Munich Travel Guide
Munich, the most expensive city in Germany, is also very quaint -- and perhaps it's this dual personality that visitors find so charming. Although München plays host to the country's 200-year-old intoxication-bacchanalia, Oktoberfest, it's also highly modern -- and the unofficial European capital of publishing and technology. Nuzzling the Bavarian Alps and resting beside the River Isar, the city is rife with natural beauty and yet its streets are also lined with manmade ... continue»
- #1English Garden (Englischer Garten)
- #2Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche)
- #3St. Peter's Church (Peterskirche)
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The best time to visit Munich is March to May: fall's crowds have long since departed, and summer’s peak season hasn’t yet hit. But if you’re one of the millions who want to party at Oktoberfest, you’ll need a coat: Average temperatures drift between the 40s and 50s Fahrenheit. In the summertime you can opt for a light sweater for Munich's slightly chilly evenings: Temperatures linger in the mid 70s -- ideal biergarten weather. Winter, except for the holiday months of December and January, comprise low season.Best Times to Visit Munich»
Munich is made up of a handful of neighborhoods that radiate around Altstadt, or the City Center.
Accessible via Marienplatz and Odeonsplatz U-Bahn stops.
Altstadt (City Center) is the historical district of Munich, where visitors will most likely spend the majority of their time. You can walk through this relatively small district in about 15 minutes. As the location of the original city from the medieval ages, Altstadt is enclosed by four large stone gates built in the 18th century: Odeonsplatz and Sendlinger bound the district in the north and south while Isartor and Karlstor form the eastern and western boundaries.
Street musicians and performers add life and character to Mary's Square (Marienplatz), Munich's main town square. The square is surrounded by splendid neo-gothic buildings and the city's main tourist attractions. Car lovers will enjoy the Deutsches Museum to the south of Marienplatz along the Isar River. On your way, be sure to pass through the Viktualienmarkt and converse with the vendors selling fruit, vegetables and other snacks.
North of Marienplatz is where you will find the area some call "Royal Munich." On Royal Munich's southern end stands the Munich Residence, former home of the Wittelsbach family that ruled Bavaria until the early 20th century. Today, visitors can tour the lavish interiors of Altes Residenztheater (Cuvilliestheater) and the Residenz Treasury, which are also housed in the former royal seat.
A bit north of the Residenz is the Hofgarten or Court Garden, which was the main garden for the Munich Residence. Blocks away is the Nationaltheater -- once the royal opera house and now the stomping grounds for the Bavarian State Opera Company. Even farther north of Royal Munich is the country's largest city park, the Englischer Garten (English Garden), where you can enjoy a boating, walking or biking along the trails.
Accessible via the Dietlindenstraße, Müncher Freiheit and Universität U-Bahn stops.
Within walking distance to Altstadt is the northern neighborhood of Schwabing, an area whose bohemian feel is comparable to that of Greenwich Village in New York. Home to many young professionals, Schwabing's main road, Leopoldstrasse, is lined with cafés, bars, restaurants and beautiful Art Nouveau architecture. Schwabing is also where you will find a good chunk of Munich's museums, including the fantastic (and enormous) Old Pinakothek art museum and the nearby New Pinakothek, filled with 18th- and 19th-century works.
Accessible via the Olympiazentrum and Oberwiesenfeld U-Bahn stops.
Bordering Schwabing's northeastern edge is the Olympiapark. The complex was the grounds for the 1972 Summer Olympic Games, but today is home to many of the city's students, a few sports stadiums and the Olympiahalle performance venue, where famous musical groups like U2 and the Rolling Stones have performed. While there, writers recommend going to the top of the Olympiaturm (or Olympic Tower) for dinner in the revolving restaurant at the top, or to enjoy the Munich city views 623 feet below.
Accessible via Tram 17.
Southwest of Olympiapark and northwest of Altstadt is quiet Nymphenburg, a largely residential area. However, you can tour the extravagant interiors of the Nymphenburg Palace, the baroque summer palace for royal Wittelsbach family. The court stables still have gilded carriages that are centuries old.
Accessible via the Theresienwiese U-Bahn stop.
Theresienwiese, south of Nymphenburg and west of Altstadt, is renowned for being the site of Munich's annual Oktoberfest. The 16-day event draws more than six million people from across the globe each year to gorge on hearty Bavarian foods washed down with steins of beer. If you visit Munich when it is not Oktoberfest, visit the grounds to see the statue of the Maiden Bavaria, who watches over the city in legend. You can climb the 130 steps inside the statue and peer through the eyes of Bavaria, as you take in a bird's-eye view of the city.
Accessible via the Max-Weber-Platz U-Bahn stop.
Head to the Haidhausen area -- sometimes called the "French Quarter" -- for its food and nightlife. This area is known for its ethnic eateries, as well as some of the city's premier performance venues like the Cultural Center (Kulturzentrum Gasteig). The neighborhood, located southeast of Altstadt, is mainly residential, but hosts a booming nightlife scene once the sun goes down.
Accessible via Arabellapark, Richard-Strauss-Straße and Bohmerwald-Platz U-Bahn stops.
Bogenhausen is the wealthiest part of the city, where affluent Münchners live in Art Nouveau villas, located within walking distance to the English Garden. Now, it also contains art galleries, boutiques and restaurants. Located northeast of Altstadt, it's worth wandering through Bogenhausen's main street, Prinzregentenstrasse, for the interesting architecture.
Many travel guides say Munich is so safe, it borders on being boring. Still, there are a few things travelers should be aware of -- namely jay-walking (don't do it) and walking along bike paths (don't do it). And if you're traveling to Munich during Oktoberfest, you might encounter some drunken revelry.
TripAdvisor says, "Don't be surprised if you are grabbed suddenly by a policeman if you cross the road when the red light is showing. The Munich police take this very seriously indeed. And if you're unfortunate to be knocked over by a car while jay-walking, don't expect sympathy and do expect to pay for any damage to the car!"
Also, bike paths -- which sidle many of the roads -- are meant for bikers only. Cyclists are pretty territorial about them, so we recommend sticking to the footpaths only.
The best way to get around Munich is by foot since many of the attractions are located close to one another. If you grow weary, refresh yourself aboard the city's excellent public transportation -- the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, tram or bus. Coincidentally, you can also take the S-Bahn from the Franz-Josef-Strauss Airport (MUC), located just about 20 miles northeast of the downtown area. Taxis are available too, but these are expensive. If you're on a budget, skip the taxi and take the U-Bahn.Getting Around Munich»