10 Things to do in Munich

When you think of Germany; Munich is the city that embodies our thoughts of all things German. Beer gardens, Lederhosen, Oktoberfest, great palaces, fantastic architecture and so much more. Munich is the capital city of Bavaria that was first mentioned in documents in 1158. It sits on the Isar River that runs all the way to the Alps in the south. There is so much history in Munich.  Here are 10 things to do in Munich when you visit.

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How to Get to Munich

If you are flying into Munich, you will book flights into the main airport.

Franz Josef Strauß (MUC) is the international airport and second busiest airport in Germany. Most international carriers will fly here. The airport is located northeast of the city. You will have to get into the city from there.

If you are renting a car, at the airport. It will take you about 30-40 minutes into the heart of Munich.

I recommend taking the S-Bahn. The S1 (west side) and S8 (east side) run alternately every 10 minutes and take about 43 minutes to the Hauptbahnhof (Main Train Station).  It costs between 11,60-13,00 EUR. For current prices and information check out the MVV (Munich Transit Authority). A cab could cost as much as 80 EUR from the airport.

If you are arriving by train, you will more than likely come into Munich's Hauptbahnhof (main train station). From there you can take the U+S-Bahn to all the sights. 

I highly recommend getting a Munich City Tour Card. It allows you hop on and off the public transit all day, and also gives you discounts for certain popular tourist sites. 

If you have rented a car and are driving from another city or town to Munich for the day, I highly recommend using the Park and Ride system. You park on the outskirts of the city and take the S-Bahn or U-Bahn into the city. Then, you can ride right into the heart of the city, avoiding traffic and parking issues. Take the U4 or U5 to get the starting point of the first thing on our 10 things to do in Munich, the Ačiū Walking Tour.

Park and Ride in Europe

Park and Ride in Europe


1. Aciu's Self-Guided Walking Tour of the Altstadt

One of my favourite things to do when I get to a new city is to explore the old part of town (Altstadt) by foot. By doing this you will see a lot of the best sights along the way. You will get a lay of the land, and you can come back and explore in-depth, the things that really caught your attention. You can do this at your own pace, and there is nothing stopping you from veering off. 

How to Get There

To get to the start take the U4 or U5 to Karlsplatz. Start at A and work your way along the blue path to J. Click on purple numbered dots and they will give you a little information on things to check out along the way. On this walking tour you will find a few things on this list of 10 things to do in Munich. 


2. Marienplatz

Marienplatz is home to the world famous "New" town hall of Munich. It took over from the Old Town Hall (east of the square) in 1874. The Glockenspiel in the clock tower goes off at 11 and noon (it's always late) daily, from March to October. Thirty-two life size figures dance around to the bells. Definitely worth being there for.

Here you will also see the Mariensäule (Marian column) that was erected in 1638 to celebrate the end of Swedish occupation from the Thirty Years' War. The golden Virgin Mary on top of the column was made in 1590. It was moved on top of the column from it's original home in the Frauenkirche. 

Marienplatz, Munich

Marienplatz, Munich

How to Get There

This is the second stop on the Ačiū Walking Tour. 

Alternatively go to the Marienplatz Station via:

S&U-Bahn:

S-Bahn - All S-Bahn trains (S1-8)

U-Bahn - U3 & U6

Buses:

132 Marienplatz


3. Viktualienmarkt

This is Munich best and oldest Farmer's Market. The original food market started in Marienplatz. When it grew too large for that location, it was moved south in 1807 to where you now find the Viktualienmarkt. There are 140 different vendors here, selling all kinds of delicatessens, including local produce, wine, teas, and flowers. The market covers 22,000 square metres. This includes beer gardens in case you have developed a thirst from walking here. 

Viktualienmarkt, Munich

Viktualienmarkt

It is open Monday to Friday from 8am - 8pm, but most vendors are operating from 10am - 6pm. Saturday it is open from 10am - 3pm. Sundays it is closed. 

How to Get There

This is also on the Ačiū Walking Tour (#7) behind St' Peter's church and south of the Old Town Hall and the statue of Juliet (also on the tour).

Alternatively go to the Marienplatz Station and walk towards Tal and turn right behind St. Peter's Church. 

S&U-Bahn:

S-Bahn - All S-Bahn trains (S1-8)

U-Bahn - U3 & U6

Buses:

132 Marienplatz


4. Hofbräuhaus

Imagine the beer you wanted was brewed too far away from your court for your liking. So you decide to build a brewery close by to solve that problem. That's exactly what Duke Wilhelm V. did at the end of the 16th century. Today you can go visit it, and have a litre of beer, some sausage and enjoy some traditional Bavarian music. 

