The beer capital of Bavaria and a city full of modern mixed with historical significance. Munich (Munchen) might be known for Octoberfest and a variety of amazing German beer companies, but there is so much more to it. The Olympic stadium, to its free wielding English garden or Marienplatz all have something to offer everyone. Come join me for a beer and pretzel and experience Munich!
Top 5 Things To Do
- Hofbrauhaus – The historical significance of this site is reason alone to come here. This place is massive and you will have a wonderful time experiencing German traditions as you eat wonderful food and have a couple of massive beers.
- English Garden – This can easily take up an entire day of you experience everything in this massive garden. The beer garden, surfing in the park or just sitting out and people watching can be a great experience. Take the time and stroll through, but remember clothing is optional!
- Neuschwanstein castle – It is a decent train ride outside of the city, but is very accessible by public transportation. The town of Fussen is the closest city to this amazing castle, so Munich is often the closest tourism city to this castle. Spend most of your day touring and experiencing the many views of the “Cinderella” castle.
- Dachau concentration camp – A remembrance of a very tough time in German history. Dachau is just a short ride outside of Munich and it needs to be a stop on everyone’s list, even if it’s a horrific situation. Learn about one of the first concentration camps and how to prevent something like this from ever happening again.
- Marienplatz – One of the main squares in Germany has a lot to see and do. It’s also a great place to sit and watch people. Or maybe stare up at the massive glockenspiel as it is the largest one in Germany. Don’t forget to tour the Rathaus tower and get a great view of the city.
After a long train ride roughly around 5.5 hours, we were ready to get off and walk around a bit. Luckily we had an Airbnb that was literally right across from the train station. We stopped in and dropped our stuff off and then headed straight for Odeonsplatz and Hofbrauhaus.
Odeonsplatz: This is one of the first large squares that you will come upon when you are touring Munich. It’s name comes from the Odeon (former concert hall) and also has some significant buildings around it including the famous Residenz building. It was nice to take a stroll through and look at some of the beautiful architecture in the area. It was just a short walk through for us as we were on a mission to head for Hofbrauhaus!
Hofbrauhaus: This brewery has a lot of history. It’s where Hitler first met with his nationalist party and Mozart had a few to many before composing his amazing work. It is definitely something I would recommend to visit when in Munich. It’s HUGE first off, they have over 200 seats reserved for people that live in the area, so you can imagine how many seats are still left for people. Another neat idea is that they allow patrons to keep their beer steins for safe keeping at the place. As you walk into the restaurant, you’ll see this massive area to your left.
The experience itself when you sit down is also great. They have live music a lot of times and it’s very traditional and fun music for everyone. When you think of a wonderful Octoberfest type tradition, this would be it. The beers are huge! They keep it simple with their beer selection, but it’s beer that they have been brewing since the beginning. The light and dark beers were both good. The food itself was also delicious, very traditional German food. The servers are also very nice and give a great experience to everyone in the place. This is a can’t miss location if you are in Munich.
Augustiner: We also stopped in at Augustiner on the way home and got a massive cheese plate with a couple of large beers again. The Germans do not short you on their beer do they?! There were several families in the restaurant with us and it seemed like everyone was having a wonderful time and enjoying the environment. It was a somewhat large restaurant, but nowhere near the size of Hofbrauhaus. After we were buzzed up and had a bit too many, we were off to dream land for the evening.
- Frauenkirche (church of our lady)
- St. Peter’s
- Ratskeller Restaurant
- The Rathaus tower
- Bundesliga match: Eintracht Frankfurt vs Augsburg
I got up this morning for some morning pictures at Marienplatz and I really noticed that people in Munich like to go all night! As I walked around 6am in the morning, I passed several bars with kids still up either drinking or hailing a taxi home. Maybe because it’s closer to Oktoberfest here, but it felt like people partied harder here than in Berlin.
