From its modest founding in the 12th century to its current status as a world metropolis, Munich is overall one of the world’s best cities. It is located north of the Bavarian alps, on the banks of the Isar River, and in the German state of Bavaria. Known for its Marienplatz, Frauenkirche, and Hofbräuhaus, Munich is also known for being home to the record setting Bayern Munich. The city has recently been dubbed with the nickname “World City With A Heart”, because despite its recent rocky history, Munich is now a very welcoming and safe place for all. Throughout this post, I’ll be guiding you through Munich, including info and recommendations on how to get around, where to stay, and what to see in Bavaria’s capital.
Getting around in Munich is quite simple thanks to its great public transportation system. This system includes underground trains (U-Bahn), suburban trains (S-Bahn), tram services, and bus services, which can easily get you from one place in Munich to another in a matter of minutes. You likely wont even need to use public transportation in Munich though, as the centre of the city though is very easy to navigate by foot, and most of Munich’s main sites are all within 20 minutes walking distance of one another. The few sites that are outside of the altstadt however can also quickly be reached through the trains and buses throughout Munich.
There are tons of great hotels, hostels, Airbnbs, and other places to stay in Munich to chose from. One in particular that I’d recommend is the Hotel Cristal, which is where my family and I stayed for the time we were in Munich. Hotel Cristal, a four star hotel, is very nice, pretty, and welcoming, and our stay there was very enjoyable. It is located a short five minute walk away from the München Hauptbahnhof, and a 15 minute walk away from Munich’s heart, the Marienplatz. I’d definitely suggest staying here if you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Munich!
Located in northern Munich, the Allianz Arena is Germany’s second largest arena to date. It is home to Bayern Munich, the most successful and famous football team in Germany. The Allianz Arena was the first stadium in the world with a full colour changing exterior, and it has a 75,000 seating capacity. The stadium is a very popular attraction for football fans, and it is one of the most well known stadiums world wide.
Munich’s Frauenkirche is the tallest building in old town Munich, and it can be seen all throughout the city. Built in the 1400s, this 99 metre tall church is famous for its stunning architectural design. It suffered major damages after the Allied air raids on Munich of the second world war, but was soon restored to its former glory.
One of the most iconically Munich places in Munich is its Hofbräuhaus, a beer hall built in 1589 by the Duke of Bavaria at the time. The traditionally Bavarian hall serves classic German cuisine, such as Brezh (soft pretzel), Bratwurst and Weisswurst (both sausages), a ton of beer, and many other delicious foods. The Hofbräuhaus was almost completely destroyed by the World War II bombings of Munich, with all but the historic beer hall annihilated. However, it was later rebuilt and mended and it is now one of the most spirited and festive places in all of Munich.
The true heart of Munich, the Marienplatz is home to the New and Old Town Halls, both of which are some of Munich’s most well known sites. Many of the most important events of the city’s history took place in the Marienplatz, including some that were good and some that were bad. Mary’s Column, the Fish Fountain, and of course the Glockenspiel are all also found in the square, which are all very well known and noteworthy attractions. During the winter months, the Marienplatz is home of one of Germany’s best Christmas markets, which we were lucky enough to see since it was going on while we were there. If you’d like more info on the Marienplatz, you can check out the whole separate post that I wrote about it through this link.
Another one of Munich’s famous squares is the Max-Joseph-Platz, named after the first king of Bavaria. A statue of the famous king can be found in the middle of the square, while surrounding the square are some of Munich’s most important buildings. On the north side of the square is the southern front of the Munich Residence Palace; on the east side is the National Theatre; on the south side there is the Palais an der Oper; and on the west side are some shopfronts.
The home to Bavaria’s monarchs from 1385 to 1918, the Munich Residence is a stunning, historical palace. The pretty palace has a very long history and a very long list of inhabitants, hence its architectural style being very mixed. Much of the palace is now available to be toured, which I unfortunately didn’t get the chance to do, but I think sounds really interesting and would definitely suggest doing!
Founded in 1888, the Munich city museum is located in St. Jakobs Square. It is home to an extensive exhibit about the history of Munich called “Typically Munich”, as well as an exhibit on National Socialism, puppets, and music. I wrote an entire post about this museum, if you’d like to read it click here.
Arguably Munich’s recognizable landmark, the city’s New Town Hall is located within the Marienplatz. It is the current home to the Munich city government, and it was constructed in the late 1800s after the Old Town Hall became overfilled. New Town Hall, or Neues Rathaus in German, is known for its glockenspiel, a famous tourist attraction that re-enacts two Bavarian folktales everyday twice a day.
Right next to the New Town Hall is the Old Town Hall, the former home to Munich’s city government. It was built in the 1400s, and it has a very beautiful exterior and interior. Along with many of Munich’s other significant buildings, it was bombed during the second world war but later rebuilt.
Created for the 1972 Summer Olympics that took place in Munich, Olympiapark is located in northern Munich. Within the park you’ll find the main Olympic Stadium, the Olympia Hall, the Olympic Village, the Olympia Tower, and more. Olympiapark is infamous for being the site of the Munich Massacre, which involved the death of 5 athletes, 6 coaches, 1 police officer, and 5 terrorists. Despite the attack that happened at the site during the summer olympics held there, it is a very nice park and a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Munich.
St. Micheal’s Church
St. Micheal’s Church, the largest Renaissance church north of the Alps, was created in the late 16th century. It is located very close to Marienplatz, within Munich’s altstadt. Many important people to Bavaria’s history are buried in the church, including William V and Ludwig II. Both its exterior and interior are gorgeous.
St. Peter’s Church
Found atop a tiny hill, St. Peter’s church is located just outside the Marienplatz on the only elevated part of Munich’s old town. It is a beautiful Roman Catholic church, and the oldest church in the district (churches have been standing on its site for nearly a thousand years!). A great view of Munich, possibly the best in the area, can be found at the top of the church’s tower after 299 steps up.
That’s all for my guide to Munich; I hope you enjoyed! Look out for a one day itinerary on what to do in Munich next week before I begin my posts about Austria. Have you ever been to Munich? If so, what was your favourite place you visited there? If not, where in Munich would you most like to visit?
Thanks for reading.