Munich Marienplatz

Munich

A city for all seasons and Bavaria's mighty capital, Munich is truly one of Europe's most beautiful cities and one of Germany's favorite tourist destinations. Munich has an 800 year history and is renowned for its many interesting museums, art galleries and fine Baroque and Renaissance architecture, and although the city was extensively bombed during WW2 its reconstruction managed to preserve much of its original appearance.

Munich City Breaks: Germany’s third largest city makes a perfect European city break destination, and if you dig a bit deeper you'll find Munich is very much a city of two halves. Partly a place of history and tradition and partly a haven for the arts and technology, with the added bonus of being the beer capital of Europe.

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Introduction:
Start your exploration in Munich's city centre at the pedestrianised and lively Marienplatz Square, the geographical and cultural heart of Munich since 1158.

Marienplatz is lined with stunning Gothic architecture, shops, restaurants, street musicians and artists. Marienplatz also serves as the start point to one of Munich’s primary shopping avenues, Kaufingerstrasse. Top Tip: be sure to visit the square at 11 am, noon or (5 pm during summer months) to see the Rathaus Glockenspiel put on its daily performance.

Munich Old Town Guide

Visit the Neue Pinakothek art gallery (see details below) with paintings and works by Goya & Renoir. Also worth a visit is The Residenz, a former royal palace now open to visitors for its historical importance and range of architectural styles, traditional courtyards and fountains.

Visit the Deutsches museum, the largest science museum in the world and explore the Englischer Garten (English Garden) one of the largest municipal parks in Europe. Don't forget to visit the Hofbräuhaus München - The world's oldest tavern and home to Bavarian culture. These are just a few of the many attractions that makes Munich one of the most visited cities in Germany, eclipsing both Frankfurt and Hamburg.

Read on for more sightseeing tips.

(1). Munich Beer Festival: The city was founded in 1158 on the River Isar, it was then named Munchen (home of the monks) due to its first monastery. The monks first started the beer brewing tradition for which the city is now world famous, the celebrated annual beer festival (the largest beer festival in the world) first took place here in 1810. Today approximately six million people visit the Oktoberfest every year and consume more than 5.5 million liters of beer during its two-week celebration.

(2). Hofbräuhaus Beer Hall: Pay a visit to the famous Hofbräuhaus beer hall. The hall dates back to the 16th century and offers a quintessential German beer hall experience, it also includes live performances by Barverian brass bands. Top Tip: Be prepared to queue or wait for a seat at the Hofbräuhaus, the Hall is one Munich's most popular tourist attractions, making tables difficult to find during peak times. Fridays and Saturdays are usually very busy from late afternoon onwards, Sundays are much quieter.

Beer production has always played an important roll in Munich, the city has six breweries producing beer for Oktoberfest, as well as for numerous beer halls and gardens throughout the city and for towns in surrounding Bavaria. There's no doubting Munich is a city with a vibrant and hearty nightlife, you will also find Munich has some of the finest restaurants in southern Germany.

(3). The Art Museum (Alte Pinakothek): The Art Museum is located in the Kunstareal area in Munich and is a must visit for art lovers. The museum is one of the oldest galleries in the world and houses one of the most important art collections in Europe. This huge gallery spreads across two floors of a large neo-classical building, spend your time wisely as there is lots to see and take in.

Nearly 1,000 paintings are on display at the Alte Pinakothek, featuring the great works of European artists from the 14th through to the 18th centuries. Highlights include works by Dutch and Flemish masters, as well Italian masters such as Botticelli and Titian. Alternatively head to Pinakothek der Modern, the largest modern art museum in Germany, here you’ll find many modern masterpieces including works by Dali, Franz Marc and Paul Klee.

(4). St Peter's Church: Munich's most famous landmark is St Peter’s Church (Peterskirche) also known as "Alter Peter" (Old Peter) located in the city center right next to Marienplatz and Viktualienmarkt. The church towers high above the city making it the perfect location for photo opportunities. Top Tip: Climb the 306 steps up the winding spiral staircase to the 56 meter high viewing platform; here you'll be greeted with fantastic panoramic views of the city, and weather permitting views of the alps 62 miles / 100 km into the distance. Also, look out for the 300-year-old Baroque high altar with its golden figure of St. Peter.

