How to spend the perfect weekend in Munich? How to plan Munich city break to get the best of the city? After nearly two years spent in the Bavarian capital, we have moved back to Warsaw. It’s probably high time for some Munich posts 🙂 The capital city of Bavaria is often called the “northernmost city of Italy”. It’s mainly due to the specific architecture and many monuments in renaissance or baroque style. When it comes to interesting places in Munich, the city has much more to offer than just the famous Oktoberfest beer festival or the amazing Christmas market. So, what to see in Munich?
Weekend in Munich – how to plan your Munich city break?
Odeonsplatz area (metro station: Odeonsplatz)
Start your weekend in Munich at the Odeonsplatz station. You will be greeted by a monumental building – Feldherrnhalle. Unfortunately, monuments of Munich often have their dark side. In November 1923, there was a clash between the police and Adolf Hitler’s supporters who wanted to invade the Bavarian Ministry of Defense. As a result of the fighting, four policemen and 16 Nazis were killed, and Hitler was arrested.
When he finally came to power, a monument in honor of the died Nazis was placed on the eastern wall of the building. In practice, this meant that everyone who passed it had to salute Heil Hitler. The place was guarded by SS men checking whether people really do this. By the way, new joiners to SS made an oath of allegiance to Hitler there. Brave citizens of Munich, who didn’t have the slightest desire to salute Hitler, walked around the monument sideways, through the tiny passage Viscardigasse. Today on this street you can see a gold-painted pavement on gold, which commemorates the brave ones.
Hofgarten and the Residenz (metro station: Odeonsplatz)
Not far from Odeonsplatz, you will find the picturesque Hofgarten gardens. It’s a perfect place to relax during your Munich city break. During summer, they attract many residents who love to play boules there. In the middle of the garden you will find a small pavilion in honor of the goddess Diana. There are also piano concerts in the summer.
A few steps away from here, you will come across the Residenz, a palace of Wittelsbach family. This building maybe isn’t that impressive from the outside, but the interiors are truly overwhelming. In the palace, there is a museum, which is so huge that some of the rooms are opened in the morning and the other ones – in the afternoon. The most impressive is Antiquarum, a gigantic hall covered with frescoes. It looks like taken straight out of some Disney movie!
|Tip: Heading for Marienplatz, two places are worth visiting. The first one is Dallmayr (Dienerstr. 14), the most famous Munich deli with history dating back to 1700, but also a sensational cafe and a restaurant with 2 Michelin stars. The second one is Hofbräuhaus am Platzl (Platzl 9), a historical brewery opened in 1589 and… Hitler’s favorite spot. Currently, this is a typical Bavarian restaurant (extremely huge, like 3 floors for 2,000 people). You will see barred shelves with beer mugs inside – yes, every self-respecting Bavarian has his own beer mug in Hofbräuhaus. The queue to get a place on the shelf is very long, and the spot for a new mug is only released when the old owner dies! 🙂|
Altstadt area (metro station: Marienplatz)
Take a 10-minute walk from Odeonsplatz to Marienplatz, where you’ll find Munich’s best-known sights. It is the main square of the city with the monumental New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus). If you are visiting the square at 11 or 12, you’ll see figures performing 2 important events from Munich’s life. Firstly, the royal wedding from 1568 (which took place right here) and secondly, the coopers’ dance (which was supposed to cheer up the citizens during the plague epidemic). Take a stroll to the church of St. Peter’s (Peterskirche). It is worth climbing the tower – you’ll have a chance to take a pic of one of the most beautiful Munich panoramas.
Wanna shop till you drop during your weekend in Munich? 😉 I have something for you. Between Marienplatz and Stachus, you will find the most popular shopping street in the city, Kaufingerstrasse. You will find every possible store here, starting from TK Maxx to the Polish brand Reserved. High-end brand lovers should definitely drop by the Oberpollinger department store (Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Prada are just waiting for you ;). Every year, Christmas Market takes place in this area. If you plan your Munich city break in the winter, go skating. The fountain at Stachus turns into an ice rink!
Take a stroll to the Frauenkirche, which is not far away. It is a characteristic building with two green domes. Next to pretzels, beer and Olympia Turm, it’s considered as one of the symbols of Munich. It can accommodate nearly 20,000 worshipers and has an area as huge as a football stadium!
|Tip: Stachus is also known as Karlsplatz (it’s actually the official name), but the Munich citizens don’t use it… Karlsplatz is a name in honor of the not very popular Bavarian Elector, Charles IV Teodor Wittelsbach. Although he created the famous gardens of Englisher Garten, when he died in 1799, his subjects were celebrating for several days. The unofficial name is used even in the metro 🙂|
Viktualienmarkt (metro station: Marienplatz)
During your Munich city break, you just can’t miss this spot. Literally 200 meters from Peterskirche, you will find the most famous Munich food market – Viktualienmarkt. During the weekend in Munich, this is a very popular place for a Saturday breakfast. Beware – closed on Sundays. Here you can buy exotic fruits and vegetables, local spirits, spices, cheese, meats, flowers. The prices are unfortunately very “touristy”, but it’s worth coming here to feel this laid-back atmosphere.
