Munich (German: München, Bavarian: Minga) is the capital city of the German federal state of Bavaria. Within the city limits, Munich has a population of more than 1.5 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.
Located at the river Isar in Southern Bavaria, it is famous for its beautiful architecture, fine culture, and the annual Oktoberfest beer festival. Munich has a thriving cultural scene and many travellers are absolutely stunned by its architecture. Although it was heavily damaged by Allied bombing during World War II, many of its historic buildings have been rebuilt, including its largest church, the Frauenkirche cathedral, and the famous City Hall.
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.
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.
|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.
The Brain of Munich with a relaxed and studenty atmosphere, which is home to most attractions that aren't in the city centre, including the world famous galleries Pinakotheken, along with cozy cafés and bars and several universities.
Night-life area immediately south of the centre, home to many cafés, restaurants, bars, clubs and theatres, hotels and hostels, and the focal point of Munich's gay scene. Here find Munich Central Station, the Oktoberfest grounds and, last but not least, the Deutsches Museum, the world's biggest museum of science and engineering
Around the station Munich East, to which Europe's largest contiguous party area Kultfabrik & Optimolwerke draws tens of thousands of people every weekend.
|Northern Munich |
The Northern part 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 and the Bavaria Film Studios to the south, the Munich trade fair grounds in the east, and the Flaucher beaches along the east side of the river Isar in the west.
|South-West Munich |
Scarcely populated in the west and mainly residential area in the south, with the main attractions Munich Zoo and the Flaucher river islands lying in the east of the area along the river Isar.
“You do not even go somewhere else, I tell you there's nothing like Munich. Everything else is a waste of time in Germany. ”
The year 1158 is the earliest date the city is mentioned in a document signed in Augsburg. By that time, Henry the Lion 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.
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. As a result of this turmoil, the first republican constitution enacted for Bavaria was drafted in Bamberg — about as far as you can get from Munich and still be under Bavarian administration. While the republican government had been restored, Munich 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 outside Munich at that time.
The city 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, 15 km (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. Munich was the site of the 1972 Olympic Summer Games, during which Israeli athletes were assassinated by Palestinian terrorists. The badly botched rescue attempt (Germany did not have anything but regular police to deal with a situation like this) led to the founding of GSG9 one of the best regarded special forces groups which survived its baptism of fire just five years later in the successful freeing of the airplane "Landshut" which had been abducted to Mogadishu by Palestinian terrorists working together with German leftists.
Munich is the German economic powerhouse, with six out of the 30 companies listed in the German blue-chip stock-market index DAX. These include luxury car maker BMW, electrical engineering giant Siemens, and the world's largest insurance company Allianz.
The Munich region is a centre for aerospace, biotechnology, software and service industries. 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 commercial network, Pro7-Sat1 Media AG is located in Eastern Munich.
Munich's flourishing local economy is reflected in its place in quality-of-life rankings of world cities. Monocle magazine even named it the world's most livable city in 2010. People continue to flock into the city due to its proximity to the Alps and some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe, especially Baroque and Rococo architecture and green countryside which starts a mere half hour away on the S-Bahn. However, there's a price to pay for living here: Munich is the most expensive city in Germany. Real estate development and hotel construction are a regular sight, but so far, demand outstrips supply by far.
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, and also quite notable architecture. 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. Munich's outstanding position among other German cities may have faded a bit, due to Berlin becoming the German capital again in the 1990s, but it is still a vibrant and important city of culture.
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.
Many prominent writers worked in Munich. During the period immediately before World War I, the city became economically and culturally prominent. 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 and Lion Feuchtwanger.
Bavaria has been the long-time antipode of Berlin: while the Protestant Prussian kings focused 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. Bavaria takes a position among the German states with a strong emphasis on its independence and has its own conservative party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), which strongly advocates Bavarian interests in Berlin. Unlike Berlin which for historical reasons has been cut off from the surrounding Brandenburg countryside, or Hamburg which prides itself of being a free Hanseatic city, Munich can rely on a local elite willing and eager to shovel state funds its way to the never-ending chagrin of people in other areas administered by Munich such as Franconia. If a royal residence since the early 1800s and subsequently the capital of Germany's most independent minded state looks the part, it is in no small part due to the Munich-centric Bavarian politics and the special role of the CSU since 1949. Among other things, the CSU has 3 ministers in the federal government inaugurated in 2018 while East Germany has none.
