Munich, the capital of Bavaria, is the city where I have been living for almost 3 years now and it is one of the best rated cities to live in Europe and worldwide. That's why I think it's time to dedicate some articles to it in Huellas de Gaviota. Specifically, in this post I talk about the things to do in the city, mentioning the main tourist attractions, curiosities and various explanations.
Before I start, I would like to share with you some general facts about the city of Munich.
General information about Munich:
Munich has more than a million and a half inhabitants and is the third largest city in Germany and the 11th largest in Europe. 14 June 1158 is considered the official day on which Munich was founded and it was considered a city in 1175. Munich comes from "Munichen" which means something like "by the monks". In fact, on its coat of arms there is one, dressed in black and yellow, which are the colours of the Munich flag.
It's a city split by the Isar River (a tributary of the Danube) and if you climb to a high point in Munich you can see the Alps if it's a clear day. In fact, because of its proximity to the Alps, its weather is affected and you can sometimes experience the phenomenon of the ¨foehn wind". Winters are quite cold and in summer there is more precipitation than in any other season. The highest recorded temperature was 37.5° in 1983 (as it has changed this year) and the lowest -31.6° in 1929.
Sunset at Olympiapark
Something that I like a lot and that makes me find similarities with my city Vitoria-Gasteiz is that it has a lot of green spaces and is very convenient for cycling. The English Garden or Englischer Garten is one of the longest urban parks in the world, surpassing Central Park in New York. You will find people surfing in the river that runs through this park!
Of course, this city is very famous thanks to its beer festival: Oktoberfest. Although so named, it is very important to mention that Oktoberfest starts in September, so if you are visiting the city for that reason, make sure you know the specific dates beforehand. This festival has been celebrated since 1810 (it was born out of a wedding celebration) and to toast they say "Prost!".
20 places to visit in Munich:
Carillon of the New Town Hall on Marienplatz. Source: Pexels.com
- Marienplatz and its carillon: Marienplatz is the central square of Munich and in the centre you can see a column crowned by the Virgin Mary, which gives the famous square its name. From this point you can see the Old Town Hall and the New Town Hall. On the façade of the New Town Hall, you can find the carillon. This carillon, which represents a wedding celebrated in 1568, moves and sounds every day at 11AM and 12PM, and also at 17PM extra between March and October (find more information here). Walking in a straight line from the statue of Mary towards the New Town Hall (which looks like the old one because it's always dirtier) you can enter the Biergarten of the town hall workers and look up to feel a little bit like at Hogwarts. In that passageway, you can find out which are the cities twinned with Munich: Edinburgh, Verona, Bordeaux, Sapporo, Cincinnati, Kiev and Harare.
- Peterskirche: Munich's St Peter's Church is located very close to Marienplatz. For 5 euros (3 if you're a student or over 65) you can climb its tower to admire fantastic views of the city. It's open every day from Monday to Sunday, from 9am to 6:30pm. Inside the church there is a mummy of an Italian nun and outside the church is the little bell that used to be rung every time someone was to be executed in the square. Viktualienmarkt: A typical food market, where you can browse and have a bite to eat, but don't expect low prices. It is very close to the above mentioned points.
Frauenkirche. Source: Pexels.com
- Frauenkirche: Frauenkirche translates as "the women's church", but some also call it "the onion church" because of the shape of the two domes that crown it. Its name is dedicated to the women who contributed to the reconstruction work during a period of war. Inside the church, at the entrance to the church, there is a footprint (which is covered when there is mass) called "the devil's footprint". Legend has it that the devil appeared there while they were working on its construction. The devil made him promise that only a stained glass window would be included to ensure that the place would be as gloomy as possible. If that condition was not met, the devil would vow to destroy the temple. It is said that when the devil returned he did not destroy the church because from that spot where he set foot only a stained glass window can be seen.
- Odeonsplatz: This square is very close to the Residenz (a building that can also be visited) and the Hofgarten.
