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Munich Attractions

A travel guide to München & the best tours from Munich


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My friend Marion's tips to visit the Wiesn.

The Kindle version got its 2014 update!

What are the Munich attractions you shouldn't miss during your visit?
This travel guide introduces you not only to the sights and things to do in Munich, but also to beautiful tours and destinations in the immediate vicinity of Bavaria's fascinating capital.

Munich's motto used to be "Weltstadt mit Herz" (cosmopolitan city with a heart). It was replaced by "München mag dich" (Munich likes you) in 2006. Isn't it an inviting motto to visit Germany's third largest city?


view over munich
New town hall and Frauenkirche

München has something to offer for everyone, regardless of your interests. Historic buildings and architecture, museums for art and technology, parks and the famous English Garden just north of the city centre on the Isar, and boulevards lined with elegant shops.

You think I forgot something important on the list of things to do in Munich? Of course, the famous Hofbräuhaus, the Oktoberfest and the lovely beer gardens make Munich the beer capital of the world, and are a huge visitor attraction. At least for those who love a "cold one".

Use the quick links below to navigate around this page and find your favourite Munich tourist attractions.

Get Around  |   Central Munich  |   Oktoberfest  |  Historic Places  |   Royal Castles  |   Day Tours   |   Munich Books

Getting around in Munich

Because Munich has so much to offer to its visitors, it can be hard to decide where to start with your sightseeing.

marienkirche munich


The Munich City Hop-on Hop-off Bus can solve this problem.
Explore Munich with a 1 or 2 day ticket aboard an open-top double-decker bus.
Buses of the Express Tour depart every 20 minutes in summer (30 min in winter) and stop at the main attractions in the inner city like Marienplatz, Pinakothek, Karlsplatz / Stachus and Max-Josefs-Platz.

On the Grand Tour you can additonally visit Schwabing, the Nymphenburg Palace and Olympia Park with the Olympic Stadium, Sea Life Aquarium and BMW World / BMW Museum.

If you want to take your time exploring Munich, you can even buy a two-day pass (consecutive days) for the Grand Tour.

fountain at stachus


Another good option to explore Munich at your own pace is to rent a bike. Munich is a cycle-friendly city with lots of bicycle paths. The English-speaking staff at the bike collecting point (in the main train station) provides you with maps and tips for your own Munich discovery tour.

Spend a day (or more) to find the best spots in the huge English Garden, or whatever attracts you in Munich.
If riding a bike on your own in a foreign city scares you, join a guided bicycle tour in Munich.

Both cycling activities are available only from April to October.

Central Munich Attractions

Three city gates of the medieval fortification survived, Isar Tor, Sendlinger Tor and Karlstor. Within these former city walls you will find the old München.

Marienplatz

petersplatz
Marienplatz is the heart of historic Munich, lined by the old town hall on the east side and the impressive new town hall on the northern edge.
Just around the corner is a well-known Munich landmark, the Frauenkirche, the cathedral of the archbishop of München and Freising.

Not far from Marienplatz is the famous Viktualienmarkt, a mecca for gourmets and friends of fresh food.
The name "Viktualien" (victuals) is the latin word for food. Viktualienmarkt exists since 1807. The old food market at Marienplatz had grown too large, so King Maximilian I ordered per decree that the market had to be moved to the current place.


Hofbrauhaus Munich

hofbrauhaus
Actually, the correct German spelling of Hofbrauhaus is with is with the funny vowel "ä".
Literally translated Hofbräuhaus means a "house where beer is brewed for the court".
Duke Wilhelm V ordered to build a brewery (Brauerei) to supply the court (Hof) with beer. This was 1589. With rising demand of beer, a bigger house had to be built in 1607, the new Hofbräuhaus am Platzl. However, it took until 1828 that the house was opened to the general public.
Staatliches Hofbräuhaus in München (or: Hofbräu München) is the official name of the brewery, owned by the Freistaat Bayern (Free State of Bavaria). The brewery owns and leases the Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, the Hofbräukeller in Haidhausen and the second largest beer tent at the Oktoberfest.


Oktoberfest

Discover all the facts about the famous Munich festival on my pages dedicated to that huge event.

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What to do in Munich - More Guided Munich Tours

You can easily explore most Munich attractions on your own. However, if you prefer a tour in company with other travellers and an English-speaking guide, here are a few suggestions that might be of interest.

