Tips for visiting Munich
Munich - Metropole with its own culture
Munich is the third-largest city in Germany and the capital of the German state of Bavaria. Munich is best known for its Oktoberfest among many foreign tourists. This popular festival is held every year from the end of September and attracts millions of tourists to the city. However, you don't have to wait for this grand festival to visit Munich. Also during the other days, Munich is definitely worth a visit. For example, Munich has a large number of museums that are worth visiting and Munich is an excellent city for shopping.
Although the Second World War caused serious damage to Munich, there is little evidence of this. Large parts of the historic city center have been rebuilt to how it originally looked. This gives you the feeling that you are standing between historic buildings, while a large part of those structures is less than a century old. Some buildings such as the Neues Rathaus were only slightly damaged during the bombings.
Due to its location in Bavaria, Munich has its own culture that it is proud of.
Places to visit in Munich
Marienplatz is Munich's historic central city square. In the middle of the square is the Marian Column (Mariensaule) dating back from 1638, topped by a gilded statue of the Virgin Mary. Also notice the small fountain in front of the town hall: the Fish fountain (Fischbrunnen). The most striking building on Marienplatz is the New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus). Are you going to Munich in December? Then you can find one of the largest Christmas markets in the country here.
This enormous building was erected at the end of the 19th century on the north side of Marienplatz. The Neues Rathaus is an example of the Gothic Revival style. Admire the ornately decorated facade and stained glass windows. The 43-bell chime is the fourth largest chime in Europe.
The Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall) served as the town hall until 1874. This Gothic building was built in the period 1470-1480. The 55-meter high tower is older than the Altes Rathaus and was part of the fortifications around the city in the Middle Ages. There is a toy museum in the tower.
Near Marienplatz, you will also find the gothic Frauenkirche, the largest church in Munich. This late Gothic church building is built in red brick. The Frauenkirche houses various works of art from the 14th to the 18th century. Notice the ornate stained glass windows and the mausoleum of Emperor Louis IV. What you should not miss is the 'Taufelstritt'. According to legend, this is the footprint of the devil himself, in one of the floor tiles at the entrance of the church.
At the Rindemarkt, the 91-meter high tower (the so-called 'Alter Peter') of the Peterskirche looms up in front of you. The Peterskirche dates from the end of the 12th century but has been renovated several times. The main eye-catchers in the Peterskirche are the baroque high altar and a glass shrine with the relics of Saint Munditia.
The Residenz Munich
Near the Hofgarten park, you will find the Residenz München, a former royal palace whose history dates back to the 14th century. In this extensive building, you will find different architectural styles: baroque, renaissance, classicism, and rococo. The gigantic complex consists of no less than 130 rooms and 10 courtyards. Be sure to visit the Königsbau, part of the palace on Max-Joseph-Platz. This part dates from the 19th century, including the state apartments of King Louis I of Bavaria and the treasury.
Kunstareal: Museum District in Munich
Kunstareal München is a museum district northwest of Marienplatz. At a short distance from each other, you will find ten busy art museums. Especially the Alte Pinakothek, the Neue Pinakothek and the Pinakothek der Moderne receive crowds of visitors. In these three museums, you will find collections with paintings from the 14th to the 18th century, art from 1800 to the beginning of the 20th century, and modern art from the 20th and 21st century respectively.
The Museum Island
On the so-called 'Museuminsel', an island in the Isar, you will find the Deutsches Museum. The Deutsches Museum has collections in the fields of technology and natural sciences. You will find exhibitions about space travel, aircraft construction, telecommunications, and pharmacy.
The Englischer Garten: a piece of greenery in Munich
The Englischer Garten (English Garden) covers an area of 375 hectares. This park was designed by Friedrich Sckell, who was inspired by landscaped gardens in England. The park opened its doors in 1792. The English Garden stretches for five kilometers along the left bank of the Isar. Attractions in the park include the 25-meter-tall Chinese Tower and a neo-Hellenistic temple, built for King Louis I of Bavaria.
Another green zone in Munich is Olympia Park, the former Olympic Arena that has been transformed into a large recreation park with all kinds of sports facilities, exhibitions, and events.
Getting around in Munich
In Munich, getting around the city is easy, the public transport in the city is efficient and very affordable. With a day ticket or a multi-day travel pass, you can travel unlimitedly through the city with all forms of public transport. You can buy these tickets in advance and pick them up right away at Munich Airport. The train journey from the airport to the city center is included in these day tickets. You can order this card online and pay easily with PayPal or a credit card.
Seven metro lines with more than 100 kilometers of track and about 100 stations are the details of Munich's U-Bahn network. All stations intersect at different levels, making the Munchener Metro one of the fastest U-Bahn tracks in Europe, as the trains can easily reach 80 km/h. Most subways run every 10 minutes for most of the day. The first metro leaves at 4 a.m. and the last metro enters the depot at 2 a.m.
The Metro stations are marked with a big blue U and all stations are equipped with elevators. The metro stations are an important part of the bus and tram network and the connections are often seamless.
Tips for visiting Munich
Attend the Oktoberfest
With just under six million visitors a year, the Oktoberfest is the largest folk festival in the world. Although Oktoberfest is now celebrated in many other places, Munich is the only real city where this great beer festival is held. The festival dates back to the year 1810 when the very first Oktoberfest was held in honor of the marriage between Princess Theresa of Saxe-Hildburghausen and Crown Prince Louis of Bavaria. Over the past two centuries, the festival has grown into an unparalleled spectacle.
The Oktoberfest is held on the Theresienwiese. This area is especially intended for the Oktoberfest. From the first Saturday after September 15, this meadow is the place where people flock to drink beer, enjoy local specialties such as Münchner Weißwurst, and step into the many fairground attractions. The celebration normally lasts 16 days. The first Sunday of October is the last day of Oktoberfest. Sometimes the Oktoberfest is extended by one or two days if that suits the Day of German Unity.
During the Oktoberfest people mainly drink beer… a lot of beer. The beer is of Bavarian origin and is served in one-liter mugs. You can drink beer in one of the many beer tents on the site. The largest beer tents can accommodate more than ten thousand guests at the same time.