Munich, Munchen, Minga or “Home of The Monks” is the largest Bavarian city situated on the edge of the Alps, along the Isar River. There are two sides to Munich. The compact traditional city center is the core of the atmospheric beer halls, beautiful architecture and traditional German hospitality (also known as gemütlichkeit). In contrast, the modern side is a testament to technology and innovation, showcasing the rise of the city since its traditional days. If you’re looking for things to do in Munich get ready to explore the best of both worlds. Drink some beer, eat plenty of Weißwürste, explore Munich’s fascinating culture and witness the German efficiency at its finest.
GUEST POST BY ROMI R.
Best time to visit Munich
There is a wide variety of things to see in Munich all year-round. Summer is the perfect time to engage in local activities such as drinking beer in beer gardens, swimming or hiking in the Alps with moderate prices of accommodation. Munich is famous for Oktoberfest so if you want to visit the famous beer festival, come to Munich in September.
Oktoberfest was originally held in October, however, the warmer weather was a factor in the newer September date. The weather is just as warm as in the summer! The city is bustling with over six million tourists each year who all agree Oktoberfest is the best time to visit Munich. Although, the prices of food and accommodation are quite high.
If you don’t mind the cold, Christmas is a great time to visit Munich. The city is packed with Christmas markets offering gluhwein (mulled wine) and traditional food. The cost of accommodation is the lowest, but you might have to endure low temperatures.
A few facts about Munich
- Some Bavarians refer to Munich as “Minga” (emphasis on the i) which means “Home of The Monks”. The name dates back to 1150 when Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, built a bridge over the river Isar next to a settlement of Benedictine monks. Shortly after the monks established a market in a city we all know as Munich.
- Everyone knows about the bavarian beer, but what many don’t is that it’s so famous when king Gustav invaded Bavaria he agreed to leave Munich in peace if the citizens surrender barrels of Hofbräu beer!
- Munich left an impact on Jimi Hendrix, so much so that he smashed his first guitar in a live performance at the Big Apple Club.
One Day in Munich Itinerary
Follow this guide and make the best of your trip even if you’re short on time. Munich is a compact city with a flawless transportation system. It is best to use that to your advantage and opt-out of the hop-on-hop-off buses. These are the top things to see in Munich in one day.
Start Your Day With a Typical Bavarian Breakfast
The central Munich square is in a perfect location for the start of an action-packed day but before you get there, have something to eat. For 10€ the Deutsche Bahn Regional takes you from Munich Airport straight to Marienplatz in just 30 minutes. If you want to spend a night in a convenient location you can check in to Mercure Alstad Hotel located just a three-minute walk from the Marienplatz. Once you’re checked in, you can indulge in one of the top things to do in Munich.
Try Weißwurst Frühstück – white sausage breakfast with sweet mustard and a pretzel, all topped with a Weissbier. Try Schneider Bräuhaus known for the best Bavarian beer and breakfast in the area. Definitely a must on your Munich itinerary!
Experience The Clock Tower Performance at Marienplatz
Once you have satisfied your appetite head to the magnificent Marienplatz.
The first thing that catches the eye is grand New City Hall (Neues Rathaus) and its neo-gothic facade. After you capture the perfect photo, peek into the New City Hall courtyard to get away from the crowds!
The golden angel column found in the center was built to commemorate the end of the Swedish occupation while to your East you will find Old City Hall (Altes Rathaus). The New City Hall’s clock tower is famous for its captivating performance at 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. (and 5 p.m. in the summer). Definitely check it out! Marienplatz is surrounded by beautiful churches. St. Peter’s Church, Heiliggeistkirche and Frauenkirche are all nearby and worth seeing.
Shop at Neuhauser Straße, Kaufingerstraße or Victuals Market
Head west from Marienplatz and in just two minutes you will reach one of the oldest streets in Munich – Kaufingerstraße. While you’ll find multiple stores on the main street, check the passageways for interesting shops and unique finds! Keep walking west for another two minutes and you will reach Neuhauser Straße. The largest pedestrian zone in Munich offers a variety of stores and street vendors selling fruits, vegetables or souvenirs. You can snack and people watch before you head to Karlsplatz.
