Munich is one of those incredible European cities that is perfect to visit any time of year. Christmas markets, ice skating, and glühwein make winter feel magical, massive beer festivals like the famous Oktoberfest and the smaller version Frühlingsfest (Springfest) make the shoulder seasons feel like a huge fun party, and summer is perfect for gorgeous weather and enjoying a stein in the English gardens. Munich is also a beautiful city rich in history and filled with gorgeous buildings that make you feel transported back in time.
There’s so much to see and do in Munich and I’ve put together the top 8 must-see places (along with some pro tips). You can easily spend weeks in Munich or see (almost) everything in a day or two! Whether you’re just stopping in or spending an extended amount of time, make sure to check out these sights!
The Englischer Garten (English Gardens)
These beautiful gardens are massive, perfectly manicured, and right in the city center. The Chinese tower right in the middle has a beer garden that’s perfect for a pint and/or lunch under the shaded trees with friends.
Eisbachwelle: This spot in the gardens is a hidden gem. A wave has been created so water hits perfectly for surfers to enjoy a good surf. Surfers line up on the sides to jump in and give surfing here a go! It’s fun to sit and watch and the water is perfect for surfing year round.
This massive square is right in the heart of the city and surrounded by some of the most gorgeous buildings in all of Germany. If you time it right you might even catch the fun clocktower do a little performance! Times vary and most often there are two showings a day (11am and 5pm) but make sure to check it before you go!
This beautiful market is only a few minutes walk from Marienplatz and has the best food and drink vendors for a delicious lunch of afternoon drink!
The first thing that comes to mind for most people when they think of Munich is the famous Oktoberfest. Theresienwiese is the official grounds of the event! Did you know that Oktoberfest started back in 1810 as a city-wide wedding celebration of Princess Therese to Prince Ludwig I? Oktoberfest is now celebrated for three weeks in September every year and this massive area is also used for a spring beer fest (Frühlingsfest) and other festivals and flea markets. It’s just outside of the city center and very close to the train station but Munich is the perfect size city for a nice walk!
This palace turned museum is the largest palace in a city center in all of Germany. The ornate rooms are stunning and it’s the perfect place to spend a few hours enjoying the art, history and beauty!
This square has SO much history and is a fascinating place to explore. Right by the opera house and the Residenz it’s centrally located and offers some beautiful buildings along with fun little coffee shops and areas to explore!
Karlsplatz is a beautiful square in Munich and from there it’s a straight shot to Marienplatz. There’s a fountain that’s magical at night and all the shopping you could ever want can be found here! (Especially if you’re looking for lederhosen or a dirndl for Oktoberfest) my favorite shop is Steindl Trachten with great quality and colors for the price!
I couldn’t talk about Munich without mentioning the famous Hofbräuhaus. You’ve probably seen these beer halls in major cities around the world but the one in Munich is the original and has so much character. The food and drinks are a bit pricey but it’s absolutely worth it for the experience! There’s a band that plays traditional music on the main floor most nights and the building is huge. Come for food or beer and you’ll walk out feeling energized!
Pro Tips to Navigating Munich
- Getting there: Munich is located in the perfect part of Europe with easy access to Switzerland, Austria, and other parts of the country. The airport is centrally located and accessible by taxi or public transit making it easy and affordable to get to the city center. The train station is smack dab in the middle of everything and you can find a way to get there from almost every major city in Europe. The bus is likely your cheapest bet and the main station is right next to the train station! If you’re going for busses I recommend FlixBus (super comfortable and affordable and- like everything else in Germany- right on time!)
- Getting around: like most cities in Europe there is an extensive metro line (u-bahn (underground) and s-bahn (above ground)) as well as trams and busses that take you all around the city and even further into the suburbs. Tickets are cheap and if you’ve navigated one subway system you’ll pick up quickly!
- Walkable: While public transit is easy and cheap the city center is also perfectly laid out for a nice walk! You can see so much more of the city this way and there’s something beautiful everywhere you turn. I’ve taken free walking tours in dozens of cities and the one in Munich was one of the best! Sandeman’s does an amazing job if you’re looking for a recommendation!