The Ultimate Munich Travel Guide: Everything You Need To Know Before A Trip To Munich

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aerial view of the marienplatz in munich germany

Munich travel guide

Munich, the capital of Bavaria in Germany, is a captivating city that effortlessly blends history, culture, and innovation. From its stunning architecture and rich heritage to its lively beer gardens and vibrant arts scene, Munich offers a delightful mix of old-world charm and modern excitement. Whether you’re exploring its historic streets, savouring traditional Bavarian cuisine, or immersing yourself in its thriving cultural offerings, Munich is a city that leaves a lasting impression.

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aerial view of city buildings
Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva on Pexels.com

Where is Munich?

Munich is located in the state of Bavaria, which is situated in the southern part of Germany. Geographically, Munich is positioned on the banks of the River Isar, north of the Bavarian Alps. It is approximately 530km (330 miles) south of Berlin, the capital of Germany. Munich’s central location within Europe also makes it an important transportation hub, with excellent connectivity to other major cities in Germany and neighbouring countries.

When to visit Munich?

The best season to visit Munich largely depends on personal preferences and the type of experience you’re seeking.

Late spring (May and June) and early autumn (September and October) are considered ideal times to visit Munich. The weather is pleasant with mild temperatures and longer daylight hours, allowing for comfortable exploration of the city’s attractions and outdoor spaces. These months are less crowded than the peak summer season, offering a more relaxed and authentic experience. Spring brings blooming flowers and the Frühlingsfest, while autumn showcases colorful foliage and the start of Oktoberfest, one of the world’s largest beer festivals.

However, it’s worth noting that Munich has its charm throughout the year, with unique events and attractions in each season. Winter, for example, offers the magical atmosphere of Christmas markets and the opportunity to experience traditional Bavarian winter activities like ice skating and snowboarding in nearby alpine regions.

Autumn is a beautiful season to visit Munich. Photo by Ahmed El Amine Nakib on Unsplash

How to get to Munich?

Munich is an important transportation hub in Germany. There are several ways to get to Munich depending on your location and preferences.

By plane

Munich is served by Munich Airport (Flughafen München; IATA: MUC), which is one of the busiest airports in Germany. It has connections to major cities around the world. From the airport, you can take a taxi, use public transportation, or arrange for a shuttle service to reach your destination in Munich.

By Train

Munich is well-connected to the European rail network, making train travel a convenient option. The city has several train stations, with Munich Hauptbahnhof (Central Station) being the main hub. There are direct train connections to various German cities and international destinations. High-speed trains, such as the ICE (InterCity Express), offer quick and comfortable travel.

› For more information, or to check a train timetable, please visit Deutsche Bahn website.
› Want to travel around Europe hassle-free? Try Eurail Global Pass that covers 33 European Countries. You can purchase your pass here.

By Bus

Munich is also accessible by long-distance buses. Several companies operate bus routes to and from Munich, offering affordable transportation options. Bus terminals are typically located near the city center or major transportation hubs.

› For long distance bus services in Europe, we recommend FlixBus for its extensive network and affordable prices.

By Car

If you prefer driving, Munich has good road connections. Germany has a well-developed highway network, and Munich is linked to major cities via autobahns. However, it’s important to be familiar with local traffic rules and regulations, including parking options and any environmental zones in the city center.

› You can read more about Driving in Germany on our website via this link (coming soon).
› If you’d like to hire a car, be sure to compare car rental prices via Rentalcars.com to get the best deals.

Top attractions in Munich

Sightseeing in Munich is a treat for the senses, as the city offers a perfect blend of historical landmarks, cultural treasures, and natural beauty. With its impressive architecture, world-class museums, and vibrant atmosphere, Munich promises an unforgettable sightseeing experience for all who visit.

Marienplatz

Marienplatz is the vibrant central square of Munich that serves as a lively meeting point and a gateway to the city’s rich history. At the heart of Marienplatz stands the imposing New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus), a Gothic Revival masterpiece. The highlight of the Town Hall is its famous Glockenspiel, a magnificent clock tower adorned with figurines that come to life during the daily performances. Visitors gather to watch the mechanical spectacle as the 43 bells chime, and the figures reenact historical events and folk tales.

gothic cathedral on city square
Photo by Prakhyath DESHPANDE on Pexels.com

Frauenkirche

The Frauenkirche, or Cathedral of Our Dear Lady, is an iconic landmark in Munich, Germany. With its distinctive twin towers, this Gothic-style cathedral dominates the city’s skyline and serves as a symbol of Munich. Inside, visitors can marvel at the grandeur of the nave, adorned with intricate stained glass windows and ornate altars. Climbing to the top of the towers offers panoramic views of Munich and the surrounding area, making the Frauenkirche a must-visit attraction for both its architectural beauty and breathtaking vistas.

