Today we are going to travel Munich! Everyone knows Munich for its famous Oktoberfest, but there are many other sights in and around Munich if you don’t get there by October!
First, you have to get there! If you are flying into any of the major cities of Germany, you can catch a quick flight into Munich. You can fly into Munich Airport (MUC) which is about 19 miles northeast of the city center. You can normally grab great flights, at good prices, on German Wings, Air Berlin, or Lufthansa. If you are flying from outside of Germany, almost every major airline flies into Munich. Make sure you book early to take advantage of less expensive flights. From the airport, you can take a taxi to the center, or you can take the train from the airport terminal. Follow signs for Bhan, the S8 or S1 – both take you into the center of town. These trains run about every ten minutes. Click the link for information on trains leaving the airport —> Munich Airport.
If you are traveling by train, any major city has a direct ICE (express trains) into Munich. To find dates and prices, check the German rails website called Deutsch Bahn German Trains. The site has an English button (and many other languages), so you can browse schedules and prices. The city center has a large train station which is called the Hauptbahnhof. The website is super helpful, and you can even print your train tickets at home. If you have a German phone number, they will even text your ticket to your smart phone. Hint: When traveling with kids, the trains are great because the kids travel free or at a very low-cost with a paying adult!
Now that we are here, let’s talk about where to stay and what to do! Oh, yes – the most fun and exciting part! I am a huge fan of renting a flat/apartment because I like to have a kitchen for my coffee in the morning! You can check booking.com, vrbo.com, homeaway.com, or one of my new favorites, Tripping. Tripping.com lets you check all the major vacation rental sites at once. I looked up prices for seven days in Munich, and you can find flats for as low as 55.00 per night! You can check out my search results here –> Apartments/Flats in Munich.
Here is our itinerary for a long weekend in Munich:
- Marien Square, New Town Hall, Glockenspiel
- St. Peter’s Church
- Residence Palace
- Maximillian Strasse
- HoffBrauHaus for dinner and beer
- DeutschMuseum (optional or for families with kids or science/tech buffs)
Places to eat and drink like a local:
- The Martini Club Munich (with world famous Bartender Hercules Tsibis who won the Sugar Plum Martini World Bartending Challenge in New York – website www.the-martini-club.de [for after the kids go to bed])
- Cafe Mauz – Leopoldstrasse 20 (in the Schwabing District of Munich), for great snack and a drink
- Olympic Stadium
- Olympic Park
- Olympic Atrium and restaurant (finish the day with dinner and a view)
- Tent roof tour of the Olympic Stadium
- BMW Museum
- Rock Museum
- Sea Life Munich
- Nymphenburg Castle and Park
- English Garden
- Lunch at Der Osterwalgarten
- Hellabrunn – Munich Zoo
- Neuschwanstein Castle
- Hohenschwangau Castle
- Dauchu concentration camp
Next, in the square, is the new town hall – Neues Rathaus. It is big – 79 meters tall (259 feet) and was built in 1867. The architect was Jauberrisser, and the style is Flemish gothic. It was built because the old Rathaus was getting too crowded. I always thought it was funny that the government buildings are called RAT HAUS! Also, part of the Town Hall is the Glockenspiel (or clock tower). It’s beautiful and was completed in 1908. Everyday at 11 a.m., noon, and 5 p.m. (in the summer), the clock chimes. It has two stories of characters that act out tales from the 16th century. It has 43 bells and 32 life-sized figures. Look closely – you can see two knights jousting; one, of course, in Bavarian (in blue and white), and he always wins. There is a viewing platform that has an elevator! Yippee! (Not common in these old buildings.) You can go up in the lift (or elevator) and look out over the city. To the south you can see the Alps and St. Peter’s church. North you can see the Olympic Tower.
It is open November-April, Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; it is closed on weekends/holidays. From May to October, it is open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. The cost is 2.50 (euro) for adults and 1.00 for kids up to 18. All kids under six are free.
The old town hall, or Alles Rathaus, (there is that RAT HOUSE AGAIN) was the original town hall and was built in 1470. It was destroyed by a fire in 1460 and rebuilt in 1480, only to be destroyed again in WWII and rebuilt for the last time. Whew, that WWII really did some damage! Now it has a toy museum inside and is fun, especially for the kids. So, take a walk, enjoy the sights, but let’s keep moving – we have a lot of ground to cover.