Münchner share a lot of characteristics with the rest of Bavaria and it has become popular again among older and younger people to wear traditional Bavarian clothing, at least during the Oktoberfest and similar traditional beer festivals. One notable difference is politics: whereas 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). Only 36.2% of its residents are members of the Catholic church while 13.3% are Protestant, 0.3% Jewish and 50.3% are members of another religion or follow no religion.
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 the spoken language in Munich. Nevertheless, some residents speak with a more or less strong Bavarian dialect, which can deviate substantially from the German taught at schools.
Are your German skills limited? Worry not. English is widely spoken and understood throughout the city in restaurants, cafés, tourist attractions and shops. In fact, most of Munich's citizens actually speak really good English, often with levels of fluency that rival those of the Nordic countries. Furthermore, Munich has been the destination of waves of immigrants, particularly from Turkey, the former Yugoslavia, Italy, Greece, the Middle East, and France. However, second or third generation descendants of immigrants do not necessarily speak "the old language" that well or at all.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
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 100 km (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.
- Tourism office, Marienplatz (within the town hall), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 10:00-20:00, Sa 10:00-17:00, Su 10:00-16:00, closed on public holidays. Official tourism office is in the town hall and offers from bookings for tours, hotels, etc. all kind of services.
- Main article: Munich Airport
Munich's main airport is 1 Franz Josef Strauß International Airport (MUC IATA) (30 km (19 mi) to the north-east, close to the city of Freising.). It's Germany's second busiest airport and Lufthansa's second hub. Built in the 1990s, it's reasonably modern and spacious. The simplest way to reach the city centre is by S-bahn (suburban train) - follow the signs to the station beneath the terminal. Lines S1 and S8 both go direct to the city centre, taking 45 min, for a single fare of €11.60. Trains run about every 10 min daytime, and keep running at reduced frequency all night. There are also intercity bus connections leaving from the airport directly. If you intend to travel on to another city it might be worth checking for a bus directly from the airport.
Allgäu Airport Memmingen
Allgäu Airport Memmingen (FMM IATA) is around 110 km (65 mi) west of Munich close to Memmingen. It's rather misleadingly marketed as "Munich West" by Ryanair. Other names include "Memmingen 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 booked via the internet. The buses arrive (and leave) close to Munich Central Station.
- 2 Munich Central Station (Hauptbahnhof or main station) (5 min on foot from the historic city centre of Munich in Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt district). To the very heart of Munich at Marienplatz it's just two stops on the suburban train (S-Bahn). Munich Central is well connected to the city's dense public transportation network. The station has a traveller-friendly infrastructure including several restaurants, shops, a tourist information and a Deutsche Bahn ticket and travel agency office. There are left-luggage lockers, with a flat fee (coins only) for up to 24 hours of €4 for a small locker, or €6 for a large one.
Deutsche Bahn uses Munich as one of its main German hubs and operates direct regional and long-distance connections from many German cities. This includes several connections with ICE, TGV, and railjet high-speed trains:
- ICE 11 from Augsburg, Ulm, Stuttgart, Mannheim, Frankfurt, Fulda, Kassel, Göttingen, Braunschweig, Berlin
- ICE 25 from (Nuremberg,) Würzburg, Fulda, Kassel, Göttingen, Hannover, Hamburg
- ICE 28 from Nuremberg, Jena, Leipzig, Berlin, Hamburg
- ICE 31 from Nuremberg, Würzburg, Frankfurt, Mainz, Koblenz, Bonn, Cologne, Duisburg, Essen, Dortmund, Osnabrück, Bremen, Hamburg, Kiel
- ICE 41 from Nuremberg, Würzburg, Frankfurt, Cologne, Duisburg, Essen
- ICE 42 from Augsburg, Ulm, Stuttgart, Mannheim, Frankfurt, Cologne, Duisburg, Essen, Dortmund
- ICE 1004 from Nürnberg Hbf, Erfurt Hbf, Halle (Saale) Hbf, Berlin Südkreuz, Berlin Hbf (tief)
- RJ 61 to Salzburg, Linz, Vienna, Budapest
- TGV 9575/9576 to Augsburg, Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Strasbourg, Paris
International direct trains to Munich run from Austria (Salzburg, Innsbruck, Vienna and Graz), the Czech Republic (Prague), France (Strasbourg and Paris), Hungary (Budapest), Italy (Verona, Venice, Bologna, Milan and Rome, and from Switzerland (Zürich and Basel). Passengers from the Netherlands, Belgium and the Channel ports should change in Cologne. From Poland, the Baltic countries and Russia, change in Berlin.
