Most major cities have an observation deck or tower that, for a price, offers visitors stunning views for miles over the city. In Toronto, there is the CN Tower and in NYC, there are several, including the flashy Summit One Vanderbilt.
But where do you find the best views in Munich when it is a city without skyscrapers? The observation points in Munich, Germany, are slightly different than in some other major cities. With no buildings in the city center allowed to exceed the height of the Frauenkirche, taking to the rooftops makes you feel a unique sense of being right in the middle of the Munich skyline.
There are a few great Munich observation points from which to see the beauty of the city and, on a clear day, the majesty of the Alps. And if you happen to be visiting during the Oktoberfest period, there are some extra special spots to check out.
The twin onion-domed towers of the Frauenkirche are an iconic part of the Munich skyline. And after a remarkable decade of renovations, in the spring of 2022, the southern tower reopened to visitors searching for the best views in Munich.
After a visit to the stunning church to see its impressive interior architecture and artwork or simply to enjoy a quiet moment of reflection, head to the gift shop in the back of the church — just past the Devil’s Footprint. At the giftshop, tickets for the tower visit can be purchased.
The recently reopened observation tower is high-tech and comfortable. Cameras allow staff to control the flow of traffic so that you are not forced to squeeze past anyone going in the opposite direction. After a climb of 86 steps up a spiral staircase, an elevator whisks you to the top.
The fully enclosed dome stands at 98.45m (or just about 323 feet) and offers remarkable views from sixteen windows onto the heart of Munich from Munich’s heart. You can circle to each window and try to spot your favorite locations in the distance.
You don’t have to pay an admission fee and trek up countless steps to get one of the best views in Munich. Just head over to Englischer Garten.
While much of the park is dense with trees, fields for recreation, and paths for walking, down near the Biergarten am Chinesischen Turm and restaurant is the Monopteros, a Greek-style temple from the 1830s.
Perched upon a man-made hill, the striking spot is popular as an attraction itself. But, after heading up the steep incline to the temple, look north for a tree-framed view of the Munich skyline.
Even better: before you head to the top of the hill, head to the Biergarten and use that admission fee money you didn’t spend for a pretzel and an ice cream. Then take your snacks to Monopteros and hang out for a while enjoying the scenery and the atmosphere.
FC Bayern has celebrated countless victories from the balcony of the Neues Rathaus (or New City Hall, in English) with their adoring fans packed tightly into Marienplatz below. But you can one-up the team, so to speak, with a visit to the very top of the building.
After craning your neck from Marienplatz to absorb all the remarkable details on the building’s facade, head inside. Elevators in the back of the open entrance area usher visitors up to the observation deck’s lobby. From there you can purchase a ticket and take a further elevator to the top of the Neues Rathaus.
The observation tower in the New City Hall is outdoors, but it is covered. The building’s location means you can get a view of the Alps over the rooftops and, in the opposite direction, towards Englischer Garten.
Tucked snuggly between Marienplatz and the open-air Viktualienmarkt marketplace is Saint Peter’s Church. Known lovingly as Alter Peter, or “old Peter,” the church is the oldest in Munich. And atop the church’s tower, there are 360-degree views over Marienplatz, off to Englischer Garten, and south to the Alps.
While some of the other nearby viewing platforms are modernized, Alter Peter is old school. Getting one of the best views in Munich here means you will have to work for it. To reach the top of the tower, visitors have to ascend 300 steps in a narrow stairway with few stopping points along the way. It becomes more difficult because “traffic” isn’t controlled so visitors in the opposite direction often have to squeeze by.
But the view of the Munich skyline is stunning. The platform is narrow with decorative metal work around the balcony to create a cage-like enclosure.
Towers for television and radio communication are a common sight across Germany. Munich’s own TV tower opened in 1969, only a few years before the city hosted the Summer Olympics. As the area around the tower became transformed into the Olympic Park, the tower, naturally, became known as the Olympic Tower.
Visitors to the Olympic Park can experience the tower firsthand to enjoy the view from nearly 200m up, making it the tallest building in the city.
For an extra special experience, try the tower’s restaurant. Named Restaurant 181, the restaurant is on a rotating viewing platform that takes 53 minutes to do a full 360-degree rotation!
Best Munich Views During Oktoberfest
Throughout the year, the Wiesn – a tarmac area south of the city center – plays host to a variety of fairs, festivals, and events, like Frühlingsfest and, of course, Oktoberfest. And through it all a statue of the female embodiment of Bavaria watches over it with a loyal lion at her feet.
Here’s my favorite secret for experiencing Munich off the beaten path: This is no ordinary statue. The statue is hollow and has a spiral staircase inside. At the top of the statue in her head, is a sitting area where “pillows” are cast into the metal and carefully placed holes allow you to spy out of Bavaria’s head and across the Wiesn.
During Oktoberfest, this fun statue/observation point stays open later so you can get a unique perspective of the festival.
It’s worth noting that the statue is managed by the Bavarian state’s department of palaces and gardens. If you plan to visit multiple places under their care, you can save money traveling in Bavaria with one of their passes.
St. Paul’s Church
If you visit Oktoberfest and look just northeast of the Wiesn, over the beer tents and carnival rides and past trees slowly transitioning into autumn, you will see St. Paul’s Catholic Church.
Completed in the early 1900s, the church is of the Gothic revival style. And for most of the year, St. Paul’s is simply a church serving the community. But when Oktoberfest time arrives, the church opens its tower to provide unique views from an observation platform almost 50m up. Visitors must simply climb the roughly 250 steps to enjoy one of the best views in Munich that is only available this one time of the year.
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