If you’re in search of a nice local market, Victuals Market or Viktualienmarkt is a short walk from Marienplatz. It is a 200-year-old farmer’s market packed with local products and interesting finds.
Keep walking west from Neuhauser Straße and in two minutes you will reach Karlsplatz, locally known as Stachus. Karlsplatz is a popular meeting point in Munich. Even if you’re just looking to see how the city breathes, Karlsplatz is one of the top things to see in Munich. Once you’re at Karlsplatz you will notice the large city wall gates “Karlstor” and the grand Palace of Justice also known as Justizpalast. Stop for an Instagram update before heading to your next destination.
Visit The Munich Residenz
Walk from Karlsplatz and enjoy the stunning views before reaching The Munich Residenz. On your short walk, you will pass by the statue of the Roman god Neptune – Neptunbrunnen as well as a Max-Joseph-Platz square (Maximilian Square or Maximiliansplatz). Finally, you will reach The Munich Residenz – The Royal Palace of Bavaria.
The huge epic palace built in the year 1385 is one of the most captivating things to see in Munich. The lavish interior has rooms in the renaissance, baroque and neoclassical styles. On certain days visitors can enjoy a classical concert or a market! A combination ticket for the residence and the museum costs around 14€.
Have a Beer And Lunch in The Englisch Garten
The Englisch Garden or The English Garden is the largest park in Munich. Larger than Central Park in New York or Hyde Park in London! While the name Englisch Garten suggests it has something to with England it’s quite international.
You can find a Japanese tea house, a Greek temple, and a Chinese pagoda. Mass selection of attractions and the divine nature make the English Garden one of the most popular places for visitors and locals.
In the summer months, people tend to go fully nude – you’ve been warned! Once you’ve had enough of the walking, stop by one of the many beer gardens and have lunch. Our favorite is the restaurant and beer garden at the Chinese Tower.
Head to Olympia Park and The BMW Museum
Once you’re ready to leave the English Garden head to the U-Bahn Giselastraße station and take the 10 min ride on the U3 to Olympiazentrum station.
If you have time, head to the BMW museum. It’s open until 6 pm and the admission is around 10€. Even if you’re not a car lover the fascinating exhibition of history, BMW cars, and motorcycles, is worth the time.
On a short walk from the BMW Museum, you will find the Olympia Park. Constructed for the 1976 winter Olympics it’s still home to all the major events. You can visit the Rock Museum or the Munich Walk of Stars. Check out the sunset over Munich and the Alps from the Olympia tower – one of the highest towers in Europe.
Finish Your Day With A Beer At Hofbräuhaus
After a long day of sightseeing the best way to end it, is with, again, a beer! Hop back on the U-Bahn to Marienplatz and take the short walk to Hofbräuhaus. The gorgeous 3-floor beer hall has a Bavarian restaurant, live shows, and a typical upbeat Bavarian vibe.
You can try Obatzda (cheese dip), and sausages such as Bratwurst and Weisswurst. Of course, the key is to have German beer. If you’re in Munich during Oktoberfest, Hofbräuhaus is one of the busiest attractions too, so you’ll get to meet beer lovers from all over the world.
Party Until The Sun Comes Out
If you have the time and energy, Munich has a fabulous nightlife. Those in the mood for techno can give Harry Klein near Karlsplatz a try. If you’re in Munich during April they do a “Marry Klein” month where they host only female DJs. If you want to finish your night off and not have to worry about the long distance to your hotel, a great and affordable place to stay near Harry Klein is the Euro Youth Hotel. Gärtnerplatz and Glockenbachviertel are the best areas in Munich for alternative crowds. You can choose from many bars and clubs according to your music taste.
Where to stay in Munich, Germany
When choosing accommodation for one day it’s important to make the most out of your time. There are hotels near Franz Josef Strauss Airport for travelers with early flights, but the best accommodation in Munich is in the city center.
Best Hotels Near Franz Josef Strauss Airport
Soller Business Hotel
Lilienthalstr. 1-3, 85399 Hallbergmoos
Just a 10 min drive (or a 20 min S-Bahn ride) from Franz Josef Strauss Airport in Munich, Soller Business Hotel is a favorite stopover for most visitors. The wellness area with steam, sauna and relaxation room is the perfect place to relax for a night between your trips.