The once extensive network of sleeper trains serving Munich has been curtailed quite a bit and none of them are run by DB any more. However Nightjet operated by ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railways) still serves Munich as do some seasonal trains from other operators.
Two other train stations are 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.
Munich is well connected to other cities in Germany and Austria by the German autobahn network:
- A 8 connects Munich with Augsburg, Ulm, Stuttgart and Karlsruhe in the west and Rosenheim and Salzburg in the east
- A 9 leads to Ingolstadt, Nuremberg, Leipzig and Potsdam/Berlin in the north
- A 92 connects Munich with Landshut and Deggendorf in the north-east
- A 94 has only been partially completed and will lead to Passau
- A 95 connects Munich with Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the south
- A 96 connects Munich with Lindau at Lake Constance in the south-west
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. While the latter two form a complete circle, the A99 does not and likely never will.
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.
- See also: Intercity buses in Germany
Long-distance buses can be an inexpensive way to travel to Munich from several neighbouring countries, especially from eastern and southern Europe and the Balkans. Buses arrive at 3 Munich Central Bus Station (ZOB) (close to Hackerbrücke suburban train (S-Bahn) station). The website informs you about all departures and arrivals and also lists the company operating any given line. While historically domestic buses were few and far between, there are now a number of domestic bus lines as well. Despite signs, itineraries, and maps that imply that ZOB is right next the central train station, it's actually a 10-15 min walk from one to the other due to the train tracks in the area. Munich ZOB is one of the few stations in Germany that is able to cope with the growth in the market since 2012, and one of a very few with significant shopping and dining options. Compared to even some other major city ZOBs (or curbside stops), Munich ZOB is a breath of fresh air.
Due to the ever-changing bus market, it would be a fool's errand to try to list all bus connections leaving and arriving from Munich ZOB, however, the main player in the market by far is Flixbus with a few other German and international companies also serving Munich, including Deinbus Eurolines, Sindbad and Deutsche Bahn subsidiary IC Bus (bookable as if it were an IC/ICE train).
Out of Germany's three biggest cities, Munich is by far the most monocentric, which leads to an overall much more logical - if sometimes overburdened - transportation system than Berlin or Hamburg. The U-Bahn was built just in time for the 1972 Olympics and expanded near continuously for the next 3½ decades. After long discussion the S-Bahn is getting a second trunk line underground to relieve the heavily congested 1970s first trunk line.
By public transport
The best way to travel around Munich—besides using your own feet—is the public transport system consisting of the urban rapid rail 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 system 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 a green background. All S-Bahn lines join in one tunnel (Stammstrecke) between the stations Donnersbergerbrücke and Ostbahnhof in central Munich.
The Munich MVV website 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 is indispensable.
Single trips in a single zone such as the city centre cost €2.90, but the four-zone journey from the airport is a whopping €11.60 (Dec 2018). Thus, if you arrive at the airport and intend to explore Munich by the public transport system, the best option is to buy a €13 Gesamtnetz (whole network) day pass (an inner district day pass is €6.70) . If you are not travelling alone, then you can purchase a group ("Partner") day pass for €24.30 (inner district only €12.80), allowing up to five adults to travel together on all lines of the MVV system. There's also an "Airport-City-Day-Ticket" available for individuals (€13) and groups (€24.30) which is basically the same as the day pass.
