Utlimate Munich Visitor's Guide!
Everything You Need To Know About The Bavarian City
The Glockenspeil is one of Munich's top tourist attractions.
Munich, known in Germany at Muenchen, is more than a Bavarian beer drinker's delight. It's also a culturalal. crown, a moving metropolis, a college town, a perfect place to park it in a park.
And of course, there's Oktoberfest.
Yes, they really do serve big beers in Munich; this is at Hofbrauhaus.
So, do they really drink beer here, or is it simply an urban legend? Well, we'll let some prose from the Munich Tourism Board take the stage: "Beer is regarded as a basic part of nutrition in Bavaria, not actually alcohol."
Now THAT'S a city PubClub.com can love and admire.
The towers of the The Lady of our Church is a top Munich landmark.
Munich (Munchen) Top Travel Tips
• Don't jaywalk and wait for the crosswalk signal to cross a street. Cars move at a steady pace through intersections.
• Walk on the sidewalk, not the bike path. Bikers often move faster than cars.
• While it may seem a bit excessive – unless you're Irish – always go for the big, 1-liter mug of beer. Why? Because everyone else is doing it and the beer is good.
• Tipping: Round to the nearest Euro.
• Food: For those on a budget, check out the cafeterias, such as Vinzen Murr, which has a full salad bar, pork,, duck and chicken for about 10 Euros.
• Take the time to enjoy the parks, in particular English Garden.
• See our guide to Munich's bars & nightlife
Arrival & Orientation and Transportation
By Plane, Train or Car, Getting to the City is Easy
The fountain at St. Michel is a central gathering place.
The modern and pleasant Munich airport is 28km from the city center. Trains and buses provide transportation (this takes about 45 minutes). The trains to take are S1 or S8; though they head off in opposite directions which one to choose is a toss-up so just take the first one to arrive at the platform. They roll every 10 minutes. The Fahrkarten costs 8.80 Euros and the machine takes credit cards. Buses are another option and they depart every 20 minutes.
The destination is the Main Train Station, Hauptbahnhof. (You just know you are in Germany with an name like Hauptbahnof!) Ideally located just 2 km from the central square Marienplatz – with a city train just two stops away – it's a destination in itself.
Tourists walk by the famous Hofbrauhaus in Munich's Marinplatz.
Munich has a pair of large parks, like Hoftgarden.
Trains depart and arrive from all over Germany and even other countries but there's more here than just transportation. Hauptbahnof doubles as a mall with shopping, food and beverage stands, tour operators, even a dry cleaners. Taxi stands are at each exit.
Arriving by car is easy. Coming from the north, the A9 leads directly to the city centre. From the east it's the A92, from the southeast it's the A8 from Salzburg and the southwest uses the A96. There are two options from the west, the A8 from Stuttgart or the A95 from Lindau. Apart from the A95 and the A96 all these motorways are connected by the motorway bypass A99, an almost complete circle around the city.
Accommodations & Where to Stay
It's Best to Book in Advance, Especially During Oktoberfest
Anywhere around Hauptbahnhof is the prime place to stay in Munich. There are several hotels with a few blocks. While they are mostly on the high end, there are some other great finds. The ads on these pages provide excellent hotel bargains.
From this area, you can catch trams or, better yet, just walk your way through the city. If you go to the Marinplatz, there are also hotels, tho they may be a bit more costly than by Hauptbahnhof.
There is a tourist office in Hauptbahnhof that can help with accommodations but if you are the independent type who likes to arrive in a European city and find a place on your own, walk out and head to your right. Just be sure and watch out for the trams when you cross the street! And don't try this tactic during Oktoberfest. For that huge event, you'll need to have reservations at least three months in advance, and six or more is recommeneded.
Getting Around Munich – In-town Transportation
The Train Goes Everywhere, Taxis Are Plentiful, But Try Walking
The city trams go everywhere, but also get out and walk.
The first thing that strikes a newcomer about Munich is that it's a nice walking city. Plus it's compact enough to experience much of it on foot, with a beautiful and spacious park often the reward. (And, this being Munich, a beergarten is never far away.)
To put this in perspective, it's only about 10 minutes from Hauptbahnhof to the Glockenspiel and 15 minutes to the Hofbrau Haus. And no trip to Munich is complete without seeing the Glockenspiel; in fact it should be the first stop after putting down the bags.
For distances too far for walking, or to rest the feet after a day on foot,, the trains are an efficient way to move about the city. Urban trains, called S-Bahns, are underground lines U1,U2,U3,U4 and U5 and go everywhere.