Hauptstrasse 11, 85399 Hallbergmoos
Located in a perfect position, a 15-minute drive from the airport, but only a 25 min S-Bahn ride to the downtown core. Hotel Daniels is the best choice for an overnight layover that allows travelers to get much-needed rest, yet it’s still close to the Munich city center. Travelers love the comfortable beds and helpful staff!
Best Hotels Near Munich City Center
Hotel Deutsche Eiche
Reichenbachstr. 13, Ludwigsvorstadt, 80469 Munich
The Deutsche Eiche focus is on the gay community, but everyone is welcome to stay! Every morning the hotel serves a classic Bavarian buffet breakfast while at night you can enjoy the spectacular views from the rooftop terrace. The 24/7 reception staff is always ready to help and the guests particularly enjoy the central location.
Mercure Alstad Hotel
Hotterstr. 4, Altstadt-Lehel, 80331 Munich
The ideal Marienplatz location combined with clean, sleek and modern interior is the winning factor for the visitors of the Mercure Alstad Hotel. The number of shops, restaurants, and bars in the area are ideal for travelers wishing to explore Munich, but short on time. You don’t even have to leave the neighborhood!
Euro Youth Hotel
Senefelderstr. 5, Ludwigsvorstadt, 80336 Munich
The best party place in Munich! Euro Youth Hotel is extremely affordable considering the location. It’s the best value in the city. The on-site bar has a daily happy hour. If you really want to save money (and spend it on beer) you can choose from one of the many dorm beds. The Hotel is near clubs, bars, and most of the major attractions.
Day trips from Munich
Neuschwanstein And Hohenschwangau Castle
When you’re a regular person and socially awkward you stare at the floor. When you’re a king, you build Neuschwanstein Castle. King Ludwig II (king of introverts, but also a real king) built the castle to escape the public in 1886. He only made one mistake. The castle is gorgeous and now everyone wants to see it. The day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich takes about an hour and a half of your time in each direction. The Neuschwanstein Castle ticket price is around 14€. Check out the other Hohenschwangau Castle, as they are very close to each other.
Dachau Memorial Site
A very important part of our history and a testament to what humans can endure, the Dachau memorial site is an eye-opening experience. The tours take you through the reconstructed cell-blocks decorated with photographs and documents. It is a sobering experience, but one that every person should see. The tickets range from 3€ to 30€, depending on your choice of a tour. Dachau is just a 30-minute drive from Munich.
Drive along the scenic German Alpine road, straight through a tunnel in the rocks to the Eagle Nest mountain peak. Eagle’s nest is a perfect mix of nature and history. You can take a bus or drive about two hours from Munich. You can buy tickets at the base station, they cost around 20€ for adults and 8€ for children, the elevator ride is included with your purchase.
Extra tips for visiting Munich
- Buy the Munich Card (different from Munich Pass!) – Munich pass will cost you around 40€. It buys you entrances to attractions and public transport. For someone looking to do the most in one day, it’s not that bad of a deal, but the Munich Pass is around 12€. It buys you unlimited public transport and 30% off attractions. If you’re going to see only two or three things, it’s much more worth it.
- Buy the Bayern Ticket – Especially for your day trips. You can spend the whole day exploring Bavaria for the price of a one-way ticket to any city. You can buy the Bayern transportation ticket at any red machine in any train station.
- You are allowed to bring your own food to a beer garden – People think that because you’re entering a bar, you’re not allowed to bring your own food. You are!
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Romi is a llama coach from Split, Croatia. This sounds made up but it’s true. She lived in Toronto, Canada for about ten years, give or take, but she wasn’t working with llamas. She was working in PR, restaurants, daycares, one yoga clothing store. She doesn't know how she got that job as she has never done yoga at that point. She taught English in Colombia and Vietnam. Traveled the world for two years. Then she got into writing. Actually, she was always writing, but then someone paid her to write. Then more people paid because they saw she was making them money. Then it became a thing she does for a living. And here we are now. Specializing in travel, real estate, and digital nomad guides, familiar with SEO, and always ready to learn something new so she can branch out and take over the world.