Munich is one of the largest cities in Germany packed to the brim with historic attractions and fascinating sights. One day in Munich is definitely not going to do justice to the wonderful list of attractions Munich has to offer. We recommend you spend at least 2 days in Munich to cover the top sights. But if you have in short of time and have only 24 hours in the city then here is how to make the most of your time in Munich.
Munich is also a popular base for day trips to the charming town of Nuremberg, fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein, and other amazing cities and hence tourists tend to spend less time in Munich itself. We did the same during our first visit, we had a day trip planned to the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein from Munich and a bus to Prague on the next day which left us with very little time in Munich. We regretted this later and when we planned our next trip to Europe exploring the central European countries we included a couple of days in Munich.
Transport in Munich
If you are traveling to Munich by air then Franz Josef Strauss Airport is the only airport in Munich. Munich airport is well connected with the city center by underground and buses. There is a good frequency of buses to Munich from other major cities like Prague, Zurich, Vienna, Berlin, Salzburg, and other neighboring cities.
For your one day in Munich, you can explore the Munich Old Town which has most of the Munich sights and attractions. Munich Old Town can be easily explored on foot. For your one day in Munich booking accommodation around the city center is recommended.
Things to do in Munich in One Day
Start your day from Odeonsplatz which is one of the main squares in Munich. If you are staying away from the old town then you can reach Odeonsplatz by underground and by bus no 100. The 19th-century Concert Hall called ‘Odeon’ which houses the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior is located north of the square and which gives the square its name.
Feldherrnhalle is an impressive loggia which looks similar to the ‘Loggia Dei Lanzi’ in Florence. The monumental structure is decorated with statues and intricate carvings. It was built under King Ludwig I to honor his Bavarian Army. Feldherrnhalle hosts regular open-air concerts and events.
To the west of the square is the magnificent 17th-century Theatine Church or Theatinerkirche which stands out due to its bright yellow facade and imposing twin towers. The church is built in the Italian high-Baroque style inspired by Sant’Andrea della Valle in Rome with a Rococo facade.
The interior of the church is decorated with rich stucco work in white color, frescoes and larger-than-life statues of saints and the four evangelists. The crypt of the church houses the tombs of the royal Wittelsbach family.
The Munich Residence originally built as a castle was later converted into a magnificent palace which served as the residence of the Bavarian monarchs. The opulent rooms of the Munich Residence museum feature Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassicist styles. The rooms are decorated with paintings, tapestries, treasures and lavish furniture.
Ancestral Gallery, Porcelain Cabinet, and the Antiquarium are amongst the most ornate, richly decorated with stucco work. Antiquarium is the oldest and one of the largest Renaissance halls north of the Alps and dates from 16th-century.
The Treasury of the Munich Residence holds an impressive collection of ornate items in gold, precious stones and ivories collected by the rulers of Bavaria over time. The Cuvilliers Theater was built by Elector Maximilian Joseph as an Opera House in the 18th-century. The theater hosts regular concerts in the ornate Rococo hall featuring elaborate carvings, sculptures, and floral ornaments. Visitors can also explore the palace grounds, its courtyards with beautiful fountains and marvel at the architectural brilliance.
Hofgarten is an Italian style Renaissance garden built in the 17th-century, it was the former the court garden of the Residenz. If you want to take a break and rest your feet for a while Hofgarten located next to the Munich Residenz is a perfect place. There is a pavilion for the goddess Diana in the center of the garden, on the top of the pavilion is the replica of a sculpture of Bavaria by Hubert Gerhard. The garden decorated with flower beds has numerous memorials and the Bavarian State Chancellery housed in a former Army Museum.
There are numerous cafes and restaurants along the cobblestone alleys of the old town which are also perfect if you want to take a break and stop by for a cup of coffee or a piece of delicious pastry.
Frauenkirche or the Cathedral of Our Dear Lady also known as Munich Cathedral is one of the top sights in Munich. The 15th-century church has a massive church hall with a capacity of 20,000. The gothic church dominates the city skyline with onion-domed twin towers. The interior of the church is adorned with huge pillars, remarkable stained-glass windows and important artworks.
Also not to miss inside the church are the ‘devil’s footprint’, a cenotaph to Emperor Ludwig IV, beautiful chapels (about 20) and artworks from 14th to the 18th century. It is possible to climb the south tower, an elevator takes you up to the top of the tower for wonderful panoramic views of the old town and its surrounding.
One of the many works of Art in the church – Cenotaph of Emperor Louis IV
Marienplatz is the main square in the old town of Munich. One of the important points of interest in the square is Mariensaule, a Marian column erected in the 17th century to celebrate the end of Swedish occupation. Marienplatz hosts one of the most beautiful Christmas Markets in Munich.
The square dates back to the 12th century when it was a popular market and venue for events and celebrations. The market was later moved to the Viktualienmarkt and Marienplatz today is a bustling square and a top tourist spot surrounded by some of the popular buildings, shops, cafes, and restaurants.
The most imposing of the buildings is the New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) built in the 19th-century in Gothic style. The New Town Hall has an elaborate facade decorated with statues, turrets, and arches. The New Town Hall houses the Munich Tourism Office, city government, and a restaurant.
One of the fascinating features of the New Town Hall is the 100-year old Glockenspiel located in the tower. Every day at 11 AM, 12 PM and 5 PM the Glockenspiel chimes and 32 figures in the Glockenspiel put up a show on enacting two stories one the marriage of Duke Wilhelm V and the other Schafflertanz or the coopers’ dance which ends with the chirping of a bird. Visitors can take an elevator to the top of the tower for great views of the city.
