Since I’m living in Berlin I decided to make it my personal mission to actually see as much as Germany as I possibly can.
There are loads of great places to go in Germany and I wasn’t sure where to start. I knew I wanted to go to Hamburg, Heidelberg, Munich and the Black Forest, but it was Winter and Munich seemed like a place I could still enjoy even in the cold.
But we didn’t realise it would be that cold!
On 2 of our 3 days there the temperature dropped to 0 degrees celsius and the day after we left it shot up to 15 degrees. Oh dear!
Still, we had a great time and I happened to be travelling with a legitimate, real-life Bavarian who showed me around much of the authentic foods, beers and places.
We covered all the must-see places and must-do activities in Munich and so I wanted to share them with you. So here are my absolute must-do’s when visiting Munich.
What To Do & See In Munich
Asam Church (Asamkirke)
This is one of the first things I wanted to see in Munich. I saw it on a YouTube video before I’d planned to go and it got me intrigued!
I was quite surprised to discover the Asam Church is actually tiny!
Wedged in between buildings, the outside of the church is a lot less granoise than some of the other churches in Munich and indeed around Germany. But the inside was… stunning.
You can sit on the wooden pews and stare at the ceilings for hours. The Asam Church was built in 1746 by sculptor and decorator brothers who designed it for their own personal use.
As you can see, the sculpting, architecture and artwork are outstanding. The Asam Church is a definite must-visit location in Munich.
Marienplatz is sort of considered the centre of Munich. It acts as the city’s town square and is dominated by the new city hall built in 1874.
There are some beautiful buildings in Marienplatz and it’s a popular spot with tourists who come to marvel at the town hall, enjoy the Christmas markets and visit the surrounding restaurants, cafes or bars.
While Marienplatz is a great place to start, venturing away from the centre down the side streets will lead you on to much more interesting places. From here you can find more quirky, interesting restaurants and sample Bavarian cuisine away from the crowds.
Victuals Market (Viktualienmarkt)
Just around the corner from Marienplatz you have the Victuals Market (or Viktualienmarkt in German). What’s great about Victuals market is that it’s not just for your general grocery shopping (although you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables here); you will find a diverse range of food stalls, drinks and quirky products on sale.
You can wander around some of the food stalls and try delicious traditional bavarian foods available from the various food stalls (which we did and you can read about later in this article). Or you can sit in the outside seating section and order some typical German beers in the sunshine.
You can easily spend a couple of hours at Victuals Market simply weaving in and out of the different stalls. We spent about 30 minutes in a herbs & spices stall purchasing homemade blends to take back to Berlin!
Bavarian beer halls
I’m not ashamed to admit it, the Bavarian beer halls were the highlight of my trip. I am a beer drinker so of course I would enjoy it, but even if you’re not that into beer you can still enjoy the festival atmosphere of a beer hall!
The halls consist of long tables with benches pulled up at either side, unless you have a big group you will likely be sitting with strangers. But that’s all part of the experience!
Servers come round taking your orders, typically you would order a 1 litre beer in true Bavarian fashion but there are a range of other drinks available and most often they also serve food.
Hofbräuhaus is the most famous Bavarian beer hall in Munich so it’s definitely a great place to start but there are loads dotted around, including specific brewery beer halls such as Augustiner Keller.
Englischer Garten (The English Garden)
The English Garden is one of the main attractions in Munich. Stretching 3.7 square km, it is a peaceful park to see nature and wildlife right in the middle of the city.
It’s easily to walk there from the centre and you can spend hours sitting at a park cafe or simply walking around the garden and looking at the views.
You can find bars selling alcohol near the Chinese tower with lots of benches to sit and enjoy some time away from the busy city. There is also a Monopteros you can walk up to get a great view of the whole park.
Englischer Garten is definitely a must-see attraction in Munich. The fresh air is great if you perhaps had a few too many at a beer hall the night before… ahem.
Eisbachwelle River Surfers
On the edge of Englischer Garten you will find a section of river near the road where surfers are taking turns to ride the waves. People gather round and watch as surfer after surfer takes turn to jump on their board and see how long they can last.