(5). Neuschwanstein Castle: Visit the Neuschwanstein Castle, known as 'the castle of the fairy-tale king', Neuschwanstein is a beautiful & historic relic built by King Ludwig III, the building was inspired by characters from Wagner's epic operas. The castle receives 8000 visitors a day and is located in the southwest of Bavaria, and is flanked by the spectacular Bavarian Alps as it's background. Disney World's Sleeping Beauty Castle was inspired by Neuschwanstein, which is thought to be the most photographed building in Germany.

(6). Munich's Modern Museums: Take a break from the traditional, and visit two of Europe's most important modern era museums: The BMW Museum & the Deutsches Museum.

Munich BMW Museum

(7). The BMW Museum: The museum is located near the Olympiapark in Munich and is a spectacular celebration of BMW's fascinating achievements and automobile history. The BMW Museum brings to life over 100 years of Germany's automotive fascination and showcases the technical importance and advancements of one of Munich's most famous companies. As one of the most visited museums in Germany you'll find a 4,000 m² permanent exhibition containing some 110 exhibits crammed with authentic BMW cars. Explore aspects of the company’s history and of the Group’s individual brands, the museum also stages temporary exhibitions featuring special vehicles, design exhibits and prototypes, see the BMW Museum website for further details.

(8). The Deutsche Museum (German Museum): The Deutsche Museum is one of the largest and most traditional science and technology museums in the world, a great visit if your interested in how things work. At the museum you'll find original exhibits and models illustrating various aspects of science & technology and how the laws of nature effect everyday life. You'll also be able to discover the workings of a 42-meter-long U1 submarine, the science of flight in the aviation section, plus spectacular views and answers to the wonderful world of astronomy in the planetarium and observatory.

(9). Munich and Bavaria: Munich has a distinctive Alpine flavor that’s quite unlike other German cities, the city is located in southern Germany just a couple of hours drive from the Italian border, so it's not surprising that Italy's influence can be felt throughout the city, especially with its beautiful Renaissance and Baroque stylings. Munich's location makes an ideal base for touring surrounding Bavaria, with its numerous lakes, castles, delightful traditional country villages and refreshing alpine scenery. Munich is also the gateway to the Bavarian Alps, drawing winter sports enthusiasts from all over Europe.

Munich's public transport network is provided by The Münchner Verkehrs- und Tarifverbund transit authority (MVV). The MVV is responsible for the Munich S-Bahn (commuter trains), the Munich U-Bahn (subway), plus Munich's tramway and bus networks.

Munich's Transport Options: The city centre is mostly a pedestrian zone meaning most of the city's central attractions are easily reached on foot. Munich has a very clean and efficient public transport system consisting of buses, trams, the U-bahn (subway) and the S-bahn (suburban train). To identify the different station types all subway station signs are marked with a white "U" on a blue background, the S-Bahn suburban lines are marked with a white "S" on a green background, and both tram and bus stops are marked with a green "H" on a yellow background.

All S-Bahn trains run through the city centre and connect the city's central station (Hauptbahnhof) with the city's east station (Ostbahnhof) linking popular tourist destinations such as Marienplatz and Karlsplatz.

Munich's Subway (U-Bahn): Munich's subway system consists of 8 U-Bahn lines serving approximately 100 stations in and around the city. The underground rail system is interconnected with the S-Bahn network making public transportation in Munich quick and convenient.

Munich's Tram Network: The tram network consists of 13 lines serving a large area of the city, making it an enjoyable form of transport for sightseeing. The Munich tram network interconnects with the MVG's bus network, U-Bahn and the S-Bahn. Night tram services operate late into the night, these services are marked with the letter "N" in front of the line number.