To the east of Marienplatz is the beautiful stone cathedral called the Frauenkirche. Translated it means the women’s church, or officially known as the Dom zu unserr lieben Frau. It was built in under 20 years, which is a short time period for a church. It was not finished, according to plans, due to lack of funds, and many of the original historic pieces were lost in, yep, you guessed it, WWII. It’s also the tallest building in the city center. There are some cool things inside you should stop and take a look at. One is the black marble sarcophagus of Ludwig IV of Bavaria; it is surrounded by four kneeling knights. Ludwig was born in Munich and was the Duke of Upper Bavaria. The coolest thing in the church is the footprint of the devil! Legend has it that the architect, Jorg von Halsbach, promised the devil that there would be no windows seen from inside the church, so there would be no light. In exchange, the devil helped him to quickly build the church. After completion, when the devil saw the inside, (which does have many windows and light), the devil was so angry that he stamped his foot on the floor creating a footprint in the stone floor. This footprint is still there today, so check it out! The church tower is open April-October, Monday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. It is two euro per person.
The next building you will want to stop and see is St. Peter’s Church (Old Peter as the locals call it.) This is the oldest church in Munch and is very close to MarienPlatz. In the second chapel on the left is the Spinster Patron Saint. A little creepy if you ask me, but everyone stops to visit her. She was actually given to Munich by the Roman church to remind them that anyone who dies defending the Roman church will go directly to heaven. She is full of jewels and has two false eyes. CREEPY, but hey, since you’re there, take a peek at her. My kids didn’t like her! After visiting Miss Creepy, you must see the top of Munich from the viewing platform; however, this is not for the faint of heart. There are 306 stairs to the top in order to reach the platform. It’s a 56 meter, or 184 feet, high platform which gives you an amazing view of Munich, and if it’s a clear day you can see over to the Swiss Alps. Check at the bottom for the color codes – the church will post colors letting you know how the view is at the top. Nothing would be worse than dragging your traveling body up 306 stairs only to see nothing. If the color circle at the bottom is white, it means you can see all the way to the alps. If it’s not white, ask how the view is from the top! Know before you go – if it’s not a clear view, stop and have a cocktail and pretend you’re looking at the alps with the wind in your hair. 🙂 Cocktails can help any situation!
On the edge of old town is the Residence Palace where bling bling was originally invented! It was built in 1935, damaged in WWII and rebuilt like most buildings. It was first used by Duke Stephan III who was king from 1375-1392. Wow, I sure live in the wrong era because I just love how the old royalty lived it up! The museum is to die for, gorgeous, and is open daily, free to all children under 15. Depending on what tours you want to take and rooms you want to see, the charges differ. Here is the website link —> Residence Palace. Hit the English button on the top right to read the site in English. To see the bling bling, visit the treasure room!
Maximillanstrasse is the awesome shopping mile with lots of exclusive designer and fun local shops. You can find about anything you want there! You should also stop by Viktualienmarkt, which is the local farmer’s market for fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheeses. You can always ask for a sample of meats and cheeses before you buy. A great afternoon snack is some local sausage and cheese with a nice glass of German riesling or auslese!
Speaking of wine and cheese, how can we not drink some German beer in Munich? The most famous beer house in the main city center is the HoffBrauHaus. This really is a must see, even though it’s touristy – some things you just have to do and see! The brewery was originally built because Wilhelm V Duke of Bavaria was not very happy with the beer of Munich. He had it shipped into Munich from the city of Einbeck. Since they were shipping the beer, the Duke’s Council members decided, hey, why not brew our own beer?!! The king thought this was a great idea, and that is how the Hofbrauhaus was born in 1958! There is lots of beer and food – my kids love the pig knuckle, and I am a fan of the spiced goulash with the spaetzle egg noodles! Oh my… so good! Lastly, to finish up your day, you must have an apple strudel or steamed dumpling with ice cream! The address is Platzl 9, Munchen 80331 – any local can point you in the right direction.
Whew! That was a full day, and now we have a full belly, so charge your camera and get some sleep! Until tomorrow we when go to the Olympic Center Stadium and Tower!
The German Museum is very close to the city center on an island in the middle of the Isar River. This is one of the best museums around when it comes to technical stuff and science. All the children in Bavaria stop to visit, so make sure you stop, too, especially if you have kids. This place is full of buttons, knobs, levers, cranks, and switches; they, for sure, will keep very busy. The museum even owns the bench where the first atom was split in 1938 in the laboratory of Hahn and Strassman. Now this place is super BIG, especially the air/space portion. Depending on how long you want to wander, and how interesting these things are for you, you could spend a half a day in here – so, plan accordingly. The museum has everything from aerospace to marine navigation, telecommunications, and agriculture. It has over 18,000 exhibits, and don’t worry – all us English speakers will fit right in because they have lots of stuff in English.
I hope you had a great first day! Stay tuned for more of our travels through Germany!