As a partner of Viator (a reliable online tour booking company), I have picked the tours which other travellers liked best. Click on the links below to learn more about the activities in Munich on Viator's website. Read other traveller's reviews of the tours before you make a decision.

  • Munich City Tour including FC Bayern Soccer Grounds Visit
    After a short sightseeing tour in Munich you are going to see the Allianz Arena, home of Munich's two soccer clubs. A must see when you are a fan of the FC Bayern Munchen.
  • Munich Segway Tour
    Riding a segway is easy to learn, and this is sure a great way to cruise around the city to see sights like the English Garden, the Royal Garden, Deutsches Museum, Viktualienmarkt and much more.
  • Munich by Night and Dinner at Hofbrauhaus is a truly cultural experience. Enjoy local food, beer and entertainment. After dinner you are going to Olympia Park to see the stunning sights of Munich at night from the Olympic tower.
  • Munich Christmas Market Tour
    Explore the best of Munich's 20 Christmas markets with a tour guide, see the nativity scene at the old town hall and the Christmas village in the Royal Palace Courtyard.

Munich Tours To Historic Places

München was first mentioned in a document in 1158. Duke Henry the Lion was granted the right to build a bridge over the Isar. 14th June 1158 became the official foundation date of Munich. Only 17 years later the town received city status and fortification.

In 1806 München became the capital of the Kingdom of Bavaria. Under the reign of King Ludwig I many of the historic buildings we still see today were built.

It was in Munich where Hitler and his supporters organised the failed "Beer Hall Putsch" to gain power in the city, Bavaria and Germany. Ten years later, after the Nazis took power in Germany, the NSDAP headquartes and other Nazi-buildings were errected around Königsplatz. Dachau Concentration Camp was the first to be built, just a few km outside the city.

odeonsplatz and feldherrenhalle

But Munich was also the base of a students group called Die Weisse Rose that formed a resistance movement.
Hans and Sophie Scholl, as well as other students from the university of Munich, called in an anonymous leaflet campaign to active opposition to the Nazi regime. Six core members of the group were excecuted in 1943.

Things to do in Munich - Visit The Royal Castles

German castles abound, but only a few are well-known all arond the world. The fairy-tale castle Schloss Neuschwanstein is certainly one of them.

Like Herrenchiemsee and Linderhof Castle, Neuschwanstein was built by the famous Bavarian king Ludwig II in the 19th century. However, Linderhof Castle was the only one he ever lived in.

Don't miss the opportunity to visit the castles of the Märchenkönig (Fairy tale king) Louis II when you are in Munich.

neuschwanstein castle

The Alps form a dramatic backdrop to Neuschwanstein Castle

Munich Travel Tips - Tours To Southern Bavaria

Beautiful towns and landscapes, historic places and castles are waiting to be explored when you have some extra time while staying in Munich.

market place in rothenburg

  • Romantic Road, Rothenburg and Harburg Day Tour from Munich

    Travel along the Romantic Road to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Your first stop is at the small town Harburg with a medieval castle from the 12th century.
    The tour continues to one of the best preserved medieval towns in Germany, Rothenburg. Walk along the town wall, see the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas store (I couldn't get my auntie out of the store), and St. James Church with the Holy Blood Altar by Tilman Riemenschneider.
  • Ettal Monastery and Zugspitze Day Tour from Munich

    Visit the 14th century Ettal Abbey, a Benedictine monastery, with a lovely baroque church from the 18th century.
    Afterwards you get on "top of Germany". From Eibsee you will climb Germany's highest mountain Zugspitze (2,962 m / 9,788 ft) with a cable car. Enjoy stunning panoramic views over the Alps on a clear day.
    Finally, a cogwheel train takes you down the mountain to your coach.
  • Didn't find the activity you were looking for? Here are more day trips from Munich for you to check out.

Books about Munich Attractions

These books are written by a true insider. Marion Kummerow lives in Munich, she writes her travel books with great enthusiasm to introduce visitors to the beauty of Munich.

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Hopefully, you liked this quick guide to the best Munich attractions. I am happy to help you to decide about what to do in Munich.
I wish you a pleasant time discovering Bavaria's capital city.

Discover more destinations and attractions in southern Germany.

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