The city of Munich, Germany has a lot to offer visitors whether you plan to spend a couple of days or a long period there.
As the third largest city in Germany and the capital of Bavaria, Munich is overflowing with rich culture and tradition from both the German and Bavarian states.
Take a Walking Tour
One of the best ways to get to know the layout of the city is by taking a walking tour. There are a number of walking tours in the city with both free and paid options.
I took Sandemans free walking tour, which provided me with a lot of information and history on the history of Munich. In addition, I was given some suggestions for great places to check out while I was in the city.
Take a Bus Tour
A great and fast way to get a feel for a layout of Munich while hitting all of the city’s main attractions is to take a hop-on-hop-off bus tours.
There are a couple of companies that operated in Munich and I took my tour with Gray Line sightseeing.
Visit the Michael Jackson Memorial
Michael Jackson is well loved in Munich. So well loved that there is a huge memorial to him on the statue of Renaissance composer Orlando di Lasso. He is forever immortalized on the base of this statue and visited by numerous adoring fans each day.
Practical Information | Michael Jackson Memorial – Promenadepl. 2-6, 80333 München
Even though many claim that the Hofbrauhaus beer hall is touristy, I really enjoyed it and ended up visiting it twice while I was in the city.
Many people only end up visiting the bottom level of the hall, but there are three levels in which you can partake in trying the famous German beer. The bottom level of the hall is open to everyone and is where most videos and pictures of the hall are shot. The second level has a restaurant and is more laid back than the first level and has both indoor and outdoor seating. The top level has both private rooms where and events are held, and a large hall that usually reserved for large tour groups and events.
Insider Tip: The less-visited and cleanest bathrooms in the building are located on the third floor behind the stage. They can be accessed via the rear or the front staircases.
Practical Information | Hofbrauhaus – Platzl 9, 80331 München
Enjoy the Beer Culture
The culture of Germany, and Munich in particular, is deeply rooted in and around beer. The city is full of beer gardens, with many of them even having playgrounds for children!
The city of Munich is also known worldwide for hosting the very famous Oktoberfest every fall when millions of people descend upon the city from around the world to drink beer for days and days on end.
Stroll through the Englische Garten
Created in the late 18th century, the man-made Englische Garten in Munich is full of a lot of interesting things like geese, swans, open fields, beer gardens, and even surfing!
The garden is one of the largest in the world and is even larger than New York City’s Central Park! It is definitely a place that you must visit during your time in Munich!
Practical Information | Englische Garten – U-Bahn/S-Bahn Stop: Marienplatz
Photograph the City at Night
Munich is quite lovely (and quiet) at night. You can stroll through neighborhoods such as Schwabing, a bohemian neighborhood with a lot of restaurants and cafes, or Innenstadt, the central area of the city where you can visit some of the beer gardens and see the famous Marienplatz.
Visit Schloss Nymphenburg
Schloss Nymphenburg (Nymphenburg Palace) is a beautiful baroque palace built in the late 17th century by Ferdinand Maria and Henriette Adelaide of Savoy.
The palace became a summer residence for Bavarian rulers and is famous for being both the birthplace of King Ludwig II and the place whereKing Max I Joseph died. Although it is still used by the current Bavarian ruler, a portion of the grounds are open to the general public.
Practical Information | Schloss Nymphenburg – Schloß Nymphenburg 1, 80638 München
Attend the Tollwood Festival
The Tollwood Festival is an organic cultural festival that occurs two times per year: in the summer and in the winter. The festival focuses on two things: providing natural and organic foods to attendees and bringing international cultural awareness to Munich through music, exhibits, and food.
Attend a Cultural Event
One of my favorite experiences in Munich was attending the cultural event ‘Tanzboden‘ with Munich locals. Tanzboden, literally translating to dance hall (or dance floor), is a traditional Bavarian dance event where dance masters teach traditional dances to participants.
Know before you go: This particular event caters to the locals, and you will not find any tourists here or find it advertised in any language other than German. It is meant solely for participating in and not for photographing or spectating.
If you are interested in cultural events to participate in during your stay, contact the Tourism Board or check out sites such as Couchsurfing.com, Meetup.com, or Yelp.com.
Travel to Dachau
Dachau, the first Nazi concentration camp in Germany is a day trip that should be added to your itinerary. It is one thing to read about it in history and guide books, and another thing entirely to experience it in person.
As George Santayana said in 1905, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It is important to not only learn about a terrible time in history, but to also learn from it to make sure that nothing like it happens again in the future.
Leave the Guidebook Behind
Some of the best adventures or experiences that you might have will happen when you least expect them to. By getting in contact with the local tourism board or reading local (or international) travel blogs, you can find a lot of unique activities that generally are not listed in any guidebook.
When I visited Munich, I was informed of a small local street festival that was occurring in the city. I made the decision to attend at the last minute and I was so glad that I did. It turns out that the festival was only known to people who lived in the neighborhood and so many people were very interested in talking to me, an outsider, who ended up at the event. In addition to meeting a local celebrity, I also got the chance to chat with a few locals, and I was even invited to a nearby house party.
You never know what kind of experiences you have when you go off-the-beaten-path, so I highly recommend exploring a city beyond the guidebook.
Visit Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein is the famous German castle that is said to have inspired the Disney castle. It was also featured in the opening scene of one of my favorite childhood movies ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’.
Visiting the castle is quite easy and can be done either independently or with a tour group. I chose to use Sandemans for the ‘NEW Munich Neuschwanstein Tour‘ which made my visit to the castle both seamless and informative.
Try a Live-Exit Game
While I was in Munich, I played a live-exit game called HintQuest where my teammates and I had to escape from a locked room within 60 minutes. The game was a giant puzzle that we had to solve in order to be able to get out of the room, and I thought it was a really unique and interesting thing to do during my stay.
Eat German & Bavarian Food
No trip to Munich (or anywhere for that matter) would be complete without eating the food.
We all know how big I am on eating, and Germany is a great place to eat your heart out. In Munich you can find everything from the traditional weißwurst and pretzels to sauerkraut to schnitzel.
Visit an Art Museum
Munich has a large number of museums to visit ranging from art dating back to the middle ages to modern art. My two favorite museums were the Pinakothek der Moderne and the Lenbachhaus, which were both modern art museums.
Every Sunday, the entry to all state-run museums is €1.
Have you ever visited Munich?
A special thank you to the Munich Tourism Board, Gray Line, HintQuest Munich, Tollwood and Hofbrauhaus for your assistance during my stay in Munich! As always, all opinions are my own.