When we decided to meet up with my lovely German pen pal/friend on our last trip to Germany, a visit to Neuschwanstein seemed a natural choice. Somehow the famous castle that is seemingly on the top of every tourist’s Must See List just wasn’t a priority for me. Until last year. While Neuschwanstein Castle can be quite a hike to get to it is one of Germany’s most popular and recognizable tourist attractions. If you want to know how desirable the castle is, just ask Walt Disney. Neuschwanstein is the model and inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle. If you have the opportunity, it really is an absolute Must See. A visit makes a great day trip from Munich. But there is more to explore in the area than just Neuschwanstein!
It can be difficult knowing where to eat, what to see, and where to go when traveling to a new city. Munich is such a large city with so many world-class attractions that it can be difficult to focus. For that reason, I wanted to put together a list of some of my Munich tips: favorite places to eat, things to do, and places to see in the Bavarian capital. I have included links to places I have already blogged about and descriptions for places I haven’t. Now on to my Munich tips!
In southern Munich, Germany, the Theresienwiese is perhaps most famous for playing home every year to Oktoberfest. But on the edge of this large festival area, a woman stands watch. Nearly 61-feet tall, the Bavaria statue wears a classically draped Grecian gown. A lion sits loyally at her side while her left arm is outstretched with a wreath of oak leaves. She represents Bavaria, the southeastern state of Germany. It would be easy to draw comparisons to another famous female: the Statue of Liberty. But the Bavaria statue is older. And Lady Bavaria has a bit of a secret that makes a visit to see her a fun Munich sightseeing attraction!
Fans of soccer (or football, if you prefer) flock to Munich to celebrate FC Bayern, Germany‘s most successful football club. Their home at the Allianz Arena on the edge of the city is a spectacular stadium with its seemingly puffy cloud-like exterior. There, you can experience the team in all their glory at FC Bayern Erlebniswelt Museum, seeing them in action (assuming you can get tickets to one of their frequently sold-out matches), or go for an Allianz Arena tour. Even casual fans will find the FC Bayern museum as a fun way to spend an afternoon while exploring Munich!
Prepare to be in awe of the historic paintings, priceless jewels, and lavish decor on display at the Munich Residenz. Visiting the Residenz Palace in downtown Munich, Germany involves a lot of commitment. Put on your most comfortable walking shoes, clear your calendar for the entire day and eat a large, filling breakfast because you’re going to need it. Please do not consider this advice. It is a necessity. It can seem impossible to see all that the Residenz has to offer, or even part. But it sure is a fun challenge!
Although Munich is regarded as being a large city with a small town feel, it is easy to get wrapped up in the go-go-go of modern city living. You could easily stay in one of the city’s centrally located luxury hotels or more moderately priced hotels or hostels. But why would you? Instead, tucked away on an unassuming residential street in the Nymphenburg district of the Bavarian capital city is Hotel Laimer Hof.
If you happen to follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed things looking a little different recently. We spent the last couple of weeks in Germany, specifically Bavaria. Even more specifically, we were based in Munich. It was a trip I had anticipated for a very, very long time. If it wasn’t for our miniature schnauzer being left in the loving care of my parents, I would have been extremely tempted not to return home at all (my husband, no doubt, has a different opinion on that topic). I’m eager to share some of my favorite experiences, places, restaurants, and so on from our trip so look for future posts. I managed to check off quite a few of those Must See sights.
It had been four years since our last visit but it amazed me how unchanged so much of the city seemed to me. The daily walk from the local S-Bahn to the hotel now has a couple of new-to-me grocery stores and medical offices that had been under construction during our last visit. Otherwise there were no big changes. It was all the same. The walks in the park. Rides on public transit. Meals at Hirschgarten. So many of the details which my mind has replayed did not disappoint me.
But, like anything, it wasn’t perfect. The crowds of tourists were amazingly large at times.
But when you find those quiet places in Munich, for me, it can’t be beat.
Ever since our first trip to Munich, my husband has been in love with German beer. Leave it to German beer to turn a non-drinker into a habitual beer-a-day drinker. So it only made sense, as I plan our next trip to the Bavarian capital, to consider some brewery tours in Germany. Munich brewery tours are, surprisingly, somewhat difficult to come by. But if you’re willing to travel a little within the state of Bavaria, there are a lot of beer brewery tours available. Prost!
Maybe it’s the computer nerd in me, but I hate crowds. I actively avoid them. When everyone else is going on vacation in the peak of summer during July and August, I’m quietly planning a trip for the fall or maybe in early spring. But, I have to admit, I wouldn’t mind — just once — visiting the world famous Oktoberfest. It’s just one of those must-do, must-see things that you can’t miss. You have to go at least once! And with more than 6 million people visiting Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany during the sixteen days when the festival takes place, well, maybe I’ll just have to figure out the least busy day to visit. Unfortunately it won’t be this year as Oktoberfest 2013 kicks off this weekend!
My mom was generous enough to share her Oktoberfest photos from the early 1970s for this post.
You read the title correctly. Munich’s famous Hofbräuhaus has a location in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Don’t ask me why, I couldn’t tell you. But they do: Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh. When I had the opportunity, I opted not to visit the original location in Munich for fear of it being a tourist trap. But, well, desperate times call for desperate measures. In other words: I’m, unfortunately, not planning to be in Munich anytime soon so I might as well take what I can get. So take, I did.
Munich is famous for its traditional beer halls and its charming palaces and parks. But the city is also home to the Deutsches Museum, the world’s largest science and technology museum. It is also one of the oldest! The impressive museum seemingly covers every topic that you can think of: more than 30 fields in science and technology over seven levels. You can find everything from physics to amateur radio. It’s a Munich museum not to be missed during any trip to the Bavarian capital that will thrill both adults and children alike.
There’s nothing like a nice, long trip to make you…not want to go back to reality. But back to reality we are. My husband and I recently spent some time in München and, boy, did we love it. We had some fantastic food (our favorites included the relaxing Hirschgarten, our post-Pinakothek visit ritual Alter Simpl, and the authentic Braunauer Hof before checking out a film at CinemaxX) and stayed at a lovely hotel, Hotel Laimer Hof, in a quiet neighborhood just blocks from Schloss Nymphenburg and outside of the hustle and bustle of Marienplatz — which while beautiful and close to the Viktualienmarkt (another favorite) was a bit too much for us. I spent the entire trip trying to find the courage to practice the German I’ve spent the last year working so hard to learn but I certainly learned a lot. We’re both looking forward to returning some day. But until then, I have plenty of tastes to try and replicate in my own kitchen (I’ve already been mixing up Spezi and translating recipes). Now if only someone would invent a teleporter so that the dog could come with us!