The city of Munich (located in Bavaria Germany) is a city nestled in between the Alps, with architecture and history that dates back hundreds and hundreds of year. This is a city that is often overlooked when people want to travel. Of course, there is a certain famous beer festival two weeks every year, but we think Munich has so much to offer above and beyond our favorite brews. From magical castles to the grandest palaces Germany has ever seen, there are some wonderful places in Munich that should not be overlooked.
With so much to offer, here are our suggestions for what to do in Munich Germany.
Wander round Marienplatz
Marienplatz is the square that stands in the center of Munich, and it’s a great starting point in which to get your bearings and have your first taste of the city. It’s been Munich’s main square since the 12th century, and even though the majority of the architecture has, of course, been replaced over the years since then, it is no less impressive. The beautiful old Gothic City Hall, built in the 17th century, steals the show in this square, and is one of the main reasons why so many people visit Marienplatz each year.
If you want to take another meander through one of Munich’s most famous area, why not stroll down Maximilianstrasse, one of Munich’s most renowned streets. This avenue is lined with trees and fabulous examples of architecture, from the National Theatre to the Upper Bavarian government buildings.
The west side of Maximilianstrasse is known for being a very high end part of Munich for shopping, with plenty of fancy boutiques and upmarket art galleries. Even if you can’t really afford anything from the shops down Maximilianstrasse, it’s a nice spot to walk down to feel the luxurious side of the city and see how the upper class of Munich live and shop.
Olympiapark or the English Garden
If you’re in the mood for finding a bit of green space in Munich, you won’t be too short on options. Built for the summer Olympic Games in 1972, the Olympiapark in Munich still remains as a functioning and enjoyable park to visit in the city. Sweeping views of the park show it as having little lakes dotted around, with trees, lawns, and footpaths running over the parks slightly undulating landscape. High tent-like structures stand tall above these scenes, and were once venues for the games but are now used for events and music concerts, amongst other things.
The English Garden, or ‘Englischer Garten’, is another great spot for finding some greenery in the city. It’s a huge park that spans from the city center, right up to the upper city limits in the north, spreading over an area of 3.7km2 and making is the world’s largest urban park (bigger than Central Park in New York City!).
There are a number of activities you can do in the park, from visiting the Japanese tea-house, to surfing on an artificial lake into which the creators pump waves for people to ride, or catching a show in the summer in the parks’ open air amphitheatre.
Day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle
One of the most famous sights to see in Munich is not actually in the city itself. Standing atop the Bavarian part of the Alps, just outside the city, is Neuschwanstein Castle, one of the most iconic castles in the world that mesmerizes visitors year after year. After being built earlier in the 19th century, the castle was opened to the public in 1886, and since then over 60 million people have visited Neuschwanstein.
It is thought that the castle was the inspiration for the castle in Disney’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’, and once you witnessed the beauty of Neuschwanstein you will definitely understand why. Simply seeing the castle from afar feels romantic in itself, but you really do feel like you’re walking through a fairy tale once you’re pottering through the castle grounds and take a peek into its beautiful interior.
Visit the Munich Residenz
The Munich Residenz used to be where the royal palaces were based in Munich, and the buildings that make up this complex, one of the largest city palaces in Germany, are some of the most stunning buildings in Munich. The first buildings were built in the mid-14th century, and the palace has been developed and built upon ever since.
There are plenty of examples here of Gothic architecture and classic Bavarian style design, so along with the architecture in Marienplatz, it’s a great place to see examples of Bavarian style over the centuries. The décor inside the palace walls and in the rooms is extremely grand and over the top, with gold plating on just about anything you can see, huge chandeliers that make you nervous to walk under, and delicate paintwork or flourishes tucked into every corner of the walls.
Take a trip to the Lakes
Nature lovers visiting Munich will be happy to hear that Bavaria is littered with a number of lakes that are easily reachable from the city center. As the temperatures begin to rocket towards the 30s in the summer, locals and tourists alike flock to the lakes to grab their little bit of Bavarian sunshine in a desperate attempt to feel like they’re sitting on a beach.
The nearest region of lakes to Munich is Fünfseenland, or Five Lakes Country, which is set in a glacial plain and is the easiest spot to escape to for some summer lake action.
Frauenkirche or ‘Cathedral of Our Dear Lady’ is the most famous cathedral in Munich and stands tall as an emblem of the city. Construction on the main cathedral began in the 15th century, making is yet another architectural marvel that transcends the ages. Here, you can take a hike up to the top of the towers and view the city from on high, as well as the surroundings Alps, a beautiful sight to behold.
What would a ‘top things to do in Munich’ list be without a mention of Oktoberfest? Even though this is a very seasonal suggestion and you’d be lucky to drop by Munich within the 16-day period that Oktoberfest is on each year, it still had to be included. As the world’s largest fair, it pulls in millions of people each year to drink and be merry, and is now replicated all over the world, from Ireland to Philadelphia.
On average, 7 million liters of beer are consumed in the giant tankards served up by busty barmaids in the classic Oktoberfest attire. If you find yourself in Europe in the fall, planning the majority of your trip around when Oktoberfest is on wouldn’t be a bad idea at all.
What would you add to this ‘must see’ list?
Photo credit – Frauenkirche