The last time we were in Munich we had a day trip planned to the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein with a bus to Prague on the next day which left us no time to explore the city of Munich itself. We did regret this later and were waiting for another trip to Germany to plan a visit to Munich.
On our second trip to Switzerland we planned an epic trip exploring the eastern European countries and when we had to take a flight back to Geneva, Switzerland we made sure to stop at Munich.
We had two days in Munich the first day we spent exploring the best of what the city of Munich has to offer and on the second day, we headed to the historical city of Nuremberg on a day trip from Munich. Munich offers its visitors with some stunning architectural buildings and lots of museums, if you are looking to visit every museum then you would definitely need a couple of days in Munich itself.
We started with Nymphenburg Palace in the morning. The baroque palace has served as the summer palace of the Bavarian rulers. The main palace comprises of Great Hall richly decorated with frescoes and stucco work and lavish apartments. The palace complex houses a chariot museum and porcelain museum. There is also a baroque garden at the back of the palace which is dotted with several baroque garden palaces. The palace is around 30 minutes tram from the central Munich.
After the Nymphenburg Palace tour, we took a tram plus underground train back to the Karlsplatz which is yet another important square in Munich surrounded by Baroque buildings, the prominent being the neo-baroque Palace of Justice. Walking further towards the city center we found more stunning neo-baroque architectural buildings and palaces adorned with sculptures, rich stucco work and wrought-iron railing on balconies in the Kardinal-Faulhaber street most of which are occupied by banks and administrative buildings. In the same street is the church Salvatorkirche a collosal gothic church.
The street ended at the Wittelsbacherplatz Square dominated by an equestrian statue of Elector Maximilian I and surrounded by several palace buildings including the former concert hall Odeon.
One of the main squares of Munich city Odeonsplatz is surrounded by several prominent historical buildings. The Square is named after Odeon the 19th-century Concert Hall located in the square which today houses the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior.
The Odeonplatz is surrounded by several important Munich points of interest.
Hofgarten is an Italian style Renaissance public garden adorned with flower bed, monuments and fountains and is surrounded by important buildings. In the center of the garden is a 17th-century central pavilion for the goddess Diana.
The former royal palace of the Wittelsbach monarchs of Bavaria built in 1385 today houses one of the exquisite royal collection comprising of frescoes, tapestries, porcelain and antique furniture exhibited in over 120 rooms of the Residenz Museum one of the top Munich museums. You can explore the stunning artwork of gold and precious gems in the Treasury which you can visit with a separate ticket. The most breathtaking part of the museum is invariably the Antiquarium one of the largest Renaissance rooms decorated with rich frescoes and sculptures.
Also not to miss is the Cuvilliers Theater and the chapel which is equally stunning with all the intricate ornamentation which again needs a separate ticket. You can also experience a concert in the Cuvilliers Theater seated amidst the ornate Rococo interiors. Also worth exploring in the building complex are 10 courtyards, fountains and the building architecture which varies from Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo to neoclassical and are free. The courtyards are also a popular venue for concerts.
Feldherrnhalle is the most imposing monumental structure in Odeonplatz and was commissioned by King Ludwig I as a tribute to his army. The open loggia was built inspired by the Loggia Dei Lanzi in Florence and is adorned with several statues and sculptures. The loggia is a popular venue for the open-air concerts.
The magnificent 17th-century Theatine Church stands next to the Feldherrnhalle with its striking bright yellow Rococo facade flanked by two towers. The church is built in Italian Baroque style with sumptuous interior decorated with rich stucco work and beautiful frescoes.
From here we headed towards the main square Marienplatz on Theatine street. This cobblestone street is lined with cafes, restaurants and high-end branded shops.
Just before the Marienplatz, an alley on right leads to another magnificent church Frauenkirche which dominates the city skyline with two onion-domed towers. The 15th-century gothic church has one of the largest church halls adorned with beautiful stained glass windows and important artworks.
Also not to miss inside the church are the ‘devil’s footprint’, a cenotaph to Emperor Ludwig IV and beautiful chapels. The south tower of the cathedral can be climbed up for splendid views of the city rooftops and the old town.
Cenotaph of Emperor Louis IV
We could capture the domes of the church again later when sauntering the old town in Neuhauser street. It is here that you will find another gorgeous church of Munich, the St. Michael’s Church.
St. Michael’s Church
The Renaissance church has an impressive facade with several statues depicting the family tree of Bavarian Wittelsbach dynasty. The interior of the church has a magnificent barrel-vaulted ceiling adorned with rich stucco-work and the crypt houses tombs of Wittelsbach dynasty including Bavaria’s popular King Ludwig II (who built the fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle) amongst many others.
The National Theater on Max-Joseph-Platz is a historic opera house home of the Bavarian State Opera. The first building was completed in 1818 and was destroyed twice in fire and in the bombings of WWII. The current building was completed in 1963. Konigsbau the popular building of Munich Residenz that houses the Treasury is located next to the National Theater. The square is named after the King Maximilian Joseph whose memorial monument adorns the square.