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. Groups mean two to five adults travelling together (two kids count as an adult), and if two adults are travelling it is already a saving. It is valid until 06:00 the next morning. The day ticket is available for four areas:
|Area||Zone||Single Ride||Day ticket for 1 Person||Group Day Ticket 2 up to 5 People||Note|
|Inner district (Innenraum)||White||€2.90||€6.70||€13.00||Enough to explore the city|
|Inner district (Innenraum) 3 Day card||White||–||€16.80||€29.60|
|Outer district (Außenraum)||Green, yellow, red||€2.90, €5.80 or €8.70*||€6.70||€12.80||Does not cover city centre.|
*depending on the number of zones (1, 2 or 3)
|Munich XXL (München XXL)||White and green||€5.80||€8.90||€16.10||Good for trips to the lakes and suburban destinations|
|Entire network (Gesamtnetz)||All||€11.60*||€13.00||€24.30||Allows travel to/from airport.|
*Cheaper option for a single trip in any direction: combining a inner district (Innenraum) single ride (€2.90) and a outer district (Außenraum) day pass (€6.70). Validate both tickets when starting your journey.
If you are staying longer than three days in Munich, a good option is to buy a week ticket. The week ticket is valid for 7 consecutive days. The price of the weekly ticket depends on the number of "rings" you want to travel during the week (starting from the centre of the city). "Rings" for week and month tickets are different from the zones used for single ride and day tickets. There are 16 rings in total. Almost all U-Bahn stations are within the rings 1–4. As of Dec 2018, a week ticket ("IsarCard") for rings 1-2 costs €15.40. Rings 1-4 cost €22.10.
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 €14, and may be purchased at dispensing machines at every station. You need to use two strips for each coloured zone on the map. People aged 20 years or younger need to use only one stripe for each zone. Children age 6-14 need only one stripe, regardless of the zones. 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 ten versions (single and group tickets) and with validity for between one and six days. Some examples of prices (Dec 2018):
|Inner district (Innenraum)||White||1 day||€12.90||€19.90|
|Inner district (Innenraum)||White||2 days||€18.90||€29.90|
|Inner district (Innenraum)||White||4 days||€26.90||€41.90|
|Entire system (Gesamtnetz)||White, green, yellow, red||1 day||€22.90||€35.90|
|Entire system (Gesamtnetz)||White, green, yellow, red||2 days||€33.90||€54.90|
|Entire system (Gesamtnetz)||White, green, yellow, red||4 days||€46.90||€75.90|
A leaflet with information about the discount offers of the partners and a map of the city centre 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 centre as well as in selected hotels and online .
All tickets, except for season tickets (weekly or longer) and tickets bought onboard buses and trams must be stamped to be valid; without a stamp the ticket is invalid and you can be fined €60. 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.
The public transportation agency has a journey planner app called MVV-Companion journey planner for public transport in Munich. Also available are München Navigator and MVG Fahrinfo München, which allow direct purchase of virtually all tickets. All apps are available for Android and iOS for free.
If you plan to explore Munich and Bavaria via regional trains, consider getting a Bayern Ticket, which is good on all regional trains and most public transportation within Bavaria, and trains to Salzburg, starting from €25 for the first person plus €6 for every additional person up to five persons. (Dec 2018). This ticket is good on weekdays 09:00 to 03:00 the next day and midnight to 03:00 the next day on weekends.
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. This ticket covers all DB regional train travel and a few public transportation systems within the country for up to five people for a single weekend day up to 03:00 the next day. It costs €44 for the first person plus €6 for every additional person up to five persons.
Both of these passes are only valid on regional train services (red), not on ICE and Inter/Eurocity trains (white). Additionally, both tickets are valid on trains run by the Bayerische Oberlandbahn (BOB) and Arriva–Länderbahn Express (ALEX).
Like Hamburg, Munich clings to the Bahnsteigkarte of yore. A Bahnsteigkarte is a ticket for those who wish to enter the platform area (for which you'd usually need a ticket) but don't want to take a train. This might for example be necessary if you want to pick someone up from a U-Bahn. While Hamburg's Bahnsteigkarte costs an entirely reasonable 30 cents, Munich shows just how wealthy it is in charging the outrageous price of 40 cents. Bahnsteigkarten are valid for an hour from being stamped.
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 1 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 register before you can use the service. To rent a bike, call the number shown on it from your mobile phone. 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 multi-day rental from one of the rental services located throughout central Munich.
In addition to the fixed bicycle rental stations, three floating services are available: O-bike, Donkey Republic and nextbike. The advantage is that you can drop your bicycle off anywhere you want as long as it's on public domain and not in someone's way, so you don't need to scout for a station all the time. A smartphone with Internet access and a camera to scan QR-codes is however required to use these services.
