There is a saying in Munich and the area around this city - “Dahoam is dahoam” which means “home is home”. The people want to say with it that there’s no place like home, and they are not without a good reason proud of it. For Munich is a city with one of the highest living standards in the world, and it has also so much to offer for the tourists. In this guest post, Max would like to show you the top 10 of things to do in Munich. And maybe, when you have visited this Bavarian city, you will understand why people there say “home is home”.
The Frauenkirche is the first Munich highlights as it is Munich’s most impressive church and also the landmark of this city. Translated, Frauenkirche means “Women’s Church” and it’s the name the locals gave to it. Its full name is “Cathedral of Our Dear Lady”.
Built in the 15th century, this place is nowadays one of the most popular attractions, and if you are looking for things to do in Munich, you should have this one on your bucket list, folks.
The reason for building the Frauenkirche was the circumstance that the importance of Munich grew strongly in the 15th century. With it, the city’s population grew with it, too. That’s why the duke decided that Munich needed a new church which would represent the power and the importance of this growing Bavarian city.
Therefore, the master builder named Jörg von Halsbach was commissioned to raise this church. He did his work so well that 700 years later this construction can be still admired. The Frauenkirche was erected in the style of late Gothic, but it has some special features.
For example, the facade has an understated elegance, and the typical Gothic elements are not visible outside but exclusively inside. Also, the interior design looks rather reserved in comparison to other churches in the Gothic style, and it’s also unusual bright inside of this construction.
The architect could achieve this by using the white and a beige painting colors as main colors. The high windows are emphasizing this and giving to the church a “shiny atmosphere”
But the most famous attraction (or element if you will) in this church is the so-called “Devil’s Footstep” which is a mark close to the entrance and looking like a footprint.
According to one of the legends, the master builder Jörg von Halsbach told the devil himself a lie. He was claiming, that in this church the windows wouldn’t be visible, and the devil believed him because of the fact that at the time the Frauenkirche was built, it was not possible to see the windows because of the architectonic characteristic.
But then, the devil saw that the architect let him stand in a way the devil wouldn’t discover the windows because they were there. Infuriated about this joke, the devil couldn’t do much than stomp with his foot furiously at the entrance because the church was already consecrated, and the devil couldn’t enter it.
One final interesting fact about the Frauenkirche is, that there was a local referendum in Munich. The citizens of Munich decided not to allow to build skyscrapers in Munich or at least buildings that are higher than the towers of the Frauenkirche which are about 100 m high.
Doing this, they made sure to preserve the historical cityscape of Munich, and that’s the reason why you will not find any skyscrapers you might have seen in other cities, like London, Chicago or Frankfurt.
Munich is one of the most beautiful German cities to visit, if only for the Frauenkirche.
Address: Frauenplatz 12, 80331 München
Entrance fee: it’s for free
Pedestrian area Marienplatz (Mary’s Square)
The Marienplatz is located in the centre of Munich and is the best starting point for exploring the Munich highlights.
This place belongs to the centre of Munich already since the year 1158 which was also the year of the very first documented mention of the “forum apud Munichen” which means “marketplace with monks”. Therefore, Marienplatz was called for centuries just market.
In the year 1854, the market was moved to another place in Munich. Just afterwards, Marienplatz got its actual name. As the traffic got stronger and stronger with the time passing by, Marienplatz was finally converted into a pedestrian area in the year 1972.
This leads to the fact that Marienplatz is today one of the most popular places in Munich. It’s a meeting point for the locals and the tourists as well. But it’s not just a meeting point but also one of the most beautiful Munich highlights.
For example, you will find the famous Saint Mary’s Column (Mariensäule) there which was erected in the year 1638. The reason for this was the promise of the Duke of Bavaria, Maximilian I, during the Thirty Years’ War. He took a vow to build something godly in case Munich gets spared from the war. Although the Swedish troops occupied Munich, they didn’t destroy it. And that’s the reason why you can visit the Mariensäule today.
Another interesting things to visit in Munich around the Marienplatz are the impressive old and the new town halls and the “Old Peter” which is another church whose tower you can walk up (300 steps) and enjoy the view over Munich.
Address: Marienplatz, 80331 München
Entrance fee: it’s for free
The Nymphenburg Palace (Schloss Nymphenburg)
When you are looking for things to do in Munich, you should also consider visiting the Nymphenburg Castle, folks. For this is a special contemporary witness of monarchy in Bavaria. The elector of Munich, Ferdinand Maria, made this castle as a gift for his beloved wife Henriette of Savoy after she bore him a heir to the throne.
This castle is a superlative amongst highlights in Munich and vicinity because with a span of about 630 m (apprx. 680 yards) it’s even bigger than the French Palace of Versailles. This makes Munich of op the top German cities to visit.