Locals and tourists visit here alike, to enjoy a beer either in the beer hall or under the chestnut trees in the beer garden. It is open at 9am everyday of the week, and even on Christmas eve. It can hold about 3000 people at a time, and on a busy day up to 30,000 people pass through it's doors. Half of the daily guests are regulars, so it must be good! Kids are also welcome here. 

Hofbrauhaus, Munich

Hofbräuhaus, Munich

They have been brewing beer here since 1589, and produce 30,000,000 litres of beer each year. One of them has your name on it (insert name here).

How to Get There

This is also on the Ačiū Walking Tour (#8) located on Platzl.

Alternatively go to the Marienplatz Station walk East towards the Old Town Hall. Turn onto Sparkassenstraße (behind the Old Town Hall) where it intersects with Tal, then right at Ledererstraße, go for a block and turn left on Orlandostraße and after a block you will find it. 

S&U-Bahn:

S-Bahn - All S-Bahn trains (S1-8)

U-Bahn - U3 & U6

Buses:

139 Marienplatz


5. The Residenz

The Residenz is the former royal palace of the Wittelsbach monarchs that ruled Bavaria. It was built starting in 1385 as a castle. It is the largest palace in Germany and well worth the visit.

There are too many highlights to mention within the walls of this glorious palace. It is hard to believe that the Residenz suffered serious damage during World War Two when you look at it today. They have done an amazing job restoring these amazing buildings over several decades.

Antiquarium, Residenz, Munich

Antiquarium, Residenz, Munich

Residenz and Treasury

I recommend touring both the Residenz Museum and the Treasury. The Treasury is an incredible collection of jewels, carved ivories, crystal objects and gold work. All with a meticulous detail that you have to see to believe. Pictures do not do it justice. The Antiquarium (above) is the oldest room in the Residenz and captured my attention. It is 66 metres long and was used for festivities and banquets. What grabbed my attention was the beautiful painted ceiling of little towns, palaces and markets that make up Bavaria. 

Depending on your interest it can take 3-4 hours to go through everything. This is one on the Aciu Walking Tour also. It can be incorporated as part of the day if you choose, but it makes for a long day. If you plan to just visit the Residenz, the nearest U-Bahn is Odeonsplatz, just walk south from there. 

Bonus!

Residenz is right by Odeonsplatz. This the famous location where Hilter's Beer Hall Putsch came to an fatal gun battle in 1929. The yellow Mediterranean looking church is the Theatinerkirche. Also worth checking out. 

How to Get There

This is also on the Ačiū Walking Tour (#12) located at Odeonsplatz.

Alternatively go to the Marienplatz Station walk East towards the Old Town Hall. Turn onto Sparkassenstraße (behind the Old Town Hall) where it intersects with Tal, then right at Ledererstraße, go for a block and turn left on Orlandostraße and after a block you will find it. 

U-Bahn:

U-Bahn - U3, U4, U5, U6 at Odeonsplatz then walk south. 


6. Deutsches Museum

This museum is the world's largest museum of science and technology. Don't that title fool you, and think it's all modern stuff. It's the history of science and technology. Everything from aircraft, ships, musical instruments to printing and textile technology and so much more. Definitely one of the great things to do in Munich. 

Fokker Triplane - Deutsches Museum

Fokker Triplane - Deutsches Museum

It's been around since 1903, and it houses 28,000 objects in 50 fields of science of technology. The museum truly has something for everyone. 

It is open from 9am-5pm daily.

Bonus!

If you take the S-Bahn to Isator station, and when you come out to the street and you turn left, you'll head in the direction of the museum. Turn right, and you can check out the Isator, a Medieval city gate from with beautiful frescos painted on it.

Isator, Munich

Isator, Munich

How to Get There

S&U- Bahn:

All S-Bahns at Isator Station
U1 & U2 at Fraunhoferstrasse Station

Buses:

Line 132 at Boschbrücke
Line 52 & 62 at Baaderstrasse

Trams:

Line 17 at Deutsches Museum
Line 16 at Isartor
Line 18 at Fraunhoferstraße


7. BMW Welt

BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Works). If you are looking for things to do in Munich you have to visit the home of BMW. BMW Welt is right next to the BMW headquarters. Inside you will find the BMW Museum and next to that BMW Group Plant where they manufacture these vehicles. 

