Munich City Guide

The capital of Bavaria, Munich maintains it’s old world charm. Prost with a stein in a beer garden, take a day trip to the fairytale castle of Neushwanstein and climb St. Peter’s Church for a birds eye view of the city. 

Our first trip to Munich was in the Spring when the parks were bustling with bikes and sun bathers and the beer gardens were in full swing! My second trip in December was much different since it was filled with hot mulled wine and endless Christmas decorations.  Whatever time you find yourself in this city, check out our list of must-do’s below:

Marienplatz

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The main plaza in Munich is called Marienplatz. It’s got some amazing views of the City Hall building and surrounding churches. Depending on the time of year you visit, there are occasionally markets or events happening here. When I visited in December it was home to one of the bigger Christmas Markets!

  • Cost: Free
  • Estimated time needed: 30 minutes

Museum of Technology

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The Museum of Technology (aka Deutsches Museum) is the largest science museum in Europe. I have yet to visit this museum myself but a few of my travel companions were able to make it when I was sick but they reported good things.  Their number one recommendation was that there are a lot of exhibits to see so plan your time accordingly! 

Residence Palace 

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From the outside, Residence Palace isn’t particularly alluring but I highly recommend touring the inside. Not only is it massive, with an endless expanse of rooms to visit, it’s one of the most detailed palaces I’ve ever visited.  We spent almost the entire afternoon exploring both the Palace and the treasury. You can’t purchase your tickets online ahead of time, only at the ticket counter. (Residence Palace is not the only royal home in Munich. You can also visit the gardens of Nymphenburg Palace while in the city as well).

  • Cost: €7 – 11
  • Reserve spots online here: Residence Palace
  • Estimated time needed: 2-3 hours

St. Peter’s Church

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View of Marienplatz from St. Peter’s Church Tower

You can climb to the top of St. Peter’s Church for an amazing 360 view of Munich from above. (It’s 229 steps to the top with no elevator, so be prepared to climb!) For more information on their hours, click here.

  • Cost: €3
  • Estimated time needed: 1 hour

German Festivals

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Munich is well known for it’s festivals, parties and markets! Depending on the time of year you find yourself visiting Munich, you may be able to catch some going on. For example, from late November to the end of December you can visit the various Christmas markets throughout the city.

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If you visit Munich in September, you can celebrate the famous Oktoberfest with a stein of beer! Even in the Spring they have a smaller, similar festival called Springfest. The Tollwood Festival grounds hosts a lot of these festivals so I would check out there website here to see what will be happening while you’re in Munich.

  • Cost: Free
  • Estimated time needed: All day

English Garden

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Arguably the most famous park in the city, the English Garden is a beautiful place for a picnic, bike ride or beer when visiting Munich in the nicer weather. It is known for being one of the world’s largest urban parks. The English Garden is also home to Munich’s second largest beer garden so it’s definitely the perfect spot to spend an afternoon.

  • Cost: Free
  • Estimated time needed: 1-2 hours

Neuschwanstein Castle

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Although this is technically not in Munich, about 2 hours from the city you can find the fairytale Nueschwanstein castle. It’s worth the day trip if you are in Munich to see one of the castle’s that inspired Walt Disney. With the Bayern Ticket, you can travel round trip from Munich to Füssen and from there you can catch a short 10 minute bus ride to the town of Hohenschwangau. Nueschwanstein Castle isn’t the only castle in this town. You can also tour the inside of Hohenschwangau, the older of the two castles. I recommend purchasing your tickets in advance online, since the lines can be very long and tickets do sell out.

  • Cost: €23 / €25 (all day Bayern train ticket)
  • Reserve spots online here: Neuschwanstein Tickets
  • Estimated time needed: 3-4 hours

Visit a beer Garden

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If you find yourself in Munich during the warmer weather, you should do as the locals do and find a nice beer garden to soak up the sun in. You’ll be able to find them around the city but one of the best is in the English Garden.  If you are there in colder weather, I recommend visiting a traditional beer hall like Augustiner’s or Haufbrauhaus. It will give you the same traditional German experience as a beer garden, but without the cold.

  • Cost: €10 (for a large beer)
  • Estimated time needed: 1-2 hours

Day trip to Nuremberg

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View of Nuremberg from the Imperial Castle

If you have enough time, Nuremberg, Germany is only a 1.5 hour train ride from Munich and worth the trip. They have their own castle over looking the city, a museum where you can learn about the historic Nuremberg trials and a stunning cathedral in the center of the city. If you are interested in history- this city has got loads! The Bayern Ticket will also get you round trip to and from here.

  • Cost: €25 (all day Bayern train ticket)
  • Reserve spots online here:
  • Estimated time needed: All day

Day trip to Salzburg

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Although I would argue that Salzburg deserves it’s own independent visit (stay tuned for a city guide), you can very easily take a day trip from Munich to this charming Austrian city. It takes about two hours and you can use the Bayern Ticket (even though you are traveling outside of Bavaria).  There is a medieval fortress on top of the hill, the house where Mozart lived and a very quaint, walkable old town. Not to mention, it’s the filming location for the Sound of Music so you can pretend to be Julie Andrews and sing do-re-mi in Mirabel Gardens! (On our last trip there, we actually did a Sound of Music tour which I would highly recommend).

  • Cost: €25 (all day Bayern train ticket)
  • Estimated time needed: All day

Dachau Memorial

Only 30 minutes by train from Munich city center, you can visit the memorial for Dachau concentration camp. It is very somber and humbling experience but I would recommend it to anyone visiting this region. On our trip we learned that Dachau was technically the first concentration camp in Germany and spent 12 years open before US troops liberated more than 30,000 prisoners. It’s free to visit and you can take the train to Dachau from Munich. At Dachau station there is a bus that brings you directly to the memorial site for only a few euros.

  • Cost: Free (€4 for audio guide)
  • Estimated time needed: 3-4 hours

Accommodation

Our first trip to Germany we rented a room at someone’s apartment through Airbnb. It was walking distance to some things and easily accessible through public transportation. For the girls trip to Germany to see the Christmas markets, we rented a two bedroom apartment through Airbnb. This was near a metro and tram stop, as well as across the street from the loveliest bakery (where we had breakfast almost every morning).

Munich Travel Tips

  • Transportation
    • Public transportation is key to getting around Munich
    • Bayern Tickets: for long distance journeys (such as to Neuschwanstein, Nuremburg or Salzburg) you can purchase a ticket for €25 euros per person
    • This is an all day pass
    • You can also add travelers to your tickets for €6 more per person (up to 4 people) which makes it an even better deal if you are traveling with 2-3 other people
    • For more information check out the details here: Regional Day Tickets
    • Metro / tram tickets: for getting around Munich for the day for €8 per person which grants you unlimited use within certain zones.
  • Tipping
    • 5%-10% for good service
    • Tipping is not as prominent in Germany as it is in the US because service workers get paid a living wage
  • Weather
    • The winters are cold and the summers are moderate in most of Germany
    • If you plan to visit during the Christmas markets – hats, gloves, scarves and boots are a must!
      • Winter: 20-40 F
      • Summer: 50-75 F
  • General
    • If you are planning to travel to Munich for Oktoberfest, you’ll want to book things in advance since many Airbnbs and other accommodations sell out quickly
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Munich has all the old world Bavarian charm you could need when visiting Southern Germany. With fairytale castles, beer gardens and festive celebrations, there’s no doubt Munich should be high on your list for a Euro trip!

Auf Wiedersehen, Amanda

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Last edited: April 2020


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