During my recent visit to southwest Germany, my friends and I decided to take a two day road trip over to the other side of Germany and explore Munich. I’ve heard so much about this city from other friends who had been there, and was excited to see it for myself finally. We quickly checked into our hotel and started walking towards the city center.
Munich is the capitol of Bavaria, and the third largest city in Germany. In World War II, it was heavily bombed and much of it was destroyed, but the people quickly started building it back to its original state. Today it’s a thriving city full of beautiful architecture, shopping, historical sites, and of course, beer. There’s many outdoor restaurants that you can enjoy schnitzel and pint of beer while people watching.
Where to Stay
I stayed at Hotel Amba, which is right across from the Munich train station. It’s only a five minute walk to where the city center begins and was very reasonably priced. They had all the basic amenities and a good-sized breakfast buffet each morning. If you’ll be here for longer than a few days, you could easily make this your base and do a day trip or two to other cities (Salzburg, Austria is less than 2 hours away!).
Since 1158, Marienplatz has been Munich’s main city square. In the past, it was used for tournaments and markets. Around Christmastime, the famous Christkindlmarkt opens up for three weeks to sell season food and gifts. When FC Bayern Munich (the city’s soccer team) wins an important game, this is where the team will come afterwards to celebrate with the city.
The Rathaus-Glockenspiel is one of the main attractions of the square. Although I unfortunately wasn’t there when it was active, it has 32 characters that re-enact two stories from the 16th century. I still loved how much detail each figure had, and hope next time I’m back I can see the show.
The English Garden, based on the informal British-style gardens, is a huge public park that spans across the city. There’s several restaurants and beer gardens available to enjoy lunch at, with many traditional German foods offered. Many unique buildings are here, such as the Chinese Tower above. On warm summer days, the area is popular with locals to have a picnic with family or play soccer with friends.
One thing that completely amazed me is you can surf on part of the river. Named The Eisbach, people have been surfing on this spot for years due to the continuous wave that appears. About a dozen surfers were waiting their turn when I got there, and they all seem semi-experienced. The water moves pretty fast, so I wouldn’t recommend it to any beginners.
This sprawling palace was the summer residence to many rulers of Bavaria over the centuries. The inside of the palace is impressive, but I loved the outside more. At 490 acres, the park is so large, it has its own map you can use to navigate it. Many people were using the trails for jogging, while others were enjoying lunch in the shade on one of the many benches. I can’t imagine how many workers it takes to maintain all the flowers here.
Beer and Pretzels
I’m not going to lie – a huge reason I was excited to go to Germany was to overload my body with beer and pretzels. The country does NOT disappoint! While I think I officially need a year break from pretzels, they were so delicious. Offered at almost any meal (I even had them for breakfast), what’s better to wash it down with than some German beer? I just had to include this picture because Germans love pretzels so much, they make floaties in the shape of them. Can you imagine floating down the river in a giant pretzel? Amazing.
There’s many places to go for beer, but I loved visiting Hofbräuhaus. This is probably one of the most famous beerhalls in the world, so that said it’s a bit touristy and can be crowded. My tip is to go early in the day, and don’t go on a day there’s a soccer match or any big event. I loved seeing the rows of long tables line the hall, and the waitresses dressed up in the traditional dress. Let me tell you, those girls are strong! They were walking around carrying 4 liters of beer per hand like it was nothing.
This market has been around since the early 1800s. It originally started as a regular farmer’s market, but has now expanded into speciality stands. Everything from spices to truffles to meat can be purchased from the 140 different stands. There’s stands devoted to the famous Bavarian speciality white sausage, which my friend gladly devoured. As can be expected in Germany, there’s plenty of beer gardens around when you need a break from shopping.
This is a little bit out of the main part of town, but you can take a bus or sign up for a tour to go here. It was constructed for the 1972 Summer Olympic Games, and if you want to see the entire campus I’d recommend at least half a day here. You can tour the stadium, see the Hall of Fame, or head to the Olympic Park, to name a few. Events are still held here, including concerts, ice skating shows, and the Supercross Cup.
What else would you add to this list?
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