Hello again! This past December, I took my second trip to Munich so I thought it was time I share the best things to do in this city as part of my City Guide series. 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:
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!
Museum of Technology
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! Tickets cost 14 euros per person. For information on hours and visiting, click here.
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. It costs 7 euros per person to visit the Palace only but a combined ticket to see the treasury is just 11 euros! For more information about visiting, click here. (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).
St. Peter’s Church
For just 3 euros, 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.
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. 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.
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.
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. To purchase a ticket to visit both, it costs around 23 euros and both tours are guided. I recommend purchasing your tickets in advance online here since the lines can be very long and tickets do sell out.
Visit a beer Garden
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.
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.
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).
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.
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