Forget about driving. If you need to be in a car, take a cab. Fares are as follows (add 1 Euro for calliing by phone): 0 to 5 km: .60 per kilometre 5 to 10 km: .40 per kilometre 10 km or more: .25 per kilometre.
Sightseeing in Munich
Places to Visit When Visiting the City
Don't leave the Glockenspeil
before the rooster crows!
While not exactly Paris or London when it comes to landmarks, Munich none-the-less has quite a few notheworty attractions. The most famous, the Eiffel Tower if you will, of Munich is the Glockenspiel. There's also the large Marinplatz – full of shopping, restaurants and tourists – and great parks. This being Bavaria, there's also a an outdoor beer garden – or biergarten as they are called here – a not far away from anywhere. Notice a pattern here?
This is the Glockenspeil building, New Town Hall in Marinplatz.
THE GLOCKENSPEIL – If for no other reason than the novelty of it, make the first stop in Munich at this world-famous rotating landmark. Because it's in the main town square it will become a Munich fixture and while it's certainly not going to be highlight of a visit, it still has history, tradition and a bit of "I'm still a kid" sillyness that makes it worthwhile.
Located at the New Town Hall at Marienplatz, it "performs" daily at 11 a.m., noon and 5 p.m. Eighteen figures dance around the founder of the Hofbrau brewery and his bride; the jousting knights are the definite highlight. The Cooper's Dance takes place on a lower level (this was originally performed by barrel makers at the end of a plague epidemic). Don't leave before the rooster crows!
The Marinplatz is the prime area of daytime activity in Munich.
Cafes line the open Marinplatz; this is by the Hofbrauhaus.
People sit out and for big beers at this biergarten in Marinplatz.
THE MARINPLATZ – The heartbeat of Munich is the Marinplatz. Shopping abounds, from shops selling Bavarian souveniers and cuckoo clocks to big department stores. A long and wide pedestrian road leads to the main plaza – where the Glockenspeil is located – and side streets intersect seemingly everywhere. The fountain at Karlsplatz (Stachus) is the gateway to the Marinplatz; this is just a block from the main train station.
A bridge over a canal in English Garden, a very pleasant place in Munich.
People relax in English Garden, which also has a dozens of activities.
ENGLISH GARDEN – This is a spectacular park that, believe it not, is the largest Metropolitan park in Europe. Okay, but what is actually harder to believe is that this peaceful setting exits on the edge of a metropolitan area. A day can be spent walking its grounds, stopping to watch dogs play in the pristine pond, seeing people cannonball into the fast-rushing stream (or doing it yourself, but be careful, the stream runs swift) and just enjoying the paths and serene scenery. There are boat rides, swimming, carriage rentals and ample places to pull out and thoroughly read this guide. Live like a Kaiser in the English Garden! Then hit the biergarden (see below).
The Hoftgarden is good place for a walk on a sunny day.
HOFGARTEN – For those on foot, along the path to the English Garden is the Hofgarten, a palace garden. It's part of a "pedestrian patrol" of sorts that also encompasses the grand buildings at the University of Munich. As we've mentioned, Munich is a very pleasant walking city.
OLYMPIC PARK – Munich didn't let its Olympic facilities from the 1972 Summer Games to go waste. Instead, it took advantage of them to create an entire park and recreation area just north of City Center. Lakes, walkways, bikes, rollerbladers, Olympic Stadium and the Olympic Tower with a lookout platform and revolving restaurant are all there to enjoy. Concerts are common; Aerosmith, Pearl Jam the Red Hot Chilly Peppers and The Police have performed in the past. The park is open 24 hours. Olyumpic Tower hours are 9 a.m. - midnight. Olympic Stadium 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Getting There: U3 to U3 or U7 to U1.
2013 Dates are Sept. 21-Oct. 6
The entrance to Oktoberfest, two weeks of beer tents and fun.
There are huge beer halls and the ladies to carry multiple 1-liter beers in both hands at one time. Oktoberfest in Munich is a blast, a must-do for any beer lover.
There's oompha music, singing and holding up of the mugs. It's a blast. Many tents do require you sit down to be served and several people actually make reservations in advance. This is not necessary at the Hofbrauhaus tent, which is why it's the wildest party of them all at Oktoberfest.
It's also the equivalent of a county fair in the U.S., so it has rides and plenty of food vendors.
For a complete review of Oktoberfest, the beer tents and tips, go to PubClub.com's party guide.