Munich, the city that leads the way in beer festivals, is so much more than pints and tipsy sing-alongs. Museums include world-class collections and live music is thriving. Make the most of your day in Munich with tips from local expert Sophie Carville.
0700-0900. Start your day with a leisurely jog in the Englischer Garten (English Garden – not outstandingly English but still very pleasant), a vast expanse of parkland, streams and rivers, before the hordes – locals and tourists alike – arrive. Or think ahead the day before and rent a stylish bike from Frankie’s Bike Tours (Kreuzstrasse 3b, 089 2426 8811) – €8 for half a day, or on Wednesday €9 for the whole day – and explore the greenery on two wheels. Keep an eye out for the Chinese Pagoda, Japanese Tea House and Greek Temple, not to mention the numerous beer gardens. For breakfast Munich-style, try a gourmet breakfast in Bodo’s Conditorei-Café (Herzog-Wilhelm-Strasse 29, 089 263 673), or a more continental-inspired affair at Tambosi (Odeonplatz 18, 089 298 322).
0900-1100. Dive into the city’s culture – Munich’s museums and galleries are considered among the best in Europe. Pick a Pinakothek museum in the Kunstareal art district to wander around: the Alte Pinakothek (Barer Strasse 27, 089 2380 5216), which goes the Raphael/Rubens/Da Vinci route; the Neue Pinakothek (Barer Strasse 29, 089 2380 5195), with its staggering collection of Impressionist paintings; or the Pinakothek der Moderne (Barer Strasse 40, 089 2380 5360), with a spectacular collection of contemporary art along drawings from the last several hundred years. To step back in time, try the Bavarian National Museum (Prinzregentenstrasse 3, 089 211 2401) with its period rooms and vast collection of historical nativity displays; or for something more surreal try the Kartoffelmuseum (Potato Museum – seriously) (Grafinger Strasse 2, 089 404 050) for sculpted potato heads which wrinkle as they age, among other bizarre things.
1100-1300. A bit of exploration of the Aldstadt (Old Town) is in order. While wandering around the pretty streets which have been brilliantly restored after extensive bomb damage, things not to miss include: the small and hidden but intensely ornate Asamkirche (Sendlingerstrasse 32), which was created by two brothers who apparently decided to rival the Italians for sheer spangliness of churches; the tower of the Neues Rathaus (Marienplatz) which you can ascend in a lift for fantastic city views; and the town hall on the Marienplatz, on the side of which is the giant Glockenspiel, an astonishing piece of clockwork which plays its story at 11am every day (and 12pm and 5pm in summer).
1300-1500. The two-century-old Viktualienmarkt, just round the corner from the central Marienplatz, is huge and famous, and justly so. For lunch, a popular choice is to load up with food from a few stalls (hot and cold fare all year round, of all different kinds; go for the weisswurst sausages with bread and try the Hoenighaus stall for honey-based sweet treats) and take your picnic to the market’s large beer garden, paying only for drinks. Alternatively, take your goodies down to the Isar River a few blocks away and enjoy the view and the relative peace and quiet. If you prefer a sit-down meal, a good bet for some excellent Bavarian food is Zum Alten Markt (Dreifaltigkeitsplatz 3, 089 299 995) – try the onion soup with salmon dumplings. There’s no English menu but the staff are helpful.
1500-1700. If you’re at all into football, you really should go see the Allianz Arena, the spectacular, futuristic stadium which hosts two teams and lights up either red or blue depending on who is playing. You might be able to catch a game while you’re there (see www.allianz-arena.de/en for the events schedule), but if not, you can take a 75-minute tour (€10) of the stadium – take the U-Bahn (U6) to Fröttmaning.
If you hate football to the depths of your soul, jump on tram 12 or 17 and head to Schloss Nymphenburg, the gorgeous Baroque Palace with its stunning collection of horse-drawn carriages from the 18th and 19th centuries. Mosey round the palace (€11.50 in summer; €8.50 in winter), or just relax in the amazing and extensive grounds, and don’t miss the deer enclosure and the Hirschgarten beer garden (Hirschgarten 1, 089 1799 9119) – with 8,000 seats, it’s one of the biggest in Europe and is great on sunny days.
1700-1900. Make your way to Glockenbach, Munich’s most flamboyant area, just southwest of the Aldstadt, for some quirky, unique shopping. For second-hand and vintage shops, wander along Reichenbachstrasse and its surrounding streets; for fashion from young, up-and-coming designers, try Hans-Sachs-Strasse: 7 Himmel (17) for clothing, Artefake (13) for jewellery and arty fashion, or Eisenblätter & Triska (13) for hats. For random odds, ends and gifts, try Wohnpalette (Fraunhoferstrasse 13) or Abovo (Rumfordstrasse 8) for nice household stuff. And in the spirit of quirkiness, stop at Trachtenvogl (Reichenbachtrasse 47) for one of about 30 different chocolate drinks and 1950s-style furniture.
1900-2100. The beer-hall culture is alive and well in Munich, and can provide a great place for dinner. Join the communal tables in Zum Dürnbräu (Dürnbräugasse 2, 089 222 195), or try Weisses Bräuhaus (Tal 7, 089 290 1380) for their milky-brown brew, or Andechser am Dom (Weinstrasse 7a, 089 2429 2920) for a lively atmosphere and service with a smile. All are popular with the locals and are within the Aldstadt.
After 2100. The Maxvorstadt and Schwabing districts are where you’ll find the more stylish and civilised bars and clubs. From the Alstadt, take the U-Bahn to Münchner Freiheit and head to The Potting Shed (Occamstrasse 11, 089 3407 7284), to be found in a pretty tangle of small streets off Leopoldstrasse, for a relaxed atmosphere, excellent cocktails and often live music. From here, make your way back down Leopoldstrasse to The Green Room (Leopoldstrasse 13, 089 3306 6352), a colourful shisha lounge with ottomans and fluffy cushions, an outside terrace for warm evenings and DJs spinning the decks. To continue your crawl, move several blocks west to Reizbar (Agnesstrasse 54, 089 1895 6551) for a sleek cellar bar with a pleasant atmosphere and an extensive drinks list, and finish the night off another few blocks over at Eat The Rich (Hess-Strasse 90, 089 185 982), a retro bar which is a lot posher than the name suggests, but the cocktails are huge.
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Written by World Travel Guide.