Munich

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Munich (German: München, Bavarian: Minga, typically used by people in the rest of Bavaria) is the capital city of the German federal state of Bavaria. Within the city limits, Munich has a population of more than 1.4 million, making it the third most populous city in Germany. Greater Munich including its suburbs has a population of 2.7 million. The Munich metropolitan region which extends to cities like Augsburg or Ingolstadt has a population of more than 5.6 million.

Munich, located at the river Isar in the south of Bavaria, is famous for its beautiful architecture, fine culture, and the annual Oktoberfest beer festival. Munich has a thriving cultural scene, with the museums considered by some to outrank Berlin in quality. Many travellers to Munich are absolutely stunned by the quality of the architecture. Although it was heavily damaged by Allied bombing during World War II, many of its historic buildings have been rebuilt and the city centre appears mostly as it did in the early 1900s, including its largest church, the Frauenkirche cathedral, and the famous New City Hall (Neues Rathaus).

Munich is a major international centre of business, engineering and research, exemplified by the presence of two research universities, several multinational companies, and world class technology and science museums like the Deutsches Museum and BMW Museum.

Also sometimes called "the northernmost Italian city," due in great part to Italian and Italianate features of its architecture, Munich is very Catholic in feeling, with many buildings having statues of the Virgin and Child or saints in niches, and is replete with notable and beautiful Catholic churches.

Districts[edit]

Munich is divided into 25 administrative districts. However, those districts don't necessarily reflect historical relationships and connections of neighbourhoods, or make much sense to travellers. Therefore, the districts provided below describe entities in a travel rather than administrative sense. Most of Munich's main attractions are in the Altstadt and Maxvorstadt; the districts of Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt and Haidhausen are major night-life spots. The other areas, while mostly residential, feature some hidden gems, which are definitely worth a visit.

Districts of Munich
Altstadt (Old City)
The city centre with a pedestrian zone that is one big shopping street, and the majority of Munich's most famous travel sights around Marienplatz
Maxvorstadt
The Brain of Munich with a relaxed and studenty atmosphere, which is home to most attractions that aren't located in the city centre, including the world famous galleries Pinakotheken, along with cozy cafés and bars and several universities
Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt
Night-life area immediately south of the centre, home to many cafés, restaurants, bars, clubs and theatres, hotels and hostels, Munich Central Station, the Oktoberfest grounds and, last but not least, the Deutsches Museum, the world's biggest museum of science and engineering and the focal point of Munich's gay culture
Haidhausen
Around the station Munich East, to which Europe's largest contiguous party area Kultfabrik & Optimolwerke draws tens of thousands of people every weekend
North Munich
The North of Munich is full of parks, gardens and relaxation areas. It includes the district of Schwabing, dominated by 19th-century architecture and the famously expansive English Garden, the park and palace of Nymphenburg, the Olympiagelände (site of the 1972 Olympic Games) with the BMW Welt and the Allianz Arena in the far north end.
East Munich
A mostly residential area with an upmarket neighbourhood to the north, a working-class neighbourhood to the south, and the Munich Zoo and the Flaucher beaches along the east side of the river Isar.
South-West Munich
Scarcely populated in the west and mainly residential area in the south, with the main attractions Flaucher islands in the river Isar and Blutenburg Castle

Understand[edit]

"You do not even go somewhere else, I tell you there's nothing like Munich. Everything else is a waste of time in Germany" —Ernest Hemingway

History[edit]

The year 1158 is the earliest date the city is mentioned in a document signed in Augsburg. By that time, Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, had built a bridge over the river Isar next to a settlement of Benedictine monks. Almost two decades later in 1175 Munich was officially granted city status and received fortification. In 1180, with the trial of Henry the Lion, Otto I Wittelsbach became Duke of Bavaria and Munich was handed over to the Bishop of Freising. The Wittelsbach dynasty would rule Bavaria until 1918. In 1255, when the Duchy of Bavaria was split in two, Munich became the ducal residence of Upper Bavaria. In the late 15th century Munich underwent a revival of gothic arts: the Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus) was enlarged, and Munich's largest Gothic church, the Frauenkirche cathedral, was constructed in only 20 years, starting in 1468.

When Bavaria was reunited in 1506, Munich became its capital. The arts and politics became increasingly influenced by the court, and Munich became a centre of the German counter reformation as well as of renaissance arts. The Catholic League was founded in Munich in 1609. During the Thirty Years' War, Munich became an electoral residence. In 1632 the city was occupied by Swedish King Gustav II Adolph. When the bubonic plague broke out in 1634 and 1635 about a third of the population died.

Under the regency of the Bavarian electors, Munich was an important centre of baroque life. In 1806 the city became the capital of the newly established Kingdom of Bavaria, with the state's parliament and the new Archdiocese of Munich and Freising located in the city. Twenty years later, Landshut University was relocated to Munich. Many of the city's finest buildings belong to this period and were built under the first three Bavarian kings during the first half of the 19th century. These years were marked by tremendous artistic and cultural activity in Munich.

After World War I the city was at the centre of political unrest. In November 1918 on the eve of revolution, the royal family fled the city. After the murder of the first republican premier of Bavaria in February 1919, the Bavarian Soviet Republic was proclaimed, but it was put down on 3 May 1919 by conservative troops. While the republican government had been restored, Munich subsequently became a hotbed of extremist politics, among which Adolf Hitler and National Socialism rose to prominence. In 1923 Hitler and his supporters, who were then concentrated in Munich, staged the Beer Hall Putsch, an attempt to overthrow the Weimar Republic and seize power. The revolt failed, resulting in Hitler's arrest and the temporary crippling of the Nazi Party, which was virtually unknown inside and outside Munich by then.

The city once again became a Nazi stronghold when the National Socialists took power in Germany in 1933. The National Socialist Workers Party created the first concentration camp at Dachau, 15km (10 mi) north-west of the city. Because of its importance to the rise of National Socialism, Munich was referred to as the "Capital of the Movement" ("Hauptstadt der Bewegung"). Munich was also the base of the White Rose (Weiße Rose), a student resistance movement from June 1942 to February 1943. However, the core members—including Hans and Sophie Scholl—were arrested and executed following a distribution of leaflets at the University of Munich. The city was heavily damaged by allied bombing during World War II, with 90% of the historic city centre and 50% overall destroyed.

After the US occupation in 1945, Munich was completely rebuilt following a meticulous plan that preserved its pre-war street grid. In 1957 Munich's population passed the one million mark. Munich was the site of the 1972 Olympic Summer Games, during which Israeli athletes were assassinated by Palestinian terrorists in the Munich massacre.

Economy[edit]

BMW headquarters

Munich has the strongest economy of any German city, with the lowest unemployment rate. Six out of the 30 companies listed in the German blue-chip stock-market index DAX are headquartered in Munich. This includes luxury car maker BMW, electrical engineering giant Siemens, chip producer Infineon, industrial gas specialist Linde, the world's largest insurance company Allianz, and the world's largest re-insurer Munich Re.

The Munich region is a centre for aerospace, biotechnology, software and service industries. It is home to the aircraft engine manufacturer MTU Aero Engines, the aerospace and defence giant EADS, the injection molding machine manufacturer Krauss-Maffei, the truck manufacturer MAN, the camera and lighting manufacturer Arri, lighting giant Osram, and the German and/or European headquarters of many foreign companies like Intel, McDonald’s, Microsoft, and Philip Morris.

As the largest publishing city in Europe, Munich is home to Süddeutsche Zeitung, one of Germany's largest and most influential daily newspapers. Germany's largest public broadcasting network, ARD, its largest commercial network, Pro7-Sat1 Media AG, and the Burda publishing group are located in and around Munich.

