Munich is the capital 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. Here’s what to do in Munich in 2 days.
Munich Travel Tips
Here are some helpful tips to know before taking a Munich weekend break.
History of Munich
Munich is Bavaria’s largest city, but it’s also one of Germany’s oldest cities. It was originally founded as a city in the 12th century, but there was a settlement present even before that. It was a turbulent city in the middle ages, where the rule of the Dukes of Bavaria was constantly challenged.
Following the aggressive period in Munich’s history, the city emerged as a cultural and artistic powerhouse and led the development of 19th and 20th-century German painting.
The next decades were filled with political conflict which culminated in a failed coup attempt by Adolf Hitler. Munich was extensively bombed in World War II and lost about 40% of its buildings.
The city has now recovered and is a thriving tourist destination. While there are plenty of things to do in Munich, you can easily see Munich in 2 days if you’re short on time.
The Best Time to Visit Munich
Munich can be a great place to visit throughout the entire year, but each season has its ups and downs. The high season in Munich is considered summer, and this is the time of the year when the weather is at its best. Outdoor activities are popular, and Munich’s many surrounding hiking trails are populated with people.
The downside to this is the expensive accommodations, which can add up. This is a good time to experience Munich in 2 days if you plan on exploring its surroundings too.
Autumn is arguably the most popular time of the year. This is when Oktoberfest happens and it’s a pretty hectic time. Accommodations are crazy expensive, but it can be worth it. Oktoberfest is a great time to spend 2 days in Munich, but if you want to avoid crowds and parties, September is a great time to do so.
Winter is a cooler season, both literally and figuratively. The famous Christmas markets are filled with people shopping for all sorts of items and trinkets. It can get pretty magical if you can handle the colder weather. Besides winter sports, visitors tend to sample the fine mulled wine of Munich.
Where to Stay in Munich
You have a variety of options for lodging during your trip, whether you’re looking for a hotel in Munich or an Airbnb.
- Hotel Amba – I stayed at this budget hotel during my 2 days in Munich and found it very affordable and centrally located to the train station and the city center. (rates start at $39 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
- Louis Hotel – This luxury hotel is in the center of town and a minute away from markets, restaurants, and more. (rates start at $200 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
The Best Things to Do for 2 Days in Munich
There are plenty of things to do in Munich in 2 days during your visit.
Visit the Marienplatz
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 afterward to celebrate with the city (which I was excited to see this during my 2 days in Munich).
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.
Stroll Through the Englischer Garten
The English Garden, based on the informal British-style gardens, is a huge public park that spans across the city. There are 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 during the weekend in Munich to have a picnic with family or play soccer with friends.
This museum is almost impossible to explore thoroughly if only get to see Munich in 2 days. It displays Germany’s scientific and technological progress, and a great many subjects are explored. Nanotechnology, aerospace, astronomy, and so much more are on display with their own interactive exhibits. They’re very involving and highly unforgettable.
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.
Read more: How to Visit London on a Budget
St. Peter’s Church
Few other things will your 2 days in Munich feel filled with awe as St. Peter’s Church. It was first constructed in the 12th century but was later destroyed in a fire a couple of centuries later. It has been since rebuilt in the Gothic style but has different styles added to it throughout the ages. This is a great place to visit if you don’t know what to do in Munich in 2 days, but want to see something inherently Bavarian.
See How Royalty Lived at Nymphenburg Palace
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.
Munich Beer Gardens
Spending 2 days in Munich is more than enough time to sample its most popular export – beer. If you plan on seeing Munich in 2 days make sure to set aside a lot of time for beer, as its something that’s popular with everyone.
Augustiner-Braeustuben A wholly Bavarian place, this is the first place you should visit when you’re stuck on what to do in Munich. It has that undeniable Munich charm and it’s filled with loud conversations over a beer. It’s off the beaten path and pretty jovial, but it’s a must-visit.
Loewenbraeukeller This popular beer garden is home to one of Munich’s finest beers, the Loewenbraeu. It’s quite well-known for its regular displays of traditional Bavarian dances and music, and it’s a place frequented by the locals. It has amazing roof terraces which are very popular during the warm summer months.
