1. Climb Up St. Peter's Church, 2. Explore Marienplatz, 3. Picnic at the Olympic Park, 4. Visit the Nymphenburg Palace, 5. Stroll Around the English Garden, 6. Spend a Day at Neuschwanstein Castle, 7. Visit Schloss Linderhof Palace, 8. Visit Eagle's Nest, Hitler’s Famous Mountaintop Retreat, 9. Eat, Drink, and Shop at the Victuals Market, 10. Learn about Bavaria’s Royal Past at the Munich Residenz. Munich is a city that seems to effortlessly marry old town charm with cutting-edge modern, where Bavarian beer halls, dachshunds, and dirndls sit side by side with the towering Olympic tower and sleek BMW Welt as symbols of the city. The city is an ideal city break destination in Germany, with easy access via Munich airport, a cosmopolitan food scene, and world-class art and culture, combined with parks and green spaces. Below are the best things to do in Munich, let's find out!
- Climb Up St. Peter’s Church
- Explore Marienplatz
- Picnic at the Olympic Park
- Visit the Nymphenburg Palace
- Stroll Around the English Garden
- Spend a Day at Neuschwanstein Castle
- Visit Schloss Linderhof Palace
- Visit Eagle’s Nest, Hitler’s Famous Mountaintop Retreat
- Eat, Drink, and Shop at the Victuals Market
- Learn about Bavaria’s Royal Past at the Munich Residenz
Climb Up St. Peter’s Church
A good rule of thumb to find the best viewpoint in any old European city is to look for some sort of clock towers or cathedrals where one can usually climb up and get a nice view over the city, and Munich is a prime city for that. St. Peter’s Church is one of the best places to do just that. Considered to be the oldest church in Munich, St. Peter’s Church is one of the most important landmarks in the city.
It is well located right at the center of Marienplatz, the old town area, and it has a 56 meters high lookout tower with a 360° platform that will allow you to admire the beauty of Munich from above. In order to get access to this platform, you are going to have to pay 5 EUR to get inside the tower, and then you will have to brave your way up the 300 steps until you arrive at the top. The church opens daily from 12:00 AM to 4:30 PM every day except on Easter Friday, Shrove Tuesday, and New Year’s Day.
Marienplatz is Munich’s city town square where all the cool architecture is concentrated in. It is truly an architecture-lover paradise here. From left to right, you will be surrounded by all kinds of cool traditional European buildings, all of which somehow survived the mass destruction caused by WW2.
Right at the center, you will also find Mary’s Column where the square got its name from. The monument was erected in 1638 to commemorate the end of Swedish occupation and it is now one of the main features of this beautiful square. 3 weeks before Christmas, the famous Munich Christmas Market will take place in Marienplatz and you can stroll around, and buy some Christmas goods with food and drinks all around.
Picnic at the Olympic Park
Olympic Park is the site of the infamous 1972 Summer Olympics Games that was overshadowed by the Munich massacre where in which eleven Israeli athletes and coaches and a West German police officer at the Olympic village were killed by Palestinian Black September members. The place has a dark history behind it but the current state of the place is far from what it once was with its vast grassland full of trees being converted into a recreational park for locals and tourists to enjoy.
The park sports iconic “tent-style” roofs that are definitely ahead of their time. The idyllic grassland is also dotted with small ponds, lakes, and rolling hills where you can picnic and enjoy a nice summer day. The park is located on top of the highest slope north of the city.
Visit the Nymphenburg Palace
Nymphenburg Palace is a royal residence of former rulers of Bavaria located just outside of Munich and it boasts a 200-hectare area, lavish decors, and a vast symmetrical baroque garden that will blow your mind away when you see it. The interior and exterior of the palace are lavishly decorated with rococo-baroque architectural style through and through and you will likely need at least half a day to cover the vast ground of the palace so be sure to spare some time.
Surrounding the palace also massive botanical gardens that extended as far as the eyes can see. Its idyllic vibe is perfect for a peaceful stroll and a ton of photo opportunities. Best of all, it is free to enjoy the garden and you can walk as far and wide as you wish but if you want to see the stunning interior of the palace, you are going to have to pay the entrance fee to get inside. If you have a few hours to spare in Munich, be sure to drop by Nymphenburg Palace.