The waves are pretty powerful for a river and the surfers are usually quite talented! They are here throughout the year, even in winter at 1 degree celsius when we arrived, there was a queue of surfers ready to take their turn!
The river wave is called Eisbachwelle and you can join others sitting on the banks to watch the, quite frankly mesmerising, surfers taking their turns. You’d be surprised how long you can enjoy watching them and you can easily pass a couple of hours here, especially on warm days.
Go To An FC Bayern Munich Game
Attending a Bayern Munich game at the Allianz Arena is an amazing day out, even for those who aren’t a big fan of football (soccer if you’re visiting from The States!). Tickets are fairly inexpensive compared to many big European clubs and it’s super easy to get to the stadium from anywhere in Munich.
On match days the city is packed with supporters all getting in the spirit. And then finally reaching the ground is an experience in itself. On clear days you can see the alps from the stadium entrance, but what’s inside is even more impressive.
The Allianz Arena boasts a capacity of 75,000, and the design of the stadium is a masterpiece. It is the first stadium in the world to have a full color-changing exterior, lighting up red on evenings when a match is being played (Bayern Munich’s colors).
As you would expect, the atmosphere is outstanding and this is the reason you should go regardless of your football knowledge. Bayern are known to be one of the top 5 teams in the world so you’re almost guaranteed to watch a great game.
If you can time your trip with a Bayern Munich game I would highly recommend you buy tickets. You can find them online at the Bayern Munich website.
Quick tip: The game was sold out when we arrived but the Bayern Munich site has a ticket exchange section where you can re-buy tickets from fans who couldn’t attend. This prevents you being ripped off by Tout sites such as Viagogo.
Odeonsplatz is another large town square located in central Munich. It mostly consists of nice buildings and architecture including the Theatinerkirche (pictured) and the Feldherrnhalle.
You can take a short walk here from Marienplatz and it’s likely to be on your route to the Englischer Garten so you can stop by here to visit some of the 19th century buildings.
It’s a beautiful spot to stop and take a look around, but you probably wouldn’t spend more than 30 minutes here. Still, Odeonsplatz is definitely worth incorporating into your plans.
Museums On A Sunday
Quick tip: Many museums in Munich are just €1 on a Sunday. So if you’re visiting over a weekend, make sure to time your museum trips accordingly to take advantage of the super discounted price.
Some of the museums included in this offer include:
- Museum Brandhorst
- Deutsches Museum
- State Collection of Egyptian Art
You can find more information about Munich museums here.
What To Eat & Drink In Munich
Bavarians know how to do meat, particularly pork, and you will find this to be a feature of most traditional German dishes. The style of cooking pork is what makes Bavarian food so special as many of the dishes might not seem so interesting until you try them.
Of course, the Germans aren’t as well known for their foods as, say, the Italians but it’s important to soak up every part of the culture when you visit a new place, and so that’s what we did.
Leberkässemmel (mit süßem Senf)
Leberkässe translates as ‘liver cheese’ and looks to be a form of ham sandwich, but it’s a lot more delicious than ham! The meat is made out of corned beef, pork and bacon and is simply stuffed into a bread roll.
It’s a quick and easy snack that you should try, even though it doesn’t sound particularly appetizing. The meat is topped with süßem Senf (sweet mustard) which is absolutely delicious and is a common condiment in Bavaria.
When most people think of Bavarian food they often think of Weisswurst. Weisswurst are white sausages made from minced veal and bacon, seasoned with parsley, lemon, onions, ginger, and cardamom. They are traditionally eaten for breakfast with sweet mustard, pretzels and a beer.
Yep! The tradition for eating weisswurst is to order a breakfast beer which we did, not expecting them to bring a 1 litre glass! So breakfast on that morning was… fun!
The weisswurst are cooked in water (not boiling so as not to split the skin), and then served in the bowl still full of warm water. You then take a sausage, split it down the middle to remove the skin and eat with a dollop of sweet mustard and a side of pretzel.