aerial view of the marienplatz in munich germany
One can see the majestic cathedral and its clock towers to the left of this photo. Photo by Prakhyath DESHPANDE on Pexels.com

Englischer Garten

The Englischer Garten, or English Garden, is a sprawling urban park in Munich that offers a serene and picturesque retreat from the bustling city. With its lush green meadows, serene lakes, and meandering paths, the English Garden provides a perfect escape for relaxation and recreation. Visitors can rent a paddleboat on the lake, enjoy a picnic, or simply take a leisurely stroll through the park’s beautifully landscaped grounds. The park is also known for its iconic Chinese Tower beer garden, where locals and visitors gather to enjoy traditional Bavarian beer and cuisine. With its tranquil ambiance and natural beauty, the Englischer Garten is a beloved oasis in the heart of Munich.

the monopteros in the englischer garten
Photo by Michele Petruzzelli on Pexels.com

Nymphenburg Palace

Nymphenburg Palace, a splendid Baroque masterpiece in Munich, Germany, is a historical gem that exudes grandeur and elegance. Built as a summer residence for Bavarian rulers, the palace impresses with its opulent architecture, magnificent gardens, and ornate interiors. Visitors can explore the lavishly decorated rooms, admire the extensive art collection, and learn about the fascinating history of the Wittelsbach dynasty. The sprawling park surrounding the palace offers delightful walks, charming pavilions, and serene water features, providing a glimpse into the royal lifestyle of bygone eras. Nymphenburg Palace stands as a testament to Bavaria’s rich cultural heritage and continues to captivate all who step foot within its majestic walls.

Tourist Information
› Address: Schloß Nymphenburg 1, 80638 München, Germany (Google Maps)
› Opening hours:
Palace and Museum: April to October 15: daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; October 16 to March: daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m
Palace Chapel: April to October 15: daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Park castles (Amalienburg, Badenburg, Magdalenenklause, Pagodenburg): April to October 15: daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; October 16 to March: closed
› Tickets: (1 April to mid October) €15 regular, €13 reduced; (mid October to 31 March) €12 regular, €10 reduced. You can get the ticket via official online ticket shop
› To know more about Nymphenburg Palace, join Mystical Nymphenburg Palace Tour, which includes a guided tour.

Photo by Luis Fernando Felipe Alves on Unsplash

BMW Museum and BMW Welt

The BMW Museum and BMW Welt in Munich offer a fascinating experience for automotive enthusiasts and curious visitors alike. The BMW Museum takes visitors on a journey through the brand’s rich history, showcasing a captivating collection of classic cars, futuristic prototypes, and technological innovations. Adjacent to the museum, BMW Welt is a state-of-the-art exhibition and delivery center where customers can collect their new BMW vehicles in a memorable experience. Beyond the cars, interactive exhibits and immersive displays provide insights into BMW’s cutting-edge engineering and design. Together, the BMW Museum and BMW Welt offer an unforgettable exploration of automotive excellence and innovation, making it a must-visit destination for anyone with an interest in the world of automobiles.

Tourist Information
› Address: Am Olympiapark 1, 80809 München, Germany (Google Maps)
› Opening Hours:
(BMW Welt) Mon. to Sat. 7:30am – 00:00am; Sun and holidays 9:00am – 00:00am
(BMW Museum) 10:00am – 6:00pm (last admission at 5:30 pm)
› Tickets: (BMW Welt) Free admission. (BMW Museum) €10 regular; €7 reduced; Under 6: free.
› You can buy the tickets online via official ticket shop.

two brown and white vehicles
Photo by Maria Geller on Pexels.com

Pinakotheken

The Pinakotheken in Munich form a trio of world-class art museums that house a remarkable collection of masterpieces. The Alte Pinakothek showcases European art from the Middle Ages to the end of the Rococo period, boasting works by renowned artists such as Rembrandt, Rubens, and Titian. The Neue Pinakothek focuses on 19th-century art, with an exceptional assortment of works by Van Gogh, Monet, and Gauguin. Lastly, the Pinakothek der Moderne is dedicated to contemporary art and design, featuring cutting-edge creations by modern artists and designers. Together, the Pinakotheken offer a captivating journey through the history of art, making it a heaven for art enthusiasts and culture seekers in Munich.