Munich is a leading centre for science and research, with a long list of Nobel laureates from Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen in 1901 to Theodor Hänsch in 2005. It hosts two world-class research universities (Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität (LMU) and Technische Universität München (TUM)), several colleges and the headquarters, and research facilities for both the Max-Planck and the Fraunhofer Societies. The European Space Agency's Columbus Control Centre, which is used to control the Columbus research laboratory of the International Space Station—as well as one of the two ground control centres for the Galileo satellite navigation system—is located at a large research facility of the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) 20km (12 mi) outside Munich in Oberpfaffenhofen.

Arts[edit]

The people of Munich do not like their city to be associated only as a city of beer and the Oktoberfest, and indeed the Bavarian Kings transformed Munich into a city of arts and science in the 19th century. Its outstanding position among other German cities may have faded a bit, due to Berlin becoming the German capital again in the 1990s; but Munich remains among Germany's top places for art, science and culture.

Munich is internationally known for its collection of ancient, classic and modern art, which can be found in numerous museums throughout the city. Munich's most renowned museums are located in the Kunstareal in Maxvorstadt including Alte Pinakothek (European paintings from the 13th to 18th century), Neue Pinakothek (European paintings from classicism to art nouveau), Pinakothek der Moderne (modern art), Museum Brandhorst (pop art) and Glyptothek (ancient Greek and Roman sculptures).

From the Gothic to the Baroque era, the fine arts were represented in Munich by artists like Cosmas Damian Asam, Egid Quirin Asam, François de Cuvilliés, Johann Michael Fischer, Erasmus Grasser, Ignaz Günther, Hans Krumpper, Jan Polack, Ludwig von Schwanthaler, Johann Baptist Straub, and Johann Baptist Zimmermann. Munich had already become an important place for painters like Lovis Corinth, Wilhelm von Kaulbach, Wilhelm Leibl, Franz von Lenbach, Carl Rottmann, Carl Spitzweg, and Franz von Stuck when Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), a group of expressionist artists, was established in Munich in 1911. The city was home to the Blue Rider's painters Alexej von Jawlensky, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Alfred Kubin, August Macke, Franz Marc, and Gabriele Münter.

Inside the Nationaltheater

Munich was home or host to many famous composers and musicians, including Orlando di Lasso, Gustav Mahler, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Carl Orff, Max Reger, Richard Strauss, Carl Richard Wagner, and Maria von Weber. With the Munich Biennale founded by Hans Werner Henze, and the A*DEvantgarde festival, the city still contributes to modern music theatre. The Nationaltheater, where several of Richard Wagner's operas had their premières under the patronage of King Ludwig II, is the home of the world famous Bavarian State Opera and the Bavarian State Orchestra. Next door the modern Residenz Theatre was erected in the building that had housed the Cuvilliés Theatre before World War II. Many operas were staged there, including the premiere of Mozart's "Idomeneo" in 1781. The Gärtnerplatz Theatre is a ballet and musical state theatre while another opera house, Prinzregententheater has become the home of the Bavarian Theatre Academy. The modern Gasteig center houses the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. The third orchestra in Munich with international importance is the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, which was named the sixth-best orchestra in the world by The Gramophone magazine in 2008. Its primary concert venue is Herkulessaal in the former city royal residence, the Residenz.

Many prominent writers worked in Munich, such as Max Halbe, Paul Heyse, Rainer Maria Rilke and Frank Wedekind. The period immediately before World War I saw economic and cultural prominence for the city. Munich and especially its then suburbs of Schwabing and Maxvorstadt, became the domicile of many artists and writers. Nobel laureate Thomas Mann, who also lived there, wrote ironically in his novella "Gladius Dei" about this period, "Munich shone". It remained a center of cultural life during the Weimar period with figures such as Bertolt Brecht, Oskar Maria Graf and Lion Feuchtwanger.

The Bavaria Film Studios were founded in Geiselgasteig, just outside Munich's city limits, in 1919 by the film producer Peter Ostermayr. Alfred Hitchcock made his first film, "The Pleasure Garden", in Geiselgasteig in 1925. The studios have been used by numerous famous directors, such as Max Ophüls ("Lola Montez", 1954), Stanley Kubrick ("Paths of Glory", 1957), John Huston ("Freud: The Secret Passion", 1960), Robert Siodmak ("L'Affaire Nina B", 1960), Billy Wilder ("One, Two, Three", 1961), John Sturges ("The Great Escape", 1963), Robert Wise ("The Sound of Music", 1965), Mel Stuart ("Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory", 1971), Bob Fosse ("Cabaret", 1972), Ingmar Bergman ("The Serpent's Egg", 1977), Robert Aldrich ("Twilight's Last Gleaming", 1977), Wolfgang Petersen ("Enemy Mine", 1985), Claude Chabrol and Wim Wenders. Other famous movies shot at the studios are "Das Boot" (1981), "The Neverending Story" (1984) and "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer" (2006).

Quality of life[edit]

Beer garden inside the Englischer Garten

Munich can be consistently found in the top tier of quality-of-life rankings of world cities. Monocle magazine even named it the world's most liveable city in 2010. When Germans are polled about where they would like to live most, Munich finds its way consistently at the top of the list. Within proximity of the Alps, and some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe, it's not surprising that everyone wants to live here. Add to its benefit the beautiful architecture, especially Baroque and Rococo, green countryside which starts a mere half hour away on the S-Bahn, a beautiful urban park called Englischer Garten, two of the best universities in Germany, a booming economy with global headquarters of many world-class companies, modern infrastructure and the greatest beer culture on the planet - could there be anything wrong with Munich? Well, there's a price to pay for living in a city where everyone else wants to be: Munich is the most expensive city in Germany. But all in all, its advantages make a visit more than worthwhile.

People and language[edit]

Bavaria has been the long-time antipode of Berlin: While the Protestant Prussian kings focused their energy and resources on building military strength, Bavaria's Catholic Wittelsbach kings were more interested in creating a centre of arts and science following the examples of cities in northern Italy. And even today, Bavaria takes a unique position among the German states with a strong emphasis on its independence, e.g. Bavaria calls itself Freistaat (free state) and has its own conservative party, the CSU, which strongly advocates Bavarian interests in Berlin. Bavaria's transition from an agricultural society to Germany's most successful hi-tech state as well as the dominance of FC Bayern München in German football has further increased the pride of its residents in their state, its traditions and dialect (to a degree considered arrogance by some non-Bavarians).

The residents of Munich, the capital of Bavaria, share a lot of characteristics with the rest of Bavaria and indeed it became popular again among older and younger people to wear traditional Bavarian clothing at least during the Oktoberfest and similar traditional beer festivals. However, the influx of people from the rest of Germany and abroad has also led to some differences. While the rest of Bavaria is a stronghold of conservative Catholicism, Munich has been governed by a liberal coalition of Social-Democrats, Greens and the Rosa Liste (a gay rights party) and only 36.2% of residents are members of the Catholic church while 13.3% are Protestant, 0.3% Jewish and 50.3% are members of other religions including Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism, or atheists or agnostics.

A stereotypical group strongly associated by many Germans with Munich is the Schwabing Schickeria, characterized by their obsession for social status, luxury brands, expensive restaurants, fast cars, and champagne. The Schickeria has been the subject of 1980s TV Shows Kir Royal and Monaco Franze as well as the movie Rossini – oder die mörderische Frage, wer mit wem schlief. Of course, not all people living in Munich belong to the Schickeria. In fact, most of the people are perfectly normal.

The official language in Munich is, of course, German. With many Munich residents coming from other German regions or from abroad, "Standard German" dominates as spoken language in Munich. Nevertheless, some residents will speak with a more or less strong Bavarian dialect, which can deviate substantially from the German taught at schools. Munich attracts many international tourists and has a large community of non-German speaking professionals working in international companies, universities, research institutions or at the European Patent Office (EPO). Hence, it is not surprising that English is widely spoken and understood throughout the city in restaurants, cafés, tourist attractions, shops as well as most citizens. The exception are Munich's city administration offices where non-English speaking Germans seem to have found a last refuge from globalization.