Munich's Public Transport Tickets: Day Tickets are usually the best ticket option for travellers visiting the city's central attractions. They are slightly less complicated to use and are cheaper than Single Trip or Stripe Tickets. They also allow unlimited travel on all U-Bahn, trams and buses from the point of validation until 6:00 am the next day. Tickets can be purchased at blue ticket vending machines located at both U-Bahn and S-Bahn stations and at many tram and bus stops. You can also purchase tickets online at the MVV website.

Alternatively you can purchase a City Tour Card which allows an unlimited number of trips on all modes of transport indicated within the selected area and period of validity. The tour card can be purchased for a 3, 4, 5 or 6 day validity and includes entry discounts on more than 80 tourist attractions in Munich and the surrounding area.

Alternatively the München Card also offers an unlimited number of trips on all modes of transport with MVV within the selected area and period of validity, it also includes entry discounts on many of Munich's top tourist attractions.

Top Tip: The 'one travel ticket' is valid on all forms of public transportation mentioned above, you don't need different tickets when transferring from train to tram to bus. Always remember to validate your ticket/pass before boarding by inserting the ticket into the small stamping machines posted at the entrances to U-Bahn and S-Bahn platforms or on entry to trams and buses. Lastly, your travel pass will often provide discounts on Munich's city and bus tours, plus certain shops and gastronomy partners, so always ask if a discount applies before you buy.

Nightlife & Dining: For centuries Munich has brewed excellent beers such as Lowenbrau, which can be enjoyed in the many brewery halls such as the Hofbrauhaus and the authentic Augustiner-Keller. Augustiner is one of the most popular beer halls/gardens in Munich (unchanged in appearance due to surviving WWII bombings).

You'll find Munich is full of nightlife options and has many pubs and clubs to choose from, the city's nightlife can be split into four main areas, with each area offering something different. Head to the bohemian Schwabing district, a chic area of the city known for its fashionable boutiques and trendy wine bars, try the small streets leading off the Leopoldstrasse, they're full of lively atmospheric cafes, bars and fine dining restaurants.

Maxvorstand is the university area and caters well for student nightlife, the pretty Glockenbachviertel district is laid back and buzzing with bars. Eating out in Munich, try Munich's traditional and popular dishes such as Fleischpflanzerl (Bavarian meatballs) or Weißwurst (veal sausage), and for dessert Apfelstrudel, plum cake or cherry gateau, alternatively fine dining can also be found throughout the city.

Events in Munich: The Oktoberfest at the beginning of October dominates events, when the world's beer lovers descend on the city. Other festivals include the Tollwood Summer Festival in June and July and the Stadtgrundungfest (City birthday) which takes place in in June, don't forget the famous Christmas Markets which start early December.

Munich International Airport (MUC). The airport is situated 18 miles (29km) north east of the centre of Munich.

Airport Transport and Shuttle Services:
The most convenient method of travelling from the airport to Munich's city centre is by train using the S-Bahn / Munich Transport Network (MVV). Frequent commuter train services operate throughout the day and most of the night. The S1 and S8 S-Bahn lines connect the airport terminals 1 & 2 with Munich city center, with trains departing every 10-minutes. The S1 travels via the west of the city and the S8 via the east. Journey time is approximately 35-40 minutes with services stopping at various stations throughout Munich, as well as Munich's main station for connections to other major European cities.

The Lufthansa Express Bus: This is a nonstop connection from Munich Airport to the city centre and back again. The service operates 365 days a year and is available to all passengers irrespective of the airline used. The service departs every 20 minutes from Munich Central Station via Munich North (Schwabing) to Munich Airport terminal 2. Journey time to Central Station from the airport is 45 minutes, the journey time from Munich North (Schwabing) to the airport is 25 minutes.

Munich Airport Taxi: Taxi services operate from outside the arrivals hall and they take about 45 minutes to reach Munich city centre.

General Facts: Flughafen München airport is the second-busiest airport in Germany in terms of passenger traffic. Lufthansa has established Munich as a second hub offering several short-haul and long-haul connections.

Car Hire: All major car rental companies are represented at Munich airport, including Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt.

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