Munich is one of Germany’s most visited cities. And if you ask any traveler to Munich what they’re anxious to see, they’ll tell you Oktoberfest, Marienplatz, Englischer Garten and so on. But there’s so much to explore and experience in this cosmopolitan city that feels like a village. From lesser known museums to meals and shopping, here are ten fun (and unique!) things to do in Munich off the beaten path.
Known for Oktoberfest and festive Biergartens, you might not think of visiting Munich, Germany in winter. But with airfares and hotels offering cheaper off-season rates and smaller crowds, you may want to consider a wintertime visit. On my latest Munich adventure in late March, I didn’t know what exactly would be awaiting me. Here’s an overview of what you can expect (and not expect) when visiting Munich in winter.
Munich‘s churches and cathedrals are a popular spot and not just for the pious. Tourists flock to the city’s houses of worship to admire the architecture, the art, the history and maybe to reflect for a few solemn moments. Munich’s churches range from the massive and iconic to the small and hidden away. Some are modest and others are spectacularly indulgent. Even if you’re only in the city for a short time, some of Munich’s churches should be apart of your itinerary. I’ve put together a guide for visiting six of Munich’s most notable churches in the downtown area.
Part of Munich‘s charm and beauty is its skyline and from an observation deck in the Neues Rathaus (the new city hall) you can get an incredible view right in the heart of Marienplatz. The observation deck is not widely advertised, especially in English. Because of this most people aren’t even aware of its existence. From several open air balconies at the top of the Neues Rathaus you can take in views from the Frauenkirche, Alter Peter and, if the weather is good, the Alps will highlight the background. You could even pretend you’re part of FC Bayern celebrating your victories. It’s a quick visit that offers stunning views and worth the stop on your visit to Munich.
No doubt you’re familiar with Oktoberfest, but what about Starkbierfest? Across Munich, Germany in February and March the breweries hold Starkbierfest, or strong beer festivals, that resemble Oktoberfest. But unlike Oktoberfest they are on a smaller scale and with fewer tourists. The German beer festival is Oktoberfest’s little brother and features beers special to the Starkbier season. I went to Paulaner’s Nockherberg for the brewery’s Starkbierfest and it was a blast!
If you’re searching for a comfortable, affordable hotel in Munich, Germany that is just outside the downtown area, the Holiday Inn Express Munich City West, Munich is worth checking out. I recently spent a week staying at the hotel with my husband. From its convenient location a stone’s throw from public transportation to its inclusive breakfast buffet, it just might be my new Munich go-to hotel.
As soon as there is the slightest hint of warm or nice weather, Biergarten across Bavaria will start popping up. Those long wooden tables and large umbrellas will begin to be set up. But even in the colder months or bad weather you can always turn to your favorite Wirtshaus, or pub. Many of these restaurants serve local Bavarian food in addition to the friendly, joyful and fun atmosphere. I want to share some of my favorite Munich Biergarten and Wirtshaus. Plus I want to make sure you know all the ins and outs you’ll need to know for your next meal!
Here are 10 great Munich Biergarten and Wirtshaus for Bavarian food!
The Austrians might have invented the croissant, the French are considered masters of pastry and the Italians are the gods of gelato. But German baked goods shouldn’t be overlooked — or underestimated. And I’m not talking about bread. Well, not just bread. The Germans do cakes and pastries to make your mouth water. Munich, in particular, has some delicious specialties that you shouldn’t pass up. On your next visit to the Bavarian capital city check out these favorite Munich bakeries and pastry shops! They’ll have you saying “Mmm, lecker!”
For me, no visit to Munich would be complete without a visit to Schloss Nymphenburg, or Nymphenburg Palace. It’s a little different than the nearby royal buildings. At Munich’s Residenz you can spend days touring the riches of the Wittelsbachs. Neuschwanstein is a fan favorite that is world famous as a massive fairy tale castle. But Nymphenburg is a little different. It’s almost as if it’s a suburban park that just happens to have a spectacular palace.
Maybe you’re your interests lie with the royal connection. Maybe you just want to experience life like a local. Nymphenburg Palace and Park is a great way to spend a day.
For some reason, despite always staying a few blocks from Munich‘s Schloss Nymphenburg I never made time to visit the Munich Botanical Garden. It’s only a short walk along a gravel path north of the palace park. Only a quiet wooded area separates them. The nearly 53 acre garden features a greenhouse of more than an acre. There’s so much to explore that you could get lost in a maze of rhododendrons. Well, “lost.” The Botanical Garden is so pleasant that you likely wouldn’t mind.