Climate[edit]

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 1.1 3.5 8.4 13.3 18.0 21.4 23.8 22.9 19.4 13.6 6.5 2.3
Nightly lows (°C) −5.0 −3.7 0.4 2.9 7.1 10.4 12.0 11.7 8.8 4.5 0.2 −3.5
Precipitation (mm) 54.0 45.2 60.1 69.9 93.4 123.6 117.6 114.5 90.3 69.4 71.0 58.4

Munich has a continental climate, strongly modified by the city's altitude and proximity to the northern edge of the Alps; this means that precipitation is high, and rainstorms can come violently and unexpectedly.

Winters last from December to March. Munich experiences cold winters, but heavy rainfall or snowfall is rarely seen in the winter. The coldest month is January with an average temperature of −2.2°C (28.0°F). Snow cover is seen for at least a couple of weeks during winter. Summers in Munich are warm and pleasant, with an average maximum of 23.8°C (73.8°F) in the hottest months. Summers last from May until September.

An oddity of Munich is the föhn wind, a warm and dry down-slope wind from the Alps, which can raise temperatures sharply within a few hours, even in winter, and increases the range of sight to more than 100km (60 mi). These winds are sometimes associated with illnesses ranging from migraines to psychosis. The first clinical review of these effects was published by the Austrian physician Anton Czermak in the 19th century. Residents of Munich sometimes use the Föhn as an excuse for having a bad mood, which should not be taken too seriously.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Munich Airport[edit]

Main article: Munich Airport

The main airport of Munich is Franz Josef Strauss International Airport 30km (20 mi) to the north-east, close to the city of Freising. It's Germany's second busiest airport and a major hub for Lufthansa and its Star Alliance partner airlines.

Memmingen Airport[edit]

Memmingen Airport (IATA: FMM)) is around 110km (65 mi) west of Munich. However, it is marketed as "Munich West" by Ryanair. Other names include "Allgäu Airport" or "Flughafen Allgäu". There are shuttle buses to Munich with timetables aligned to Ryanair's schedule. One-way tickets are €19.50, or €15 if pre-booked via the internet. The buses arrive (and leave) close to Munich Central Station.

Railway tracks from the west leading up to the Hauptbahnhof

By train[edit]

Munich Central Station (Hauptbahnhof or main station) is conveniently located 5min on foot from the historic city centre of Munich in Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt district. To the very heart of Munich at Marienplatz it's two stops on the suburban train (S-Bahn). It is well connected to Munich's dense public transportation network. Munich Central Station has a traveller-friendly infrastructure including several restaurants, shops, a tourist information and a Deutsche Bahn ticket and travel agency office.

Deutsche Bahn uses Munich as one of its main German hubs and offers direct regional and long-distance connections to many German cities. This includes several connections with ICE, TGV, and railjet high-speed trains:

  • ICE 11 to Augsburg, Ulm, Stuttgart, Mannheim, Frankfurt, Fulda, Kassel, Göttingen, Braunschweig, Berlin
  • ICE 25 to (Nuremberg,) Würzburg, Fulda, Kassel, Göttingen, Hannover, Hamburg
  • ICE 28 to Nuremberg, Jena, Leipzig, Berlin, Hamburg
  • ICE 31 to Nuremberg, Würzburg, Frankfurt, Mainz, Koblenz, Bonn, Cologne, Duisburg, Essen, Dortmund, Osnabrück, Bremen, Hamburg, Kiel
  • ICE 41 to Nuremberg, Würzburg, Frankfurt, Cologne, Duisburg, Essen
  • ICE 42 to Augsburg, Ulm, Stuttgart, Mannheim, Frankfurt, Cologne, Duisburg, Essen, Dortmund
  • RJ 61 to Salzburg, Linz, Vienna, Budapest
  • TGV 9575/9576 to Augsburg, Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Strasbourg, Paris

There are also a number of Eurocity connections to Strasbourg, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Vienna, Budapest, Zürich, Verona, Venice, Milan and other international cities.

Furthermore, the night train connections (CityNightLine) can be an inexpensive as well as time saving alternative. Destinations include Amsterdam, Berlin, Budapest, Florence, Hamburg, Ljubljana, Paris, Rome, Venice, Verona, Vienna and Zagreb.

Two additional train stations are located in the west (Munich Pasing) and the east (Munich East (Ostbahnhof)) of Munich. Both stations are connected to the public transportation system and serve as transportation hubs for Deutsche Bahn's regional and long-distance trains.

By car[edit]

Munich Autobahn system

Munich is well connected to other cities in Germany and Austria by the German autobahn network:

Autobahn A 99 is an autobahn ring around the city, which connects the various autobahns. Munich has two inner ring roads in addition to the A 99: Mittlerer Ring (B 2R) and Altstadtring.

Traffic in Munich can be a challenge at peak times. Therefore, and especially due to the shortage of parking within the greater city centre, you might want to leave the car in a P&R parking deck (see the "Get around" section) in one of Munich's suburbs near an S-Bahn station and use public transport within the city.

By bus[edit]

Long-distance buses can be an inexpensive possibility to travel to Munich from several neighbouring countries, especially from eastern and southern Europe and the Balkans. Buses arrive at Munich Central Bus Station (ZOB) close to Hackerbrücke suburban train (S-Bahn) station.

Get around[edit]

By public transportation[edit]

Map of Munich's public transportation network

The best way to travel around Munich—besides using your own feet—is the public transportation system consisting of the suburban trains (S-Bahn), subway (U-Bahn), the tram and buses. There is only one ticket system, called MVV, which means you can use all elements of the public transport with the same ticket. You can get individual, group, day and week tickets. The U-Bahn stations are signed with a white capital "U" on a blue background. S-Bahn stations are signed with a white "S" on green background. All S-Bahn lines join in one tunnel (Stammstrecke) between the stations Donnersbergerbrücke and Ostbahnhof in central Munich.

The Munich MVV website [2] includes maps of the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, tram and bus network, maps of the P&R parking decks, pricing information as well as timetables and a journey planner. The official urban rail-network map [3] is indispensable.

Single trips in a single zone such as the city center cost €2.60, but the four-zone journey from the airport is a whopping €10.40. Thus, if you arrive at the airport and intend to explore Munich by the public transport system, the best option is to buy a €11.20 Gesamtnetz (whole network) day pass. If you are not traveling alone, then you can purchase a group ("Partner") day pass for €20.40, allowing up to five adults to travel together on all lines of the MVV system.

A day ticket is worth buying if you plan to take more than two trips on the same day. It is available for single persons and groups ("Partner"), the latter for up to five adults traveling together, and is valid until 06:00 the next morning. The day ticket is available for four areas:

Area Zone one way Day ticket Group Note
Inner district (Innenraum) White €2.60 €5.80 €10.60 Enough to explore the city
Inner district (Innenraum) 3 Day card White €14.30 €24.60
Outer district (Außenraum) Green, yellow, red €2,60 €5.80 €10.60 Does not cover city center
Munich XXL (München XXL) White and green €5.20 €7.80 €13.60 Good for trips to the lakes and suburban destinations
Entire network (Gesamtnetz) All €10.40 €11.20 €20.40 Allows travel to/from airport

If you are staying longer than three days in Munich, a good option is to buy a weekly ticket. The weekly ticket is valid from Monday to Monday. The price of the weekly ticket depends on the number of rings you want to travel during the week (starting from the center of the city). Almost all U-Bahn stations are within the rings 1–4.

For several journeys on different days the blue stripe card (Streifenkarte), with 10 strips, is a better value than buying lots of individual tickets. The cost is €12.50, and may be purchased at dispensing machines at every station. You need to use two strips for each colored zone on the map. If you are making several trips a day, the day ticket is a better option.

If you plan to explore Munich and see all the sights and tourist attractions, buy the Munich CityTourCard; this a valid for all public transportation services in Munich and a discount card for many tourist attractions like museums, sights, shopping or gastronomy. It is available in six versions (single and group tickets) and with validity for one or three days.

