Things we did in Munich | The capital of Bavaria is a perfect landing spot to start a Europe trip. Munich is located in Southern Germany – right in the heart of Europe – and it got an ok-ish international airport. Most tourists arrive in Frankfurt. We recommend Munich. Frankfurt has nothing to offer. In Frankfurt, you would hop into your rental car and escape this place. But Munich is worth a day trip. Over the last 10 years, seven of our annual Europe trips started off in Munich; the other three: Frankfurt (1), Amsterdam(2).
Munich is famous for beautiful architecture, a bit of fine culture here and there, lots of parks and gardens and also some stupid stuff you should better skip, e.g. the Oktoberfest.
Munich’s city center appears in large parts as it did in the late 18th century. Most iconic buildings: the Church of our Ladies (Frauenkirche) and the New Civic Hall (Neues Rathaus). We thought, a good way to explore the old town would be: buying return tickets for the regional train “S-Bahn” from Munich Airport to Munich Hbf -> that’s the main train station in walking distance of the historic city center. If you plan to use Munich’s public transport more often, take a look at this well made YouTube video by Distant Lands Travel Store -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pm-1dQS_VVA
Things we did in Munich
Walking tour – Of course we went for a stroll thru Munich’s historic center. It was a 5 minute walk from “Hauptbahnhof” to Karlsplatz – the western gateway into the old town. We took a sneak peak into St. Michael Church before admiring its bigger sister, the Church of Our Ladies. It’s probably Munich’s most iconic landmark. From there we went straight to our favorite Restaurant:
Dallmayr – The Cafe is located on top of a medieval grocery store with the same name at Dienerstrasse. Each of our previous Munich trips did kind of start here. The Dallmayr trading company traces back to the year 1700. That’s an impressive 300-year history, and it is still in family ownership today.
From Dallmayr we went down south. First stop at Rindermarkt, then heading to Viktualienmarkt, Peterskirche and Heiliggeistkirche. Then back north passing the Hofbräuhaus, Opera House, Odeonsplatz and more churches left and right until we finally arrived in the English Garden.
The English Garden is a 900-acre stretch of green is quite long. We somehow made to the Seehaus – a restaurant somewhere in the middle of all that green – before heading back towards Marienplatz.
Pauluskirche and Teresienwiese. West of the city center and south of Munich Hbf you’ll find the St. Paul’s Church (Pauluskirche) and Theresa’s meadows (Theresienwiese). Each year at the end of September, this part of Munich becomes the center of the universe – for some. The “Oktoberfest” might be the world’s largest beer festival. Nowadays, approx. six million people from around the world attend this highly commercialized event every year. Locals call it “Die Wiesn”, some kind of abbreviation for the fairgrounds -> “Theresienwiese”. Don’t get us wrong, but we think, the Oktoberfest is NOT an important part of Bavarian culture. Because it’s not culture. It’s just about having fun, getting red heads and puking behind the tent.
BMW-Welt. In the days of Tesla and electric cars, the BMW-Welt (Building, Car Park and Museum) does not have that magnitude anymore that it used to have some 20 years ago. But even people not interested in cars find their gems here. It is really a nice place to go. Most interesting for us were those cars and motorbikes that never made into mass production.
Things to do beyond Munich
Munich is a good base to explore other tourist hot spots in Southern Germany and in parts of Austria. The following 10 locations are just a one to two hours car ride away from Munich:
Neuschwanstein and Füssen (1 h 45 min)
Nuremberg (1h 45min)
Regensburg (1h 15min)
Berchtesgaden (1h 30min)
Salzburg, Austria (1h 30min)
Garmisch-Partenkirchen (1h 30min)
Innsbruck, Austria (1h 45min)
With the exception of Nuremberg, we did them all. Each trip was worth it.
Where to stay in Munich
This time we did stay in the Hotel Metropol in the Ludwigvorstadt. As usual we strictly follow pretty strict guidelines when choosing our shelter: 3, 4 or 5 stars only, and the public rating must be 9.0 or above. Among those meeting this criteria we simply choose the cheapest one. Hotel Metropol right at Munich Hbf appeared to be in striking distance of both: Munich’s old city center and Theresa’s Meadow.