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Travel Guide: Things to Do in Munich for One Perfect Day

Most people think of Oktoberfest when they think of Munich. While this can be a very fun time in Munich, there is a lot to see at any time of year. Here are the top things to do in Munich and how to spend one perfect day in this Bavarian city.

Munich is a beautiful city year-round that is easy to reach and very centrally located for any European itinerary.

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Munich

Where Is Munich?

Munich map

Located in the Southern German state of Bavaria; Munich is close to the borders of Austria and Switzerland. Its location is almost the exact center of Europe, making for easy travel to or from here and most anywhere else in Europe you’d like to visit.

How to Spend One Perfect Day in Munich

How to Get From the Airport Into Central Munich

The airport in Munich is well-connected to Central Munich, making transfers a breeze.

Taxis are your most convenient, but most expensive option. These can be pre-booked or you can head straight to the taxi rank outside on arrival. Note that rush hour times can extend your journey time to be longer than you’d spend on the train.

Train lines run from the airport into Central Munich. Simply follow the airport signs for the S-bahn from your terminal. Tickets can be purchased at the train platform from machines. Click the UK flag symbol for English.

Sbahn in Munich

You can purchase a single journey, single all-day or group all-day tickets depending on your need and number of travelers. You’ll need to enter your destination so check in advance for the closest station to your accommodation.

A slightly cheaper bus transfer is available as well. This is a comfortable way to go, but only useful if you are staying near the Central Munich train station. If not, you’ll have to tack on additional transport and are better off just taking the train from the start.

Getting Around Munich

Munich is very walkable, particularly in the Altstadt (Old Town) area. It’s possible to spend a perfect day in Munich without ever using public transport or a taxi. Apple Maps and Google Maps cover the city well, so it’s easy to see what transit fits best for venturing further.

You’ll likely use the excellent U-bahn system or local trams. Transit tickets work across these systems. Look to the MVV website for guidance on the different tickets and pricing.

Where to Stay in Munich

You can find every type of accommodation in Munich, but here’s what I recommend depending on your travel goals:

For the most convenience – stay in the Alstadt area for quick walks to the largest volume of sights. Try DO & CO Hotel to be right in the middle of everything.

For art and culture on your doorstep – stay in Maxvorstadt and be close to many of Munich’s museums and universities. Try Hotel Hauser an der Universitat for a family-run hotel right by Munich University.

For lots of nightlife – stay in Glockenbach and experience your choice of bars and clubs, as well as many excellent coffee spots. Try Living Hotel Prinzessin Elisabeth for traditional style near the banks of the River Isar.

For quiet and fancy – stay in Schwabing and enjoy quick access to the English Garden. Try Hotel Biederstein am Englischen Garten for a contemporary style right next to the English Garden.

Fun Things to do in Munich, Germany

Build Your Perfect Day – The Best Places to Visit in Munich

There are many more things to see in Munich than you could possibly fit into a single day. Whether you prefer royal history, art, foodie heaven, football fanatics or surfing, these top sights will help you pick your perfect Munich day.

This map shows every sight location and can help you visualize which sights are close to each other.

Explore Munich’s Royal Past at the Munich Residenz

Residenz

The Residenz is the largest city palace in Germany and home to a dazzling array of architectural gems and, well, actual gems and other shiny things. You can easily spend half a day here admiring all the treasures.

Residenz, Munich Germany

If you don’t want to invest so much time, consider at least walking through the open Hofgarten city park, which was formerly the gardens of the Residenz.

 Residenz in Munich

Nearby on the Odeonsplatz is a striking monument built by King Ludwig I of Bavaria in the style of the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence. This monument also has a darker past as the location of the end of a failed coup attempt linked to the eventual rise of the Nazi party.

Odeonsplatz

Eat Your Way Through the Viktualienmarkt

Viktualienmarkt Fountain

The Viktualienmarkt (Victuals Market) sells all manner of food and drink. While you can pick up fresh meat and produce here, there are also many stands selling ready-to-eat foods, coffee, plants and gifts. This is an excellent spot for lunch and is right in the heart of the Alstadt. Don’t miss the maypole displaying Munich’s trades near the center of the market.

