9 places to visit in Munich
Updated: Jun 9, 2020
Munich, the capital of Bavaria is a city with a long history. It was founded by the monks of the Benedictine order in 1158, where its name originates from - Munichen meaning „by the monks”. The only legacy left to us from that period is the Old Town hall which was once a Benedictine monastery. When Otto I Wittelsbach became Duke of Bavaria in 1180, Munich came under his rule and the Wittelsbach dynasty governed the city for more than 700 years. The city flourished due to architectural and cultural development, but unfortunately during World War II 90% of the inner city - 50% of the entire city - was destroyed. After the war massive restoration works began and today much of what was lost is recovered. Take a tour with us to the beautiful city of Munich and discover its treasures, both old and new.
Let´s start our tour with Marienplatz, the heart of Munich where tourists and locals alike come to spend their free time, watch the Glockenspiel, visit the famous buildings around the square or just simply wander around with friends or relatives. The square had the role of market already in the middle ages but got its current name after the Marian Column sculpted in the 17th century on occasion of the end of the Swedish occupation. The Marian Column is topped by the statue of the Virgin Mary protected by four putti and surrounded by four smaller columns, each of them crowned by a lantern. Though the end of the Swedish occupation did not mean the end of the thirty years war in Europe, the statue looks like a symbol of hope, with the lanterns showing the light at the end of a troubled period, the putti fighting the final battle and the Virgin Mary looking around gloriously at the people stepping into an era with more peace and prosperity.
Behind the column is the New Town Hall with an 85m tall tower that can be visited by climbing stairs or with elevator. It offers an epic view over the city of Munich and is worth every step. From September until May the tower closes by sunset and that means you can take sunset pictures of the city.
One of the main attractions of the square is the Glockenspiel. Added to the New Town Hall at the beginning of the 20th century, it re-enacts stories from the 16th century through 43 bells and 32 figures. You can watch the play every day at 11:00, 12:00 and 17:00 (during the summer).
On the right side of the New Town Hall is the Old Town Hall, a beautiful building with a melange architecture.
The building must have been built sometimes around the 14th century, but during the centuries it suffered fire damage and several reconstructions that lead to its current outlook: Gothic, renaissance and neo-Gothic characteristics can all be found in its walls and decorations. However, in 1874 it ceased to be the city´s town hall and today it hosts a Toy Museum.
New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus)
Address: Marienplatz 8, 80331 München
10:00 – 19:00 (from May until September)
10:00 – 17:00 (from October until April)
Entrance fee to the tower: 1.50 EUR
Spielzeugmuseum im Alten Rathausturm/Toy Museum in the Old Town Hall Marienplatz 15, 80331 München
Daily 10.00 – 18:00
Entrance fee: adults: 4€, children: 1€; family ticket; 8€
2. Münchner Dom - Frauenkirche
A 2 minutes’ walk from the Marienplatz and at half distance between the square and St Michael´s Church is the Münchner Dom, also called Frauenkirche. Burial of several dukes from the Wittelsbach dynasty, the Münchner Dom is an imposing Gothic church built with red brick. The simplistic interior looks rather slim due to the height-width ratio according to which the arches were designed. A curiosity of this church is the footstep imprinted in the tile at the entrance. It is called the Devil's Footstep - ˝Teufelstritt˝ in German - and several legends claim this mark was left by the devil who once stepped into the church.
3. St Michael's Church
A 5 minutes’ walk towards West from Marienplatz and 2 minutes’ walk from Frauenkirche is St. Michael´s church. The Renaissance style Jesuit church was constructed at the order of William V, Duke of Bavaria on the place of 87 civilian houses. This caused dissatisfaction among citizens, however it did not impede the Duke to carry on his plans.
Statues of William V and the heirs of the Bavarian Wittelsbach dynasty who ruled the territory of Germany for more than 700 years are decorating the exterior, while the interior has beautiful renaissance columns arching above angels. The 20m high vault is impressive and creates the illusion of infinity, similar to the Baroque style.
