Top 9 things to do in Munich
I spent two months researching things to do in Munich for our latest family holiday. Unfortunately, money and time got in the way and we didn’t get a chance to see everything we wanted. These are the Top things to do in Munich
It was built between 1867 and 1908. It covers an area of 9159 m² and contains 400 rooms. The 100 meters long main facade towards the Marienplatz is richly decorated. It shows the Guelph Duke Henry the Lion, and almost the entire line of the Wittelsbach dynasty in Bavaria and is the largest princely cycle in a German town hall. The bay of the tower contains statues of the first four Bavarian kings. At noon and 5 pm, be sure to stop by to hear the Glockenspiel ring, as well as watch the figurines come out to dance.
There are several note worthy churches in Munich but these are the local “favorites”; Asam’s, Michaels, St Peter’s Church. With such history and character, it is easy to understand why. Be sure to get a look early, as they all tend to close at 7 pm.
The Kirche St. Peter (“Church of St. Peter”) is one of Munich’s landmarks, the oldest parish church in the city, and is known affectionately by the locals as Alter Peter (“Old Peter”). The church stands on a hill called Petersbergl, which is the only noteworthy elevation within the Munich’s historic Old Town.
The Hofbräuhaus München is the oldest Beer House in Germany, originally built in 1589 by Bavarian Duke Maximilian I as an extension of the Staatliches Hofbräuhaus in München brewery. They actually wrote the Bavaria beer purity laws. All of the rooms except the historic beer hall (“Schwemme”) were destroyed in the World War II bombings. The reopening of the Festival Hall in 1958 marked the end of the post-war restoration work.
They have great atmosphere, tables aren’t too close together so there is a little privacy and the food was amazing. Even during Oktoberfest, it wasn’t too expensive. It is hard to find a table though; we walked up and down the main aisle twice before watching a family leave their table.
It is one of those things that makes you feel slightly guilty for doing as a tourist, yet feel an obligation as a citizen of the world to “never forget” the atrocities done during the Holocaust. There is no harsher reality check than walking the grounds as the snow piles up under your shoes or as the sun beats down on your neck to make you quietly remind yourself what had happened there. You can either choose to do the guided tour (highly recommended, but show up early to get your (free) spot) or go at your own pace with a self-guided audio tour (which requires much more reading on your own rather than someone telling it to you). Dachau is extremely easy to get to via public transportation from Munich and only takes about 40 minutes by train and bus. Get an the S2 and at Dachau grab the #726 bus which takes you directly to the concentration center. Alternatively, it is an easy drive if you have a vehicle as well.
Munich residence lies in the heart of the Bavarian capital just a few hundred meters from Marienplatz. The Residenz is broken up in two parts the Residence museum and the treasury. We spent a good 4 hours exploring this palace. The treasury had many relics dating back thousands of years including the first British crown yes you heard me. It was made in 1370 when Blanche of England, married to Louis III, Elector Palatine. The residence was constructed in 1385 and was used the the Bavarian royals until the early 19th century. the two outstanding features of the residence museum are the hall of antiques and the Ancestral Gallery. We were blown away by the hall of antiques it was amazing. Free audio guides take you on a tour explaining all you need to know about the residence. so much history so much grandeur a must when in Munich.
While not exactly in Munich, the castles Neuchwanstein and Hohenschwangau are a must on many travelers bucket list. Childhood home of the “Mad” King Ludwig II, Hohenschwangau is the smaller of the two castles. The King later built his own residence on the adjacent mountain top, Neuchwanstein, on the site of the old Schwangau fortress and markedly higher elevation than his parents’ home. Be sure to visit in the down season, as they estimate 6,000 people visit the castles on a given day in the summer.
Marienplatz is the heart of Munich and the main gathering place for locals and visitors alike. At its center is the famous Neue Rathaus (New Town Hall), a striking Neo-Gothic building that dominates the town square. This is where Munich’s famous Glockenspiel performs each day, as figurines re-enacting the city’s history promenade while bells ring and music plays. Spectators below are enraptured and the ever constant pedestrian hum comes to a stop when the clock performs daily at 11 am and noon, and also at 5 pm during the summer.
Surrounding the square are shops, beer gardens, and the Altes Rathaus which was destroyed during World War II, but reconstructed to resemble its 15th century appearance. During the Advent season, Marienplatz hosts the largest Christmas Market in Munich and the entire square is transformed into a winter wonderland. For a beautiful view of Marienplatz from above, head around the corner to Peterskirche (St. Peter’s Church) and pay a couple of Euros to climb the winding stairs. It’s 56 meters up, but if the weather is good, the view can’t be beat.
The Deustches Museum is the world’s largest Science and Technology Museum. It is 5 stories tall, plus an exhibit in the basement. There is both a planetarium and observatory that are child friendly and worthy of exploration. The Tesla Coils have a live demonstration a few times a day and is definitely something you want to see. While the museum itself does have an elevator, it is worth noting that my Bob Revolution did not fit. I had to take the service elevator and it only served a handful of levels. I would suggest parking the stroller in the lobby or taking an umbrella stroller.
According to our tour guide at Neuschwanstein castle, Oktoberfest started as the wedding celebration for Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) and his bride Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The people loved the celebrations, and their king, so much that they decided to host the festivities every year. It started on October 12, then slowly moved to 16 days prior to the first Sunday of October. In 1994, the schedule was modified to accommodate German Reunification Day. Over the course of 200 years, Oktoberfest has been canceled a total of 24 times due to war or cholera.
An excellent resource for planning all of Germany can we found with the Lonely Planet Germany Guide
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