Two Springtime Days in Munich
Welcome to the Bavarian capital of Munich or München – the city of monks! We only had two days in the lively, diverse German city but we were able to make the most of it with some great weather and good recommendations from people. Here is some of our logistics and our top 5 things to do when you find yourself in Munich.
We came and left by the bus station, that happened to be conveniently located close to our hostel. We used Flix bus a lot on this trip to Europe, they have cheap last minute rates and travel to basically EVERYWHERE! You can also fly directly into Munich International Airport via many US airports or travel by train from pretty much anywhere in Europe very easily.
when to visit
We got a few decent days worth of weather (finally) here in the beginning of May. You’ll find that May to October is the high season and October is the highest of the seasons with Oktoberfest. We recommend going the end of April to early June for the sunniest weather!
where to stay
We loved our stay at Wombats Munich! We stayed at one other Wombats hostel in Vienna and absolutely recommend staying at any one of their hostels if you get the chance. They have an extremely helpful and nice staff, an inexpensive and yummy breakfast, and a super fun bar area with cheap drinks to meet other travelers. Another plus of our hostel was its close proximity to the train station, the Oktoberfest area, and the city center of Marienplatz.
Although Ocktoberfest is definitely on our travel bucket list, Springfest was an awesome second best! It’s like a baby Oktoberfest with not quite as many people, so you better believe we had to check it out! We actually didn’t even mean to be in Munich during Springfest but we were so happy we accidentally found ourselves here. It’s the epitome of German culture – lederhosen, liters of beers, and pretzels the size of your head.
2. Check Out the Beer Halls + Gardens
You’ve probably heard of the Hofbrauhaus Beer Hall, but Munich is actually full of tons of other beer halls and gardens worthy to be visited! Here are some to check out that we found that all stick to the Purity Law: beer only made with barley, hops, and water.
◊ Weisses Brauhaus (now known as Schneider’s Brauhaus) – Technically not a beer hall but our favorite place we ate and drink, this is where the local Germans took us. Of course, it’s more fun to dine where the locals dine! We had delish pork roast and Russians (Rue-see-ans: Hefeweizen + lemonade, YES!) and great conversation getting to know our new friends.
◊ Augustiner – There are many Augustiner restaurant/halls around Munich, especially within Marienplatz. You’ll find an authentic Bavarian dining experience while having a lot of fun with all the other restaurant goers. It’s not unusual to find yourself sharing a four person table with other diners so don’t always except a super intimate dinner setting. And make sure to drink up their house made lagers!
◊ Hofbrauhaus – This is arguably the most well known and most touristy beer hall in Munich, but you have to visit – even if you only walk through and check things out. It’s constantly busy, has live music 365 days of the year, a full upstairs and beer garden outside, and a gift shop! Not to mention this is where Hitler basically started the Nazi party in 1921 and held many Nazi meetings during his reign of power. There are many Hofbrauhaus locations around the US, including on in Las Vegas that is the most to scale replica of the original.
◊ Milchhäusl – Located in Englischer Garden, this is a fun little outdoor cafe style beer garden. Of course you have to find a seat to people watch in the sunshine and enjoy a sausage and liter of beer. You can find many more beer gardens in the park and you can also public drink, so pick up a beer to go at any of the garden locations and walk through the park.
◊ Paulaner Beer Hall – You’ve probably seen the Paulaner beer label floating around during the months of September and October for all those Oktoberfest parties. They started one of the original tents at the Oktoberfest festival and will give you an authentic Bavarian experience in any of their establishments.
3. Watch the Glockenspiel in Marienplatz
You can’t go to Munich without watching the Rathaus-Glockenspiel show in the city center, Marienplatz. Gather round the other tourists in the square and watch the two storied show unfold at 11 am and 5 pm everyday. The upper level depicts a wedding celebration between Duke Wilhelm V (who founded the Hofbrauhaus!) and Renata of Lorraine which was a huge dynastic deal between Bavaria and Austria. Their wedding celebrating lasted two weeks and ending with a jousting match in the Marienplatz. The Glockenspiel show depicts this with a French jouster and a Bavarian knight, and wouldn’t you know – the Bavarian rider always wins! The lower level shows a dance by the Bavarian coopers (barrel makers) that as the legend goes, the dance was to give Munich’s residents the clear that the plague was gone. The show lasts about 15 minutes and is completed when the golden bird emerges and chirps 3 times.
4. Stroll through Englischer Garden
Twice the size of New York’s Central Park, Englischer Garden cannot be missed in Munich. There is lots of open spaces, a few beer gardens to grab a brew and sausage, and you might even accidentally catch a glimpse of some nude tanners basking in the sunshine – don’t worry apparently that’s normal! There’s even a part of the river where surfers comes to dazzle the tourists, make sure to take a walk around and enjoy the sun.
5. Walking Tour
To be honest, Munich was a little bit of a historic letdown. Since we had been to Berlin on our 2015 European tour and had seen so much history, we were expecting a lot more out of Munich since it was a main focal point of WWII. It was almost like they didn’t want to remember the history that happened in their city, plus most of the original buildings were bombed out during the war so a lot of it has been rebuilt. We learned a bit from our guide that was little known info, but for the most part we never really felt like we learned a lot of new history. Nonetheless, we always recommend taking a walking tour to get your bearings on a city and gain some insights from your local guide.
This is the main square of Munich, where you will find the New Town Hall, Old Town Hall, the column of St. Mary, and a copious amount of shopping and restaurants. If you fancy a great view from above, head over to the Old Town Hall and ascend the 180 ft. tower for a nice panorama!
Make sure to rub these little babies for good luck!
You’ll find this little market area easily, full of food stall, drinks, and farmer’s market fresh produce! Pick yourself up a radler and explore the rest of town square area.
St. Michael’s Church
This is the largest renaissance church north of the Alps and even though we’ve seen a billion churches in Europe, this one is actually worth taking a look inside.
You might have a few extra days in Munich and have time to see a few more attractions, here are some of the top ones!
◊ Take a day trip to Dachau – since we visited Auschwitz during our first trip to Europe, we didn’t take the extra time to visit the Nazi concentration camp of Dachau. Although we do recommend visiting Auschwitz if you get a chance, Dachau offers a look into the eventual final phase of the extermination of the Jews. Visiting either is a sobering experience and one that we think all people should experience.
◊ Take a day trip out to Newschwanstien Castle – this is one place that’s on our bucket list. Given our short amount of time we decide against visiting since it does take an entire day to tour the castle. Here is a really great guide to the castle by OneDayInACity so you can see the logistics of visiting.
◊ And of course, in case you find yourself with some German natives like we did, let them take you to a nightclub and dance the night away to the techno music!
What are your favorite things to do in Munich? Any must sees that we have to see next time, tell us in the comments below.