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Munich is one of the oldest cities in Germany, with rich history and lovely architecture. But that is not all the capital of Bavaria has to offer.
There are many amazing things to do in Munich including the famous Oktoberfest, one of the largest beer festivals in the world, with millions of visitors each year.
Furthermore, beyond beer, history and architecture, Munich has fabulous art galleries, the BMW museum and the popular Bayern Football Club. But that is far from all of Munich’s offerings.
From Humble Beginnings
It is hard to believe that this city was once just a small marketplace established where the road from Salzburg meets the Isar River. Henry the Lion, Duke of Bavaria at that time, allowed monks of the Benedictine monastery at Tegernsee to establish the market in 1158.
Although it was officially charted as a city several decades later, 1158 is considered the year the city was founded. Munich’s name was derived from the word that means monk in German.
If you love art, you must visit the Alte Pinakothek, Neue Pinakothek and the Pinakothek der Moderne. Those three galleries feature exhibitions from medieval art collections to modern art. The Deutsches Museum of science and technology is also worth visiting.
As well as the grandiose baroque Nymphenburg Palace (Schloss Nymphenburg), which was used as the summer residence for the Bavarian Wittelsbach royal family.
Did you know you can go surfing in Munich? The man-made Eisbach river has a strong current that forms a wave perfect for experienced surfers. That is just one of the cool things to do in Munich’s Englischer Garten.
You can also relax and walk through the park that covers hundreds of hectares of lawns, pastures and tree groves. But bear in mind that the English Garden is bigger than New York’s Central Park.
When you need to take a break you can visit the beer garden Chinese Tower. It’s a favorite spot for young locals to come and chill with friends.
Things to do in Munich
1. Experience Traditional German Culture at the Hofbrauhaus Beer Hall
An integral part of the day-to-day life of the locals is going to the beer halls and Munich has close to 200 taverns and beer gardens (Biergarten). Here you can drink beer and enjoy sausages and other authentic Bavarian food.
Hofbrauhaus is the most famous Munich beer hall, situated in a building from the beginning of the 17th century. Hofbrau brewery was originally constructed for the royal family and their guests.
But today, Hofbrauhaus is one of the best spots in the city where you can have a good time with friends, enjoying beer, German cuisine and live music featuring local performers.
Experience bavarain beers on an exciting tour here.
2. Stroll Through Marienplatz
Marienplatz has been the main square in Munich’s old town since the 12th century. In the Middle Ages, Marienplatz served as the main farmers’ market. But, in the 19th century, when it became too small, King Maximilian I moved the market 250 meters away, to the place today known as Viktualienmarkt.
The main city square is surrounded by several important historical buildings. On the Marienplatz, you can find Altes Rathaus, an old town hall that was a former government building. There is also the Neues Rathaus, a new town hall. After you pay an entrance ticket fee, you can climb its tower to enjoy a great view.
Two or three times a day, depending on the time of the year, the mechanical figures of the Glockenspiel in the City Hall tower show events that marked the history of Munich. You can see figures dancing to different pieces of songs.
At the center of the square, you can see a golden statue of the Virgin Mary. There is also the Fischbrunnen, a fountain that is a traditional meeting spot for locals.
When you get tired of the walking tour, you can sit in one of the many cafes to drink a cup of coffee and eat Bavarian pretzels.
Many events are organized on Marienplatz every year. These include the Christmas Market, the city’s Foundation Festival, and FC Bayern celebrations.
Find a top-rated tour of Marienplatz here.
3. Visit the Most Significant Churches
Munich is an old city, with many churches built in different periods of history. Some of them are magnificent and well worth visiting.
Although Frauenkirche may not be the prettiest, it is one of the largest churches in Munich. It is also known as the Munich Cathedral. Constructed from red bricks and featuring massive twin 100-meter-tall towers you can easily find it.
St. Peter’s Church is one of the oldest catholic churches in Munich, built in Romanesque architectural style. You can climb 306 steps to the church tower to enjoy the panoramic view of the city.
In the middle of Munich’s pedestrian zone, you can find the Asam Church. It was designed by the Asam brothers in the 18th century and is known for its beautiful interior decoration in the Baroque style.
We also recommend visiting St. Michael Church, the first Renaissance church in Germany. Plus the Theatine Church, located near the Munich Residenz Palace.
4. Learn More About Ancient History at Glyptothek Museum
When you see the Glyptothek Museum building for the first time, you may think it is an ancient temple. However, it was built in the middle of the 19th century by King Ludwig I.
Glypthotek houses a vast collection of sculptures, mosaics and reliefs from the Hellenistic to the Roman period. The main attractions are a colossal statue of Apollo and the busts of several Roman emperors.
