Things to do in Munich

posted in: Cities, Culture, Europe, Germany, Heritage, Tips | 36

The capital city of the largest state in Germany, home to the annual beer festival called Oktoberfest, and witness to history that changed the course of the world, Munich has a lot to offer to any traveler. From visiting elaborate museums and beautiful gardens to strolling down opulent palaces and historical marketplaces, there are a number of interesting things to do in Munich.

It does not really matter if you are traveling solo or with family, if you are backpacking or seeking luxury, if you are here for a couple of days or a month. Munich has something for everyone. Here’s a list of the Munich attractions that you need to visit.

Things to Do in Munich 

1) Munich Residenz

A trip to the Munich Residenz is definitely one of the best things to do in Munich. The Residenz was the formal royal palace of the Bavarian monarchs and is the largest city palace in Germany today. It ceased to be a royal palace in the early 20th century when the monarchy came to an end. It was then opened to the public as a museum.

Things to do in Munich -Munich Residenz
Things to do in Munich -Munich Residenz

The Residenz still retains its grandeur which is amply reflected in the architecture and furnishings. Galleries, rooms, and cabinets boast of ornate ceilings, classical ornaments, and elaborate furniture. The Antiquarium or The Hall of Antiquities deserves a special mention here. Considered the most precious gem of the palace, the Antiquarium suffered little damage during the Second World War and still retains much of its original glory.

2) Marienplatz in Munich

Marienplatz, the central square of Munich, is the heart of the city. Wandering through the square and taking in the sight of historical buildings all around you is probably the most archetypal thing you can do in Munich. This historic square dates back to 12th century AD and is a popular meeting place for locals.

One of the top Munich Attractions - Marienplatz
One of the top Munich Attractions – Marienplatz

Here you can see the impressive New and Old Town Halls and Mary’s Column topped by the golden statue of the Virgin Mary. At walking distance are the historic churches of Peterskirche, Frauenkirche, and Heiliggeistkirche. Marienplatz is also home to Munich’s famous Christmas markets every winter. If you want to feel the nerve of Munich, you have to come here.

3) Deutsches Museum

Apart from being popular in Germany, Deutsches Museum is one of the largest science and technology museums in the world. Models of atoms, human cells, sailing boats, windmills, industrial robots, submarines, aircraft, and more – you name it and the museum has it. Visitors have often said that doing a thorough tour of the Deutsches Museum can take up to 4 days.

Places to visit in Munich - Deutsches Museum
Places to visit in Munich – Deutsches Museum

The museum has something for everyone even if you are not interested in digging deeper into the realms of science. This is the perfect place to visit especially if you are traveling to Munich with your kids.

4) Glockenspiel

The two-tier Glockenspiel (metallic clock) is one of top Munich tourist attractions. Although it is located at the New Town Hall in Marienplatz, it is an experience in itself. Twice a day – 32 life-sized figures and 43 bells on the Glockenspiel come to life to depict the wedding of a 16th-century duke, a jousting match, and a traditional Bavarian dance.

Things to do in Munich - Glockenspiel
Things to do in Munich – Glockenspiel

Hundreds of people gather below the town hall to watch this delightful performance. You can feel the exuberance around you as people cheer and clap, children squeal with laughter and the elderly watch with rapt attention. The Glockenspiel is definitely an act to be experienced when in Munich.

Read about a similar clock owned by the Nizam of Hyderabad. You can even see the video in this post.

5) Alte Pinakothek 

The Alte Pinakothek is one of the oldest art galleries in the world. It has an enviable collection of more than 800 Old Master paintings from Germany, Italy, Netherlands, France, and Spain. Peter Paul Rubens, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, and da Vinci are some notable names on display here.

The museum includes several main galleries and a number of smaller rooms. You can spend hours wandering through these corridors and appreciating quality art. Some of the paintings that you should not miss are the Self-Portrait by Albrecht Durer, The Fall of the Damned by Peter Paul Rubens, and The Little Fruit Seller by Bartolome Esteban Murillo.

If you like museums, you might also enjoy reading about the Vatican Museum. 

6) Schloss Nymphenburg 

The Nymphenburg Palace is a Baroque palace located just outside of Munich. Built in the 17th century, Schloss Nymphenburg was used as a summer residence for Bavarian monarchs. The palace is complex of the main palace building, pavilions that include a bathing house, a teahouse, and a hunting lodge, various museums, and a beautifully landscaped garden.

Nymphenburg Palace - a top Munich Tourist Attraction
Nymphenburg Palace – a top Munich Tourist Attraction

Many of the rooms still have their Baroque décor intact. A few others were remodeled in Classical or Rococo styles later on. The hunting lodge, or Amalienburg as it was called, is an exquisite piece of art with rich Rococo motifs and beautiful woodcarving. The Hall of Mirrors and the Pheasant Room are especially striking.

7) Peterskirche – St. Peter’s Church in Munich

Peterskirche or St. Peter’s Church is the oldest church in Munich. It was built in 1169 AD in the Romanesque style. The church has gone through a number of restorations owing to which you can find bits of Gothic, Baroque, and Rococo architectural styles here.

Places to visit in Munich - Peterskirche
Places to visit in Munich – Peterskirche

A visit to Peterskirche is considered as a key place to visit in Munich. It is not only an architectural stunner but also hosts the spooky skeletal remains of St. Mundita. The church also, has a tall steeple which is used as a viewing platform by tourists. From here, you can enjoy some beautiful panoramic views of Munich.

