I’m going to enjoy writing about Munich because its another place I know well and, thus, the recommendations in this article have been tested first hand! I’ve been twice now, and have a number of friends in the region, but I am undoubtedly destined to travel there again, so I doubt this list is finished. Let me know at the end if you’d like for me to write on Munich again and I definitely will at some point!
Anyway, for a little substance, Munich is a huge metropolis in southern Germany, at the heart of Bavaria. The city of beer, football, and lederhosen, it is not one to be missed! Here are my 8 reasons to visit:
Oktoberfest is unfortunately cancelled this year; however, usually it is one of the biggest festivals in Europe, and even worldwide!
Running from September to October, the festival is integral to Bavarian culture. It is, at its core, a celebration of beer. Locals dressed in lederhosen, singing traditional German songs, guzzling bratwurst, and downing huge beer steins, are the lifeblood of this festival! If an all-out German party is up your street then this might tempt you, but don’t necessarily count your chickens before they hatch because there are a couple of negatives for me.
Of course, the festival, as previously stated, is not all year round. If you want to go to Munich for Oktoberfest, you have to travel there between September and October. The problem? For a thrifty traveler like me, everything will be crazy expensive! Moreover, the city will be packed so if you were hoping for a low-key city trip to see the sights, trying to fit in Oktoberfest too won’t likely work for you.
Even so, this iconic festival is worth checking out and I absolutely loved it, just be careful spending everything in your wallet!
My favourite pint glass is from the Hofbräuhaus. It sits on my shelf emblazoned with the letters HB, topped with a gold crown. It’s my favourite glass not because it looks particularly special, but because it reminds me of the fantastic times I had at the establishment whilst interrailing back in 2013!
The Hofbräuhaus is the German Royal Brewery in Munich but I’m not actually talking about the brewery itself. I’m taking about the Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, an establishment owned by the brewery. It is a historic beer hall which was built by Bavarian Duke Maximillian I in 1589. The building oozes character. With tightly packed wooden tables, traditional German fittings, beautiful ceiling frescoes, servers dressed in Bavarian attire, and music permanently playing, you will rarely be more immersed in a local culture than right here!
In addition, the establishment has a wonderful Wirtsgarten, basically a beer garden to you English folk out there, with atmosphere to match the inside of the building. A fantastically rowdy ambiance, reminiscent of the bustling pubs of London after work on a Friday night, is undoubtedly a reason to pop inside.
Of course, being a popular tourist attraction, the place isn’t cheap, but the Hofbräuhaus needs visiting, even if you’re only grabbing one stein!
- Traditional German food.
You’d be able to get some of this from the Hofbräuhaus but, for the sake of value for money, I’d recommend you get it elsewhere.
I’ll definitely miss out some great dishes on this list, but here are a few of my favourites! Let’s start out with pretzels. They are more than just snacks. Chewy, salty, and just as good as fresh bread from your local bakery, these are not to turn your nose up at. German pretzels are the perfect accompaniment to that cold beer you’re thinking about, but the best is still to come!
Weisswurst is a Bavarian sausage made of minced veal and pork. If you’re a carnivore, this needs to be on your ‘food bucket list’. Served with an accompanying pretzel, and sweet German mustard, the sausage is truly delectable!
Finally, one of my favourite dishes on the planet, even more so than Weisswurst, Schweinshaxe can bring a tear to any carnivore’s eye.
Pork knuckle served with potatoes, sauerkraut, and gravy. It’s as simple as that and yet so much more. Crunchy skin, meat falling off the bone, soft potatoes, tangy sauerkraut, and rich gravy… Sounds too good to be true? It isn’t. It’s Munich! Get yourself out there!
This is going to be a brief one. The Marienplatz is an awesome place to visit, but I don’t think it’s a reason which will be enough in itself to convince you to go to Munich.
Even so, it’s one of many reasons which may contribute to your decision to go! The squares of most European cities are marquee attractions and Marienplatz is no different. The Neues Rathaus, or New Town Hall, which is built on the square, is a stunningly intricate, partially neo-gothic, bastion of Munich’s culture! Sound like a cool place to visit and see? I certainly liked it and… It’s free!
Munich is a city of culture and is chock-a-block with brilliant museums.
Be it the Glyptothek, a neoclassical building dedicated to antiquarian sculpture, or the Museum Brandhorst, a modern building containing the works of the likes of Damien Hirst or Andy Warhol, there’s something for any fan of art!
Beyond that, the Deutsches Museum is the largest science and technology museum in the world. If you aren’t into art, maybe this interactive experience will float your boat!
And then, even if you don’t like art, science, or technology, Munich has a whole host of other fantastic museums. Check them out online because they aren’t to be missed!
- Allianz stadium
So, I’m a Chelsea fan. If you know anything about Chelsea, then you’ll know why the Allianz Arena is important to me!
In 2012, Chelsea finally won the Champions League against European footballing powerhouse Bayern Munich. Chelsea, having been beaten by Man Utd’s Red Devils in their previous final in 2008, beat the German side to turn a red city blue!
Munich were playing at home and the final will go down in history as a real underdog story. The stadium itself is therefore the site of Chelsea’s incredible victory, but it is so much more than that. It is the home of Germany’s winningest football team.
Lit up at night, it is a stunning homage to German football and worth a tour, or just a look, for any fan of sport or culture!
- Neuschwanstein Castle
Last, but undoubtedly not least, is perhaps the best known castle in the world!
A couple of hours drive from Munich, but still within Bavaria, is Neuschwanstein Castle.
Built in the late 19th century above the south German landscape, where it has towered majestically ever since, the castle is truly something out of a fairytale.
Perhaps fittingly therefore, it is intertwined in international pop culture. It appeared in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Great Escape, and even lays claim to being the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. Therefore, it is also the inspiration for Disney’s logo, the logo of a legal mega-company.
Don’t miss THE castle of all castles. Neuschwanstein deserves every bit of your attention. If you have the time and money to get out of Munich and get the tour, you must!
I hope this has given you a little flavour of what Munich is all about. A true city of culture from food to football, art to architecture, and Bavarian lederhosen to delectable beer, Munich is, in my opinion, the one German city I consider unmissable!