**Updated : October 2023**
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What is Munich Like?
Munich is most well known for one singular event, Oktoberfest. As the third largest city in Germany, Munich is actually the largest city and capital city of the German state of Bavaria. Overall, we felt very safe in Munich - which doesn't mean you should just leave your belongings everywhere - but we never felt like we were going to get mugged. Everyone we met spoke English as well, making it very easy to get around and order food & drinks at restaurants. As a part of the Schengen Zone, Germany uses the Euro, and as long as you don't overstay your 90 days in the Schengen Zone you shouldn't need an additional visa to visit. When you're out and about, it's important to remember a few things. One is that Germans can seem very blunt and standoffish - we promise they're not trying to be mean, and if you visit during Oktoberfest you'll realize that this is the one time they let down this wall (even the locals will say this). Another is that tipping at restaurants is not required, however when they realize you're not a local they'll often ask you to leave a tip - this is totally up to you and how the service was. Food is a little different in Bavaria - with lots of sausages, meats, and potato dumplings. Lastly, if it's your first time visiting Munich, we recommend bringing some walking shoes, because chances are you'll be exploring Old Town and the rest of the city for a few days. Follow these tips, and you'll have an incredible time. Plus, below we've created a list for first time visitors to Munich, including the stops and sights we loved the most during our visit!
Looking for a place to stay in Munich? We loved Schwabinger Wahrheit by Geisel for proximity to top sights (and Oktoberfest grounds) and Hampton by Hilton Munich Airport South - which was near the airport!
11 Things you Shouldn't Miss
1. Paulaner Nockherberg
Expected Time : 1 hour+
This old monastery turned brewery began as a place where monks brewed their own beer starting in 1634. Now owned by a private family however, this brewery is one of 6 that supplies the beer for the world renowned Munich Oktoberfest. Paulaner Nockherberg has a huge beer garden and offers traditional Bavarian foods as well. This is also a spot that has more locals than tourists if you're looking to escape the crowds, so you can spend as little or as much time here as you'd like! We'd recommend trying at least one beer though. ;)
2. Explore the Old Churches
Expected Time : 30 minutes - 1 hour per church
There are some beautiful churches in the Munich area, with the oldest dating back to the 12th Century. Of course we weren't able to visit all of them, but we did find a few though that we loved near the Old Town quarters, with a few of our favorites listed below.
3. Nymphenburg Palace
Expected Time : 2-3 hours
A journey into Nymphenburg Palace will truly leave you in awe, with incredible paintings and decor - this is one of the most well kept up palaces we've ever entered. For only 12 Euro (15 Euro in peak season) you can enter the palace, museum, and "park palaces" which are essentially a collection of buildings surrounding the property - equally as stunning as the palace itself, as well as the surrounding gardens. An interesting attraction in the Palace is the "Collection of Most Beautiful" - a collection of paintings owned by King Ludwig I - that depicted women of all classes that he considered "the most beautiful." You can also purchase guides and audio tours if you'd like more information and fun stories during your visit!
4. Explore Old Town on Foot
Expected Time : half a day
I'll be honest, a majority of sights on our list can be found in Old Town, which is why we recommend spending at least half a day exploring the area by foot! You can see sights like the New Town Hall, beautiful churches like the Theatine, head up into some towers for epic views of the city, and if you're lucky enough, you'll even happen to find the Juliet statue and rub her golden breast for a chance at true love. There's also restaurants and cafes around every corner, so this is the perfect place for a dinner or lunch stop! We also recommend doing your souvenier shopping here - Max Krug was an incredible spot for gifts, and even for those of us that don't really like shopping, it was an incredible spot to marvel at their amazing cuckoo clocks and old beer steins.