From the outside, the Nymphenburg Palace might not be as impressive as Neuschwanstein Castle, but from the inside, it’s a real eye-catcher. The decorations of the apparent countless rooms vary from the magnificent baroque and rococo to the reserved classicism.
Also, you will find in the castle a splendid garden in the style of baroque and four museums as well: the so-called Marstallmuseum where you will find a lot of impressive court carriages, a porcelain museum, museum of Man and Nature, and Erwin von Kreibig museum (who was a German painter)
Address: Schloss Nymphenburg 1, 80638 München
Entrance fee: 11,50 EUR, during the winter time about 3,- EUR
If you want to discover one of the most beautiful castles in Germany, you can take daytrip from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle.
The German Museum (Deutsches Museum)
Speaking of museums - when you visit Munich, the German Museum should also be on your bucketlist as one of the top things to do in Munich. For this one is the biggest science and technical museum in the world!
So when you go there, you better don’t make other big plans on this day because you will spend a lot of time there. It’s just huge! This place is so huge, that there is even an app available (download for free). Downloading this, you will receive with it a self-guided tour companion, interactive maps and more other useful features.
Actually, the official name of this terrific place is “The German Museum of Masterpieces of Science and Technology”. With about more than 30 different exhibitions on more than 25000 square meters, you will for sure find a masterpiece you will admire. This museum makes Munich one of the best German cities to visit.
The thematic areas are about such topics like astronomy, chemistry, computer science, robots, physics, machines, photography and many others.
But the German Museum is not just a huge building with a lot of exhibitions. It’s a museum to participate, which would be interesting for families with kids. In some areas, it’s allowed to pull levers, pushing buttons and just to try things out.
One of the highlights is for sure a demonstration with heavy current where real lightnings are produced.
As you can see, the German Museum is not just a “never-never land” for nerds but a splendid Munich highlight for your money, also for kids and for tourists visiting Munich during the winter time.
Address: Museumsinsel 1, 80538 München
Entrance fee: 12,- EUR
The English Garden (Englischer Garten)
In Munich, there is place called English Garden which is one of the biggest city parks in the world and another great Munich highlight not far away from the city centre.
This park was commissioned in the year 1789 from the elector Karl Theodor. Actually, he inherited Bavaria after the death of the elector Maximilian III in the year 1777. But he didn’t like his inheritance and he was trying to exchange it for the Netherlands. But as his plan failed, he started a kind of “transformation” of Munich. The English Garden was one of the results of this transformation.
The concept was to give to his soldiers a meaningful work during the times of peace and to impart them “agricultural skills”. But the park should also be accessible for the public. The design of the park was made after the British (or English) gardens and that’s why this place got the name English Garden.
The reason to choose the English gardens as a model was the idea to give to the park more naturalness instead of strict shapes of baroque gardens. Therefore, you will find there big meadows and small lakes. The plants and trees are looking like they have been growing a bit wildly so you wouldn’t always know they were planted by humans. I’ve been several times in London and visited the Hyde Park. If you have been there too, you should know what you can expect in the English Garden.
Today, especially during the warmer months, the English Garden is a very popular place and a good meeting point if you would like to learn to know new people. If not, you can just enjoy some Weissbier in one of the beer gardens within the English Garden, have a wonderful picnic on a meadow, enjoy the view along the river or even do some sports like jogging or surfing in the so-called Eisbach (ice brook). The “ice brook” is a manmade river in the English Garden and a popular spot amongst the Munich’s river surfers.
Like a lot of other parks, the English Garden also has it’s own “famous” buildings and constructions. Especially, the Chinese Tower and the “Monopteros” which is a small and round Greek “temple”.
Address: Englischer Garten, 80538 München
Entrance fee: it’s for free
The Munich Residence (Münchner Residenz)
Not far away from the Marienplatz, there is another impressive Munich highlight to be admired - The Munich Residence. This building served as the residence for the Bavarian dukes, electors and kings between the years 1508 and 1918.
But its story began already in the year 1385 as a castle which was renovated and transformed throughout the centuries into a palace with several additional buildings and gardens.
Today, the Residence Munich is an important museum in Europe with about 130 rooms, 10 inner courtyards and it’s five times bigger than the Marienplatz! This museum makes Munich one of the most popular German cities to visit.
In the galleries of the Residence, you will find exhibitions about the life and the work of Bavarian kings and princes.
It total, it can be said, that you will not find another place in Munich where you can learn more about the history of Munich than in the Residence.
This is all the more impressive because the Residence was destroyed during the World War II and had to be fully restored. As there were no real recordings, the restorers had to use old photos to make the Residence looking like the original one. It was a real Sisyphean task!