Hirschgarten Located in the park with the same name, this is a beer garden that both visitors and locals frequent. It’s the largest beer garden in Bavaria with thousands of seats. It is very popular for its unforgettable Bavarian ambiance. The menu is downright excellent, and it’s filled with both local and international beers.
Have German Beer at Hofbräuhaus
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?
There are many places to go for a beer, but I loved visiting Hofbräuhaus. This is probably one of the most famous beer halls 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.
Shop at Viktualienmarkt
This market has been around since the early 1800s. It originally started as a regular farmer’s market but has now expanded into specialty stands. Everything from spices to truffles to meat can be purchased from the 140 different stands.
There are stands devoted to the famous Bavarian specialty 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 while you’re in Munich for 2 days.
This is a museum dedicated to exploring Munich’s more modern art scene. The Blue Rider group shook up everything the previous artistic schools stood for, and they changed art forever. This museum is dedicated to artists like Kandinsky, Franz Marc, August Macke, but even more international artists like Andy Warhol and Jenny Holzer are on display. This is one of the best places to visit when you’re stuck on what to do in Munich.
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.
This is one of the world’s oldest art galleries and is a great visit if you only have 2 days in Munich. It’s dated in the early 19th century, and its Neo-Renaissance design would influence other upcoming museums and galleries that came after it. Its collection originally started in the 16th century and it has grown exponentially since then. There are many masters that are on display here, like Rubens, Duerer, van Dyck, but also da Vinci, and Rembrandt, among many other renowned artists.
Where to Eat in Munich
When you’re only spending 2 days in Munich, you don’t want to eat tourist food. In fact, you should always seek out the places where the locals eat because that’s where the best food is usually found.
This is a very unique and quirky tavern that was previously a cabaret. It’s found near the city’s main university and is simply filled with affordable, yet delicious food, like the famed currywurst.
Germany is known for the love of hot chocolate and sweets, and Munich is no different. Tram Café is a unique sport where you eat numerous different creamy treats for low prices, but it’s set in an actual tram car. There are plenty of different flavors too, like almond, chocolate, and coconut, and even unique ones like gorgonzola and olives.
This is a restaurant that’s found in the center of the city, and yet it feels wholly undiscovered. It has some of the finest local food found in the pubs and restaurants in the city center, like the white sausages and meatloaf. Drinking Munich’s finest beer Augustiner here is also a mush.
One of the most affordable fast food joints, but also one of the most popular among the locals. Schnelle Liebe means fast love, which is exactly what you’ll be getting, even though sometimes you might wait a bit in line.
This unique pub is found just beside the place where Oktoberfest happens. It has the same ambiance, pretty much the same food and drink, only it’s open the entire year round. It’s a very popular spot for the locals, and for excellent reason.
Day Trips from Munich
Munich has an amazing number of nearby locations that are definitely worth a visit. If you only plan on seeing Munich in 2 days, visiting the local surrounding area is a good idea. Going on a day trip from Munich is always a treat, and you can easily find magical places that will enchant you.
This is another fantastic day trip from Munich, as it’s also quite close. It was originally King Ludwig II’s hunting lodge, who was the same monarch behind Neuschwanstein Castle’s construction. It’s absolutely luxurious, wholly decorated with only the finest items, and there’s a certain elegance that can barely be matched by anything else. The Hall of Mirrors and the Tapestry Chambers are some of the most popular attractions in the area, and they’re entirely worth a visit all for themselves.
This is a palace complex that’s only about 60km away from the city, and it’s an absolutely amazing day trip from Munich. Construction was never finished for Herrenschiemsee, but that doesn’t mean it’s no less impressive. Its gardens are of most impeccable quality and are filled with fountains and sculptures that you’ll never forget. There are two museums found on this estate, and there’s an innumerable amount of artifacts from the life of the royalty found in them.
Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the world’s most iconic castle, and it’s even used as an inspiration for many Disneyland parks. It’s a vast castle complex with battlements, spires, and towers, and it completely has that entire fairytale feel to it. It’s great it’s also only 2 hours away from Munich.