5. New Town Hall & Tower (Marienplatz)
Expected Time : 1-2 hours
The New Town Hall is located in the Marienplatz Plaza, and is supposedly the "home of politics" in the city of Munich. For 6.50 Euro per adult you can actually head into the tower itself for some amazing views of the city below you. You do have to book the tickets online ahead of time in most instances, as there was no one onsite selling tickets when we visited. Online it also says you are limited to just 15 minutes, but there was no one there timing us and we were free to enjoy as much or as little as we wanted (of course, this could change in peak season). Note, the nearby St. Peter's Church also has a tower that you can enter for some pretty epic views of Munich, and is only 5 Euro per person!
Expected Time : at least one full day
No doubt a bucket list item for many, Oktoberfest in Munich is an epic experience, and we highly recommend everyone visit Munich at least once in September to celebrate. Contrary to popular belief, the entire celebration does not focus solely on beer (although there's a lot of that as well) but also on fun rides, incredible food, and the kindness of strangers. If fall in Germany doesn't sound like a fun time, or if you're looking for a less crowded event, we recommend checking out Springfest! Watch our video from Oktoberfest below!
7. Englischer Garten
Expected Time : 1-2 hours
Surfing in Germany? Why not. Although we weren't quite lucky enough to see any surfers in the Englischer Gartens, we did enjoy a nice stroll through the park at sunset. Honestly, this park might have been the busiest park we've ever been to, even more so than Central Park in New York City. There were people everywhere coming for picnics, playing volleyball, out for a run, walking a dog, and yes, even surfing. We've heard the best spot to watch the surfers is at the entrance to the Englischer Garten near the Eisbach river. As one of the largest inner city parks in the entire world (even beating out Central Park) you can find lakes, rivers, beer gardens, and even a Greek Temple.
8. Sample Local Cuisine
Expected Time : N/A (as much or as little as you like)
Since Munich is the capital of Bavaria, in most traditional restaurants you'll find a hearty meal filled with potato dumplings and a serving of meat. I'll be honest, Tyler managed to eat a dish like this at least once a day during our visit. Some other popular foods you might find are pretzels, currywurst (sausage with curry powder), honey goat salads (which are incredible), and mezzo mix (a unique mix of orange soda and coke). We would honestly recommend trying them all! If you're looking for specific restaurants to try in the Munich area, we recommend Backspielhaus (for their ciabatta mozzarella sandwich & cheese pretzels), Bachmaier Hofbrau (for their honey goat salad, cordon bleu, and currywurst), and Wirtshaus Zur Brez'n (for their traditional potato dumplings and meat based meals).
Expected Time : 15 minutes
Built around 1843, this archway was initially built for "the glory of the Bavarian army" - since it's restoration after being damaged in the 2nd World War, it's said to now stand as a reminder for peace. Similar to the Arc de Triomphe in France and Arc de Triomf in Barcelona, this archway is beautiful to look at, but not much else. We recommend going at sunset for some beautiful colors though!
Expected Time : 15 minutes
Also known as the Drueckebergergasse, this golden pathway serves as a memorial to those that refused to show their support for Hitler. The saying goes that the nearby Feldherrnhalle was named a National Landmark under Hitler, and became an area where all passerby's would have to perform the Nazi salute to stationed members. Instead, those that did not support the third reich used this back alleyway, Viscardigasse Alley, to avoid the landmark, and therefore were not forced to salute. They are now remembered with a small golden pathway to honor their small yet brave acts of resistance.
11. Munich Municipal Law Library
Expected Time : 1 hour
Unfortunately we weren't able to fit this one in ourselves - it just happened to be closed during our visit. However, we've heard that the architecture inside - like the giant spiral staircase - make a visit 100% worth it.
Want to spend the day exploring outside the city limits? Check out this all inclusive Neuschwanstein Castle day tour!
Watch our Adventures in Munich here!
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We're Deborah & Tyler, a pretty average husband and wife duo from a pretty average state that didn't want to live so averagely. After our *Covid wedding we sold everything that didn't fit into the Jeep and moved to Alaska, then decided to take a gap year!
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