Why Go To Munich
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 bacchanalia, Oktoberfest, it's also highly modern: 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 man-made marvels, in the form of designer retail shops and shiny BMWs. In short, you should visit for both the provinciality and progressiveness.
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Best of Munich
Munich Travel Tips
Best Months to Visit
The best time to visit Munich is from 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 to pack 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 70s — ideal biergarten weather. Winter, except for the holiday months of December and January, is mostly this city's low season.
Weather in Munich
Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center
What You Need to Know
- Munich’s beer is strong German beer has a higher alcohol content than American brews; U.S. guzzlers should pace themselves. Also, note that at Oktoberfest, beer is sold in liter quantities.
- Munich is expensive The leafy biergartens, the baroque architecture and the nearby Alps give Munich its great beauty but also inflate its cost of living.
- Münchners speak German Many speak English, too, but do be polite to locals and begin your conversation with "Sprechen Sie Englisch?"
How to Save Money in Munich
- Bring your own food You can BYOF to many biergartens (if you buy drinks there), so head to the market and buy your picnic wholesale.
- Take public transit Because the city's systems are so good, a rental car is unnecessary — even if you’re traveling elsewhere in Bavaria, you can take a fast, efficient train.
- Visit museums on Sundays Admission to most state museums is free on this day.
Culture & Customs
Part of a culture that values planning and formalities, Germans are generally reserved. Punctuality is greatly prized. In fact, this concept is such an important part of German culture that buses and trains in the country are rarely late. Rules are extremely important to Germans. Do not jaywalk or litter, as you may be subject to a fine.
Although many people speak English in large cities like Munich, it is helpful to purchase a German phrasebook and learn a few words. Remember to say bitte (please and you're welcome), as well as danke (thank you), and you'll make a good impression.
You should also be mindful of your mannerisms. The symbol for OK in the U.S. is considered obscene in much of Europe, and whistling at the end of or during a performance is considered a sign of displeasure. When dealing with people one-on-one, remember that touching during conversation or standing less than an arm's length apart on first meeting is considered an invasion of privacy.
Munich's official currency is the euro. Since the euro to U.S. dollar exchange rate fluctuates, be sure to check what the current exchange rate is before you go. Major credit cards are accepted at some restaurants and shops.
What to Eat
Bavarian fare is extremely hearty — think: bowls brimming with thick stews and plates piled high with sausage and potatoes. Munich visitors looking to sample some of this robust fare should try the traveler-recommended Spatenhaus and Haxenbauer, both of which are located in Alstadt. However, other cuisines abound, and you should also plan to visit the Haidhausen neighborhood for Italian as well as other international foods.
For a more low-end culinary experience, try popular biergartens like Seehaus Biergarten and Augustinerkeller. Alongside your stein, order a Weisswurst or pretzel.
Some 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). Bike paths — which sidle many of the roads — are meant for bikers only. Cyclists are pretty territorial about them, so stick to the footpaths only. And if you're traveling to Munich during Oktoberfest, you might encounter some drunken revelry.
Getting Around Munich
The best way to get around Munich is on 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.
Entry & Exit Requirements
You will need a passport that is valid for at least three months past your stay. Those who wish to stay in Germany longer than 90 days must contact an embassy or consulate before leaving the U.S. For more information on entry and exit requirements, visit the U.S. Department of State's website.
Beer steins are plentiful in Munich, especially during Oktoberfest.
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