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). The English Garden is a very big park is also best explored by bike. Rates of accidents involving bicycles are rising in Munich, hence, the police is enforcing traffic rules for cyclists more rigorously, especially at the beginning of the bike season in spring. Fines range from €10 for riding 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.
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).
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, and close to the historic city centre with its pedestrian area 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. But Munich is known as Germany's "commuter capital", and you can get stuck in long-lasting traffic jams on suburban access roads during the rush hours.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Buildings and landmarks
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.
Museums and galleries
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 renowned 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.
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.
Despite being one of the most densely populated cities in Germany, you can enjoy several large urban parks in Munich, 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.
Oktoberfest is the world's largest beer festival, lasting for 16 to 17 days and usually ending on the first Sunday in October. In 2019 it will run from Sat 21 Sept to Sun 6 Oct.
Oktoberfest, known locally as Wies'n, is sited at Theresienwiese, a huge meadow 1.5 km west of Altstadt in the district of Ludwigsvorstadt - see that district page for details.
- Maibaum aufstellen. On 1st 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 10:00. 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 (summer: Olympic park, winter: Theresienwiese). This three-week-long festival combines ethnic food, souvenir shops, concerts & theater and it is very popular among the locals.
- Streetlife Festival (Odeonsplatz, Ludwigstraße, Leopoldstrasse). This two-day street festival takes takes place twice a year, showcases live music, handcraft and other arts on Munich's car-free streets, and attracts several hundred thousand of visitors.
- Corso Leopold (Leopoldstrasse). This festival of art and music is taking place simultaneously with the Streetlife Festival.
- Isarinselfest. The Isarinselfest (Isar island festival) takes place in September and offers music, culture and activities for kids.
- Lange Nacht der Musik. The Lange Nacht der Musik (long night of music) takes place in early summer and includes more than 100 concerts and music venues throughout the city.
- Münchner Sommernachtstraum (Olympiapark). The Munich Midsummer Night's Dream is a music festival with fireworks that takes place in July.
- Theatron Festivals (Olympiapark). Two other music festivals in Munich, the Theatron Pfingstfestival during Whitsun and the Musiksommer in August.
- St. Patrick's Day Munich ((Münchner Freiheit, Odeonsplatz)). The parade of Irish and Scottish unions attracts 30,000 visitors and is said to be the largest Irish event east of Dublin.
- Impark (Olympiapark). The Impark summer festival which includes a beach.
- Christopher-Street-Day. The CSD Munich takes place in mid July.
- Electronic Music Festivals. Munich is also a hotspot for rave and electronic dance music in Germany. It has to offer more electronic music festivals than Berlin. Popular electronic music festivals in and around Munich include Isle of Summer, Utopia Island, Greenfields, Traumfänger, Back to the Woods, Schall im Schilf, FNY Festival, Wannda Circus Open Air, Contact Festival, EOS Festival and the Echelon Festival which takes place about 32 km south of Munich.
Theatre, opera, and music
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", they play all movies in the original language. Other options are the "Museums Lichtspiele" or the big Multiplex cinema "Mathäser" at Stachus, which usually show 1 or 2 movies in their original version.
- River-Surfing (Eisbach). Throughout the year, join the locals surfing on the Eisbach River at the edge of the Englischer Garten, at the bridge near the Lehel U-bahn station.
- Swimming. Swimming within Munich's city limits is possible in the river Isar as well as in several artificial lakes such as for example the Riemer See or the Langwieder lake district. Further, Munich's communal company SWM provides ten public indoor swimming pools and eight outdoor swimming pools. At the weekend, many people from Munich seek rest at one of the numerous lakes in the Alpine foreland.
- Wintersports. Munich is one of the few cities in the world, where you see people in a ski dress in the public transport Skiing is popular at Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Several companies offer good value day trips to Austrian ski resorts such as Kaltenbach (Zillertal), St. Johann and Matrei.
- Watch football ie soccer at FC Bayern Munich, Säbener Straße 51-57, 81547 München, ☎ . They play in Bundesliga, the top tier of German football: they often win it, and qualify for European competitions. Their home ground is the Allianz Arena, capacity 75,000. It's 8 km north of city centre, take U-bahn to Fröttmaning.
