I seem to have very distinct thought and impressions about cities that I visit and most of the time they do not change. Munich was very different from any other city. I first visited last year and to call it a whirlwind 48 hours is an understatement. Most of my time was spent at a beer garden and then at a beer house drinking and eating and having the time of my life, not much time was spent actually walking about and exploring the city. As a result of which I thought Munich had nothing to offer, looked drab and dull and was just a place to visit to enjoy their beer and basic Oktoberfest vibe. How incredibly wrong I was. This July, exactly a year since my last visit I spent another 48 hours in Munich ( sober and determined to explore the city ) where I realised that not only is Munich gorgeous but a city I’d visit again and again and again. Mind you it’s not cheap and considered an expensive city even for the locals but it’s beautiful and fun and a must visit if you’re planning a trip to Germany. These are just a few things I explored and enjoyed in the two days I spent there. Plenty to do beyond these, but these were my personal highlights.
Marienplatz– One of the most popular neighbourhoods or areas in Munich is Marienplatz and while it is definitely considered touristy and buzzing with people, I really enjoy it. The highlight is of course the iconic town hall in the middle of the square and the famous Glockenspiel which is a clock tower full of motorized figurines. Thrice a day every day ( 11am, 12pm and 5 pm ) the clock chimes and the figurines dance and twirl about in a performance that last for about 12 minutes. It’s a great place to walk about and enjoy the energy around, catch all the street performers in action or even do a spot of shopping.
Bier Garten – If there is one thing famous in Munich it is their Beer Gardens. Thanks to all the revelry during Oktoberfest, the beer gardens have become a worldwide attraction and I must confess there is nothing more exciting than spending the evening with your friends knocking back steins of local brew among feisty people. Folks around are drunk, singing dancing and playing games all while guzzling their beer and sausages and the entire place turns into one large outdoor open air pub. It’s great fun and a must visit at least once.
Beer Hall – While the outdoor gardens are wonderful my personal favourite is the Hofbrauhaus or the famous beer hall in Munich. It was built in 1589 as an extension to the brewery and sadly every room except the famous beer hall was destroyed in the bombings during world war II. It was of course restored and today is one of the most popular spots in the city and is always packed to the gills. They have live traditional Bavarian music with the band dressed in traditional Bavarian attire and plenty of beer and Bavarian food on the menu. The atmosphere here is electric with everyone singing and dancing and having a great time. I’ve been to Munich twice and spent time here on both visits.
The Food – German food specially Bavarian dishes as I’ve talked about in another post ( click here ) is all about meat and potatoes and quite frankly to me that sounds beautiful. There are some delicious dishes to try and even some hearty desserts and Munich is home to some fine restaurants and cafes serving all of them. Don’t leave without eating a proper pretzel and schnitzel but of course the choices are plenty.
English Gardens – One of the largest patches of green in the city, the public park is known as the English Gardens. They’re perfect to take stroll through, go for a run or just enjoy the natural beauty. One of the coolest things you’ll spot in a small river stream in the garden where the current is so strong that it creates waves and has turned into a popular spot for surfers. I could stand there and watch them all day long they were fantastic and hats off to them for managing to surf when the water was clearly freezing cold!
Nymphenberg Palace – Also known as the Palace of Nymphs, was the summer residence for all the Kings of Bavaria. For folks who enjoy historic tours, a visit inside the palace is a must to appreciate the fine architecture . If you want to skip the formal tour then the gardens are ideal to take a stroll around the place ground and laze and enjoy the weather. It’s not exactly within the city of Munich but not too far out and you won’t need an entire day there unless of course you plan to tour inside extensively.
Dachau – This isn’t anyone’s idea of a touristy thing to do but I find history fascinating and important enough to pay attention to and so chose to visit Dachau and include it in this article. Dachau is a city on the outskirts of Munich and was considered one of the first if not the first Concentration Camp during World War II. It’s a train ride away and easy to get to. There are tours of the camp or you can grab an audio guide and to understand the past and what really went on there. Most of the camp has been burnt and so is re created but it’s still extremely heart breaking to imagine what it must have been like.
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