Visiting is prohibited during the ceremonies which take place every day at 7:30, 12:30 and 18:00 o´clock.
4. Karlsplatz - Stachus
The Neuhauser Straße, Munich´s main shopping street links Marienplatz to another important square of the city, Karlsplatz (also called Stachus). Surrounded by the neo-baroque Palace of Justice (Justizpalast), the store Kaufhof and the Gothic city gate Karlstor, Karlspatz is one of the main hubs of the city.
This is a junction for both subways (U-Bahn and S Bahn) and tramways from where you can easily get around anywhere the city.
5. Munich Residenz
A 15 minutes’ walk from Karlsplatz or an 8 minutes travel with U5 or U4 is the Munich Residenz. The Residenz is the royal palace complex of the Wittelsbach dynasty, made up of 130 rooms and 10 courtyards. Built in the 14th century in Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and Neo-Classicist style, it is so huge that you can easily walk around for hours and if you don´t know where the entrance is you might end up on the other side and have to walk back for half an hour to get to the main door. Due to the several renovations the palace is undergoing there are blockages around the courtyards.
The entrance to the Residenz Museum is on the Residenzstraße, half way between the Odeonsplatz and Max-Joseph-Platz. The museum tour begins with the Grotto Courtyard named after to shell fountain located on the northern side of the summer palace yard. Next to the courtyard is the Ancestral Gallery exhibiting 100 golden framed portraits of the members of the Wittelsbach dynasty. The next room is one of the most iconic places of the entire palace: the Antiquarium. This is the oldest hall of the palace and was meant to exhibit antique sculptures. Later, Duke Wilhelm I and Maximilian I used the Renaissance hall for banquets and festivities and added further decorations to it: paintings showing allegories, towns, markets and palaces and several other sculptures. The following chambers are the Royal Apartments designed by the royal palace architect, Leo von Klenze. The Nibelungen Halls depict the story told by the Nibelungenlied, the only German epic poem preserved from the Middle Ages. The tour continues with several other halls exhibiting 18th and 19th century porcelain collections, the King´s Tract (Königsbau), the Stone Rooms (Steinzimmer), the Ornate Room and the Green Gallery.
Next to the entrance to the Residenz Museum is the entrance to the Treasury exhibiting collections of jewels, crystals, ivories, enamels amassed over the centuries by the Wittelsbach family.
At the beginning of the Fountain Courtyard you can find the entrance to the Cuvilliés Theater, an elaborate reconstruction of the original theater designed by François Cuvilliés the Elder in the 18th century and destroyed during the World Wars.
The tour can be ended with a pleasant walk on the several paths of the Court Garden or just simply resting on one of the benches enjoying the sunshine and the chirping of birds.
Residence Museum and Treasury
24 March-21 October: daily 9:00 – 18:00 (last entry: 17:00) 22 October-23 March: daily 10:00 – 17:00 (last entry: 16:00)
Residence Museum 7 euros regular · 6 euros reduced
Treasury 7 euros regular · 6 euros reduced
Combined ticket (Residenz Museum and Treasury): 11 euros regular · 9 euros reduced
Address: Verwaltung der Residenz München Residenzstraße 1, 80333 München
If you are in Munich we recommend you visit at least one of the Pinakotheken, art museums exhibiting paintings and art works from the 14th century up till our days. They are 1km away from the Residenz and are made up of 3 buildings: Alte Pinakothek displaying paintings from the 14th until the 18th century, Neue Pinakothek with art works from the 18th until the 19th century and Pinakothek der Moderne exhibiting modern and contemporary art works. They all began as the legacy of the Wittelsbach dynasty who collected art works for centuries, the heritage passed on to the city of Munich who restored the buildings after World War II and contributed to it with the construction of the third building setting the grounds for the current Kunstareal area in Munich. Among the exhibited art works you can find paintings from Albrecht Dürer, Peter Paul Rubens, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Francisco de Goya, Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and many others.