Viktualienmarkt Maypole

See the Glockenspiel in Action in the Marienplatz

Glockenspiel in the Marienplatz

Built in 1907, this odd mechanical spectacle acts out a 1500s royal wedding, complete with a jousting tournament. (Spoiler: Bavaria wins!). Built into the side of the New Town Hall looking over the Marienplatz, the Glockenspiel can be seen in action at 11am and 12pm year-round, also at 5pm between March and October.

Visit Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall)

New Town Hall in Munich

If you came to see the Glockenspiel, you’re already right outside this over 100-year-old “new” building. Built in Neo-Gothic style, you’d be forgiven for thinking its even older. The main draw to visit lies in the view from the observation tower. There is also a tourist information office here if you need help on the day.

Watch the Eisbach Wave Surfers in the English Garden

Eisbach Wave Surfers in the English Garden

This side of Germany is closer to the Alps than the ocean, so you may be wondering how on earth you’d find surfers here. The answer lies in a unique spot on the Eisbach river right as it enters the English Garden. Here the river creates a standing wave, which you’ll see surfers taking turns hopping onto from the riverbank.

It’s a lot of fun to watch the surfers and a great starting point for a visit to the English Garden. Leave your wetsuit at home, though, as this wave is challenging and not suited for beginners.

Dive into Science and Technology at Deutsches Museum

One of the largest natural science museums in the world, you’ll find the Deutsches Museum on an island in the River Isar. If you’re interested in any part of science or technology, it’s probably covered here. There are also excellent offerings for children with lots of hands-on opportunities.

BMW Welt and BMW Museum

BMW Welt

Fans of cars and futuristic architecture will love this shrine to all things BMW. Note that the Welt is free, but the museum charges an entrance fee.

Alte Pinakothek, Neue Pinakothek and Pinakothek der Moderne

Art lovers are spoiled for choice in Munich. These three museums are all close to each other and feature the Old Masters (Alte Pinakothek), 18th and 19th century (Neue Pinakothek), and modern art (Pinakothek der Moderne).

St. Peter’s Church

This is Munich’s oldest church and is located very near the Marienplatz. The tower is also open for a panoramic view of the Old Town. While the view is not very different from what you’d see at the New Town Hall tower, from here you can see more of the Old Town and include the New Town Hall in your photo. 

Olympic Park

This massive park includes buildings designed for the 1972 Olympics. Aside from Olympic history, you can find a stunning view across all of Munich from the Olympic Tower. Sea Life Aquarium is also here and a good choice for kids.

Allianz Arena

Allianz Arena

The Allianz Arena is home to the Bayern Munich football team. Visit the museum to be impressed at the club’s extensive trophy collection, then tour this modern stadium to learn more about how it was built and peek behind the scenes at some player areas.

Nymphenburg Palace

Nymphenburg Palace

Nymphenburg Palace is the former summer residence of the Bavarian Elector. Set in a 490-acre park, it is massive and incredibly beautiful. Don’t miss the royal apartments or the carriage museum.

Asam Church

Asam Church in Munich

Named after the two brothers who originally built this as a private chapel, this church is small but ornate. Dating to the mid-1700s, this one is worth a visit for art and architecture that pack a punch despite the small footprint.

Frauenkirche (Cathedral Church of Our Lady)

Frauenkirche

The two towers of this church make it an easy-to-spot landmark in the Old Town. In addition to the beautiful interior, visitors like to spot the “devil’s footprint” near the entrance. It’s said that the devil left this mark when he briefly believed he’d won a bet with the church’s builder.

Munich Biergartens

Chinese Tower Beer Garden

No trip to Munich would be complete without a visit to at least one biergarten. These beer gardens are great for a meal or just enjoying a beer. They are also family friendly and a great place to relax for a bit.

Hofbrauhaus is the most famous, though keep in mind it’s also the most crowded as a result. I prefer the Chinese Tower Beer Garden in the English Garden for its somewhat less touristy feel. Augustiner-Keller is a close second place and conveniently close to the Munich Hauptbahnhof (central train station).  

Should You Visit Munich?

You could easily spend a week or longer in Munich, but even if planning only one perfect day, this town should not be skipped. It’s central Europe location make it easy to add a visit here into any larger itinerary. Its charm will have you planning another trip here quickly!

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