|Tip: In the middle of the Viktualienmarkt, there is the “May tree” (Maibaum) – a wooden pole, very characteristic for Bavaria. Generously decorated, it was traditionally set on 1st of May in the central points of the villages and cities. There are a number of customs associated with the setting of a May tree, for example, “kidnapping” a pole from a neighboring village with a ransom demand or climbing a tree using the pitch 🙂 These traditions are still cultivated, especially in smaller Bavarian towns and villages.|
Asamkirchen (metro station: Sendlinger Tor)
Just a 5-minute walk from the Viktualienmarkt, you will find the Church of St. John of Nepomuk also known as Asamkirchen. It is considered as a pearl of baroque architecture, but it is really interesting for another reason. It was built in 1746 by the Asam brothers, on their private plot and was intended to be used by them only.
On the left side of the church, one of the brothers built the house, and on the right one – the presbytery. The house and the church were connected by a direct passage, and from the brother’s bedroom there was a view through the inner window directly to the altar. One of the brothers, Egid planned to be buried there after death. The bishop, as soon as he learned about this private chapel (and saw the amazingly decorated interiors), immediately ordered the brothers to give the church for public use. It operates till now.
Englischer Garten (metro station: Universität, Giselastrasse, Lehel and many more)
The best place to relax during a weekend in Munich? Of course, the Englischer Garten! It is one of the largest urban parks in the world (it has over 4 sq km), even larger than New York’s Central Park. For me personally, it’s a must-see for everyone enjoying Munich city break. It stretches along the Isar River and is really huge, it takes at least half hour to ride it from the north to the south by bike. The park itself is maintained, as the name suggests, in the English style – in some places it resembles quite a thick forest.
There are also many glades, lakes, streams, perfect for picnics on the weekend in Munich. In the summer, in the northern part of the park you can meet… sheep and horses. During the summer, there are also performances in an outdoor theater. What to see in Englisher Garten on your Munich city break?
What to see in Englisher Garten on your Munich city break:
- Japanisches Teehaus – a genuine Japanese tea house, where a traditional tea ceremony takes place once a month. The pavilion itself was a gift from Japan on the occasion of the Olympic Games in 1972.
- Chinesischer Turm – Chinese pagoda, which despite appearances, is truly Bavarian to the bones… In the summer, a Bavarian brass band performs on one of the floors for the guests gathering in the beer garden below. In July, you may come across traditional dances. This is a reminder of the traditions dating back to the nineteenth century. The servants used to come here at 5 in the morning (!!!) and dance to the music played the orchestra till 8 am, then everyone returned to their duties.
- Monopteros – tiny, Greek style temple on the hill, built from the remains of materials used to build the Residenz. One of the best places to watch the sunset in Munich.
- Eisbachwelle – a famous wave for surfers, who are here all year round. The wave itself is created by a special pumping mechanism. Unfortunately, there were many accidents here, so this is definitely something for really experienced people. Check how it looks like in real life.
- Schönfeldwiese – if you are prudish, you better stay away from this place during summer. This is one of the designated nudist sites (there are actually quite a lot of them :). I must also immediately quench your enthusiasm. An average naked person is a German man, more than 60 years old, not a hot young blondie 😉
|Tip: You can bring your own food to some beer gardens (for example, the one next to the Chinesischer Turm mentioned above) 🙂 However, it’s a custom to order a beer here. This is a very popular way for family gatherings among Munich citizens – everyone brings a dish and the party is ready!|
Museums of Munich (metro station: Universität or Königsplatz)
Not far from Englisher Garten, you’ll find a some of the most interesting museums in the city. If you’re an art lover, you definitely must visit them during your Munich city break.
Glypthotek is the oldest museum in the city. However, the one that is really worth seeing is the Alte Pinakothek (Old Pinakothek). You will find here over 60 paintings by Rubens, masterpieces by Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Memling, Rafael, Leonardo da Vinci. Neue Pinakothek (New Pinakothek), presents collections of paintings since the 18th century. Here you will see, for example one of the versions of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, works by Manet or Gauguin. If you aren’t done with the paintings, there is also the Pinakothek der Moderne waiting for you with collections of contemporary art (only half a million exhibits…), including Picasso’s works. What a perfect weekend in Munich for art lovers!
|Tip: If you are spending a weekend in Munich, visit the museums on Sunday – the admission fee is just 1 EUR 🙂|
As I have already mentioned above, the monuments of Munich are often linked with the turbulent history of Germany. Königsplatz itself, as a very representative place, was used by the Nazis for propaganda marches and gatherings. In this place, in 1933, Hitler’s supporters organized the infamous burning of politically incorrect books. Besides, the Nazi headquarters itself, the so-called Brown House, was basically right next to the square, on Brienner street 45. Currently, the National Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism occupies this place.