Marienplatz: Minus the late night party people, there were very few people around the top landmarks in the area so I was able to get some uninterrupted pictures. Spending some time looking up at the Rathaus, it makes me appreciate the architecture even more. I love the gothic feel and a mix of flowers in with the dark. It’s just perfect to look at! This building houses the largest glockenspiel in Germany and if you get there at noon, you’ll be in for a treat. It still has a ceremony that is fun to watch. This used to be the sight of several markets and tournaments during the middle ages. Now it draws many people each year to stare up at the glockenspiel or simply drink a pint and stare up at this gothic beauty.
Frauenkirche (church of our lady): We came back around again and visited both Frauenkirche and St. Paul’s and both were splendid in their own right. Frauenkirche had huge stained glass windows and some amazing towers along the backside that were just breathtaking in their own right. There is a wonderful view from the Rathaus overlooking the church of our lady where you can take some wonderful photos.
St. Peter’s: Across the way from the church of our lady was St. Peter’s. It had some gorgeous painted ceilings throughout. We had hoped to climb the tower at St. Peter’s, but for some reason it was closed unexpectedly. It was kind of funny to watch tourists go up to the board and see that it was supposed to be open, go in and try to find someone to ask why it wasn’t, and then go back again confused. One even stopped a police officer to figure it out, all he could say was that the sign says there could be some times where they close unexpectedly. I found this very nonchalant and interesting to see. I feel like they would have been eaten alive if this happened in the US, but in Europe…just another day…it is what it is!
Ratskeller restaurant: Before heading out to our Bundesliga match, we stopped in to Ratskeller restaurant underneath the town hall. I had venison and Janine had her first spitzel. Both were delicious and the waiter was fantastic. They have a large courtyard that’s inside the town hall area, but we decided to dine in the restaurant.
The Rathaus tower: We decided to take the tower up to the top of the Rathaus, because the line didn’t look bad. The tickets were not too much and we actually partnered with a group behind us, as they were two people short of the group discount! There are two elevators that take you up to the top of the main tower. As you make your way around, it almost feels like you are getting on some type of Disneyland ride. Quite different than most towers that we climbed in Europe. It was our first sweeping look at the city of Munich. Very pretty and it sounds like when it’s a clear day, you can see as far as the Alps. It has a wonderful view of Frauenkirche and you can really get some wonderful photos from here.
Bundesliga Match: We wanted to get another taste of European football and experienced the Premier League in England the previous year. We originally wanted Bayern Munich tickets, but sadly they weren’t playing while we were there. We settled for a short train ride to the next city of Augsburg to see them take on Eintracht Frankfurt. The train from Munich to Augsburg was very easy to navigate and even after with the city bus, it was very simple to get to the stadium. The fans were intense on the way to the game and we were in for a great time when we got there!
When we got to the stadium, it was a bit different from your usual stadium security checkpoints. Make sure that you are separating between men and women as they have two different large areas for both. If not, you will have to have someone in your party go all the way back and get in the other line. As we got in, we found everything to be very clean in the stadium. It looked very new. Also, if you want to purchase anything, they have a unique system involving paying for a card to use with the vendors and then going to purchase your food and drinks. It took some maneuvering at first, but we got used to it after a while and it was actually very efficient.
As for the match itself, I was very impressed with bundesliga matches! I would say that if I lived here, I would for sure have season tickets to the team I was near. The atmosphere here is unmatched. We watched Eintracht Frankfurt take on the host FC Augsburg. I was fully expecting Frankfurt to destroy Augsburg but Augsburg ending up winning 2–1. The best things with the match, the crowds are almost ear piercing loud! There is so much passion that comes from each side when they celebrate their teams! For more information about the experience and why you should go see European football when in the area, check out my blog: The Thrill of the Match.
- Neuschwanstein castle
- English Garden
- Paulaner brewery
Neuschwanstein castle: It was a very early morning in Munich to say the least! I am starting to realize that people in Munich stay up late! We got to the train station around 5:30a today and saw many people still up from the night before, some even taking trains back home. We had a different journey in mind though. We decided to head to Neuschwanstein castle which is the inspiration that Walt Disney used to create the sleeping beauty castle.
