The most Beautiful Places to Visit in Munich

Munich is widely regarded as the heart of beer culture and brewing mastery, a reputation that extends well beyond Europe’s borders. Aficionados of ‘barley juice’ can confirm this by sampling offerings in one of the bustling beer tents at the renowned Oktoberfest or in a summertime beer garden. Besides its brewing artistry, Munich is also home to architectural masterpieces, including Baroque and Renaissance-style churches and grand castles dating from the 12th to 18th centuries. Many of these attractions are centrally located, easily accessible on foot or by bicycle.

1. Start Your Day at Marienplatz

Dating back to the early 12th century, Marienplatz is now a bustling hub in Munich’s city center. Numerous hotels are situated near Marienplatz. This medieval square, with its Gothic structures, stone gargoyles, and the central Marian column, offers ample photographic opportunities. If you’re there at 11 a.m., 12 p.m., or 5 p.m., head to the square’s northern side to witness the town hall’s glockenspiel show, featuring motor-driven figures of dancers and jousters. During winter, a vibrant Christmas market, known as “Christkindlmarkt,” begins here three weeks before Christmas.

2. Don’t Miss: Munich Residence

The Munich Residenz, an extensive and impressive palace complex, stands as one of Bavaria’s most significant architectural marvels. Visitors can spend hours exploring its numerous 14th-century buildings, courtyards, and gardens. The complex includes 130 rooms with a museum, a two-story court chapel, an ancestral gallery, a treasury, and a banquet hall. These rooms are often lavishly adorned with antique furniture, frescoes, and tapestries from the Renaissance, Neoclassical, and Baroque periods. From Marienplatz, it’s a short one-kilometer walk to the Residence, with accommodation options available in the vicinity.

3. Shopping on Maximilianstrasse

Maximilianstrasse, established in 1850 by King Maximilian II of Bavaria, is a mere five-minute walk from Marienplatz. Today, it’s an exclusive shopping boulevard lined with luxury jewelers, 5-star hotels, and art galleries, also featuring fine dining restaurants and cafés often offering views of the street’s Neo-Gothic buildings. Even if designer goods aren’t your primary interest, the street offers sightseeing opportunities including the Bavarian State Parliament and the State Museum of Ethnology.

4. Don’t Miss: German Museum

The Deutsches Museum on the Isar River promises exciting hours with its fascinating scientific and technical exhibits. Spanning six floors over 70,000 square meters, it features interactive displays, laboratories, and live demonstrations. The Hall of Honor pays tribute to renowned scientists and Nobel laureates like Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, Max Planck, and Otto Hahn. Among the many activities, the museum offers a workshop on isolating your own DNA, conducted on select Saturdays at 3 p.m.

5. Relax in the English Garden

The English Garden, an 18th-century city park at Munich’s heart, spans over 50,000 square meters. It’s a favored spot for relaxation and activities like jogging and cycling. Among its highlights is the 25-meter-high Chinese Tower, surrounded by Munich’s second-largest beer garden, offering about 7,000 seats. At the park’s southern end lies an island housing an authentic Japanese tea house, where visitors can partake in traditional tea ceremonies. Nearby accommodation is plentiful. On warm days, Schönfeldwiese, a green area adjacent to the Japanese tea house, often hosts sunbathing nudists—a common summer sight. If you’re feeling adventurous, you might even join in.

6. BMW Museum

At the BMW Museum, over 100 models from the renowned automobile manufacturer are on display, including motorcycles, sports cars, and commercial vehicles. The museum itself features a futuristic design, resembling a silver bowl, with its flat roof and the BMW logo visible from many high-rise buildings in Munich. Directly adjacent to the museum is BMW Welt, an innovative exhibition space showcasing the latest vehicle models. Guided tours, available in both English and German, run from 10:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

7. Don’t Miss: Asam Church

Constructed in the 18th century by sculptor Egid Quirin Asam and his brother, painter Cosmas Damian Asam, the Asam Church on Sendlinger Strasse is a prime example of Baroque architecture in Germany. It features carvings of putti and angels, gilded columns, and relics secured behind wrought iron gates. A key attraction is the grand ceiling fresco depicting the life of Saint Nepomuk. The Asam Church welcomes the public for both viewing and religious services. However, to avoid the crowds, it is advisable to visit early in the morning.

8. End the Day in Munich’s Renowned Beer Halls and Gardens

Munich’s legendary beer halls are the perfect place to relax and enjoy a beer or two. Many of these establishments brew their own beer and serve traditional regional snacks, including bratwurst and pretzels. The Hofbräuhaus, established in 1589 as the Royal Brewery of the Kingdom of Bavaria, is one of Munich’s most famous beer halls. In the summer, people often gather at communal tables in beer gardens, which are abundant throughout Munich’s districts.

9. Snack at Viktualienmarkt

Dating back to 1823, Viktualienmarkt is one of Munich’s oldest shopping areas and a historic market square. Its landmark is a colorful maypole adorned with figures in traditional costumes. The market’s approximately 140 stalls offer a wide array of goods, from fresh meat, fish, and seafood to fruits, handcrafted cheese, wine, and sausage. Attached to the market is an open-air beer garden where visitors can enjoy a cold beer and traditional snacks. Most Viktualienmarkt stalls close at 6pm on weekdays and 3pm on Saturdays, so visiting in the morning is recommended to experience the full bustle. For a convenient stay, consider booking a hotel near Viktualienmarkt.

10. Enjoy Apple Strudel

Apple strudel, with its crispy puff pastry filled with spiced apples and topped with powdered sugar, may have originated in Austria, but is widely enjoyed in Munich. Many cafés and markets in the city serve it with various accompaniments such as ice cream, vanilla sauce, or egg cream. Café Arzmiller, located in the courtyard of the Theatinerkirche, has been a popular spot for apple strudel and coffee among locals since 1948.

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