Tourist Information
› Address: Barer Str. 27, 80333 München, Germany (Google Maps)
› Opening Hours:
(Alte Pinakothek) Mon: Closed; Tue-Wed 10:00am-8:30pm; Thu-Sun 10:00am-6:00pm
(Neue Pinakothek) Temporarily closed
(Pinakothek der Moderne) Mon: Closed; Thu 10:00am-8:00pm; other days 10:00am-6:00pm
› Tickets:
(Alte Pinakothek) €7 regular; €5 reduced; €1 on Sundays
(Pinakothek der Moderne) €10 regular; €7 reduced; €1 on Sundays
Day Pass (include Alte Pinakothek, Pinakothek der Moderne, Museum Brandhorst and Sammlung Schack) €12. Only available on site.
› You can buy the tickets online via official ticket shop for Alte Pinakothek and Pinakothek der Moderne.

Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site

The Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, located just outside of Munich, stands as a solemn and poignant reminder of one of history’s darkest chapters. As the first Nazi concentration camp established in Germany, it holds immense historical significance. Today, the memorial site preserves the harrowing stories of the victims who suffered and perished within its walls during the Holocaust. Visitors can explore the preserved barracks, exhibits, and memorials, gaining a profound understanding of the atrocities committed and the importance of remembrance. The Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site serves as a solemn tribute to the victims and a stark reminder of the importance of preserving the memory of the past to prevent such tragedies from happening again.

Tourist Information
› Address: Barer Str. 27, 80333 München, Germany (Google Maps)
› Opening Hours: 9:00am-5:00pm
› Tickets: Free of charge. Pre-registration is not necessary.
› If you wish to join a guided tour for better understanding of the history, you can opt to join Dachau Memorial Site Half-Day Trip. Transportation from Munich is inclusive.

Photo from dachau.de

Viktualienmarkt

Viktualienmarkt is a bustling and vibrant open-air market located in the heart of Munich. With over 140 stalls, this historic marketplace offers a delightful array of fresh produce, regional delicacies, artisanal goods, and international treats. Locals and visitors alike gather here to indulge in Bavarian specialties such as pretzels, sausages, and cheeses, as well as to discover a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers. The lively atmosphere, coupled with traditional Bavarian music and performances, creates a unique and unforgettable experience for all who venture into Viktualienmarkt. From culinary delights to cultural encounters, this market is a must-visit destination that truly embodies the spirit of Munich’s rich gastronomic heritage.

Photo by Sarah Donovan on Unsplash

The most notable annual events in Munich

Munich is a city that celebrates its rich culture and traditions with numerous special occasions and festivals throughout the year. These are some of the most notable annual events celebrated in Munich.

Oktoberfest

The world-famous Oktoberfest takes place in late September to early October and is one of the largest beer festivals globally. Visitors from all over the world gather in Munich to indulge in traditional Bavarian beer, food, and music at the Theresienwiese fairgrounds. Want to know more about Oktoberfest? You can refer to the event’s official website here.

aerial photography of group of people
Photo by Manuel Joseph on Pexels.com

Christmas Markets

During the Advent season, Munich transforms into a winter wonderland with several charming Christmas markets. The most famous is the Christkindlmarkt at Marienplatz, offering a magical atmosphere with twinkling lights, handicrafts, and seasonal treats.

Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

How to get around Munich

Munich boasts an extensive and efficient public transportation network that makes getting around the city convenient and straightforward. The system includes various modes of transport, operated by the MVV (Münchner Verkehrs- und Tarifverbund), which covers not only the city but also the surrounding regions.

Modes of transport and Network Map

Munich travel guide
  1. S-Bahn: The S-Bahn is Munich’s suburban train system, connecting the city center to its outskirts and neighboring towns. It is a fast and reliable mode of transportation, with several lines that intersect at key hubs like Munich Hauptbahnhof (Central Station) and Marienplatz.
  2. U-Bahn: The U-Bahn is Munich’s underground metro system, providing efficient transportation within the city center and nearby areas. It is a convenient option for navigating popular tourist spots, cultural attractions, and major shopping districts.
  3. Trams: Munich’s tram network is extensive and covers many neighborhoods. Trams offer a comfortable way to explore the city while providing access to areas not directly served by the U-Bahn or S-Bahn.
  4. Buses: Buses supplement the train and tram networks, serving areas where other modes of transportation may not reach. They are particularly useful for reaching destinations outside the city center or for traveling during the night when other services might be less frequent.
  5. Regional Trains: In addition to the S-Bahn, there are regional trains that connect Munich to nearby towns and cities, making it easy to explore the Bavarian countryside.

Transport Tickets and Travel Passes

The MVV offers integrated tickets that allow seamless transfers between different modes of transportation within specified time periods, making it cost-effective and straightforward for travellers to use public transit. Munich’s public transportation system is punctual, well-maintained, and generally runs from early morning until late at night, providing residents and visitors alike with an excellent way to navigate the city and its surroundings efficiently. Here are some of the common types of travel passes available in Munich.