Area Zone Period Single Group
Inner district (Innenraum) White 1 day €9.90 €16.90
Inner district (Innenraum) White 3 days €19.90 €29.90
Entire system (Gesamtnetz) White, green, yellow, red 3 days €31.50 €51.50

A leaflet with information about the discount offers of the partners and a map of the city center and a plan of the public transportation network are included. The ticket is available at ticket vending machines at all S-Bahn and U-Bahn stations and at some tram and bus stops. Furthermore it can be purchased at the MVG customer center as well as in selected hotels and online. [4]

All tickets, except for weekly tickets must be stamped to be valid; without a stamp the ticket is invalid and you can be fined €40. Stamping machines (Entwerter) are found at the entrance to the S-Bahn or U-Bahn platforms, and inside buses and trams (look for a small blue machine with a black "E" on yellow ground). In most other German cities, passengers can validate tickets on the train; however, this is not the case in Munich, so be sure to validate your ticket before boarding any U-Bahn or S-Bahn train.

Public transportation operates with limited service from 02:00 to 05:00. The U-Bahn does not operate at all during this time, and trams and some buses operate only in one hour intervals from Monday to Friday and on 30-minute intervals on the weekend. On Friday, Saturday and nights before public holidays, there is a single S-Bahn on each line between 02:30 and 03:00. So if you're staying out late, try to get the schedule of the so-called Nachttram (night tram) in advance or do not leave the place before 05:00 unless you want to take a taxi.

MVV-Companion, journey planner for public transportation in Munich, to be used on iPhone, iPad and Android-Smartphones and for free.

If you plan to explore Munich and Bavaria via regional trains, consider getting a Bayern Ticket [5], which is good on all regional trains within Bavaria, all Munich MVV transportation, and trains to Salzburg for up to five people for only €38 a day (single travelers can purchase the Bayern Ticket 1 person for €22, every additional person up to 5 persons: €4). The Bayern Ticket is good on any weekday after 09:00 and all day on any weekend day.

If you travel on a weekend, exploring Munich and taking a regional Deutsche Bahn train to another city anywhere in Germany on the same day, consider getting a Deutsche Bahn Schönes–Wochenende Ticket [6]. This ticket covers all DB regional train travel and all Munich S-Bahn travel for up to five people for a single weekend day for €42.

Schönes–Wochenende Tickets and Bayern Tickets are only valid on regional train services (red) but not on IntercityExpress and Inter/Eurocity trains (white). Additionally, both tickets are valid on trains run by the Bayerische Oberlandbahn (BOB) and Arriva–Länderbahn Express (ALEX).

By bike[edit]

Call-A-Bike bicycles.

With over 200 km (120 mi) of bikeways, one of the very best ways to explore the city is on a bicycle. Guided tours are available, or for the independent-minded, rentals and maps are available at Munich Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) and other areas of the city.

Bikes can also be rented by the Call-A-Bike system, which is run by Deutsche Bahn. You need to call a number listed on the bikes from your mobile phone and register with the callabike.de website in order to use them. The service is convenient, as you just spot an available bike throughout the city and just leave it at your destination. However, this is not an economical alternative if you are planning many trips in a single day. In that case, it is better to get a day or multiday rental from one of the rental services located throughout central Munich.

Munich is generally a bike-friendly city, with many designated bike lanes (especially along river Isar, in the parks and even in the city centre). Rates of accidents involving bicycles are rising in Munich. Hence, the police enforces traffic rules for cyclists more rigorous, especially at the beginning of the bike season in spring. Fines range from €10 for driving without light during nighttime to €100 for ignoring red traffic lights. Drunk cycling can result in hefty fines and even in detention. Helmets are not required for cyclists, but are recommended.

By taxi[edit]

As everywhere in Germany, Munich taxi cabs can easily be recognized by their beige color and the yellow-black taxi sign on the roof. Taxis can be found at taxi stands throughout the city, at train stations and at the airport. It is also possible to flag down a taxi (if it is not occupied) or to call one of the many taxi companies of Munich. Prices are regulated by the city government. The basic fare is €3.30 with additional €1.70 per kilometer for up to 5 kilometers, €1.50 per kilometer for 5–10 km, and €1.40 per km for every additional kilometer above 10. Waiting time per hour is €24 and there are additional charges for pets (€0.60 per animal) and luggage (€0.60 per piece).

By car[edit]

It is generally a bad idea to explore Munich by car. Traffic is heavy especially during rush hour, and parking tends to be close to impossible. Moreover, many landmarks and areas of touristic interest are in the inner city, which is largely closed for car traffic. Close to the historic city centre, parking space is scarce and expensive.

Driving may be an option for visiting some of the attractions in suburban Munich like the Bavaria Film Studios or for making day trips to cities and lakes outside of Munich.

Munich has three ring-roads: the autobahn A 99, Mittlerer Ring (B 2R) urban expressway and Altstadtring, which can be used to avoid getting stuck in inner-city traffic. However, during rush hours these rings are often congested, too. In July and August when people from the rest of Germany, northern Europe and the Benelux countries travel to the beaches of the Adriatic Sea and back home (half of them towing a caravan) you're almost guaranteed to get into traffic jams around Munich.

Parking[edit]

Prices for parking on streets range from €1 to €2.50 per hour, usually from 08:00 to 23:00. There may be additional restrictions, e.g. for the maximum duration. Throughout the city centre there are "blue zones". Wherever you find blue lines on the ground, you can park your car for a maximum time of 2 hours (hourly rate €2.50). The meaning of other colours is as follows:

  • dotted blue line—space for disabled drivers. You will need a special permit in your car which indicates that you are allowed to park in those areas.
  • yellow line—reserved for taxis, do not park here.
  • red line—never park here, not even for a short time since it is strictly forbidden and may likely result immediate towing.
  • orange line—reserved for deliveries, do not park here.

The best options are public parking decks which are widely available in the centre. However it can take some time to find a free parking spot. Parking garages are indicated with blue rectangular signs with a capital white "P". Usually a green sign indicates that there are free spots while a red sign indicates that the car park is full. The city has a car park routing system which shows you where you can find a parking slot. Rates are:

  • from €2–6 per hour (most will charge around €3 per hour)
  • from €8–30 per day (most will charge €15–20 per day)
  • some may even offer monthly rates, expect €100 per month minimum

Outside the historic city centre (where the colour scheme isn't used), parking along the streets is mostly only allowed for residents with a special parking permit.

Towing[edit]

The police may tow your car away if it obstructs the traffic or endangers other people. Watch out for fire brigage access roads which are marked with small signs reading "Feuerwehrzufahrt". There is no stopping and standing, parking will result in immediate towing.

If your car has been towed away contact the next available police station. There is a central place where all towed cars will be brought to (Thomas-Hauser Straße 19; open 24/7; S2/S4 to station Berg am Laim, Bus 146 to Iltisstraße until stop Thomas-Hauser Straße, 5 min to walk from there). You need to show your passport/ID, drivers licence and registration document and you will have to pay a fine—expect around €150.

A constant harassment are the private towing companies that guard private parking spaces such as those of supermarkets. Their fines can easily double or triple the police's fines.

See[edit]

Munich Cathedral (Frauenkirche) and New City Hall

Munich offers visitors many sights and attractions. There is something for everyone, no matter if you are seeking arts and culture, shopping, fine dining, night life, sport events or Bavarian beer hall atmosphere. The listings in this section are just some highlights of things that you shouldn't miss, if you are visiting Munich. The complete listings are found on individual district pages.

Royal avenues and squares[edit]

Four grand royal avenues of the 19th century with magnificent architecture run through Munich's inner city.