Alte Pinakothek Neue Pinakothek Opening hours: Opening hours:
Monday: Closed Monday: 10:00 – 18:00
Tuesday: 10:00 – 20:00 Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday – Sunday: 10:00 – 18:00 Wednesday: 10:00 – 20:00
Entrance fee: 7 EUR (5 EUR reduced) Thursday – Sunday: 10:00 – 18:00
Entrance fee: 7 EUR (5 EUR reduced)
Pinakothek der Moderne
Tuesday – Wednesday: 10:00 – 18:00
Thursday: 10:00 – 20:00
Friday – Sunday: 10:00 – 18:00
Entrance fee: 10 EUR (7 EUR reduced)
Admission on Sundays: 1 Euro, valid for valid for all 3 museums
7. Deutsches Museum
A 15 minutes’ walk distance from Marienplatz towards East, on the Museuminsel, surrounded by 2 branches of the river Isar is the Deutsches Museum, a must see in Munich. Founded in 1903 it is the largest museum of science and technology in the world.
The exhibited objects are displayed on six levels and they cover almost all fields of studies in science and technology.
On the first floor you can get a glimpse of fields such as metallurgy, mining, energetic and marine navigation.
There are some amazing ships on display and if you are interested how they look like on the inside, you should go down one level where there is even a reproduction of a part of a ship including the deck, the bridge and the crew cabins.
On level -1 you can learn also about oceanography and nano- and biotechnology. The second floor takes you back in time where you can learn about glass manufacturing, ceramics production and listen to some music played on old instruments such as a Phonoliszt Violina.
On the 3rd floor you can find many instruments for measuring and weighing. Besides some old balance there is an impressive collection of clocks and watches.
To the left side of the museum´s entrance there is a clock tower with an astro-clock and the 2nd floor has many other clocks and watches on display, most from the same period.
This level also holds a collection from computer and mathematical sciences, with the exhibition of astronomy beginning on this level and continuing up to the 6th floor. On these floors you can find information about the universe, devices used for its discovery, the entire exhibition culminating in a planetarium show. The presentation is in German, so if you don´t speak the language you can skip it.
The tour in the museum can take a few hours and if you happen to get hungry you can get a hot meal in the museum´s restaurant on the ground floor.
Opening hours: Daily: 9:00 – 17:00 (last ticket can be bought at 16:00) Planetarium shows: Shows most days at 10:00, 12:00, 14:00 and 16:00. The shows are in German. Entrance fee: Adults € 12 Free admission for children under 6 and museum members.
Planetarium € 3
8. Nymphenburg Palace
A little farther from the city center, on the western edge is the Nymphenburg Palace. Built in the second half of the 17th century, the Baroque palace served as a summer residence for the members of the Wittelsbach dynasty.
Behind the walls you can find some special halls for which the palace is memorable: the Great Hall decorated in Rococo style with frescoes and ornamentation, the Gallery of Beauties, famous for the portraits of 36 beautiful women, painted by Joseph Stieler at the request of King Ludwig I of Bavaria.
The room where Ludwig II was born is also open for visitors, but there are many others still under renovation.
The palace hosts two museums: the Martsallmuseum exhibiting gala coaches and sleighs from the 18th and 19th centuries, the most precious among them being the coronation coach of Emperor Karl VII.
Above the Martsallmuseum is the Porcelain Museum, a collection of sophisticated porcelains from the 18th until the 20th century.
The tour of the palace continues with the Grand Parterre with fountain from where you can visit the pavilions, the large garden and the lakes.
Opening hours: Nymphenburg Palace, Marstallmuseum withMuseum of Nymphenburg Porcelain April to 15 October: daily 9:00 – 18:00 16 October to March: daily 10:00 – 16:00
Entrance fee: 1 April -15 October: 11.50 EUR (9 EUR reduced)
16 October - 31 March: 8.50 EUR (6.50 EUR reduced)
Address: Schloss Nymphenburg, Eingang 19, 80638 München
9. BMW Welt
Take a luxurious limitless time travel by visiting the BMW World in Munich.
