Munich, Germany’s third largest city, is renowned for its outstanding architecture, culture and annual Oktoberfest beer celebration.
With a picturesque setting on the banks of the Isar River, Munich’s more easygoing atmosphere feels different from the rest of the country. Called the “Scotland of Germany,” it appears more accessible than many big cities, such as Berlin.
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The birthplace of Louis IV, Munich has had centuries to transform itself into one of Germany’s most culturally inspiring destinations. Its futuristic-looking Olympic Park, built for the 1972 Olympic Games, still stands.
The city also hosts one of the world’s biggest parties each year: Oktoberfest, the annual toast to beer and tradition which draws over six million people to Munich each September and October.
Bavaria and Munich are steeped in natural beauty, quaint villages, extensive cultural opportunities and gracious hospitality. Whether touring the BMW Museum or relaxing with some beer and bratwurst on the lawns of the Englischer Garten, vacationers will find something for every taste and budget in Germany’s third largest city.
What To Do
Visit Munich during mid to late September or early October, and there’s one thing you (and about six million other international travelers) must do - attend Oktoberfest, the world’s largest folk festival. You’ll also want to visit the Englischer Garten, a large park at the center of the city, any time of year.
Explore some of the 28,000 exhibited pieces of the Deutsches Museum, the world's largest museum of science and technology. In case that isn’t enough, rev up your imagination at the bowl-shaped BMW Museum with its unique four-cylinder tower and a grand display of cars and motorcycles.
Feeling athletic? Visit Olympiapark, home to the 1972 Olympics, with its futuristic dome and public ice rink, indoor pool and more.
What To See
An enduring symbol of Bavaria’s capital city, the Frauenkirche church is the seat of the Archbishop of Munich and Freising.
Visit the impressive Nymphenburg Palace, a Baroque palace that served as a summer residence for the former Bavarian rulers belonging to the House of Wittelsbach.
Wander through the historic buildings of Munich’s central plaza, Marienplatz (Mary’s Square). View the impressive Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) and the Mariensäule, a gilded statue of the Virgin Mary.
The glowing lights, giant trees and festive atmosphere of Munich’s popular Christmas markets are worth a visit between the end of November to Christmas Eve each year. Throughout the year, the pedestrian zone between Marienplatz and Karlsplatz (called Stachus) is one of Munich’s most vibrant shopping areas. Maximilianstraße Boulevard is Munich’s most exclusive shopping area. You’ll discover a delightful array of smaller boutiques, cafes, and pubs in the student quarter and Schwabing district, the center of Munich’s creative community since the early 20th century.
Experience the biggest party in Europe each fall at Oktoberfest. During the rest of the year, you’ll find a wide range of beer gardens to raise a glass or three. Visit one of Germany’s most renowned beer halls in Old Town, the Hofbräuhaus, founded in the late 16th century. You’ll also find plenty of pubs and clubs to chat up the locals and celebrate nights out on the town.
Munich With Kids
Relax amid the sprawling Englischer Garten, a grand urban oasis in the middle of Munich with paddle boats, a playground for the kids and beer gardens for the adults.
Explore the numerous interactive displays at the Deutsches Museum. You’ll find an entire floor devoted to youngsters with water play, swings and a fire truck made entirely out of LEGO blocks.
Off the Beaten Path
Visit the Neuschwanstein Castle, the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland, outside Munich. Float down the river Isar on a large wooden raft, from Wolfratshausen near Munich while savoring a glass of beer and traditional Bavarian music.
Food and Drink
The apparent food choices in Munich would be German beer, bratwurst, and soft, oversized pretzels. Less obvious options include Leberkässemmel (meatloaf in a bun), creamy Kässpätzle (cheese spätzle), Bavarian slow roasted pork loin and heavenly, multi-layered chocolate cake, called Prinzregententorte (Prince Regent’s cake).
In Munich, vacationers will find an endless array of dining options, from high-end restaurants to casual bistros serving up authentic German, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, and Ethiopian food.