My first time I ever went to Munich I only saw the inside of a train station and Oktoberfest for the 12 hours I was there drinking in 2007.
Now that I live so close, I am able to see a little bit more every time I go into town. So I will write this blog and add to it each time I visit because there is so much so see and never enough time to see it all!
Munich is the capital of Bavaria and was heavily damaged during WWII, but thankfully it was all restored to its former glory. Munich literally translates to “by the monks”.
I’ll start off with the Marienplatz which is dominated by the New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) which is famous for its Glockenspiel that chimes every hour. Just opposite the Town Hall a bit is the Peterskirche which you can climb and have an amazing view of the Town Hall and all of Munich. It is a tight climb up with people going in both directions on small stairs, but it is worth the view!
Since 1908, figurines representing stories from Munich’s history twirl on two levels daily at 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m. (the 5:00 p.m. show is omitted from November through February).
There is also the Frauenkirche a bit behind the Town Hall which is unique with its two domed towers. It is considered a symbol of Bavaria and no building is allowed be built higher than the church.
Just feet away from the Rathaus – View from the St. Peterskirche of the Neues Rathaus & Frauenkirche
Just behind and to the right of the Altes Rathaus, you can find Viktualienmarkt, which is a large square with an outdoor market that has been here for the last 200 years! You find all sorts of meats, sausages, vegetables, flowers, knickknacks and more. They say that one who doesn’t check out the heart of Munich, can never boast that he has seen Munich. In the center of the market is the Maibaum with the traditional blue and white stripes which represent the colors of Bavaria.
At the beginning of Neuhauser Strasse, the main street starts with the Karlstor. From here you follow crowds of people down the main street in the direction of the Marienplatz & Neues Rathaus. It is the west entrance to the old town and was once part of the medieval fortifications. Munich still has several Medieval gates throughout the city, but this one is probably the first to be seen, especially if you’re coming from the Main Train Station.
Naturally, one can not go to Munich without first stopping for a drink at the Höfbrauhaus. which was once the royal brewery of Bavaria. Hitler also used this beer hall as one of his places to hold Nazi party functions. Once inside it is jam packed with tables and people enjoying a Maß beer and men and women in their traditional Lederhosen or Dirndls. But before you go snapping pictures, be sure to ask if you can take a picture. My friend once got yelled at for sneaking a picture and then turned around and asked him for a picture which he was proud to pose for!
A very beautiful church that I highly recommend taking a look at is the Asamkirche which was built between 1733-1746 by the Asam brothers. These brother built many churches around Bavaria but this one is covered in gold baroque beauty.
It was an eerie feelings standing in front of Feldherrnhalle in Odeonsplatz and knowing that Hitler had once stood here during his unsuccessful “Beer-hall Putsch” and knowing that this building now has a certain Nazi cult status. Besides the dark reminders of the past, Feldherrnhalle was originally intended to be a monument to the heroes of Bavaria but is no longer open to the public because of the cult status in Nazi propaganda.
Next to the Feldherrnhalle you can also find the Munich Residenz which is located in one of the most elegant parts of Munich. The streets are lined with lovely cafes, palaces and the opera house. Until 1918 the Residenz was the home of the Wittelsbach dynasty (the family related to King Ludwig II).
While the outside might certainly looks like a bunch of buildings crammed together, it’s actually quite stunning on the inside and certainly worth taking a look around!
We did the full tour which gave us access to the Residenz, the Antiquarium, the Cuvillies-Theater, the Schatzkammer (Bavarian Crown Jewels) and so much more!
Despite being extremely far away from the nearest beach with good waves, Germans have found a way around this problem. A popular sporting event for tourists to enjoy on their meandering walk through the English Garden are the surfers at the Eisbach. Munich is the birthplace of river surfing and has been around since the 70s. The river never gets above 59*F/15*C.
There are many more things to do in the English Garden, but I have yet to get around to doing them yet. One of the most popular things to do is to sit down and have a cold one at the Englische Biergarten during the summer. Every time I have been to Munich, we have either not had enough time or the weather wasn’t good enough to bother.
Another interesting thing to do, especially if you know much about the Nazi Resistance group called White Rose from during WWII. Sophie Scholl and her brother distributed anti-war leaflets at the University of Munich. Later, they were convicted of high treason and were executed by guillotine. Today, there are memorial pamphlets and papers tossed about permanently in the ground at Geschwister-Scholl Platz in front of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.
Not far from the city center, but necessary to get there by U-bahn is the Schloss Nymphenburg which is where King Ludwig II of Bavaria was born. He would eventually build Schloss Neuschwanstein, Herrenchiemsee and Linderhof. The inside of the palace has magnificent ceiling frescos that you could just stare at all day. Outside of the palace are lovely gardens to enjoy a leisurely walk through. You may even catch a glimpse of some swans swimming in the fountains.
For more great sights to see around Munich:
If you’re interested in visiting Germany and are looking for more information, I highly recommend using the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide! Without these guides, I would be lost! This is my travel Bible!
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