Area of the Olympiapark (metro station: Olympiazentrum)
What to see during Munich city break if you love sports? In the north of the city there is a complex of sports facilities. It used to be the arena of struggles during the Olympic Games in 1972 – the Olympiapark. The local stadium currently is used mostly for gigs, but guided tours are organized to walk on the characteristic roof.
The Olympiaturm – the symbol of Munich with a height of 291 meters, is also a must-see place. For 7 euros, you can enter the viewing platform on the 190 meter. From here, there is a spectacular view of beautiful churches on the background of the snowy peaks of the Alps. There is also a revolving restaurant at the top, which I can totally recommend. We ate here the best Apfelstrudel in the whole city 🙂 Next to the tower, there is “cinema under the cloud” open in the summer, perfect option for the weekend in Munich. Unfortunately, with German dubbing – what a pity!
If you don’t want to visit the tower on your Munich city break, I recommend you taking a walk to Olympiaberg. This is a hill nearby, which also offers a beautiful view of the Munich skyline. As drinking alcohol in public places is allowed in Germany, at sunset many young people gather here socializing. Also a nice way to spend a weekend in Munich 🙂
Olympiapark was also a witness to the dramatic events that took place during the Olympic Games in 1972. Members of the Palestinian organization “Black September” took in hostage 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team. Unfortunately, they died as a result of later events. It all happened only 27 years since World War II… By the way, I recommend you a very good movie “Munich” based on these dramatic events. Israeli athletes were kidnapped from the Olympic village of Olympiadorf. Today, the houses built for the athletes were transformed into dormitories for the students of the nearby Polytechnic. Take a stroll through this former Olympic village. You will find that every house looks different. Students can paint them any way they want!
BMW Welt and BMW museum (metro station: Olympiazentrum)
Weekend in Munich is a perfect choice for lovers of this iconic brand of cars. The first one is BMW Welt. Here the manufacturer presents its latest models, you can also buy your car right away 🙂 The second one is the BMW Museum, where you will follow the history of the brand. I really recommend you visiting this place while during your Munich city break, even if you are not a fan of automotive. My favorite part of the museum turned out to be devoted to historical commercials. BMW was making fun of its age-old competitors – Mercedes and Audi (and vice versa!). The third attraction is the BMW headquarters in a characteristic four-cylinder-engine-shaped building. Next to the building there is one of the company’s factories. If you are a happy owner of BMW 3 or 4 series, it was probably born right here 🙂
Allianz Arena (metro station: Fröttmaning)
Maybe your Munich city break is devoted solely to… football? So it’s time for the Allianz Arena! This is one of the most modern stadiums in the world. Characteristic roof and facade are made of 2 874 very thin, foil cushions filled with dry air. It’s the largest foil construction in the world. Each of the pillows can be individually highlighted in white, red or blue. The stadium is lit up to match the colors of the hosts, e.g. when FC Bayern is playing, the stadium is red. Apparently, on a clear sky night, Allianz Arena can be seen even from the distant peaks of the Alps!
From my experience, I can tell you that it is quite difficult to get the tickets for the match. Once I was lucky to get tickets for the Champions League match and it was great! Honestly, if you have any good access to tickets (e.g. from work), I really recommend you to try to get them. If, unfortunately, you fail, you can also tour the Allianz Arena. Interesting fact: during the Champions League matches the sign “Allianz Arena” is carefully covered due to the UEFA regulation saying that the name of the stadium can’t include the sponsor’s name.
Theresienwiese (metro station: Theresienwiese or Goetheplatz)
I must admit that I left this place at the end on purpose. Simply, there is almost nothing to do here except September 🙂 Theresienwiese is the place, where the Munich Oktoberfest takes place. However, in the spring, there is also a “small Oktoberfest”( Frühlingsfest) going on. To be honest – there is definitely less beer here and it’s focused on the younger residents of Munich.
In November and December, the Tollwood festival takes place here. It is just an alternative Christmas market. There are different performances, concerts, you can eat dishes from all over the world and buy Christmas gifts. However, if you visit the city during other months, you can easily skip this place. Only a rather sad statue of Bavaria will be waiting for you here. There are far more better ways to spend your weekend in Munich!
Munich city break – interesting places for the weekend in Munich:
Are you planning to spend the weekend in Munich? Or maybe you already enjoyed Munich city break?