It is well worth a visit, especially if you want to know more about ancient Greek and Roman art and history.
Explore history at the Glyptothek Museum here.
5. The BMW Museum is for Car Lovers
Did you know that more than half a million people every year visit the BMW Museum in Munich? That automotive brand is the symbol of Bavaria. You can explore its rich history during the museum-guided tour.
Inside the futuristic circular building, you can learn more about the product development, and see cars, motorcycles and planes from different periods.
Visit the neighboring BMW Welt to discover a showroom with the latest BMW models. If you come with kids, they can have their share of fun at Junior Campus. There are also several bars and restaurants in the complex when you need to take a break.
6. Explore Famous Art Galleries at Bavarian National Museum
Bavarian National Museum was founded in the 19th century. It is one of the most significant art museums in Germany where you can explore the folklore and historical art collections.
There are rooms for Baroque, Renaissance, Rococo, Gothic and Romanesque art. In addition, there are exhibits of Art Nouveau and Neoclassicism.
You can also see medieval sculptures, musical instruments, wood carvings, furniture and a collection of the Nymphenburg porcelain figures.
7. Tour the Impressive Allianz Arena Stadium
Welcome to one of the biggest football stadiums in Germany and Europe. Allianz Arena is the magical place where one of the greatest football clubs in the world, FC Bayern München, plays its home matches. On the matchdays, about 75,000 fans create a fantastic atmosphere.
When it was opened in 2005, it was the first stadium in the world with a full color-changing exterior, thanks to modern panels.
Allianz Arena has hosted some of the most important football games in the last 15 years. Events such as the FIFA World Cup matches in 2006 and the UEFA Champions League Final game in 2012.
Inside the Allianz Arena, you can visit the museum of Bayern Munich to learn more about their history, as well as buy a nice souvenir from the fun shop.
Visit the famous football arena here.
8. Visit Olympiapark
The Olympiapark was created for the 1972 Summer Olympics. On the 85 hectares (or approximately 0.3 square miles), there are many things to do. For starters, go to the Olympic Tower viewpoint and admire a breathtaking view of Munich, the River Isar and the park.
Also, visit the Olympic Stadium, where FC Bayern Munich played matches before the Allianz Arena was built. Then, explore the Olympiahalle (Olympic Hall), where many concerts and other cultural events are held all year round.
Other activities include swimming in the Olympic swimming hall, relaxing in the Olympia sauna world, and rowing on the Olympic Lake. For an extra dose of adventure, book the guided tour, climb to the roof of the Olympic stadium, and get a zip-line ride across the stadium at a height of 35 meters.
9. Explore Munich Residenz, the Largest City-Center Palace in Germany
Munich Residenz is a castle from the 14th century, that served as the seat of the Bavarian dukes and kings. Today, this beautiful palace situated on the Odeonsplatz is open to the public and features art collections and the lovely Hofgarten Park.
Visitors can tour the Hercules Hall, which is used for concerts, the Bronze Hall with sculptures and the royal apartment of Bavarian King Ludwig I. You can also visit the Cuvillies Theater, a grandiose concert hall.
One of the most interesting parts of the Munich Residence is the treasury, with more than 1,000 artifacts belonging to the Bavarian royal family.
See a special concert at the Munich Residenz here.
10. Discover the Most Interesting Sights in Bavaria and Austria
When you’ve visited all the main tourist attractions in Munich, you can book a guided tour and go on a day trip to the nearby fascinating places.
The most popular tour is visiting the Neuschwanstein Castle. The fairytale castle was built for King Ludwig II, and it was the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland. With 6,000 visitors daily, Neuschwanstein Castle is the most visited castle in Europe.
You can also visit the city of Salzburg in Austria, just 90 minutes away from Munich. Salzburg is one of the most beautiful European cities, with many castles, palaces and museums.
See the beautiful Neuschwanstein and Linderhof Castles on this best-selling tour here.
Book This Trip
Start planning your adventure to Munich, Germany today. Get prepared with knowledge on how to get around, hotel and VRBO accommodations, local restaurant reviews and more through TripAdvisor and Travelocity.
Plan more fun by booking some unique Munich activities, skip-the-line tickets to major attractions, expert-led tours and more through GetYourGuide. Find more information and book your dates in advance here.
For the best deals on flights, train tickets and car rentals, check out OMIO Travel Partner.
Author Bio: Based in Serbia in Europe, Marija Stojanovic Petkovski worked as a journalist but realized writing about the most beautiful places in the world is something that inspires her. She is sure that a pint of good craft beer perfectly accompanies a tasty home-made lasagne. In her spare time, she enjoys playing with her children and spending time outdoors with her family.