Story by Louisa Nolte
Munich is not just a great place to visit during the Oktoberfest—or Wiesn’, as Bavarians say—it is one of the most beautiful cities in Germany. You may have conjured up an image in your head of a city with people dressed in dirndl and lederhosen, holding a beer in one hand and a pretzel in the other. Admittedly, this does happen occasionally (more often than not for photo-ops), but expect to see a city traced with history filled with fun things to do.
If you’re looking for a hip, cheap, party capital, you’re in the wrong city: head to Berlin. After several days there you might need a little break, so take a short plane ride (or a six-hour train ride) to a part of Germany with a whole new vibe. Munich is mellow, clean, and beautiful.
The perfect time to visit is during the summer, although Munich covered in snow in the winter is also beautiful–albeit freezing.
A Day in Munich:
- Wake up and grab some breakfast at Aroma Kaffeebar (Pestalozzistraße). Snoop around all the fun toys and gags they offer—the kind of junk you don’t need but really, really want. It’s a great place to get souvenirs that aren’t emblazoned with cheesy images of castles and pretzels. Within walking distance is Servusheimat (multiple locations), another good place to get souvenirs that are very Bavarian but with a twist.
- Take a walk to the city center known as the Marienplatz. It’s one of those places where every tourist group goes, and every visitor is kind of obligated to visit.
- The museums, the architecture of them and of course the art inside them, are incredible. Check out the Deutsches Museum, Brandhorst, Haus der Kunst, Lenbachhaus, Pinakothek der Moderne, Alte Pinakothek, or Neue Pinakothek. Each has a different vibe and subject, so choose the one most appealing to your interests.
- Try somewhere traditionally German for lunch. There’s a great beer garden known as the Biergarden am Chinesischer Turm (meaning “Chinese Tower Beergarden”) in the Englischer Garten, or English Garden. If you want something smaller, go to Kaisergarten (Kaiserstraße 34) and don’t forget to order Kaiserschmarn, which are basically delicious, scrambled pancakes.
- Next, take a stroll through the Englischer Garten. It’s a huge park, even bigger than Central Park. Be sure to visit the Eisbach, a section of the Isar river that has a continuous wave where you’ll find a bunch of surfers—even in the winter.
- Once you’ve had your fill of nature, get back to the city and check out Schwabing, a fun area filled with university students.
- If you’re in the mood for some good sushi, but also want to try a good German beer and Bratwürstchen, go to the Japanese-German restaurant No Mi Ya (Wörthstraße 7). And if you’re not feeling that adventurous, the classic
This story appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of Baedeker.