Briennerstraße starts at the magnificent Odeonsplatz (where you can find Feldherrnhalle, Theatinerkirche and the Residence) on the northern fringe of Altstadt and runs from east to west past Wittelsbacherplatz with the statue of Maximilian I and Karolinenplatz, with a black obelisk built in 1833 by Leo von Klenze in honor of the Bavarian Army, to Königsplatz, designed with the Doric Propylaea, the Ionic Glyptothek and the Corinthian State Museum of Classical Art. The eastern section of Briennerstraße is lined with upscale shops, galleries, cafés and restaurants. It is dominated by neo-classical buildings such as the Alfons-Palais at Wittelsbacherplatz, which today serves as global headquarters of Siemens AG.

Ludwigstraße also starts at Odeonsplatz, but runs from south to north, through the district of Maxvorstadt, connecting the inner city with Schwabing. It is lined by buildings of Italian Renaissance designed by Leo von Klenze and Italian Neo-Romanesque architecture designed by Friedrich von Gärtner, e.g. St. Ludwig's Church and the main buildings of the University of Munich (LMU). Ludwigstraße ends at Siegestor, a triumphal arch crowned with a statue of Bavaria with a quadriga of lions, north of which it is named Leopoldstraße.

Maximilianstraße starts at Max-Joseph-Platz, where the Residence and the National Theater are located, and runs from west to east crossing the river Isar before ending at Maximilianeum, the Bavarian state parliament. The avenue is framed by mostly neo-Gothic buildings influenced by the English Perpendicular style. The western section of Maximilianstraße forms with Residenzstraße Munich's most upscale shopping area and is home to flagship stores of luxury labels, upscale retailers and one of Munich's most luxurious hotels, the Vier Jahreszeiten.

Prinzregentenstraße runs parallel to Maximilianstrasse beginning at Prinz-Carl-Palais. Several museums can be found along the avenue, such as Haus der Kunst, the Bavarian National Museum and Schackgalerie. The avenue crosses the Isar and circles the Friedensengel monument passing Villa Stuck. Prinzregentenstraße also forms a southern border of the English Garden, where you can watch surfers riding a permanent wave at the Eisbach creek.

The Alter Peter tower
Ohel Jakob Synagogue

Buildings and landmarks[edit]

The vast majority of landmarks commonly associated with Munich can be found within the bounds of Altstadt, and include the imposing Neues Rathaus (new Town Hall) with animated figurines, as well as the old one, the Frauenkirche cathedral whose twin, "salt and pepper shaker" towers are an unmistakable symbol of Munich, the royal palace of Residenz and many more historic buildings. The Maxvorstadt adds more magnificent buildings housing many of the museums the city is famous for. For more lavish palaces and gardens, take a trip out to Nymphenburg or Schleissheim.

As Munich has been a rich and large city for centuries, and it has been almost completely rebuilt after World War II, you will find historic buildings throughout the city, also in districts like Haidhausen and Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt. That said, as the city's regulations stipulate that no building can be taller than the Frauenkirche towers, and the amount of land available for any additional construction is limited, you will not find much contemporary architecture in the city, and most of the post-war buildings are quite unremarkable residential and office blocks. One exception would be the BMW complex in the North of the city, known for its unique shape.

Statue of the Bavaria in Schwanthalerhöhe

Museums and galleries[edit]

Sculpture at the Glyptothek in Maxvorstadt

Bavaria's kings transformed Munich into Germany's art capital during the 19th century, and it is still home to world-class collections and museums. The Kunstareal in Maxvorstadt includes 16 museums, 40 galleries and 7 art schools. An equally impressive collection of museums is to be found in the very centre of the city. The reknowned Deutsches Museum of science and technology is to be found further south in Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt, and there are interesting museums to be found also on the other bank of the Isar in Haidhausen. Another museum of global reputation is the impressive BMW Museum, documenting the history of Munich's famous car manufacturer, in the northern part of the city, where you will also find the Nymphenburg palace.

The Villa Stuck, showcasing a private collection of Jugendstil art.

Most of Munich's museums are closed on Mondays, except for the Nyphemburg and Deutsches Museum — and also the Neue Pinakothek and Pinakothek der Moderne, which instead close on Tuesdays. The BMW Museum is also closed, but the adjacent BMW Welt, a state of the art BMW showroom is open for public visit on Monday. Hence, the best way to plan your itinerary is to visit the museums on days other than Monday and use Monday to explore the city. For many museums, Sunday will be the best day to visit since admission is only €1. This includes the Pinakotheken, Museum Brandhorst, the Bavarian National Museum and the Glyptothek as well as the Staatliche Antikensammlungen.

Aircraft in the Deutsches Museum

Parks[edit]

Englischer Garten

For a large city, Munich is relatively spread out and green, so you can enjoy its many parks and green areas, especially in the warmer months. The most known is the English Garden in the North of the city. Also of note are the Olympiapark at the site of the 1972 Olympic Games further northwest and the Munich Zoo, southeast of the centre.

Do[edit]

Festivals[edit]

Oktoberfest
  • Oktoberfest. —The first Oktoberfest took place on the 12 October 1810, to celebrate the marriage of Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. All citizens of Munich were invited to a meadow (Wies'n) situated in front of the city tower, subsequently renamed the Theresienwiese in honor of the bride. In the early years of the fair, horse races were held, then as the event grew, included agricultural conventions, which still take place every fourth year. In 1896, businessmen working with the breweries in Munich built the first giant beer tents at Oktoberfest, and drinking has been the primary focus since. Each of the major breweries presides over its own large tent filled with traditional musicians leading the crowd in well-known drinking chants, incredibly strong barmaids hoisting ten or more huge Maß (1-liter glass beer mugs that are heavy even when empty!), and a spate of drunken people all trying to get into the bathroom at once. In 2003, Oktoberfest hosted 6.4 million visitors who drank 6.1 million liters of beer and ate the equivalent of 91 oxen, 383,000 sausages and 630,000 chickens.

However, visiting the Oktoberfest can be much more stressful than the visit of similar festivals (Cannstatter Wasen, Wurstmarkt Bad Dürkheim, etc.), because the tents are overcrowded and there are doormen at the entrance ruling the procedure of coming in. Especially at weekends you should try to get in the tents before 10AM. During the week, most tents are open all day, however it is not easy to get a seat if you are many people and as a general rule, you won't get served if you haven't got a seat. It is not recommended to leave the tent if you want to get in it later the day. So you have to decide early in the morning if you want to go in a certain tent or you want to enjoy the rides like the coaster with 5 loops. Some tents, such as the Hofbräu Festzelt have a standing area that do not require seating; as such, you can sometimes get into this tent later than with other ones. If the weather is nice, you can enjoy your beer any time at the open air tables besides the beer tents. You won't experience the typical beer tent atmosphere with Bavarian oompah music though.