8) Frauenkirche – the largest church of Munich

Things to do in Munich - Frauenkirche
Things to do in Munich – Frauenkirche

Frauenkirche is another pretty Gothic church in old town Munich and is also the largest church in the city. The two very conspicuous onion domes of the church make it one of the most identifiable churches on the horizon. Highlights inside the church include the Teufelstritt, or Devil’s Footstep, a footprint-like mark where it is believed the devil stood and an ornate 15th-century stained-glass window. If you wish, you can also climb nearly 100 steps to get to the top of the cathedral for a wonderful view.

9) Englischer Garten (The English Garden)

The English Garden is one of the largest public parks in the world. It is larger than New York’s Central Park and includes a Japanese teahouse, a Greek temple, a Chinese pagoda, and a couple of beer gardens. The park is covered with meadows of green grass, endless trails, and a beautiful lake at the center of it.

The Englischer Garten is the best place in Munich for a leisurely stroll. Getting a beer or two and watching the world go by makes for a wonderful afternoon here.

10) Viktualienmarkt 

Viktualienmarkt or the Food Market is Munich’s oldest farmers’ market that was built in the early 19th century AD. The market has now become popular with foodies and is the best place in the city to shop for fresh produce and quality Bavarian specialties.

Things to do in Munich - Visit Viktualienmarkt
Things to do in Munich – Visit Viktualienmarkt

There are about 140 shops and stands here, most of which have been run by families for generations. Apart from delectable Bavarian specialties, the market also offers a taste of international cuisines, thereby making it a food lover’s paradise. Besides, it houses a huge beer garden at the center of it, one that can seat as many as 600 people at the same time. After all, who would mind some amazing food and a mug of beer!

If you wish to explore beyond boundaries, Munich offers great day-trip options as well. You can see the top sights of Bavaria including the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein, take a trip to UNESCO World Heritage city of Regensburg, or experience history at the Dachau Concentration Camp. Does a boat trip on Lake Konigsee sound even better?

This post including the pictures has been shared by my guest author – Soumya. She is an Indian travel blogger, a freelance writer, a history buff, and a full-time mom.  She has traveled to more than 20 countries around the world and blogs about her trips and experiences on her blog Stories by Soumya. You can catch her on twitter – @soumyagayatri

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36 Responses

  1. guptakahna

    You have a good design of post with best places pictures and valuable information about it which is really nice to know about it.

  2. Kavita Favelle

    This is a great guide to Munich, especially for those of us who have never been. In an ideal world, how many days would you recommend for Munich, for someone who likes to travel at a fairly slow pace?

    • Ami

      At least 3 – 4 days from the looks of it. Soumya has got me planning a visit myself. Thanks for stopping by, Kavita

  3. Danik

    I been to Germany many times but haven’t touched this region yet. Munich (or Munchen) looks like a very charming city with fanastic facades to check out. Hope to be there for a beer or two in the near future.

  4. Fiona Maclean

    I’ve sung in the Frauenkirche many years ago. But I really didn’t get to see much of Munich. Next time I am definitely going to spend my 15 minutes watching the Glockenspiel, I didn’t even know it was there

  5. Nick Kembel

    We are going to Munich next year, but I have yet to buckle down and do my research, so this is a very useful list. I’d never heard of Frauenjirche, so def added that to my list. Interesting how the devil supposedly stepped there 🙂

    • Ami

      Looks like you stumbled on this at the right time. I hope you have a great time in Munich. Do share once you have visited it.

  6. Tara Nair

    I loved the architecture of Munich. The captures make it even more captivating. Quite an interesting and informative post. I have to cover up travelling India, let alone Germany. It’s cuz of blog posts like these, that I get to know so much about global places. Thanks 🙂

    • Ami

      The world is just too wide. But yes, blogs do help get it closer. Glad you liked this virtual travel to Munich. Thanks for stopping by

  7. Sandy N Vyjay

    Munich seems to have that unique and vintage charm that is so specific to European towns and cities. The picture of the Munich Residenz had me riveted. It looks so magnificent. I could spend hours in the Deutsches Museum and the other landmark that captured my attention was Glockenspiel, it sounds really spectacular and reminded me of a clock at the Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad, India.

    • Ami

      Yes, it did remind me of the Salar Jung clock. That too came from this part of the world. Guess that is why the similarity. Munich definitely is amazing and I hope I can see it too.

  8. Ryan Biddulph

    The Residenz looks eye-popping Ami and Soumya. Munich is high on my places to visit. Gotta see some of my German ancestors’ home eventually LOL.

  9. Claire

    ooh I’m going to Munich next year so this will come in very hand! The Residenz is absolutely stunning, I love the arched ceilings, so pretty!

    • Ami

      Perfect timing to find this post then. I hope you have a great time. And do return back here to tell me how you found Munich

  10. Jennifer

    I’ve been to Munich several times. I did a beer tour there, which was great. Especially since beer is such a big part of the culture. And watching the river surfers was amazing! So I’d add both of those things to your list.

  11. Tami

    I haven’t yet been to Munich. I have been to Germany and I loved it but there’s so much more to see. I would especially enjoy exploring Munich and seeing the many places that you’ve shown us here. I love to explore churches and historic sites most! And I would love the side trip to the lake!

    • Ami

      Given your love for heritage, I suspect you will more than like Munich. Hope you get a chance to visit that soon.

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