TicketDescriptionPrice as of 2023
Single TicketThis ticket allows you to travel for a specified number of zones and is valid for a one-way trip within the chosen zones. You can purchase single tickets for short journeys or when you don’t plan on using public transport extensively.from €3,70
(Short trip €1.90)
Day Ticket (Tageskarte)The day ticket offers unlimited travel within the selected zones for an entire day. It’s a great option for tourists who want to explore multiple attractions in a day.from €8.80
Stripe Tickets (Streifenkarte)This ticket allows you to buy a set number of strips (or “stripes”) that can be used for individual trips. It offers flexibility as you can use multiple strips on different days until you’ve used them all.Information available here.
AirportPLUS-TicketIf you’re arriving at Munich Airport and want to use public transport to reach the city center, the Airport Ticket covers the journey on the S-Bahn or Lufthansa Airport Bus for a specific number of zones.€16.00
CityTourCardThis card is specifically designed for tourists and offers unlimited travel within the selected zones, as well as discounts on various attractions and services in Munich.€15.50 (24 hours);
€22.50 (48 hours)

Also available 3, 4, 5 and 6 days

Information here.

› To find out more about schedule and prices, you can use Journey Planner by MVV.

Where to stay in Munich

Munich offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit various preferences and budgets. The best area to stay in Munich depends on what you’re looking for in terms of attractions, atmosphere, and convenience. Staying in Altstadt-Lehel puts you within walking distance of the city’s main landmarks and excellent shopping and dining options. If you want to be close to the city’s cultural attractions, stay in Maxvorstadt, home to several museums, galleries, and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU Munich). If you want easy access to transportation network, choose to stay in Schwantalerhöhe, because it is close to the main train station (München Hauptbahnhof).

Where to stay in Munich

Luxury

DO & CO Hotel München
$ $ $

Mid-range

HOtello Lehel
$ $

Budget

Euro Youth Hotel Munich
$

What to take note of when visiting Munich

  • Munich experiences varying weather conditions throughout the year, so be prepared for different temperatures and pack accordingly. Check the weather forecast before your trip to plan your clothing appropriately.
  • While credit cards are widely accepted in Munich, it’s a good idea to have some cash on hand, especially for small purchases or at local markets. Be sure to inform your bank about your travel plans to avoid any issues with card transactions.
  • While English is spoken widely, it’s always appreciated to know a few basic German phrases or greetings. Learning some local phrases can enhance your interactions with locals and show respect for the local culture.
  • Munich has its own unique customs and traditions. Respect local customs, such as table manners and quiet hours, especially in residential areas.
  • Many shops and businesses in Munich close early on Saturdays and remain closed on Sundays. Plan your activities accordingly and be aware of the opening hours of attractions and restaurants.
  • Munich is considered a safe city for travelers, but it’s essential to stay vigilant and keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded areas and public transport.
  • Munich has strict smoking regulations, with smoking prohibited in most indoor public places, including restaurants, bars, and public transport.

Visiting Munich as a Muslim

Munich is a diverse and welcoming city, and as a Muslim traveler, you can comfortably navigate and enjoy your trip while respecting your religious practices. Here are some tips for traveling in Munich as a Muslim:

  • Munich has a growing number of halal restaurants and eateries that serve a wide range of cuisines. You can find halal options such as Middle Eastern, Turkish, Indian, and Pakistani food. Additionally, many supermarkets offer halal meat and other halal products.
    • Shandiz – Halal Persian restaurant (Location)
    • Restaurant Deeba – A Pakistani restaurant (Location)
    • Sababa – Middle Eastern restaurant (Location)
  • Munich has several mosques and Islamic centers where you can perform your daily prayers. The Islamic Center Munich (ICM) near Sendlinger Tor is one of the most prominent mosques in the city. The exact location is here.
  • While there are no strict dress codes in Munich, it’s advisable to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites or during prayer times. It’s respectful to cover your shoulders and knees.
  • Munich is known for its beer culture, but you can easily find alcohol-free alternatives in restaurants and cafes. Be aware that alcoholic beverages are prevalent in the city’s social scene, especially during events like Oktoberfest.
  • Respect local customs and traditions, even if they differ from your own. Understanding and adapting to the local culture will help you have a more enjoyable experience.
  • Use a prayer app or website to find accurate prayer times for Munich. Many mosques and Islamic centers also display prayer times on their websites or notice boards.
  • If you visit during Ramadan, you’ll find that Munich has a significant Muslim population. Many mosques and Islamic centers organize special events and community iftar gatherings during this holy month.

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