    • Accommodation will be hard to find and prices can easily double during Oktoberfest.
    • Smoking is forbidden within the tents, but some tents feature designated, secluded outside smoking areas. Think twice if you want to go out for smoking since you may not get in again.
    • The central subway station "Theresienwiese" (subway lines U4 and U5) is very crowded and will sometimes be closed because of this. As an alternative, go to subway station "Goetheplatz" (lines U3 and U6). It's crowded too, but you will still have some air to breathe there. Just follow the crowd when you get out of the station.
    • In most beer tents the bar closes at 10:30pm while the tent closes at 11:30pm. You should have finished your beer before then since the security will ruthlessly clear the area.
    • Tents open at 10am usually (9am on weekends). The first day is tapping day (German "Anstich"). There is no beer served before noon and since the tents will surely be crowded by then, it will take some time until everyone is served.
    • If you are with small children, try to avoid the weekends. Every Tuesday from 12 to 6pm is family day with discounts on many rides.
  • Kulturstrand2013: Corneliusbrücke (U-Bahn U1, U2, U7 & Tram 17: Fraunhoferstraße). Mid-May to mid-August 12:00–23:00. Kulturstrand ("Cultural Beach") is a festival, where you can watch live performances in a relaxed beach atmosphere, as tons of sand and canvas chairs are brought to a place in the middle of the city. The beach bar offers tasty and the notorious local beer. The festival changes its place every year. While it was at the Father Rhine Foutain north of Deutsches Museum in 2013, it will move to Corneliusbrücke to the south of the museum in 2013.
  • Maibaumaufstellen. —On 1 May (which is a public holiday in Germany) strange things happen in some Upper Bavarian villages and even in Munich. Men in Lederhosn and girls in Dirndln carrying long poles meet on the central square. With these poles an even longer white-blue pole is erected. There is usually an oompah band playing, booths selling food and drinks and tables where you can sit down and enjoy this non-touristy spectacle. The large white-blue pole you find in almost every village and dozens in Munich (e.g. on the Viktualienmarkt) is called Maibaum (meaning may tree - known in English as a maypole) and the villages compete who has the tallest and the straightest one. It is cut down every three to five years and re-erected in the following year. Ask a local which village or district of Munich does it this year and be there not later than 10am. There's several traditions revolving around maypoles, like the dance of the unmarried men and women. The weeks before 1 May, each village has to guard its maypole, because if some other village manages to steal it, they'll have to buy it back. Usually with beer.
  • Tollwood. —In summer in the Olympic park, in winter on Theresienwiese (Oktoberfest area), these 3-week festivals combine ethnic food, souvenir shops, concerts and theater, and they are very popular among the locals.
  • Free&Easy Festival. Music festival with a few live bands (for the line-up of the concerts, check the link above, in German) in the Backstage Club area every evening, usually from End of July and the beginning of August. The best thing about this festival is probably that is completely FREE, at least no entry fee to be paid for the concerts. The drinks are not overprized and the area also has some places selling fastfood, fries, good hamburgers (some say they are the best in town). It opens at 6pm every day, a nice addition is the Nachtbiergarten in the Backstage area (night beer garden) where you can bring your own stuff and use their barbecue equipment to make your dinner, if you beer your beer here. The festival is extremely popular amongst the locals, but not really known to tourists, so it might be a great chance to meet some locals. Get here with the S-train to Hirschgarten, when coming from the center and getting off the train in the back you already see the area and know where to go.
  • Christkindlmarkt / Christkindltram —see extra section below.

Theatre, opera, and music[edit]

Munich is a very culturally active city, and you will find many theatres showing a wide variety of performances. You will find most of them in the Altstadt, Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt and Maxvorstadt. While you may not find many plays in languages other than German, the many opera, ballet and musical shows can be enjoyed regardless of your language knowledge.

If you want to see a movie, keep in mind that foreign movies are normally dubbed with German voices. Adverts will generally indicate if the movie will be shown in its original version (i.e., no overdubbing) with the abbreviations OF (Original version), OmU (Original with German subtitles), and OmeU (original with English subtitles). In the movie theatre right next to subway station Stiglmaierplatz, named "Cinema" [7], they play all movies in the original language. Other options are the "Museums Lichtspiele" [8] or the big Multiplex cinema "Mathäser" [9] at Stachus, which usually show 1-2 movies in their original version.

Sport[edit]

  • River-Surfing. —In spring, join the locals surfing on the river at the edge of the Englischer Garten, at the bridge near the Lehel U-bahn station.
  • Skiing/Snowboarding—In winter, get a "Bayern ticket" for Bavarian public transport, and go skiing at Garmisch-Partenkirchen for the day. Autobus Oberbayern offers good value day trips to Austrian ski resorts such as Kaltenbach (Zillertal), St. Johann and Matrei.
  • Football—From August to May, you can catch football action with FC Bayern Munich and TSV 1860 Munich at Allianz Arena.
  • Hockey - EHC Munich. The local professional hockey club in Munich. They play at the Olympic ice arena in Olympic Park.

Learn[edit]

  • Goethe Institut —The Goethe Institut offers courses in German for anyone. The Goethe Institut offers several intensive courses and will find accommodation for students.

Buy[edit]

Maximilianstrasse

Pick up a free copy of the Haben & Sein magazine (also on the internet) to get latest information of shopping in Munich. Munich closes early: Most shops close by 20:00, some as early as 18:00, and most are closed all day on Sundays.

  • Maximilianstraße / Residenzstraße / Theatinerstraße —These streets around the Opera (Nationaltheater) in the city center are the place to go if you are looking for high end luxury goods. All of the usual international suspects and some local designers and clothiers are present. A few art galleries are left despite the high rents.
  • Kaufingerstraße / Neuhauser Straße —This pedestrian zone stretches from Karlsplatz (Stachus) to Marienplatz and is the primary shopping zone for mid-priced goods. Numerous department stores, chains and a few remaining independent boutiques line the corridor. The side streets are less crowded and offer some less homogenized shopping. Plenty of restaurants, open air cafes and beer halls and gardens offer the weary tourist a rest. Foot traffic is among of the highest of any shopping zone worldwide. Warning: during the summer, on Saturdays around Christmas and during Oktoberfest, this area will be jam packed with locals and tourists alike and can be unpleasantly crowded.
  • Shopping Centers—For a collection of shops under one roof, go to the shopping centres PEP (U-Bahn U5 : Neuperlach Zentrum), OEZ (U-bahn U1, U3: Olympia-Einkaufszentrum), Riem Arkaden (U-Bahn U2: Messestadt Ost) or the brandnew and pleasantly uncrowded MIRA (U-Bahn U2: Dülferstrasse).
  • Hohenzollernstraße—This street has a collection of clothes shops, such as Mazel, Vero Moda and especially during the summer in the months approaching the Oktoberfest, numerous shops selling comparatively cheap traditional German clothing (Lederhosn and Dirndl). You can reach it by getting out at the U2 stop Hohenzollernstraße and then walking in the direction of Münchner Freiheit (the locals will be able to tell you which direction that is). You can walk down there in about 15 minutes. At the end of Hohenzollernstraße you reach Leopoldstraße, which is also predominantly a shopping area.
  • Leopoldstraße—This busy boulevard can be reached by the U-bahn U6 or U3 at the stops Münchner Freiheit, Giselastraße or Universität, and has chain stores such as The Body Shop, fast food joints, inexpensive restaurants, cinemas, sidewalk cafes and coffee shops, such as Starbucks. In the side streets you can find a wide selection of boutiques and lesser known local designers. On warm summer evenings along the sidewalks dozens of local artists will be showing and selling their works.
  • Gärtnerplatzviertel—The area around beautiful Gärtnerplatz (U-Bahn U2: Frauenhoferstrasse) is a heaven for vintage lovers. You can find local designers and other quirky shops.
  • Schellingstraße— The neighborhood west of the main university campus (U-Bahn U3, U6: Universität) offers nice studenty clothes shops, small book stores, hip cafés and eats (e.g. the Pommes Boutique in Amalienstrasse with their fantastic Belgian fries)

Markets[edit]

For fresh food markets, visit the Viktualienmarkt in the Altstadt or the Elisabethmarkt in Schwabing.

Christmas fairs[edit]

During Christmas time, there are many of these Christkindlmärkte, or Christmas fairs [10], including the large Tollwood, but also smaller markets, where you can buy Christmas biscuits (Lebkuchen), souvenirs, and the typical Glühwein (hot spiced wine).

  • Münchner Freiheit—There is an artisan market at the subway stop in Schwabing.
  • Marienplatz—A bigger market, very commercial, it stretches across the shopping street, so you can mix Christmas market shopping (and eating) with "normal" shopping. If you walk south towards Sendlinger Tor, you'll reach more traditional woodcarvers' stands.
  • Chinesischer Turm at Englischer Garten has a nice Christmas market in a pretty park surrounding. Highly recommended if there's snow! It can conveniently be reached from U/Bus station Münchner Freiheit on the Bus 54, which has a stop Chinesischer Turm.
  • Wittelsbacher Platz—Close to Odeonsplatz, there is a medieval Christmas market where you can buy medieval clothes, food and drinks, swords / bows, and arrows and watch the performances of medieval dances and music.
  • Residence courtyard—A Christmas town with fairytale stories for kids.
  • Christkindltram. —A Christmas tram that runs only during Advent through the city center every half an hour (departure is from Sendlinger Tor). The tram is nicely decorated, where people can enjoy Christmas songs and mulled wine (Glühwein). One-way ticket costs €1.50.

