Munich is Bavaria’s capital and one of the top tourist cities in Germany. The city is home to historic buildings, magnificent churches, and numerous museums. One of the most popular things to do in Munich is the annual Oktoberfest celebration. From historic Old Town and Baroque Palace of Nymphenburg to the BMW Museum and Viktualienmarkt for foodies, Munich offers tourists with some unique and fascinating attractions. Munich is also a perfect base to explore some of the amazing places in Germany like Neuschwanstein Castle and more. You will need at least 2 days in Munich to explore the best of what the city has to offer. Regardless of how many days you decide to spend in the city make sure to add these top things to do in Munich to your list to make the most of your visit to this beautiful Bavaria capital.
How to Reach Munich
Munich has only one main airport Franz Josef Strauss Airport which serves both domestic and international flights. The airport has two terminals serving different flight companies. Munich is also well-connected with other major cities in Europe by buses. We used Flixbus to travel from Munich to Prague and Ljubljana. There are also buses from Munich to Vienna, Berlin, Salzburg, Zurich, and other cities.
Munich Airport to City Center
There is a good frequency of shuttles, buses, and trains connecting Munich airport and city center. Two suburban railway lines (S-Bahn) lines S1 and S8) will transport you from the airport to the city center in about 45 minutes. Taxi services are available at the airport. Numerous car rental companies also offer an option to rent a car from the airport.
For Munich City sightseeing there is a very good connectivity of trams, buses, and S-Bahn. The Old Town where you will find most of the Munich attractions can easily be explored on foot.
Top Things to do in Munich
Explore the Magnificent Churches
Theatine Church is a beautiful 17th-century imposing church with the yellow Rococo facade and two twin towers. The church is built in Italian Baroque style with sumptuous interior decorated with rich stucco work and beautiful frescoes.
Frauenkirche also known as the Munich Cathedral is a 15th-century gothic church dominating the Munich City skyline with its two onion-domed twin towers. Visitors can climb the south tower for panoramic views of the city and the Alps.
St. Michael’s Church is a Renaissance church decorated with a rich stucco work in the interior. The facade is adorned with several figures representing the family tree of Bavarian Wittelsbach dynasty. The crypt houses tombs of Wittelsbach dynasty including Bavaria’s popular King Ludwig II (who built the fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle) amongst many others.
St Peter Church is a remarkable Romanesque church with an elaborate Rococo interior decorated with frescoes, paintings, and gilded sculptures.
Visitors can climb the 299 steps up to the tower for great views of the Munich Old Town.
Next to the Viktualienmarkt is another remarkable church one of the oldest in Munich – The Heiliggeist Church. The 13th-century church has a sumptuous Baroque interior decorated with frescoes and stucco work on ceilings and sculptures on the high altar.
Explore the Fascinating Squares
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.
Mary’s 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 the Swedish invasion. The column’s pedestal is adorned by Putti statues representing the overcoming of adversities.
The 14th-century Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus) is the original town hall building which dates from 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 four floors with a wide collection of historic toys.
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 restaurant.
You can an elevator up to 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.
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. 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 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 King Maximilian Joseph whose memorial monument adorns the square.
If you have only one day in Munich then explore the magnificent churches and museums in theold town of Munich. Read How to Spend One Day in Munich, Germany.
Marvel at the Baroque Nymphenburg Palace
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.
Relax at the English Garden
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.
Explore the Unique and Amazing Museums
Munich Residenz is a 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.
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.
Go Medieval Gate Hunting
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.
Explore the Food Market at Viktualienmarkt
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.
Also Read: A Guide Vegan Food in Munich
Visit the 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.
Take a Day Trip Out of Munich
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 day trips one to Nuremberg and other to the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein and we loved both the cities.
Participate in the Oktoberfest
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.
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. And if you are looking for accommodation check out these five best hotels in Munich.
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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