At first the taste is rich and flavorsome, but after two sausages it can quickly become a bit sickly. In the end the beer was quite helpful for balancing the strong weisswurst taste! They are obviously a must-try dish in Bavaria so it makes sense to order these at least once.
Schweinebraten Mit Kartoffelknödel (Roast Pork With Potato Dumplings)
Schweinebraten mit Kartoffelknödel might not look too unfamiliar to those of you in Eastern Europe and indeed the UK. Roasted pork with potatoes and vegetables served in a gravy may not be that exotic but it’s a Bavarian staple.
Of course, the dish is prepared exquisitely, with the meat cooked slowly in onion, garlic and mustard. Commonly cooked using pigs neck or head, you can find a great recipe for a Bavarian pork roast here.
Another food you could easily shrug off as “just a ham sandwich”, but the krustenbraten just feels so authentically Bavarian. It’s essentially just roasted pork with a generous chunk of crackling on top, of course covered in sweet mustard sauce.
It’s delicious, yes, but is it anything special? Arguably not but it’s readily available in Munich as a quick snack and is a lot fresher and well-cooked than a typical pork sandwich you might buy from a shop.
Germans like to mention that they are very good at making bread, so the krustenbraten is basically a very simple snack done well. It’s definitely worth trying.
Rindsgulasch mit Brezenknödel
Rindsgulasch mit Brezenknödel translates as beef goulash with pretzel dumplings. It’s the first dish on the menu that isn’t pork!
Goulash is widely popular in Eastern and Central Europe so it’s not unique to Bavaria, but it is popular in the region and across Germany. The flavor is rich and aromatic and it goes without saying that restaurants in Munich know how to cook up a good goulash!
Ok let’s be honest, visiting Munich is mostly about the beer. From the famous Oktoberfest to the eponymous beer halls across Munich, beer is very closely associated with the Bavarian way of life. And so it only makes sense for you to sample a few frosty big ones on your trip!
Many beers are served in 1 litre sized glasses and it’s a great novelty at first, but the beer does get a little warm if you don’t drink it quickly. There are a range of famous beer breweries you can try beers straight from the source. Some of the top breweries to visit in Munich are:
Remember though, you’re there to taste the beers and enjoy the flavors. Munich can be a fun place to go for a stag weekend but the culture is all about being merry rather than flat out drunk. So enjoy the beers but take your time to savour them!
Munich Accommodation and Transport
We did have the option to stay on a friends’ sofas for free but we like to have our own space so we booked into a hotel just outside of the center. We stayed at the 7 Days Premium Hotel in Sendling which was very convenient and easy to get wherever we needed.
At €50 a night for 2 people it was very good value, but you can get places even cheaper by browsing sites like Hotels.com, Booking.com or hotelscombined.com.
The transport system is easy to navigate. Much like most big German cities they have a Ubahn (underground subway system), Sbahn (overground trains) and buses.
We were there for 3 days and so we opted for the 3 day travel ticket which would have been €15.90 but we thought we would check the price of group tickets and that turned out to be only €29.90 for up to 5 people! There were only 2 of us so it was still cheap for 3 days travel, but in a group of 5 you can take advantage of all public transport for less than €2 a day!
More information about ticket types and fares are available here, but you can buy them directly on the platform so you don’t need to book anything in advance.
Getting to Munich from other cities is also fairly easy since the country is well connected by trains. They can be very expensive however, unless you travel at unusual times. The German trains aren’t known for being as reliable as many other Western countries but they are definitely the most efficient option to take. The trains also have free wifi which is very handy.
National buses are also fairly affordable but they do take a fairly long time, so only best if you are low on budget but high on time. You can of course fly to Munich from other cities which can be a very affordable option. If you use Skyscanner you can toggle the settings to find the cheapest days and times to fly.
If you do make it to Munich, I hope this guide has been useful and gives you lots of inspiration! If you want to follow along with our adventures in the world of travel and food, you can visit our blog!