10 of the Best Things To Do in Munich, Germany
Munich, one of Europe’s underrated gems, offers plenty of delightful things to see and do. The usual image of Munich is often of the southern German state of Bavaria. Despite its status as the largest city and capital of Bavaria, Munich is more than just beers, castles, and museums.
Breakfast at Café Jasmin.
A beer in the morning is typical in Munich, but coffee remains a beverage of choice for many Munich visitors. Pop by Café Jasmin, as if visiting your grandma, and get a proper German breakfast: bread rolls, eggs, wurst (traditional sausages), käse (cheese), and a piping hot cup of coffee. The interior is adorably retro, transporting guests to the 60s via the walls and the furniture. As for the ambience, it is quintessentially intimate and inviting. Note that it is a small cafe, so reservations are essential if you are coming in a large group.
Get into the heart of Munich: Marienplatz.
You can soak up history and architectural treasures simply by walking around Marienplatz. St. Marie Square, Munich’s main town square, has been the city’s living room since 1158. When much of the city was reduced to rubble during World War II, residents had to choose whether to build a modern city (like Frankfurt did) or rebuild the old town. Lucky for us, Munich citizens voted to restore the original town square, where buildings cannot exceed the spires of churches and cars are prohibited from its streets. As you wander around, pause to marvel at the chiming clock tower. Also, look for the majestic figure of the royal couple amusingly watching the battle of life-sized knights at Rathaus-Glockenspiel or New Town Hall.
Wine and dine at Restaurant Broeding.
Located near Nymphenburg Palace, a summer residence palace of the former ruling Bavarian monarch (the House of Wittelsbach), is Restaurant Broeding. Well-loved by locals and tourists alike, Broeding offers a world-class selection of wines and a superb six-course tasting menu. The dishes and wine are prepared by Gottfried Wallisch and Manuel Reheis, wine-lovers who have a penchant for haute cuisine. The restaurant’s interior is minimalist yet the food and wine pairings are stand-out. It also offers after-work-dinner in three courses, plus gluten-free yet savory Austrian, German, European or international meals.
Enjoy Oktoberfest year-round at Hofbräuhaus am Platzl.
Longing for a classic Bavarian welcome? Head over to the famous 16th-century beer hall known as Hofbräuhaus am Platzl. Expect an endless river of beer and lots of cheering, laughing, and merrymaking among tourists and locals in this old-fashioned Bavarian pub. Germany, especially Munich, is generous with its beer, so don’t be shocked if your drinks come in enormous liter mugs. Also, sample some Weisswurst (traditional Bavarian sausages made from pork and veal) before or after a drink. This is the closest Oktoberfest experience you can have if you missed the festival.
Drive your dream BMW.
BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke or Bavarian Motor Works. While you can’t drive a car around Munich’s pedestrianized squares, you can book a new BMW vehicle of your choice for about three hours simply by signing up at BMW on Demand. Most BMW fans know that there is a delivery center based in Munich, but only a few actually know they can hire a brand-new BMW from the collection. Not a car person? Maybe you’d like a BMW motorbike for a change. What if you just like to shop around a little or learn more about the history and creation process of BMWs? Download the BMW Museum app to whet your appetite before checking out the collection. An on-site expert tour guide will be there to guide you throughout the tour.
Take a bite out of Science and Tech at Deutsches Museum.
Deutsches Museum, the world’s largest science and technology collection, is one of the best-loved stops of intellectually curious tourists. The museum showcases impressive interactive exhibitions, inventive displays, and rare artifacts that make science and tech cool and fun for every type of visitor. Even non-engineers will enjoy learning about trams, trains, and aircrafts. The exhibitions and subjects are so vast and varied, the museum had to occupy two buildings. Surely, a single trip through the museum is never enough. It requires multiple visits.
Hunt for local gems at Viktualienmarkt.
Explore Viktualienmarkt like a local. This old Munich market has some of the city’s cheapest and finest Bavarian food, handicrafts, and beers. Whether you’re after an authentic memento of Bavaria or a taste of local food and drinks, this part of Munich is a good starting point. Thanks to government-regulated rental fees, old-time shop or store owners get to keep their spaces. So instead of big international fast food restaurants, you will see more than 100 locally-owned stalls serving modern and traditional street foods, including sausages, soups, schnitzel, and dumplings. Travel tip: a hearty meal here only costs $10.
Scale the St. Peter Church for a sweeping view of Munich.
Twin domes of Cathedral Church of Our Lady are the symbol of Munich, but the Church of St Peter, or Alter Peter (founded in 1158) is still Munich’s oldest. This Gothic-style basilica was built during the 12th century by the monks. Inside the church, look up and admire its awe-inspiring Fresco ceiling. The closer you look at the church interiors, the more you will realize that they are nothing like what you saw in books or on the Internet. Beautiful sculptures, altar of the Virgin of Mercy, and many well-preserved relics also await avid explorers. Before you leave, be sure to climb up the narrow stairs (306 steps) to the top of the church tower to be rewarded with a panoramic view of the city of Munich.
Relax at the English Garden.
Located in a 900-acre space, the Englische Garten is one of the largest urban parks in Europe. This garden dwarfs London’s Hyde Park and New York’s Central Park. Enjoy a picnic; play all day on its vast grounds; and drink beer and eat traditional Bavarian snacks. As you roam the park, search for the stream where locals and tourists surf, swim, and sunbathe. Look for Instagram-worthy sights inside the park, such as the Japanese Teahouse with a Japanese-style garden, the Monopteros, the Steinerne Bank, and the Chinese Tower.
Enter the Neuschwanstein Castle
Only a two-hour train ride from Munich, Neuschwanstein Castle is a not-to-be-missed destination for anyone who wants to be a royal for a day. This postcard-pretty palace is a fanciful depiction of your fairy-tale castle dreams. While it seems like the castle was made during the Middle Ages (from the Romantic period), it was completed in 1886. The castle is a product of Mad King Ludwig II’s childhood imagination. He was deemed mentally unfit to rule due to his extravagances. Now, not one of the visitors complains about his indulgences. Book a guided tour by phone, or buy tickets early at the foot of the castle, and behold this magical and luxurious castle at the foot of the Alps.
Which among these Munich travel experiences are you looking forward to? There’s still time to adjust your itinerary if you have already booked a flight to Munich. Been to Munich before? Share your best finds with us.