Stroll Around the English Garden
Right in the middle of Munich, you will find a nice green space that is the English Garden where one can escape the bustling city of Munich and be among nature. This expansive urban park was constructed in the 18th Century and it stretches across the city from the city center all the way to the city’s northern limit covering more than 910 acres of area which is incredible for such a big city like Munich.
Within the park, you will find over 78 km of cycling and jogging trails across the entire park with many landmarks and recreational areas you can explore while you are in Munich. You will also find beer gardens here in the summer if you wish to take a break in between jogging with a beer stein. All in all, the English Garden is truly the lung of Munich and if you are craving some nature in this vast city, you should spend a few hours at the English Garden while you are in Munich.
Park Inn by Radisson
Spend a Day at Neuschwanstein Castle
The castle is now open to the public and you can stroll around the castle or go on a guided tour which should take about 45 minutes. Though you’ll never be able to completely avoid the crowds, rumor has it that a very early start (like arriving an hour plus before the daily tours of the castle start kind of early) can help you avoid the crowds. You can also get to the famous viewpoint where you will be able to snap that popular photo of the castle from afar.
Travel + Leisure
The Wandering Lens
Visit Schloss Linderhof Palace
Schloss Linderhof Palace is located in the Ammer Valley near Oberammergau and Ettal. It is a popular day-trip destination from Munich and can be combined with visiting the more famous and popular Disney-like Schloss Neuschwanstein Castle. Opening hours are long and the palace is open on Mondays and most public holidays. The park is unfenced and tickets for the palace itself are fairly easy to obtain.
Despite its size, the palace still boasts an extravagant facade design, a ton of lavishly decorated rooms and chambers, as well as elaborate symmetrical gardens that you can stroll in. Getting there by yourself is not worth the effort but if you are already visiting Neuschwanstein Castle, most organized tours will also include a stop by Linderhof Palace.
Visit Eagle’s Nest, Hitler’s Famous Mountaintop Retreat
The so-called “Eagle’s Nest” (Kehlsteinhaus) was built as a teahouse for Adolf Hitler on Kehlstein Mountain at an elevation of 6,017 ft / 1,834 m. Its unusual position made it a unique engineering feat. What few realize is that Hitler’s home (the Berghof) and southern headquarters – his second seat of power – were located on Obersalzberg, at the foot of the Eagle’s Nest mountain.
If you are looking for a cool unique place to visit in Munich that involves stunning nature and snowy mountains with a touch of the dark past of WW2, you should go on a day trip and visit Berchtesgaden and check out the Eagle’s Nest. Due to its high elevation, the Eagle’s Nest generally can’t open until mid-May. The exact opening date is not usually known until about 2 weeks prior to the expected opening and is subject to weather conditions. The Eagle’s Nest officially closes at the end of October but early snowfall sometimes forces an earlier closure.
Eat, Drink, and Shop at the Victuals Market
The Victuals Market (or Viktualienmarkt, as the locals say) is primarily open from Monday to Saturday, although you may find that some stalls and the beer garden stay open on Sundays. The market has around 140 different stalls, covers an impressive area of some 22,000 square meters, and is stuffed full of great food and drink to try out!
You’ll find that the main focus of the market has always been fruit, vegetables, and other locally sourced farm products. In fact, the market was always traditionally a farmer’s market, and produce was brought into the city from the countryside to be sold to the citizens of Munich. That tradition continues today, of course, but you’ll also find that the variety of goods on offer has expanded massively. You can purchase Munich-style souvenirs from tourist-focused market stalls. Plus, you’ll find fresh meats, fresh Bavarian cheeses, and freshly brewed beer for sale.
Pilarrius Collage Artist – WordPress.com
Learn about Bavaria’s Royal Past at the Munich Residenz
The Munich Residenz is the former seat of the House of Wittelsbach, and you’ll love how much of their heritage and everyday family life has been preserved in this palatial residence. This is the largest city palace in Germany, and there are 130 different rooms and 10 separate courtyards spaced around the enormous Hofgarten.
You’ll learn how the palace began life as a humble castle back in 1385. But with each successive ruler adding their own touch, centuries later the Munich Residenz has evolved into a sprawling complex that’s layered with history. You’ll need a few hours to tour through the entire palace, the treasury, the many different halls, and the church and the courtyards. If you’re in a rush, visiting the excellent Residenze Museum will give you a fantastic idea of what else is in store.
The Geographical Cure