We wrote in our article here how fascinating is to drive on the Bavarian highway where there is no speed limit restriction. It is logically presumable that Germany is one of those countries which are fans of technology, car and speed. Hence no wonder one of the most expensive and luxurious car producers has been established here.
BMW or Bayerische Motoren Werke has its headquarter in Munich and you can take a tour in BMW Welt and the BMW museum.
Located near the BMW headquarter, the BMW Welt is a car and motorcycle exhibition and pick-up room where old, new and prototype cars and motorcycles are on display.
The museum takes you on a time travel showing the beginnings of the company producing aircraft engines until its prohibition in 1918 after WWI due to the Versailles Armistice Treaty, just to turn towards the automobiles and motorcycles production.
The temporary exhibition presents the future where the company is heading to: electric cars, hybrid technology and use of recycled materials.
The museum´s roof is the logo of the company.
It is clearly visible from the tower, but unfortunately it is not open for the public as the BMW offices are here. The only place where visitors can see it from is the Olympia tower in the nearby Olympia park.
The BMW world has some nice sandwich bars where you can grab a quick snack and coffee or have a copious lunch at one of the fine dining restaurants.
Building opening hours: Monday - Saturday: 07:30 – 00:00
Sunday: 09:00 – 00:00
Exhibition guides: Monday - Sunday: 09:00 – 18:00
BMW Museum opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday / public holidays: 10:00 – 18:00
Last admission: 30 minutes before closing
Entrance fee: BMW Welt free of charge
BMW Museum: 10 EUR
(7 EUR reduced)
Address: BMW Welt Am Olympiapark 1 - 280809 Munich
When to visit?
Located in central Europe, Munich has a continental climate with four seasons. Winter (December - February) can be quite cold with an average temperature of 0° C (32°F) and many cloudy days.
Spring (March - May) and autumn (September – November) have milder temperatures, but they also come with much rain. Summer (June – August) is usually sunny with an average temperature between 20° and 30° C (68° and 86° F).
This might sound like the perfect time to visit the city and its surroundings, it is however also the most crowded, therefore you might want to consider the period between October and May.
Where to stay?
Our recommendation for accommodation in Munich is the Holiday Inn Hotel. The Holiday Inn group has several hotels across the city. We tried Holiday Inn Express East and we had a great experience. The hotel is perfectly clean, the reception, the restaurant and the rooms alike. The furniture is of good taste and quality, the bed is comfortable, and the bathroom is modern.
The breakfast is diverse, and the coffee is good.
There is an underground parking lot and the rooms have view towards the inner court which means the city noise is closed out.
The price is good, though the parking fee is for extra charge.
We had a good experience with the hotel and we recommend it for anyone who is travelling to Munich.
Where to eat?
Munich has a great offer in restaurants which have all really tasty meals.
We tested some guest houses to experience original German food, therefore we didn´t go for special cuisines.
The Holiday Inn Hotel has a cozy restaurant with delicious, international meals.
The Tresznjewski restaurant near the Pinakotheken is a place with tradition, where you can have a quick coffee, read the newspaper (they even have newspaper holders) or have a business lunch and a’la carte meals.
The Spatenhaus an der Oper on Max-Joseph-Platz is a centrally located, authentic German restaurant, a little more expensive than others, but with really delicious, exquisite meals.
There are many more to try, but these options are a good start.
Munich is a beautiful city with many surprises. Unfortunately, the city lost much during the World Wars, but it has the strength to revive like a phoenix from the ashes. The royal palaces are undergoing reconstructions and the city is enriched by the new and modern architecture as well. Generally, there is a positive vibe in town, it is open to foreigners and all travelers can feel welcome.