Marienplatz is a prominent square in the heart of the city of Munich. The square Marienplatz a bustling marketplace during the middle ages and a popular venue for tournaments is surrounded by some of the prominent Munich attractions. Every Christmas the square holds Munich’s popular traditional Christmas Market.
The Marian column located in the Marienplatz is topped by a golden statue of the Virgin Mary and was erected in 1638 to celebrate the end of Swedish invasion. The column’s pedestal is adorned by Putti statues representing the overcoming of adversities.
Old Town Hall
The 14th-century Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus) is the original town hall building which dates back to early 1300s and was renovated in gothic style after suffering severe damage in WWII. The tower of the Old Town Hall houses the toy museum on the four floors with a wide collection of historic toys.
New Town Hall
The New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) has an imposing facade decorated with statues, turrets, and arches. The New Town Hall houses the office of Mayor, the Munich Tourism Office, administrative offices and a restauarant.
You can an elevator up the tower of the New Town Hall for wonderful views of the surrounding historical buildings.
A 100-year old Glockenspiel is housed in the tower of the New Town Hall. Every day at 11 am and 12 pm the Glockenspiel chimes and the figurines put up a spectacular show which is ended by the chirping of a golden bird.
We found this gorgeous building at the end of Rose Street opposite the Rindermarkt (cattle market) richly decorated with stucco work, frescoes, and bas-reliefs. Ruffinihaus is a group of three houses which houses several shops and offices.
St Peter Church
In the adjoining street of the Rindermarkt is the magnificent Romanesque style church of St Peter, the oldest church in the city. The elaborate Rococo interior of the church is decorated with rich ceiling frescoes, gothic paintings and several ornate gilded sculptures. The 299 steps climb up to the church tower offers a wonderful panoramic view of the Munich City.
Originally a farmers’ market Viktualienmarkt is today a bustling food market selling everything from fruits, vegetables, meat to cheese, spices, and flowers. Viktualienmarkt also has a beer garden where you can stop by after a shopping spree and taste some traditional Bavarian beers. In the center of the market stands a colorful Maypole featuring interesting signs which looked like they represented kind of folk dances.
The historic center of Munich during the medieval times was enclosed by a city wall and several large and small gates three of which remain intact even today. Karlstor with its two twin towers stands in the prominent square of Karlsplatz. The Isartor stands at the end of the street leading out from Viktualienmarkt and features a central tower and two octagonal towers with paintings on the facade. The third gate Sendlinger Tor dates back to early 14th-century and was right across the street from the hotel we stayed and we walked past it every day.
The large public park in the center of Munich Englischer Garten houses several interesting monuments, beer gardens, and restaurants. Haus der Kunst is a neoclassical building housing a museum for contemporary art. Behind the Haus der Kunst on a small island is a Japanese teahouse along with the Japanese garden built in 1972 to celebrate the Summer Olympics held in Munich. The tea house also serves as a venue for a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
The Monopteros is a small Greek-style temple from 19th-century built on a small hill in the garden and offers wonderful views of the English garden and the skyline of the city.
Another interesting structure is a 25-meter-high wooden Chinese Tower which is a pagoda style building dating back to 18th century. The beer garden around the Chinese tower seats 7000 people making it the second largest beer garden in Munich.
BMW Welt and the BMW Museum are the two Munich attractions not to missed for car buffs. While BMW Welt walks you through the production processes in BMW group plant and displays of latest models of cars and motorbikes where one can pick their latest possession, the BMW Museum walks one through the history and future of BMW with exhibits from over a decade. You join one of the guided tours for an in-depth experience.
Dachau Concentration Camp
Dachau was the first concentration camp of Nazi in Germany located in outskirts of Munich. The site houses several memorials and a museum which walks through the history of Nazi and WWII. Visitors can walk the campgrounds and take an audio-guided tour or join one of the guided English tours. The Concentration Camp Memorial Site can be reached by underground which takes around 20 minutes from the city center.
If you have more time in Munich why not head to one of the gorgeous German cities on a day trip from Munich. We did two daytrips one to Nuremberg and other to the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein and we loved both the cities. If you are visiting Munich late September or early October then you should miss the Oktoberfest Munich the world’s largest beer festival held annually in Munich since 1810. And if you are looking for accommodation check out these five best hotels in Munich.
The city center or the old town of Munich can easily be explored on foot. From the Munich points of interest listed above, you will need to take an underground to Nymphenburg Palace, BMW museum and Dachau Concentration Camp which will take you around 20-30 minutes. If you have only one day in Munich then we recommend you stick to the places around the Munich old town which a plenty of historical sites to keep you busy whole day.
Have you visited the Bavarian capital Munich? Do you think we missed something you would want to recommend? Do share with us in comments.
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