Another important building is the 14th-century Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus) built in neo-gothic style after being destroyed in World War II. The tower of the Old Town Hall is Talburg Gate (Talburgtor), a former gate of the city wall. The Gothic ballroom of the Old Town Hall is a venue for events.
The Old Town Hall tower houses a historical toy museum with an impressive collection of toys including stuffed toys, model trains, dolls and more. It is one of the top things to do in Munich with kids.
Ruffinihaus is a striking building opposite the Rindermarkt you cannot miss it on the way to the St Peter’s Church. The facade of the building is decorated with rich stucco work and paintings and houses shops and offices.
St Peter Church
The Romanesque church of St Peter Church located in the street next to the Rindermarkt is the oldest church in Munich dating back to 12th century.
The elaborate Rococo/baroque interior of the church is decorated with gothic paintings and sculptures including a skeletal remain of St. Mundita adorned with gold and precious stones in the second chapel.
Visitors can climb the 299 steps up to the tower for the best views of the city. There is an entree fee to climb the tower.
Viktualienmarkt or Victuals Market is a popular farmers market in Munich which was originally moved from the Marienplatz. Viktualienmarkt has over 100 stalls selling everything and anything from fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, meat, cheese, spices, and more.
Viktualienmarkt also has food stalls and a beer garden where you can try some local Bavarian delicacies and traditional beers. The market is also a popular venue for events and festivals.
Before you end your day at the English garden which itself has plenty of attractions and sights you can squeeze in one of the museums into your itinerary if time permits – Museum Five Continents or Alte Pinakothek.
Five Continents Museum is ethnological museum housing 160,000+ cultural items and artifacts relating to the regions of Africa, Australia, North America, South America, parts of Asia, and Oceania.
Alte Pinakothek is an art museum housing a remarkable collection of paintings from 14th to the 18th century. There are two more buildings in the vicinity – The Neue Pinakothek houses paintings from the 19th century and Pinakothek der Moderne exhibits modern art. All three galleries are part of the Bavarian State Painting Collections.
English Garden is one of the largest urban parks created in 1789 along the Isar River. The garden is popular with the locals as well as the tourists as it offers a range of leisure activities and has numerous interesting monuments.
Haus der Kunst is an art museum located in the English Garden. Behind the museum are a Japanese teahouse and a Japanese garden on a small island which were created in 1972 to celebrate the Summer Olympics.
Monopteros is a small Greek-style temple featuring 10 Ionic columns supporting a central dome. The temple is built on a hill and offers great views of the city.
One of the major landmarks in the English garden is the 25-m tall pagoda style Chinese Tower. There is a beer garden next to Chinese Tower one of the largest in Munich which seats around 7000 people.
Kleinhesseloher See is an artificial lake in the English garden. Pedal boats can be rented to go boating in the lake. There is also a jogging track and play areas for kids.
Other Munich Attractions
Below are a few other interesting things to do in Munich if you have more days in Munich or you might choose to visit these places instead of exploring the Munich Old Town.
Nymphenburg Palace is one of the top Munich attractions. The baroque palace is about 30 minutes tram ride from the Munich center. The palace was once the summer residence of the Bavarian rulers.
The tour of the palace includes a visit to the main palace with a grand hall and lavish apartment rooms, Chariot and Porcelain Museums and the landscaped garden which has several small palaces.
The Grand Hall is the most spectacular part of the palace. The hall along with other rooms are adorned with frescoes and stucco work. The impressive collection of royal carriages and sleighs in the Chariot Museum are sure to leave you spellbound.
The porcelain museum exhibiting a large collection of unique porcelains dating from the 18th to the 20th centuries is also one of the highlights of the palace tour.
There are separate tickets for the main palace, museums, and the garden palaces. Combined tickets are also available but make note that the garden palaces are closed during the winter months (16 October to March) when visitors can tour only the main palace and the museums.
Dachau Concentration Camp
The Dachau Concentration Camp is located on the outskirts of the city of Munich and can be reached by a 20 minutes ride on the underground. You will need at least half a day to explore the campgrounds and the museum. Dachau was the first concentration camp of Nazi in Germany opened in 1933. Visitors enter into the camp through the gate marked as ‘Arbeit Macht Frei,’ which means ‘work makes you free’, it is the same gate which was once used by the prisoners.
Visitors can take an audio-guided tour or join one of the guided tours in English and explore different parts of the camp including the labor bunkers, gas chambers, and the crematorium. provides insight into the history of the Nazi regime, and the Dachau camp through exhibits and a 20 minutes movie on the history of the Dachau Camp.
Day Trips from Munich
Munich is also a popular base for best day trips to other European cities and tourist places. Amongst the top is a day trip to the charming city of Nuremberg for its historic old town and the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein which is one of the most beautiful castles in Germany. It is also possible to visit Rothenburg and Salzburg in Austria on a day trip from Munich. Good frequency of buses and trains make visiting places an easy day trip from Munich.
Best Time to Visit Munich
We visited Munich twice and both times during the months of October and November when the weather is chilly with occasional rains and fewer crowds. March to May also sees fewer tourists with good weather. The busy months are June to August and surprisingly from December to February. You may want to avoid these months if you don’t like too much crowd.
Oktoberfest Munich is the world’s largest beer festival held annually in Munich between September and October. This time of the year sees a lot of tourists as well as the local crowd. So plan accordingly.
Pin for Later Read?
Disclosure: Please note that this article contains affiliate links. Read More