Munich (in German referred to as München) is one of Germany’s most popular destinations, and the capital city of the federal state of Bavaria. It is home to 1.4 million residents, making it the third largest city in Germany. It is situated at the river Isar in Southern Bavaria and is famous for its beautiful architecture, fine culture and of course the annual Oktoberfest beer festival.
Munich has pleasant summers and chilly winters. Even though it is a city of distinct seasons it rarely has dramatic temperature extremes. The summer months of June, July and August are typically warm and sunny but even then rarely move past the high 20 degree C. However rainfall is always a distinct possibility, so prepare accordingly. The summer months are a peak time for tourists, so plan accordingly. Spring and autumn tend to be pleasant times of the year to visit the city, with plenty of crisp, clear days and weather that is rarely too hot or too cold for wandering around on foot.
Snow is common in Munich during the winter months of December, January and February. Skiers can find mountain terrain within two hours drive of the city. December is a wonderful time to visit Munich, when the city’s public squares hold lively Christmas markets selling everything from handicrafts to delicious local food. To help keep you warm you’ll find vendors selling a wonderful, warming mug of spicy Gluehwein (mulled wine). Of course it wouldn’t be Germany without the stalls and tents selling beer.
Oktoberfest (which takes place throughout Germany), that loud and beer sodden festival, runs from the end of September and into early October. Oktoberfest is a major event in Munich, with much revelry in the streets and public squares of the city. You can expect a lot of music, dancing, eating and of course beer drinking.
There are many things to see and do in and around Munich, so we suggest a minimum of 3 – 4 days stay, although you still won’t see everything! We’ve created our “must-see” list.
Ludwig I who built the large square Königsplatz, in neo-classical style with Corinthian columns, now holds Ludwig’s vast collection of Greek and Roman antiquities.
The Glyptothek was commissioned by the Bavarian King Ludwig I to house his collection of Greek and Roman sculptures.
The Alte Pinakothek is situated in the Kunstareal and is one of the oldest and most important galleries in the world and houses one of the most famous collections of Old Master paintings. With more than 800 masterpieces by European artists the collection bring to life the development of art from the Middle Ages to the end of the Rococo period.
The Neue Pinakothek focuses on outstanding works of European art and sculptures of the 18th and 19th century and is one of the most important museums of art of the nineteenth century in the world. One focus is on the German art of the 19th century, which goes back to the private collection of King Ludwig I and is considered the most comprehensive of all. Works by Caspar David Friedrich highlights early romantic sentimentalism. Society painters Wilhelmina Von Kaulbach and Karl Von Piloty represent the interest for German history. The works of Hans Von Marées, who is considered one of the most significant German artists, can be compared with no other museum. The Neue Pinakothek also features renowned artists like Thomas Gainborough, Fransico Goya, Jacques Louis David, along with Monet, Manet, Degas, Pissaro, Renoir, Cezanne, Gauguin and van Gogh.
Pinakothek der Moderne
The Pinakothek der Moderne is the biggest museum for modern art in Germany and is situated in the centre of the city. It’s 15,000 square meters of space offers an extensive overview of fine applied arts of the 20th century right up to the present.
The Munich Residenz is the former royal palace of the Bavarian monarchs of the House of Wittelbach. The Residenz is the largest city palace in Germany and is open to visitors for its architecture, room decorations, including furniture and oil paintings, tapestries and porcelain from the best artists of their time. The complex of buildings contains ten courtyards and displays 130 rooms.
St. Luke’s Church
St. Luke’s Church is the largest protestant church in Munich and southern Germany. Built in 1893-1896 it is the only almost perfectly preserved Lutheran parish church of the historical Munich. St. Luke’s is situated on the banks of the Isar, between the Steinsdorstarsse and Mariannenplatz.
Peterskitche (St Peter’s Church)
Peterskitche, known affectionately by the locals as Alter Peter (“Old Peter”), is Munich’s first and oldest parish church, which was, started in the twelfth century, however ongoing additions and renovations have kept the artists busy for centuries.
Marienplatz is the main square in the heart of Munich and a lively pedestrian zone for shopping, dining and people watching. The centre piece of Marienplatz is Munich’s New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus), with an ornately neo-gothic style, decorated façade. The tower houses the Glockenspiel (a musical instrument that is typically housed in the bell tower of a church or municipal building) where each day at 11 am and noon, the Glockenspiel chimes and the 32 figures re-enact stories from Bavarian events.
The New Town Hall houses the city government, the Munich Tourism Office and a restaurant on the ground floor. At the top of the 85-meter-high tower is an observation deck that can be accessed with an elevator and offers a splendid view of the city, and in nice weather you can even see as far as the Alps.
If you’re lucky enough to visit München during the Christmas season, Marienplatz is home to the famous Christmas Market or “Christkindlmarkt” where you can buy Bavarian ornaments, wood carvings, or glass crystals with the aroma of Gluehwein (hot spiced wine) filling the air.
Karlsplatz (most often referred to as Stachus, after the pub Beim Stachus, is a large square in central Munich, located near the Hauptbahnhof, or Central Station. Between Stachus square and Marienplatz (Neuhauser Stasse / KaufingerStrasse) you will find many shops and restaurants. The Underground also contains a large shopping centre.
Viktualienmarkt is an open-air market, which features fresh fruit and vegetables, bakeries, meat, seafood and cheese products and flower vendors and also houses a Biergarten (beer garden) where during the winter months, sells hot Gluehwein in addition to beer.
If you wander down the side street on Ridermarkt 1 at Peterspl. by Peterskitche, you can enjoy wonderful cuisine inside or outside if you prefer, at one of the restaurants. We chose Berni’s Nudelbrett at Peterspl, where we enjoyed their delicious Penne all’arrabbiata.