Seasonal and Flea Markets[edit]

Throughout the city one finds regular markets that are well worth the visit when they are taking place and a Saturday morning must when the sun is shining! The flea markets in Munich can be exceptional in that they are generally genuine private citizens selling their unwanted belongings with a minimum of commercial interest. In addition to the weekly offerings, you'll find several neighborhood 'courtyard fleamarkets' events in the summer months.

  • Auer Dult. Is a week-long market and festivity, that take place three times a year (Spring, Summer and Autumn) in Haidhausen primarily dealing in household goods and antiques but also offering beer and amusement rides. Definitely try to see this if you haven't seen Oktoberfest!
  • Theresienwiese. This is supposedly the largest annual flea market in Europe, taking place on the first Saturday of Frühlingsfest (Spring Festival - occurs in the middle of April) on the same site as the Oktoberfest in Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt. There are generally several thousand citizens offering up their second-hand goods while dealers of new wares are forbidden. A yearly highlight for flea market and antique lovers, if the weather is reasonable.
  • Hofflohmärkte—This is where particular Munich city quarters encourage their residents to open up their courtyards whereby entire sections of the city become a combination flea market and private courtyard siteseeing—very interesting for viewing corners of the city one usually would not see. The event dates are coordinated by the city. Inquire at local information centers for specific dates.
  • Messegelände Riem. At the site of the former airport, where in recent years the new convention grounds and residential neighborhood has bloomed, one also finds the current longest running weekly flea market. Although it's at the edge of town, the underground U2 will take you almost directly there. Saturdays 06:00–16:00 (provided there is no trade fair taking place!)
  • Olympiapark. Fine weekly flea market throughout the year, breaking only when there are events in the Olympic Stadium. Taking place in the nicely tree-shaded parking lot of the stadium on Fridays and Saturdays 07:00–16:00.
  • Flohpalast. Daily flea market in a store. Open Monday to Saturday. Here you can rent a space for the fleamarket articles you would like to sell. Over 200 shelves which are full of different things. Two locations in Munich.

Eat[edit]

Traditional Bavarian food

Visitors can count themselves lucky (or possibly unlucky) since Munich is home to everything quintessentially Bavarian. Munich is specifically well known for Weißwurst, a breakfast sausage that is traditionally eaten as a late breakfast along with a Weissbier ('white beer', which outside Bavaria usually goes by the more descriptive name Weizenbier, 'wheat beer') and available in restaurants until noon (and not a second later!). Weißwurst are prepared in hot but non-boiling water for about ten minutes and served with a brown, grainy and sweet mustard. If you are able to just enjoy one meal in Munich you should try Schweinsbraten (roasted pork) or Schweinshaxe (roasted pig's knuckle).

Beer gardens typically serve Bavarian food, next to drinks: a great way to experience beer garden culture, while having dinner.

If you only fancy a snack, almost every butcher sells Leberkässemmeln, a white roll filled with a thick warm slice of "Leberkäse" — which, despite its name, contains absolutely no liver nor cheese, but consists of a mixture of veal, pork, spices and a hint of lemon zest baked in an open pan and traditionally served with a sweet and grainy mustard. This tends to be very cheap (around €1.50), quite delicious, and filling.

Don't miss enjoying some of the truly marvellous Bavarian/Austrian style cakes and tortes by the slice in any of the countless bakeries and cafés. Regardless of where you enjoy them, they are all traditionally made with fine quality all natural ingredients. The same applies for the amazing range of bread which can be bought at any bakery. Not to be missed as a snack are the soft pretzels ("Brezn").

One Munich-only chain of bakeries deserves special mention: Rischart. All of the Rischart branches serve breads, sandwiches, and pastries that have the same taste, texture, and high quality, although some have a different or wider selection than others. Their branch at the Hauptbahnhof is particularly useful if you need some bread or pastries late at night because, although their website claims that it closes at 21:00, it actually seems to be open until at least 22:00 every day. A few branches also have a café, which has seating and waiter service and serves salads, soups, composed hot desserts, and beverages (including great house-made sodas, called Schorle in German), as well as the same pastries and sandwiches you can buy for take-away. Everything they make and serve uses excellent ingredients and tastes delicious.

If Bavarian food doesn't sound appetizing, you're in luck because Munich is host to plenty of other international restaurants including, among others; Afghan, Chinese, French, Indian, Nigerian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Greek, Lebanese, Kenyan, Serbo-Croatian, Pakistani, Spanish and Turkish, as well as the typical American fast food.

Despite all the local dishes which are meat based, it is possible to get vegetarian food in some of the main restaurants and indeed there are some Vegetarian and Vegan restaurants in Munich (one of which is very "upmarket").

Munich also has numerous fresh markets, which can be a tasty, expedient and inexpensive alternatives to restaurants (see the Buy section for market listings).

There are also numerous small stands throughout the pedestrian area selling fresh fruit, snacks, ice cream in spring and summer and chestnuts during fall and winter.

Drink[edit]

The Hofbräuhaus is the liquid symbol of Munich

If you happen to be unfortunate enough to miss Oktoberfest, you can live through a sanitized, safer version at any of Munich's many beer gardens. The Hofbräuhaus may be the most famous beer hall. There are countless beer gardens scattered around the city. For those competent beer drinkers, try Starkbierfest after Lent lasting till before Easter. The beer is darker and stronger than normal (even than Oktoberfest beer).

The coffee culture is also very strong, especially during the summer months, but is often overlooked by most visitors.

Beer gardens and beer halls[edit]

Usually located under large chestnut trees (Kastanienbäume) for shade. Often there are rows of fold-away tables and self-service. If you see tablecloths on some tables there is normally service only there. In a traditional Bavarian beer garden, you are allowed to bring your food along with you. Only beverages (usually one litre mugs of local beer or Radler which is a half and half mix of beer and lemonade) are to be bought at the beer garden. Many locals still cling to this custom, though food is available as well. Try Riesenbrezn (big pretzels) and Steckerlfisch (cured fish). Beer gardens are usually visited by a mixed crowd of people (locals, tourists, families, younger, elderly, straight, gay etc.) which the special atmosphere of a beer garden arises from; though people normally don't go alone there. If you don't manage to find a free table, don't hesitate to ask if you may join someone. No local would refuse this request. Beer gardens are family friendly, with children's play areas on site. Well-behaved dogs are welcome, on leash.

Clubs and discos[edit]

Nightlife in Munich

You have to be at least 18 years old to get into most clubs and discos in Munich. Always have your passport or ID card with you, and a driver's licence may be okay, too. Some clubs have "Ü30-Parties", where you should be over 30 to get in, but usually you have no problems if you are over 25. In most places, it is ok to wear jeans and sneakers. Haidhausen is the popular nightlife district being home to Munich "Kultfabrik" and "Optimolwerk" clubbing neighborhoods. More clubs can also be found in the South-West. Locations change so best to check on the internet for upcoming events (e.g. in-muenchen.de is one of the nightlife guides).

Sleep[edit]

Munich abounds with accommodation for every type of traveler. The area directly around the Hauptbahnhof (train station) has numerous youth hostels, and upscale hotels like Le Meridien and Sofitel. Schillerstraße just a hundred meters away has many small hotels too; the street looks fine in the day, but the strip bars and cabarets become much more visible at night. There are also plenty of hotels and youth hostels in other districts of Munich particularly Schwabing and the Ostbahnhof area. Be aware that the fares can vary significantly. Usually you have to pay higher prices during the summer months. Finding affordable accommodation might be difficult when there are trade fairs in the town and especially during the 2 weeks of the Oktoberfest. Couchsurfing has a lot of members in Munich. Public transport is very fast and good, so also consider staying in surrounding areas instead of in the city centre. There are four camping sites in the city of Munich with many more out of the city. Please see district articles.