- Munich's other team, TSV 1860 Munich, now languish in the 3.Liga, the third tier. They play at Grünwalder Stadion 3 km south of the centre, take U-bahn to Candidplatz.
- Ice Hockey. The local professional hockey club in Munich. They play at the Olympic ice arena in Olympic Park.
- 1 European Space Agency's Columbus Control Centre, Münchener Straße 20,82234 Weßling (20km (12 mi) outside of Munich in Oberpfaffenhofen), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. every day from 15:00-16:00 (registration required, groups limited to 30 persons) until "Blue Dot" space mission is in space, afterwards depending on space missions. Used to control the Columbus research laboratory of the International Space Station, and as a ground control centre for the Galileo satellite navigation system. It is in a large research facility of the German Aerospace Centre. (DLR). [http://www.col-cc.de/fuehrungen.html free.
Universities in 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, several colleges and the headquarters, and research facilities for both the Max-Planck and the Fraunhofer Societies. Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) is considered one of Germany's best universities, and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) is internationally known for its science and engineering.
- Goethe Institut, Sonnenstraße 25, 80331 Munich (U-Bhf Sendlinger Tor), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. M-Th 08:00 - 20:00, F 08:00 - 17:30. The Goethe Institut offers courses in German for anyone. The Goethe Institut offers several intensive courses and will find accommodation for students.
- Deutschkurse bei der Universität München e.V., Adelheidstraße 13b, 80798 Munich, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Associated with the Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität (LMU), this school provides longer term German language courses for foreigners. This is an ideal preparation for other courses run in German.
Munich is one of the best places to go shopping in Germany. The mixture of wealthy locals & tourists lead to a huge variety of shops and styles. Opening times in Germany are regulated by the federal state law. so most shops close by 20:00, some as early as 18:00, and most are closed all day on Sundays (exceptions before Christmas and during big trade fairs). Please see the district articles for actual shop names, here is a list of the highest shop concentrations:
- Maximilianstraße / Residenzstraße / Theatinerstraße (U-Bhf Odeonsplatz or Marienplatz). 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.
- Kaufingerstraße / Neuhauser Straße (U/S-Bhf Karlsplatz (Stachus) or Marienplatz). 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/gardens offer a rest. 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.
- Hohenzollernstraße (U-Bahn U2: Hohenzollernstraße in the direction to Münchner Freiheit). This street in northern Munich 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 walk down there in about 15 min. At the eastern end of Hohenzollernstraße you reach Leopoldstraße, which is also predominantly a shopping area.
- Leopoldstraße (U-Bahn U3, U6: Münchner Freiheit, Giselastraße, or Universität). This busy boulevard in the north of Munich 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 (U-Bahn U2: Fraunhoferstraße). The area around beautiful Gärtnerplatz is for vintage lovers. You can find local designers and other quirky shops.
- Schellingstraße (U-Bahn U3, U6: Universität). The neighborhood west of the main university campus offers nice studenty clothes shops, small book stores, hip cafés and eats (e.g. the Pommes Boutique in Amalienstraße with their fantastic Belgian fries).
There are many of these Christkindlmärkte, or Christmas fairs, including the large Tollwood, but also smaller markets, where you can buy Christmas biscuits (Lebkuchen), souvenirs and the typical Glühwein (hot mulled wine).
- Marienplatz (U-/S-Bhf. Marienplatz). Big & commercial market, 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, Englischer Garten 3, 80538 München (U/Bus station Münchner Freiheit or the Bus 54, which has a stop Chinesischer Turm), ☎ . from late November until January: M-F 12:00-20:30, Sa Su 11:20:30. nice Christmas market in a pretty park surrounding. Highly recommended if there's snow!
- 1 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
Throughout the city regular markets 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. A week-long market and festivity, that takes 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.
Visitors can count themselves lucky 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. Having dinner in a beer garden is a great opportunity to get a beer garden and a culinary experience at once. 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 €2), 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").
Due to the large influx of international business travellers & tourists, all international cuisines (from Sushi to Pizza) are available. There is a strong presence of Italian restaurants because so many Italians visit Munich.
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.