The train system was very easy to navigate so I would recommend this as your transportation if you are heading here from Munich. Take the train into Fussen, where there will be a bus stop that says specifically the castle area. You will then take that bus over to the castle and you can decide to either take a bus, horse drawn carriage or walk to the castle. We chose the bus as it would be a bit quicker. When you get to the bus drop off, if you steer first to the right path, you can head out to the bridge where so many get their famous shots of the castle. It really does give you a perfect view.
Looking up at it is hard to describe…it just doesn’t look real. It looks like it was taken out of a fairy tale. After taking some photos at the bridge, we went on our small trek to the castle for a closer view. Sadly we got there a bit early so we went to find a place to eat something. A restaurant right down the path from the castle wasn’t serving food until 11am, but they were happy to serve us a pint! The menu had a lot to offer with food so it might be a good place to go for food if you’re in the area. It’s also the closest sit down restaurant next to the castle.
The tours are a brief 30 minutes, but are fantastic. It was very easy to navigate where to go when you first get to the castle. Then based on your tour time, they partner you up with a guide to being you around the castle. It was actually pretty seedless. You do have the option to get an audio guided tour with it, but we opted just for the guide.
The tour takes you through this Disneyland castle and how it was created. The castle was created by King Ludwig and sadly was never finished after his unexpected death at a young age. Each room was beautiful and had amazing artwork and detail in everything. The view from the castle makes you almost feel as if you are part of a fantasy land. As you look from the balcony, there are mountainous forests and a beautiful lake in the background. You can easily see why this spot was chosen for the castle.
There are also several dining options as you make your way to the end of the tour. Or if you are like us and just want to stop for another pint, you have that option too!
We made our way back to the train station after finding the bus back to Fussen. It was fairly easy to figure out which area to go to. Luckily we decided to visit the castle early in the morning. There were very few people in the morning, as we could see as we were leaving, there were hoards of tourists coming in after us! Also, it allows you to fit something else into your day. We originally thought about heading over to Zugspitze, but decided (after a lot of back and forth) that it was unrealistic to try and fit both of these into our trip. Look up Zugspitze if you want more info about this side trip, it might be very worth your while if you have the time.
*English Garden: As we got off the train, we took a couple of Lime bikes and headed out towards the English Garden. It’s an extremely large Garden in Munich and has a lot to offer anyone in the city. Here you can find a beer garden, lounging in the sun, a Japanese garden…and surfing?
Our first stop in the garden was to see this crazy idea of surfing in the middle of the park. We parked our Limes and got off near the road where we came upon many people surfing on this beautiful day. There is an overflow of water that provides a perfect constant wave for people to hang ten. It’s pretty neat to watch people do their best to stay on the wave. It usually ends with a fall though as it can be a challenge to stay on within this small vicinity. Most people find themselves falling off their board and getting caught going downstream to the next beach.
After watching surfing for a while, we moved on to walking through the middle of the park. It was a beautiful day so there were a lot of people out at the park. It would have been a perfect opportunity for us to have a picnic. Something to think about if you are heading over to the park on a beautiful day. As we walked through the park, we got to see all sorts of people! First off, with clothing optional, there were a lot of people around us that had no issues barring it all! For the most part it seemed to be leaning more towards the older residents in the area, but regardless, always fun to people watch in this setting.
Continuing through the park, we went to our favorite spot in the park. The beer garden is large and gives you several options to get food and beverage. It takes a second to get your bearings when you walk through the beer garden. There are certain areas that only take cash. The beer was flowing though! As you enter, you can stop off at a place that for the most part, only serves small and large beers. We got two large beers and then stopped off to get some food from another vendors in the garden. It was nice that we could sit down in very large area with plenty of picnic tables. Close to the seating, there was a Chinese Tower that had a traditional Bavarian band playing at it. People danced and ate as the music played on. You started to see some people were having a bit too much fun! Also, to note as you finish your stein of beer, you can bring it back to the area near the bathroom to get your deposit back on the stein.
Paulaner brewery: After our experience at the English Garden, we finalized our evening by taking the Limes closer to Marienplatz again and walked through the various restaurants. We decided to take in our next traditional brewery in Munich. This time it was Paulaner. We decided to dine outside and do some people watching. The food and beer was good at the restaurant. Our favorite still happened to be Hofbrauhaus.
