In the words of romantic poet Henrich Heine, “Between art and beer, Munich is executed superimposed like a village between hills.” Constantly topping global “most livable city” surveys, the Bavarian capital is one of the most affluent cities on the planet.
Bisected by the Isar River, Munich is the center of all things Bavarian in addition to being a major center of art, technology, finance, publishing, culture, innovation, education, business and tourism, and enjoys a very high standard of living. There is nowhere quite like Munich – the city is a quaint and charming mix of tall steins, edgy art, river surfers, oompah bands, Lederhosen and Dirndl.
With mountains and lakes in its backyard, an enviable inventory of historic and cultural gems, and chic high-end boutiques in architecturally impressive surroundings, the city has the air of confidence that comes from giving the world some of its best recognized and respected brands – BMW, Siemens, FC Bayern München and Oktoberfest to name a few. For at least seven centuries, beer has been a major player in Munich and continues to be so into the 21st century.
Munich has a lot of breweries, the local beer is “Helles”. Discover the taste of Bavarian beer on a guided tour in a brewery and book your flight to Munich now.
How do you get to Munich from the airport?
Munich Airport (MUC) is located 38 km (23.6 miles) from the center of Munich. The S1 and S8 S-Bahn (above ground urban rail) train lines connect the airport with the center of Munich, with departures every 10 minutes. The journey takes approximately 45 minutes. There are also bus connections from the airport to Munich Central Station. The Lufthansa Express Bus departs every 15 minutes and the journey takes approximately 45 minutes. Taxis are also in plentiful supply at Munich Airport – taxi stands are in the departure and arrivals areas of Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.
What about getting around the city?
Munich has an extra-reliable and excellent integrated public transportation system, comprising the U-Bahn (underground), tram network (Strassenbahn) and S-Bahn. Most of the major attractions in Munich are covered by the U-Bahn network. The tram network runs at night after the U-Bahn has closed and is a good way to cover ground in the city and sightsee at the same time. The S-Bahn trains also travel to major hubs such as Hauptbahnhof, Marienplatz and Ostbahnhof as well as servicing locations outside the city.
What else is good to know?
You may want to consider a München Card – the official guest card that provides access to public transportation and discounts on entry to more than 90 attractions. It is available for durations of 1-5 days as an electronic/online ticket or a mobile ticket.
Munich: A city full of history and culture
Following the destruction of WWII, a carefully executed reconstruction plan has been implemented, which has resulted in the historic grandeur of this Bavarian beauty to shine once again. Combined with a booming economy fueled by the likes of BMW and Siemens, major cultural centers and an ever-expanding culinary landscape, it’s not surprising Munich is consistently at pole position on the “most livable” list – there are many different ways to spend your time in Munich.
The most popular attractions are:
- English Garden
- Eisbach Wave
- St. Peter’s Church Tower (Alter Peter)
- Marienplatz with New Town Hall
Stroll along the riverbank to what is perhaps the most recognized stretch of the Isar River – the Eisbach – which runs directly through the English Garden. The Eisbach Wave is a surfing hotspot, where surfers ride a permanent wave at the southern tip of the park. The perfect place for a wander, people-watching and patting some happy dogs, or a nice spot for a picnic or enjoying a cold beer on the riverbank. There are also designated BBQ areas, which attract crowds in nice weather and are a great way to to mingle with the locals.
Step up and take on the many steps at the 12th century St. Peter’s Church Tower (known to locals as Alter Peter/Old Peter) located at the heart of Munich’s Aldstadt (Old Town) to reach the viewing platform. You will be rewarded with plenty of Instagrammable content, with a bird’s eye view across the rooftops of Munich and Marienplatz and the Viktualienmarkt market from 1804 at your feet. On a clear day, your view will extend all the way to the Alps. For a less strenuous approach to obtaining Instagrammable content, take the elevator up to the Rathaus (Town Hall) viewing platform.
Marienplatz has been Munich’s main square since 1158. Today the square is dominated by the massive Gothic Revival New Town Hall, and the pedestrianized zone between Karlsplatz and Marienplatz is overflowing with cafes and restaurants from which you can enjoy wonderful views while soaking up the local atmosphere. The Mariensäule is a Marian column in Marienplatz dedicated to Mary as Patrona Bavariae (Protector of Bavaria). The tower of the Town Hall is home to the famous Glockenspiel, the daily performances of which have been enchanting millions of tourists for more than 100 years.
Munichs beer tradition
No other city in Europe has a beer tradition that comes close to that of Munich. Six behemoth breweries provide a constant supply of the copper-colored elixir to the hundreds of beer gardens and beer halls around the city. The Reinheitsgebot or German “purity law” guarantees that there’s nothing in your tankard that shouldn’t be there. The brewing year reaches its annual climax at the Oktoberfest – a 16-18 day folk and beer festival that attracts six million punters every year.
Learn more about all of the attractions in Munich, the capital of brewery, in our comprehensive guide.
Munich: Bavaria’s capital of art
Munich has an international reputation as the city of both art and beer, so before heading off to the beer hall for a cold one, take some time to enjoy the local art scene. The Kunstareal (Area of arts) in the center of Munich is home to eight galleries presenting 5,000 years of art and cultural history. The area comprises three “Pinkakotheken” galleries, the Old, New and Modern, with impressive collections covering the Old Masters, 18th and 19th century European art through to contemporary artworks. Also here are the Glypothek and Staatliche Antikensammlungen, both specializing in Greek and Roman art, the Lenbachhaus, Museum Brandhorst (private modern art collections) and the State collection of Egyptian art. The legacy of seven hundred years of rule by the Bavarian House of Wittelsbach has also bequeathed a string of royal palaces open to exploration.
German culinary classics and more
Munich has a passionate food culture represented in a diverse culinary landscape that covers the full spectrum. Whether you have a taste for a cafe or a beer hall, traditional Bavarian classics or Michelin star-studded new fusion, you’ll find it in Munich. And of course, it’s all rounded out with a beer.
With such a high standard of living, it’s not surprising that Munich punches above its weight in the top-end gourmet experience stakes. However, the stalwarts of the Munich culinary scene are the brewery-affiliated Biergarten, which is where you should be to feast on traditional Bavarian classics like Löwenbräu, Paulaner and Franziskaner, or the Munich classic Weissbier, a refreshing wheat beer. All are often accompanied by other Bavarian specialities such as Schweinshaxe (roasted pork knuckle), Weisswurst and Brezen (Bavarian white sausage made from minced veal and pork back bacon, accompanied by Bavarian pretzel). Followed by Dampfnudeln (sweet roll) or Obatzda (Bavarian soft cheese spread, which naturally also includes beer).
Get more food tips for Munich.
Munich: Bavaria’s shopping paradise
For the shoppers, there is Maximilianstrasse. The most exclusive retail address in Munich, Maximilianstrasse is lined with flagship high-end designer boutiques and suppliers appointed by the Bavarian royal family, some of whom still sell their exquisite products today, including watchmaker Andreas Huber, jeweler Hemmerle and shoemaker Eduard Meier.