Like in many other German cities, an interesting option for a quick bite is a visit to one of the local bakeries, who serve both breads and pastries as well as sandwiches, salads and sometimes even have broader offerings including soups or non-pastry desserts. One Munich-only chain of bakeries is Rischart.
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.
If you 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
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
Munich has been a famous nightclubbing spot since the 1970s, when musicians such as Mick Jagger, Giorgio Moroder, Donna Summer and Freddie Mercury painted the town red. In the mid-1990s, it became a center for rave and techno culture along with Berlin and Frankfurt. 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. Popular nightlife districts are the city center (Altstadt-Lehel with the so-called Party Banana), Maxvorstadt, Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt, Haidhausen, Berg am Laim (in the "Werksviertel", the former "Kultfabrik" club and party area which is being transformed), while once-famous Schwabing has lost much of its nightlife activity due to gentrification in the last decades. The latest addition on Munich's nightlife map is the northern part of Sendling around the Viehhof with several subcultural nightlife activities. The locations of clubs change quickly, so best to check on the internet for upcoming events (for example, in-muenchen.de is one of the nightlife guides).
- Techno clubs. The most popular techno clubs in Munich are the MMA Club (also called Mixed Munich Arts, described by The Guardian as "towering techno temple which rivals any in Berlin"), the Blitz club, the longstanding techno clubs Harry Klein and Rote Sonne, as well as Grinsekatze, Bahnwärter Thiel, Bob Beaman, Pimpernel, Charlie and the after-hours club Palais. Munich is also a hotspot in Germany for outdoor raves and electronic music festivals, see details in the section Electronic Music Festivals.
- Clubs with a mixed musical program. Popular clubs with a mixed musical program (Electro, House, Indie, Rock, Hip-Hop) include Call Me Drella, Cord, Wannda Circus, Minna Thiel, Backstage (which is known for alternative and rock music), 8 below, Freiheizhalle, Tonhalle, Pathos, Muffatwerk, Ampere, and the party ship Alte Utting.
- Upscale nightclubs. Known upscale nightclubs in Munich are the house club Pacha Munich and the P1, the alleged meeting place of the high society.
For more clubs, have a look at the district pages.
Munich has thousands of bars, pubs and restaurants within city limits. Plenty of bars and cafes can be found in the districts Maxvorstadt, Schwabing and Haidhausen, as well as in Ludwigvorstadt-Isarvorstadt, where also most of Munich's gay bars and clubs are. For more bars, have a look at the district pages.
Munich abounds with accommodation for every type of traveler. The area directly around the Hauptbahnhof (central 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 prices 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 and especially during the 2 weeks of the Oktoberfest.
If you are looking for something special, then the luxurious hotels in the city centre are a treat.
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.
Boasting one of the lowest crime rates of any major European - if not global - city, Munich is a very safe city for residents and travelers alike, and violent crime is extremely rare. Walking around, day or night, is not an issue, and you will most likely not encounter any crime at all, though you should still take the usual precautions (such as not leaving your camera unattended).
Munich is an open-minded, international city with a large number of immigrants and expatriates living in the city (almost 40% of residents have a migration background, mostly from Turkey, the Balkans, and Poland), so you are very unlikely to encounter any problems because you are a foreigner. Gay and lesbian travelers should not experience any issues either: Munich has a large gay and lesbian community, and the Rosa Liste, a gay rights party, was part of the city government from 1996 to 2014.
The only real 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 wintry road and sidewalk conditions. Of course, Oktoberfest will inevitably make people unleash their dark side, so be weary of any despicable behavior.
Nevertheless, Munich is not entirely immune to minor incidents, and some areas do require a little more precaution.
- The vast majority of petty crimes, particularly pickpocketing, occur in the central district Altstadt-Lehel. Giesing has had a few of those in recent years as well.
- The areas immediately surrounding the train station require extra vigilance in regard to pickpockets and bar fights.
- The Neuperlach borough in the extreme southeast, which houses a significant refugee population, has a reputation for seediness, but has an average crime level.
- Hasenbergl in the extreme north is one of the few areas that locals might describe as rough.
- Do not venture too far into the English Garden at night.
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 Elisenhof, Elisenstraße 3 (Near the main station Hauptbahnhof), ☎ . 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), ☎ . The hospital was founded in 1974 as the first cardiac center in Europe.