Stay safe[edit]

Munich is a very safe city for its residents and travelers: it is one of the safest German cities overall and violent crime is extremely rare. Take the usual precautions (such as not leaving your camera unattended) and you will most likely not encounter any crime at all.

Munich is an open-minded, international city with a large number of immigrants and expatriates living in the city (25% of residents have a migration background), so you are very unlikely to encounter any problems because you are a foreigner. Gay and lesbian travelers should not experience any issues: Munich has a large gay and lesbian community and the Rosa Liste, a gay rights party, has been part of the city government since 1996.

The main safety hazard in Munich is the local beer drinking culture in combination with the high accessibility of alcohol. Think twice before trying to keep up with the locals or looking for your maximum level of alcohol intoxication - being drunk will sharply raise your chances of injuring yourself. Another issue for people not used to driving or walking on ice or snow, are wintery road and sidewalk conditions.

Stay healthy[edit]

The emergency telephone number in Munich is 112 (like everywhere in the EU), which will connect you to emergency medical services, police, or fire brigade. The emergency telephone number 110 (Germany only) will connect you directly to the police. All major hospitals have emergency rooms (Notaufnahme) that offer 24/7 medical assistance not only to patients brought in by ambulance but to walk-in customers as well. Waiting time might be lengthy if you are not considered an emergency case.

  • Bereitschaftspraxis ElisenhofElisenstraße 3 (Near the main station Hauptbahnhof),  +49 89 116-117. M–F 19:00–23:00, Sa–Su 08:00–23:00. For non-serious illnesses, the GPs association provides an after-hours doctor's office near the main station that receives patients without prior appointment until 23:00 every day of the week including weekends.
  • Deutsches Herzzentrum München (German Cardiac Center Munich), Lazarettstraße 36 (U-Bahn U1, U7: Maillingerstraße),  +49 89 12180. The hospital was founded in 1974 as the first cardiac center in Europe.
  • Klinikum Großhadern (university hospital), Marchioninistraße 15 (U-Bahn U6: Großhadern),  +49 89 70950. The university hospital of the University of Munich (LMU). The staff is able to converse in English fluently and is also prepared to deal with non-English-speaking patients.
  • Klinikum Rechts der Isar (university hospital), Ismaninger Straße 22 (U-Bahn U4, U5: Max-Weber Platz),  +49 89 41400. The university hospital of the Technical University of Munich (TUM). The staff is able to converse in English fluently and is also prepared to deal with non-English-speaking patients, with a special focus on guests from Arabic countries.
  • Klinikum Schwabing (pediatric clinic), Kölner Platz 1 (U-Bahn U2, U3: Scheidplatz),  +49 89 30680. The most important children's hospital in Munich.

Respect[edit]

When using escalators, people in Munich usually stand on the right side and use the left side to walk up. When waiting for a subway train, first let people get off the train, then enter. Drinking alcohol on public transport has been banned, although this new rule has been hardly enforced so far. Littering and other forms of environmental pollution are highly frowned upon.

Cope[edit]

Publications[edit]

  • in München The biweekly magazine highlights upcoming events in and around Munich.
  • Münchner Merkur It's a conservative newspaper. It has the second highest number of readers in the Munich area.
  • Süddeutsche Zeitung The Süddeutsche is both one of the Germany's preeminent and most read newspapers and a good source of information for what is going on in Munich and Bavaria. The cultural part of the newspaper is strongly emphasized.
  • tz The most important tabloid of the Munich region.

Consulates[edit]

Go next[edit]

The suburban trains (S-Bahn) S8 and S1 both go to the airport from the Marienplatz S-Bahn station. However, because the S1 line splits into two separate trains at Neufahrn just before the airport, be sure that you are riding in the section that is actually going to the airport, which is always the last part of the train. If you find yourself in the wrong car, just wait until Neufahrn and change into the last part of the train.

The Bayern-Ticket is an amazingly cheap way to do day trips from Munich. With this ticket you can travel anywhere in Bavaria on the regional trains all day (only from 09:00 weekdays). It costs €22 for one person and €4 for every additional person for a party up to five. Make sure you buy it from the machines as there is a €2 surcharge if you buy it from the ticket office.

Another option is the Schönes-Wochenende Ticket, which is valid everywhere in Germany, but it is only valid on weekends. It costs €42 for a group of up to five and is restricted to regional trains.

There is also the Bayern-Böhmen Ticket. The ticket is valid everywhere in Bavaria and the Bohemia region of the neighboring Czech Republic. It costs €25 for singles, €29.50 for two person and €43 for a group of five. It is also restricted to regional trains.

  • Andechs Monastery—If you miss the Oktoberfest, it is worth travelling to the holy mountain of Andechs. It's a monastery up a hill from the Ammersee. Take the S8 from Munich to Herrsching and then either hike up the hill or take the bus. When you are there have a look at the old monastery church and the gardens before focusing on the excellent beer and Schweinshaxen in the beer garden or in the large beer hall. Makes a great day trip which can also be combined with some swimming the Ammersee. The hiking trail is unlit, and a good 30-45 min. After dark, a flashlight is mandatory.
  • Chiemsee—Bavaria's largest lake (with a castle on an the island of Herreninsel built by King Ludwig II, and a monastery built on the island of Fraueninsel) is only one hour away.
  • Dachau offers a daytrip of a different kind. Prepare to be shocked by the atrocities committed by the Nazis during the Third Reich era displayed at the Dachau concentration camp memorial site.
Neuschwanstein Castle located two hours south of Munich.
  • Füssen is nestled in the Alps of southern Bavaria. A train from Munich Central Station will take about two hours with one transfer at Buchloe (purchase the Bayern-Ticket option mentioned above which is valid for all trains and bus journey to the castle). The town is famous for King Ludwig II's "fairy-tale castle" Neuschwanstein. It also houses the castle where Ludwig II grew up (Hohenschwangau). If you go there, buy a combined ticket for both castles. Neuschwanstein is a must-see, but Hohenschwangau is historically more interesting, and the tour is much better. Not only because there are fewer tourists and ergo more time, but also the guides are more knowledgeable and speak better English. There's a third castle, Linderhof, but it's further away and difficult to reach without a car (about 1 hr drive, passing through Austria). If you have a rental car, it's definitely worth the trip, and the trip itself is spectacularly beautiful, landscape-wise.
  • Garmisch-Partenkirchen at the foot of Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze. About 1.5 hr by regional train (from Munich Central Station) or by car on autobahn A 95. The rack railway train to the top of the Zugspitze leaves regularly from the Garmisch-Partenkirchen railway station.
  • Ismaning large residential village north east of Munich with some useful, out of town, accommodation.
  • Nuremberg (German: Nürnberg)—is the city where the Nazi rally grounds were located. It was also the location of the Nuremberg Trials, in which some of the leaders of the Nazi regime faced justice. Nuremberg offers a lot of history for visitors. Every 2 hours, the fastest regional train in Germany (going 200 km/h) connects Munich and Nuremberg, taking 1 hour 45 minutes, making it in reach for a day trip.
  • Regensburg—A beautiful medieval city at the shores of the river Danube. It's historical city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in its entirety.
  • Salzburg (Austria) is an easy day trip from Munich. Trains run from Munich Central Station just about every hour, and take about 1.5 hr. The Bayern Ticket is valid all the way to Salzburg.
  • Starnberg makes an easy daytrip. It offers a great lake, where King Ludwig II and his psychiatrist mysteriously drowned. It's the wealthiest community around Munich.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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