed park offers a number of attractions like Lego Extreme which has many thrilling rides, the Project X- Lego Test Track, Imagination, which is a build and test center ideal for inquisitive and creative minds and other forms of entertainment that can be found at it various sections like Adventure land, Knight’s Kingdom, Pirate land and the water park.
Best time to visit Munich
Munich’s climate is influenced by the city’s location and proximity to the Bavarian Alps. A warm wind (Föhn) or a cold (Alpenstau) draft which originates in the Alps can dramatically alter the weather at any time of the year.
Summers in Munich generally extend from May to September and are characterized with maximum temperatures that register around 73 °F (23 °C) during the month of July. In fact July is considered to be the hottest month in Munich. The coldest month in Munich is usually January during which temperatures of -1 °C (30 °F) are quite common.
Depending on your individual tastes and preferences, you can choose to visit Munich in the summer months when the weather is ideal for sight-seeing or during the winter months when winter sport recreation is all the rage in Munich and its environs (the resorts of the Bavarian Alps). We at Fare Buzz periodically announce attractive flight deals for Munich so if you are planning a vacation to Munich sometime soon or if you would like cheap air tickets for Munich’s Oktoberfest, you would do well as to call Fare Buzz at 1.888.808.4123 to discover a world of attractive cheap air flights for your Bavarian vacation.
Getting around in Munich
Munich’s International Airport is considered to be one of the most modern, well-equipped, and most efficient airports in the world. The airport handles numerous flights from all over the world daily which makes getting to Munich from anywhere in the world relatively easy. This airport, which lies north east of the city center is well served by commuter trains that run round the clock and connect the airport to various Munich railway stations. Other modes of transport that serve Munich’s airport include taxis and public and inter-city buses.
Much of Munich’s city center is a pedestrian only zone so its attractions can be easily navigated on foot. The city is also equipped with an efficient public transport network that is made up of buses, trams, the U-bahn (subway) , the S-bahn (suburban train) and of course taxis which are easily available but quite expensive to use.
As Munich is equipped with a plethora of public transport options, most visitors to the city don’t feel the need to rent a car for the duration of their stay in Munich. However, if you plan to access areas located around Munich like Legoland or one of the ski resorts in the Bavarian Alps, then perhaps it would make sense to rent a car for your vacation in Munich.
At this point it is useful to mention that you will probably have access to better car rental rates if you make your car rental bookings before you arrive in Munich. Fare Buzz can be of assistance at this point as it offers a wide variety of affordable car rentals for Munich, which can be booked via the same platforms that you make other travel bookings at Fare Buzz.
Where to shop in Munich
Need a little retail therapy on your sojourn in Munich? You are bound to be delighted by the city’s abundant retail offerings, which not only include big name upmarket retailers and mainstream stores, but also several individual stores and boutiques. Maximilianstraße, a historic boulevard planned by the famous Bavarian king, King Maximilian II is the most exclusive shopping area of this host city of the Oktoberfest. Located here are several haute couture and luxe stores belonging to the biggest names in the fashion business.
More luxury shopping options can be found along Theatinerstraße, a street that connects the city center Marienplatz with Odeonsplatz. The pedestrianized zone, Stachus which lies between Marienplatz and Karlsplatz, plays host to several department stores as well as stores offering mid-range labels. Also located within the inner city area of Munich, is the Fünf Höfe (Five Courts) shopping complex offering an intriguing blend of art and architecture and a multitude of dining, shopping and entertainment options.
If you have a preference for shopping at small, independent family- run stores then the areas of Munich like Sendlinger Straße, a street leading from Marienplatz to Sendlinger-Tor-Platz will more than adequately meet your needs. For antique shopping, try the small streets situated between Viktualienmarkt and Isartor in the east of old town. The many stores located here offer a good assortment of old-world toys, porcelain, beer steins and old-world jewelry.
For souvenir shopping, Orlandostraße and other streets round the Hofbräuhaus offer ample opportunity to shop for popular Bavarian souvenir items like beer steins, flags, postcards, Bavarian dolls, bears and much more.
Also recommended are areas of the city like Schwabing, the traditional home of artists and writers, which today hosts various art galleries and boutiques that aim to cater to all tastes and pocketbooks. Yet another destination of note is Viktualienmarkt (Victuals Market) Munich's central food market, an eminently interesting attraction for gourmands of all types.
Where to eat in Munich
Munich may be famed for its Oktoberfest, the world’s largest beer festival but the city is no slacker when it comes to good food as it abounds with numerous cafes and restaurants offering a wide variety of cuisines.
Well-regarded restaurants in metropolitan Munich currently include eateries like Das Kranz (bio-dynamic eats), Dallmayr (a foodie destination that extends over three floors and offers a café bar, a deli and a Michelin starred restaurant), Café Frischhut (a tiny restaurant located near Viktualienmarkt famed for a local delicacy called Schmalznudel), Tantris (Michelin starred German cuisine), Nomiya (Japanese fusion fare), Wirtshaus in der Au (traditional Bavarian food), Fraunhofer Wirtshaus (a traditional Bavarian restaurant), and Hofbräuhaus (legendary beer hall offering the best of Bavarian food and beer).
Nightlife in Munich
Beer halls, beer gardens and breweries dominate Munich’s nightlife arena though the city also hosts an assortment of lively bars, pubs and clubs offering ample opportunity for nocturnal fun. Thriving nightlife haunts in Munich currently include hotspots like Atomic Café, Chica’s. Frankie’s, Kultfabrik, La Cumbia and Nachtcafe.