- Klinikum Großhadern (university hospital), Marchioninistraße 15 (U-Bahn U6: Großhadern), ☎ . 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), ☎ . 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), ☎ . The most important children's hospital in Munich.
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 illegal and highly frowned upon.
Munich has an active press and high competition leads to quality magazines. The newspaper Süddeutsche is one of the leading political and cultural institutions of Germany.
- 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 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.
- München Wiki. Munich has its own open city wiki, with more than 15,000 articles about the city (2018). If you know a few words of German, you can find a lot of information on restaurants, nightlife, current events and festivals, arts and culture, leisure activities and the history of Munich here.
Wash & Coffee is a public laundromat in where you can either stick around for the entire duration of your laundry cycle (free internet and a coffee bar, and many English-speaking customers will keep you occupied), or you can purchase their services for doing the laundry. They have laundry detergent for sale, so you don't need to pick that up. They are within walking distance of the Isartor S-bahn station. They are closed on Thursdays.
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 as well as all regional buses, subway, tram and S-Bahn. The ticket is valid all day in weekends and holidays, and from 09:00 on weekdays. It is valid up to Salzburg and it also covers the Austrian track that connects Kempten, Reutte and Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It costs €25 for one person and €6 for every additional person for a party up to five (Dec 2018). 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 €44 for one person and €6 per additional person up to a total of five. It is restricted to regional trains. (Dec 2018)
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 €28 for the first traveller, each additional person pays €6.60 (up to five travellers total). It is also restricted to regional trains. (Dec 2018)
- 2 Andechs Monastery (S8 to Herrsching + walking). If you miss the Oktoberfest, it is worth travelling to the holy site of Andechs. It's a monastery up a hill from the Ammersee. 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 in the Ammersee. The hiking trail is unlit, and a good 30-45 min. After dark, a flashlight is mandatory.
- Chiemsee (Autobahn A8 in direction Salzburg or Deutsche Bahn). Bavaria's largest lake (with a castle on the island of Herreninsel built by King Ludwig II, and a monastery built on the island of Fraueninsel) is only one hour away.
- Dachau (S-Bahn/Regional trains or Autobahn to Augsburg). Dachau is a suburb of Munich and reminder of the dark hours of German history. Prepare to be shocked by the atrocities committed by the Nazis during the Third Reich era displayed at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site.
- 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. 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. Mike's Bike Tours offers a day trip from Munich which includes an optional (but highly recommended) brief bike tour of the Bavarian countryside around Neuschwanstein.
- Garmisch-Partenkirchen (About 1.5 hr by regional train or by car on autobahn A 95.). Access point to Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze and location of the 1936 Winter Olympic Games. The rack railway train to the top of the Zugspitze leaves regularly from the Garmisch-Partenkirchen railway station.
- Nuremberg (by ICE train in one hour / regional train under 2 hrs). Nuremberg offers a lot of history and a charming old town for visitors. The Nazi rally grounds were in Nuremberg, and the Nuremberg Trials were held here to prosecute some of the leaders of the Nazi regime.
- 3 Regensburg. A beautiful medieval city at the shores of the river Danube. Its 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. There are daily tour buses from just outside the Hauptbahnhof that leave for day trips to Salzburg, as well.
- Ulm. Ulm is an easy day trip from Munich. You can reach Ulm by train from Munich Central Station in around 2 hours using the Bayern Ticket. You find there the highest church spire in the world, the river Danube as well as the most crooked hotel in the world.
- Schliersee: A small mountain lake and popular summer and winter getaway of Munich residents. It has also a ski resort at the neighbouring Spitzingsee lake.
- Tegernsee: Being the bigger and posher neighbour of Schliersee lake, Tegernsee is the hotspot for Munich's rich and famous. Being a beautiful mountain lake at the foot of the Alps doesn't hurt, either.
|Routes through Munich|
|Stuttgart ← Augsburg ←||W E||→ Rosenheim → Salzburg|
|Nuremberg ← Ingolstadt ←||N S||→ END|
|END ←||W E||→ Munich Airport → Landshut|
|END ←||N S||→ Junction → Garmisch-Partenkirchen|
|Lindau ← Memmingen ←||W E||→ END|
|Nuremberg ← Ingolstadt ←||Hamburg Munich||→ END|