BMW Welt

BMW Welt

You can do a tour of both and I highly recommend it. I was here with my hockey tour.  And to be honest, it wasn't something I thought I would appreciate, because I'm not into cars. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed it. 

The factory tour was incredible. Watching the robots dancing in harmony as they weld, paint and assemble all these special order vehicles as they are built, was fascinating. It was all the little facts about classic German efficiency that blew me away. I walked away with a new appreciation of the whole process. Because of all the options available on their vehicles, they claim that only two or three vehicles a year alike come out of this factory. This is what makes this place unique. 

How to Get There

U- Bahn:

U-Bahn - U3 & U8 at Petuelring then walk northwest

Buses:

173 & N76 at Olympia Park Eissportstadion stop


8. Olympic Park

Right next door to the BMW Welt is the Olympic Park from the 1972 Summer Olympics. Lots of events take place here from concerts to sporting events. You can come here and take a tour of the park. There is a also the Sea Life Aquarium on site. You can go up the Olympic Tower to get a great view of Munich from 190 metres up (the tower is three times higher than the spires of the Frauenkirche). 

Olympic Park Munich

Olympic Park Munich

They have many guided tours available. You can do the Architec-tour where you can learn about the construction of the unique roof. Better yet, how adventurous are you? Why not climb the roof and zip-line down from it with the Roof Climb and Flying Fox tour. If you'd rather just keep your feet on the ground, do a tour of the stadium or park itself. There is something for everyone here. 

How to Get There

U- Bahn:

U-Bahn - U3 & U8 at Olympiazentrum Station 

Buses:

173, 180, & N76 at Olympiazentrum Station


9. Nymphenburg Palace

This is one of the most popular things to do in Munich.

The Nymphenburg Palace was originally completed in 1675, but has had many expansions since then. The palace is an astonishing 700 metres wide (2300 ft), and the gardens and surrounding park covers 200-hectare (490-acre). This gorgeous palace was the main summer residence of the former rulers of Bavaria of the House of Wittelsbach, you know because the Residenz (the largest palace in Germany) 8 kms away, wasn't good enough I guess. Thanks to their needs, we now can enjoy this baroque style palace. 

Nymphenburg Palace

Nymphenburg Palace

You can take an audio tour of the Nymphenburg Palace. There are also four other palaces on the park premises, Amalienburg, Badenburg, Pagodenburg and Magdalenenklause.

You can also that a 30 minute gondola ride in central canal of the palace park during the summer season (April to mid-October). 

How to Get There

U- Bahn:

U-Bahn - U1 or U7 to Rotkreuzplatz then the #12 Tram to Romanplatz.

S-Bahn:

S1, S2, S3, S4, S6, or S7 to Laim, then take either 51, 151, N78 buses to Schloss Nymphenburg


10. Allianz Arena

Last but not least, on the list of 10 things to do in Munich is the Allianz Arena. This 75,000 seat stadium is home to FC Bayern München who have won the Bundesliga 10 of the last 14 years. TSV 1860 München, a second division team also play out of here. This is the second largest stadium in Germany. It's unique design stands out. Experiencing a football (soccer for you North Americans) match is amazing. Tickets may be hard to get your hands on for a FC Bayern München game.

Allianz Arena

Allianz Arena

Doing a Tour

If you do have a ticket you can also book an exclusive matchday tour of the stadium, to see the stadium in action on game day. Unable to get a top division ticket? You could always try to catch a second division game of TSV 1860 München. 

If you can't get to a game, a tour of the stadium is great. Besides, you can bring home a souvenir for that die hard sports fan back home (if it's not you).

When you see it in the distance, it looks like a giant inflatable raft. Well, that's because it is made up of inflatable plastic panels that can be lit up. They light it up red for Bayern München home games, blue for TSV 1860 home games, and white for the German national team.

All this and more you can learn on a tour of the stadium. There are variety of tour options to choose from. Just beware that they don't offer tours (general tours) on game days.

How to Get There

Start at Marienplatz then take U6 (in the direction of Garching-Hochbrück) to Fröttmaning ( approx. 16 mins). From there is a 15 minute walk via the Esplanade. 


Conclusion

These 10 things to do in Munich are just the tip of the iceberg. There are lots of things to do beyond this list, such as the world famous Oktoberfest or do a Beerhall Tour, Dachau Concentration Camp, and many other museums. Starting with the Walking Tour will get you started, seeing a lot of Munich's top sights, and from there you can go explore more. Enjoy and share your pictures and experience with us on Facebook or Instagram and don't forget to hashtag us #aciutravel !

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