Munich is one of the most popular city destinations in Europe. In fact, 4.2 million people visit the Bavarian capital every year. What makes Munich such a popular destination? This post delves into a few fantastic reasons to visit this city.
Munich is often regarded as the beer capital of the world. It’s home to the most renowned beer festival in the world, Oktoberfest – a 16 day event which is held every year at the end of September running into October. Oktoberfest is the best time to visit Munich for the beer culture and is a place to meet beer enthusiasts from around the world. But of course, you don’t have to visit Munich in October to taste the local beers. The city has beer halls and beer tents that are open all year round. Here, you can not only try locally brewed beers, but also eat local Munich foods and listen to live music. Brewery tours are also available around the city. If you’re a beer lover, it’s definitely a city to add to your bucket list.
If you’re not much of a beer drinker, you can still satisfy your tastebuds by trying some of the best food in Germany. A popular Bavarian dish to try here is weisswurst – a sausage made from minced veal, pork bacon, onion, ginger, lemon, parsley and cardamom. Munich is also where you’ll find some of the top rated pretzels in Germany, which you can buy at the markets or in the beer halls. Other foods to try here include ham hock (schweinshaxe) and seafood burger (fischbroetchen). Vegetarians can meanwhile enjoy dishes like sauerkraut and spatzle. Like any city, you can also try flavours here from around the world including some incredible South African, Italian and Chinese food.
One of the most magical times to visit Munich is around Christmas time. The city is lit up with festive lights and the Christmas markets open – which are regarded as some of the best in the world. Marienplatz Christmas Market is located in Munich’s old town and is probably the most visited. Here you’ll find handmade crafts and delicious yuletide snacks with the Neus Rathaus serving as a romantic backdrop. Other markets worth visiting include the Medieval Christmas market, Rindermarkt and Pink Christmas Market (check out this Munich Christmas markets guide for more information on these markets). Be wary that, because of these markets, December can be one of the busiest and most expensive times to visit Munich – those who want to avoid the crowds and high prices may be better off visiting the city during other months of the year.
Munich has a weird and wonderful array of museums to explore. Staatliches Museum Agypticher Kunst is a tomb-like underground museum dedicated entirely to Ancient Egypt. The BMW Museum is meanwhile a great place for petrolheads to visit and learn all about the history of BMW. The Beer and Oktoberfest Museum is meanwhile the best place to go to learn about Munich’s famous beer festival and its history of brewing beer. And then of course there are the city’s many art museums…
Modern art in Munich and the Bavarian area is another big attraction. The city boasts many fantastic contemporary art museums including Pinakothek der Moderne (one of the largest contemporary art museums in Europe) and the Brandhorst Museum (a much more recently established museum that has quickly become one of the most esteemed in Germany). Outside of these museums, art can meanwhile be found in all kinds of other places from the walls of Westfriedhof Station to the various markets selling local art and crafts. All in all, if you love art, you won’t be disappointed by what’s on offer in Munich.
Another big thing that attracts people to this city is its deep history. Munich’s roots can be traced back to the 8th Century when a Benedectine monastery was constructed there. In 1158, Henry the Lion allowed the monks of this monastery to hold a market, which would attract people from across the region leading to the development of Munich city. Buildings such as the Old Town Hall and Fraunkirche were built in the middle ages and remain popular landmarks today. In the 1500s, the city would become renowned for its beer, leading to the opening of beer halls such as The Hofbrauhaus am Platzl (which is still serving beers today!). Oktoberfest would later be founded in 1810. At the same time, the industrial revolution caused Munich to grow. The city became a place of great political unrest and would play an important part in the rise of the Nazis in the 20th Century. All of this history is engrained in the walls of Munich – there are many buildings and exhibits from throughout the years that you can see here today.
The architecture of Munich is also worth visiting the city for. Its historic churches and palaces feature some incredible gothic and rococo influences (including quirky features such as a mechanical clock called the Rathaus-Glockenspiel). There are also many strange and fantastic modern buildings to see here. This includes a series of UFO houses and a staircase leading to nowhere called Umschreibung. Simply by wandering around, you can spot all kinds of photograph-worthy buildings. Other buildings such as the magnificent Nymphenburg Palace are worth exploring inside (you can buy tickets online).
Munich may be a city, but it’s still got many green spaces. In fact, English Garden in the center of Munich is one of the biggest parks in the world – it’s much larger than London’s Hyde Park and even bigger than New York’s Central Park. In this park, you’ll find large open green areas and forests as well as many unusual attractions including a wooden pagoda called Chinese Tower and a river where people literally go surfing on the waves. Still not enough nature for you? The beauty of Munich is that it also makes a great base to explore the whole of Bavaria where you can hike through forests, kayak over lakes and explore incredible caves.