- Hofbrauhaus: A brewery worth visiting. They don't serve the best food, nor the cheapest, and the waiters may be the most unfriendly in all of Munich, but if you want to go sightseeing you should go in for a couple of minutes. Inside, there's usually a band playing music, nice ceiling decorations, and mugs stored in lockers belonging to groups of friends who spend a lot of time in the establishment.
- Kaufinger Strasse: Which translates to the shopping street and is quite true to its name. If you want to go shopping, there are a number of shops here, although there are also several shopping centres scattered throughout the city.
English Garden. Source: Pixabay.com
- Englischer Garten: One of the largest urban gardens in the world (they say it's even bigger than Central Park). It's a lovely place to take a stroll if you're in the mood for nature in the city. Three recommended stops are: Monopteros, the Chinese pagoda and the man-made wave at the beginning of the park where people surf! Another interesting stop is the jetty at the lake inside the park. If you're travelling with a dog, this is a great place to visit and will become a favourite spot.
- Nymphenburg Schloss: An eye-catching palace that sits right in front of a canal. You can visit it or just enjoy the gardens and watch geese, swans, ducks and seagulls, free of charge.
- Olympiapark: The Munich Olympic Park is another interesting area to visit in Munich. Built for the 1972 Olympic Games, is another good place to stop for a stroll. Inside the Olympic Stadium you can go zip-lining (paid activity)!
- Olympic Tower: This television tower became a distinctive symbol of the city. Nowadays , you can visit and climb to the top. It is a paid activity and has a revolving restaurant at an altitude of 181 metres. Open up if you're going to climb all the way to the top, the views are breathtaking!
- BMW Museum and BMW Welt: The former has an entrance fee and the latter is free, and both are located within Munich's Olympic Park. If you're really interested in the history of BMW, you'd be better off going to the museum and even to both sites if you have the time. BMW Welt is an exhibition of the latest models that can be viewed in about half an hour.
- Allianz Stadium: The stadium of football team FC Bayern, which can be visited inside if you pay a ticket. It's lit from the outside and changes colour, so if you're looking down on Munich at night you'll be able to spot it easily.
- Museums: Several museums in Munich cost as little as €1 on Sundays!
- Alte Utting: Located at Lagerhausstrasse 15, this is a boat perched on top of a bridge. It's actually a bar inside, an interesting visit if you want a different experience.
- Walk through Perlacher Forst: Another great green space in Munich, located in the south of the city, is the Perlach Forest. You can rent a bike from the MVG company and take a ride through the trees.
- Westpark: Located in the west of the city, another green space where you can take a relaxing stroll. If you visit it, I recommend having a drink at the curious café "Gans am Wasser".
- Cat Café Katzentempel: A café where you can spend time with cats (Turkenstrasse 29). I recommend coming here first thing in the morning so you can see the cats because they wander around the tables and at that time they're not napping. The entire menu is vegan and they have delicious breakfasts.
- Bathing in the Isar River (in summer): It's usually cool even in summer. The "Flaucher" area of Munich is a good place to take a dip in the river. It's common to see people on the banks of the Isar sunbathing, even sailing in inflatable boats.
Oktoberfest in Theresienwiese. Source: Pexels.com
- Oktoberfest! Of course, the biggest beer festival in the world. It lasts for two weeks and it doesn't start in October but in September. Attractions, stalls and tents from various breweries are set up on the Theresienwiese exhibition grounds. If you're going to try this once-in-a-lifetime experience and you're in a larger or smaller group, I recommend booking a table in advance. If there are only two or three of you, don't worry, you're bound to find a table during the day - people at the Oktoberfest become more sociable.
- Extra plans on Groupon: If you're still hungry for more, the Groupon app also works in Munich and offers all kinds of plans. You can also use the app to find nearby offers to make the most of your time.
All these plans and many more are waiting for you in the capital of Bavaria. Of course, its surroundings also offer interesting options, which is why I have published another post what to do around Munich and Bavaria. Also don't miss the post about where to eat or drink in Munich and where to party. Did you like it? Don't hesitate to comment on any other places in Munich that are among your favourites.