- Dachau concentration camp
Dachau concentration camp: We got up early and headed off to breakfast before heading to Dachau, the previous site of the first concentration camp in Germany. We have started to fall in love with their German breakfast sandwiches. They usually have some form of pretzel on the outside and then different forms of meat and cheese with arugula inside. They are very delicious!
Dachau is a very morbid scene and you can’t imagine what it would have been like with everyone packed into this place. 41,000 people died within this concentration camp. This was a camp built with hate. It started as a prison camp for political opposition, but quickly turned into a camp for anyone that opposed the Nazi way of viewing the world. Homosexual, Jewish, Polish, Czech, political opposition, it did not matter. They could so easily take your freedom away at that time and pack you in this place without any sense of humanity. It’s hard to really say that Dachau is a must see on your visit, because it was such a horrible experience to see what happened here, but I think it’s a need for everyone to understand what happened here and how we should not allow this again.
There are various parts to the area and it really depends on how much of it you want to experience and see. It’s very tough to walk through the various areas without being disgusted by the hate that happened here. As you walk through the barracks or the execution areas and learn about the experiences here from the people that lived here, it’s quite heart breaking. It’s a great audio tour that really gets you a lot of information. There is also a museum in the initial area of the camp, which was once the admission area. It goes through the whole history and has a lot of in depth information on people that lived here and what happened through the war.
I am glad that the German people are very aware of the horror involved in their history and it’s very hard for them to live down. They don’t sweep it under the rug, instead they educate and say this is who we are now and we should never allow something like this to take place again. I think this is an ultimate country of change and how people can change and evolve into something much different.
We went out to eat later that night at a downtown area of Munich, but didn’t do a whole lot after. I wouldn’t try to fit too much into the day of going to Dachau as it’s quite draining in itself from a psychological standpoint. Take your time and experience it and learn. If you would want, you could always fit something small in like walking around the English Garden afterwards if you choose to add to the day.
- Nymphenburg palace
- Olympic stadium
- BMW museum
We changed pace a bit today and went to several museums within the city. We did it in style though! We all hopped on limes and rode them across town to all of the locations which was fun and convenient.
Nymphenburg palace: Our first stop on the tour was Nymphenburg palace. It was a beautiful place where King Ludwig and then several other significant players stayed in Munich’s history. There was beautiful landscaping across the back yard of the palace and it went for days. It almost reminded me of a small version of Versailles. The inner rooms were short and sweet in comparison to the palace we visited in Berlin. I love some of the amazing murals that were done in many of the rooms. I think ceiling art has always been amazing to me. It’s courtyard in the back is extremely large and you can really take some time in this area to just relax on a beautiful day.
Olympic stadium: We took our Lime bikes down to the next area outside of the palace and it was a little ways away. Not overly far as we did still take our bikes. After some navigating, we made it to the Olympic stadium. This complex is huge! The difference between this and other Olympic parks is that it all took place here. Vancouver for example had some events take place there, some in Whistler and the living arrangements were outside the main city. One of the draws that they pushed on for the 1972 olympics was that everything will be in one location. The tour we did was great and we got to see old memorabilia, the old locker rooms from the Bayern Munich team and also walk across the grass. We loved the info and it was great to see how they really pushed inclusion during their Olympic stance. There is an option for you to zip-line across the field, which actually would have been kind of neat, but we decided to not do it.
BMW museum: The BMW museum was a short ride across and we were able to get in fairly quick. I will say for a car fan, this is probably a must, as a person that doesn’t care much for cars minus getting me from A to B…I would pass on this trip. Lots of information to begin with as you go through the museum, and it’s a bit overwhelming to look at as it’s sprawled across signs everywhere. Then you get to the car portion and it is neat to see the cars through the times but I probably could have done this plenty of places. Overall worth it if you like cars, just not really for my taste. The tickets were very affordable and the museum is very nicely laid out.
Lowenbrau: We had gone to most breweries across Munich but we missed Lowenbrau. Luckily we rode past it and stopped in for a couple of pints. It was as huge as a lot of the other breweries in Munich. Also some good Oktoberfest beer served.
*Top people watching spot