Address: Residenzstraße 1, 80333 München
Entrance fee: about 13,- EUR
The Olympia Park consists of about 850.000 square meters and offers several attractions. This place was commissioned and built for the Olympic Games in the year 1972. After the games, the government didn’t want just to abandon this place and therefore, the Olympia Park is used still today for different sporting events, concerts, and so on. So in general it can be said, it’s the sporting highlight of the city.
Some of the main attractions at the Olympia Park area are:
It’s the most prominent construction at the Olympia Park which you can visit by a guided tour and go up to the roof. Besides that, you can explore the rest of the stadium without any guides.
During the summer, in the stadium, there are several concerts taking place. Some of the prominent artists: Rolling Stones, Metallica, Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson and U2.
This tower is 291 meters high (apprx. 955 ft) and the highest construction in Munich. It also has an observation deck at 190 meters (apprx. 623 ft) which offers spectacular views over Munich.
Beneath the observation deck, there is a rotating restaurant with a 360° view while you enjoy the compulsory coffee and cake in the afternoon.
Other attractions at the Olympia Park are the SEA LIFE Centre (kids will love it) and the Olympia Hall where from time to time sporting events are taking place.
Address: Spiridon-Louis-Ring 21, 80809 München
Entrance fee to the Olympia Stadium: 3,50 EUR
When you visit the Olympia Park, it lends itself to visit the BMW Museum because it’s located adjacent to the Olympia Park.
The BMW Museum opened its doors in the year 1973 and since 2008, after a renovation, it’s presenting even more exhibits about the history of BMW. Here you will find about 125 most valuable cars, motorcycles and motors of this company. Which does not only mean it’s about BMW but also about other brands like MINI or Rolls-Royce cars.
In total it can be said that the BMW Museum does not just represent the history of this company but rather the history of mobility combined with sportiness, developments and passion for cars.
This makes Munich the best German city to visit for car-lovers.
Address: Am Olympiapark 2, 80809 München
Entrance fee: 10,- EUR for a single ticket, partners: 7,- EUR
Even if you are not a football fan, it’s worth to visit this stadium. In case you like football, all the better! But I am not talking about visiting this stadium during a football game but in general. For this stadium has a special design and its “honeycombs” are shining in different colors as soon as it gets dark. Actually, those honeycombs are air filled membrane cushions and in total, there are 2784 of them. Together, they are standing for the world’s largest membrane outer facade.
One special color is reserved for the time when the FC Bayern is playing. During this time, the futuristic looking Allianz Arena is shining red.
The Allianz Arena is the home stadium of the one of the best football teams in the world: FC Bayern München. The vision began in the year 1997: the fans were longing for a modern stadium as the Olympia Stadium was not up-to-date anymore. But the government of Munich didn’t want a new stadium. Instead, it wanted to modernize the Olympia Stadium. So it was a long discussion between the representatives of football in Munich and the government. IThere was even a local referendum held. But the majority of the citizens voted for the new stadium.
If you would like to enter the stadium, then you can visit it by booking a guided tour through this impressive construction.
The Arena is located a bit outside of Munich and you have to take the subway to get there. Just take the Line U6 towards “Garching-Forschungszentrum” and leave the subway at the stop “Fröttmaning”.
Last but not least, Oktoberfest is for sure worth to be in the top 10 of things to do in Munich and it makes it one of the most popular German cities to visit. I am confident that the first thing you think about Munich, is for certain the Oktoberfest.
To visit this event, you need to visit Munich end of September which might not be the ideal time for you as the holiday period is rather from July to August. But in return you will be a witness of the most famous folk festival in the world.
The Oktoberfest was established in the year 1810, and although it’s not the oldest folk festival in Germany, it became the most famous one. All began with the wedding of the crown prince Ludwig and the princess Therese. That’s why the place, where the Oktoberfest is held, is called “Theresienwiese” which means “Therese meadow”.
Yearly, there are about 6 million visitors partying at the Oktoberfest and this fest stands primarily for the Bavarian beer culture. That’s the reason why you will get at Oktoberfest only beer from breweries located in Munich. Bad luck for the competitors residing outside of Munich...
In huge beer marquees, several thousands of hectoliters of beer are served in beer mugs, each of them contains 1 liter of beer (0,26 of a gallon).
But besides of the beer marquees where the booze is going on there are several fairground rides outside like a Ferris Wheel, several carousels and other attractions.
Address: Theresienwiese, 80336 München
Okay, folks. Those were top 10 of things to do in Munich. I hope, you enjoyed this article and I wish you a pleasant journey to Munich!
TIP: Munich has magical Christmas markets, so consider visiting Munich in winter!
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