Whether you enjoy oompah bands and drinking beer from 2 litre glasses or fancy cycling along the edge of a lake just outside the city with the beautiful Alps in the distance or simply just relax in a traditional ‘English Garden’ while watching surfers ride a man made wave in the middle of a park-Munich offers a stunning diversity and range of attractions.
The only problem is that I had only 48 hours.
Here is the account of my time spent in the city of ‘Laptops and Lederhosen’
WHERE TO STAY
My personal favourite place to stay in Munich is Wombats Munich. This is Munich’s premier party palace. The hostel strikes a nice balance between being social and also a place to chill out and relax. After a long day of seeing the sights it is great to come back to a hostel where you can have a few beers, have good banter with the hostel staff and make new friends. This is the kind of hostel where you can easily spend a few days. The location in the heart of Munich , right beside the train station is amazing. I really liked my double room with terrace-nice bit of luxury . Plus I love features like the inner atrium where you can relax or mingle with fellow guests. Plus the onsite Wombar. A fun and very cool hostel in a beautiful city. You won’t be disappointed.
As a design lover, I love the quirky details and different themed rooms of the Gspusi Bar Hostel. Location is a major plus right in Munich’s centre, just a few meters away from its old town, bar district and shopping district. Staff are friendly. Plus they have a very nice onsite bar to the boot. While there are still some details to improve, overall this is a safe and good choice for sleeping when visiting Munich. Bed in a triple or quadruple room with shared bathroom starts at €30 going upto €70 per night for a twin bunk bed room.
11 AM Begin the day with a view
306 steps and up 14 flights of stairs, it’s an almighty hike up to the top of Munich’s oldest church (1180 AD) St ‘Alter Peter’ (Old Peter) which is just a few minutes walk from the the square and Marienplatz. On top, you get amazing views of city and on a clear day you can see the snow clad peaks of the Alps. It’s a great way to get a sense of the surroundings and a birds eye view of the amazing architecture of the Altstadt.
Entry fee: €1.50
11.30am The Glockenspiel
After climbing down and getting my breath back, I found myself back in the main square of the city, Marienplatz .
Here you’ll find the beautiful new town hall, ‘Neues Rathaus’ with its famous Glockenspiel. It’s a tad touristy but still a classic Munich experience. With over 43 bells, it is the largest of its kind in Germany with the largest bell weighing over 1300 kgs! If you time your visit right like I did (i.e.: arrive just before 11am or noon or 5pm) you’ll witness dancing figurines on the clock as it chimes.
12.15pm Eis eis baby @ Cafe Rischart
Definitely recommend popping into Marienplatz’s local bakery and café- Café Rischart if you’re looking for a sandwich or a takeaway coffee. When in town, I always pop in here for their ice-cream where you can enjoy a choice of flavours for as little as €1.20
1pm Lunch at Pizzeria Grano
Just around the corner, I pop into the Viktualienmarkt food market which is usually busy with locals buying fruit, ham and cheeses. It’s quite pricey here in terms of grabbing a bite so I head to a pizzeria just around the corner recommended by locals called Pizzeria Grano (Sebastiansplatz 3) Prices are inexpensive. I treat myself to an excellent crispy pizza with tomato, rucola costing just €9. The pizzeria is located right next to the Synagogue and the Viktualienmarkt, at the corner of the Sebastiensplatz and the Nieserstrasse.
I retrace my steps to Marienplatz and continue north to Residenz Palace, which was the seat of power for Bavaria’s famous Wittelsbach dynasty which ruled the region for more than 700 years. Highlights here include the rococo Cuvilliés-Theatre which staged the first performance of Mozart’s Idomeneo opera in 1781 and the very flash Palace Treasury.
€7 for visiting the Residenz or €13 for a combined ticket for the Residenz Museum , Treasury & Cuvilliés-Theatre
4pm Augustiner am Dom
Munich is famous for its bierkeller culture. While Hofbrauhaus is decidedly the better place in terms of atmosphere, if you are looking for a proper pint of Bavarian beer, pop into the Augustiner am Dom restaurant for a drop of the Augustiner. They have a nice open-air beer garden at the back. If you’ve been unlucky in not being able to procure tickets for a game at the Allianz Arena, pop in here where they show the games on multiple plasma screen TV’s. Or if you are looking for a proper locals pub, devoid of the tourists, pop into Kreuzberger for some Augustiner.
Cost €3.95 for 0.5l of Augustiner Hell lager.
630pm Back to the Viktualienmarket
Viktualienmarket is packed to the rafters on summer evenings like this. Locals and tourists were drinking the local Weissbier in the biergarten with weisswurst. This is the perfect spot in Munich to have a drink and then indulge in that age old pastime – people watching.
I am starving. Somehow the beer here makes you very hungry 🙂 I enjoy a very tasty Rostbratwurstl at Schlemmermeyer’s in the Viktualienmarket.
8pm Night at the ‘Cinema’
I wind down the evening with a trip to THE ‘Cinema‘ (Nymphenburger Straße 31) to see Tom Cruise save the world (again) It’s the only place in Munich where you can watch films in English. It had been ages since I’ve been to the movies. While I can now confirm that it was probably one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, the cinema itself is great with a large auditorium. Ticket price was a bit hefty at around €10 but that seems to be the going rate for watching a Hollywood blockbuster in these parts.
Take the U-Bahn U1 to Stiglmaierplatz
9:30am Lake Starnberg
I spend the morning relaxing in the picturesque and regal town of Starnberg which is on the southern tip of Lake Starnberg. It’s a 30 minute ride out with the S-Bahn from Munich but feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of the coty. Starnberg is perfect for walking along the promenade at the lake and exploring lots of cool, interesting shops. Or just grab a drink at one of it’s cafes and enjoy the swans gliding gracefully on the crystal clear waters of the lake with the amazing panorama of the Alps in the distance.
12am Lunch at Kaimug
In the afternoon, I head back into town for lunch. If you’re looking for a good place for lunch but not too expensive, then Thai restaurant, Kaimug in Sendlinger Tor area is a safe bet.
I ordered a small portion ( offer choice of portion sizes) of their excellent Thai Green curry. It’s €5.90 to takeaway or an extra euro to eat in.
Top tip Pinakothek der Moderne
Art and culture lovers should not leave Munich without a visit to the stunning Pinakothek der Moderne, a vast contemporary art gallery which is as famous for its sweeping, elevated design as for its fantastic collection of contemporary art which includes works by Kandinsky, Picasso and Andy Warhol. At the time of this article and my visit, the gallery was closed to the public because of renovation works but should reopen in September 2013.
1pm Allianz Arena
For football lovers all around the world, a visit to the Allianz Arena is a must. After their spectacular triumph in this year’s Champions League Final, they are now arguably the world’s best football team and with Pep Guardiola at the helm, it will be intriguing to see where they go from here. Enough of my football punditry.
The arena itself is an attraction in itself. It’s like a huge inflatable rubber boat, made of inflatable cushions.
The arena alternates its entire outside color between FC Bayern Munich’s light blue and TSV 1860s deep red, depending on which of the home football teams is playing.
Visitors for the princely sum of €10 can enjoy a 75-minute tour of the stadium and these are hugely popular. There are no tours on match days and tickets are sold in the 3rd-floor gift shop.
Note that the English tours run everyday at 1pm and can get soldout pretty quickly so do try and get there in advance to get your place on the tour. The tour is very comprehensive and covers everything like the unusual shape of the building and how it alternates its entire outside color between FC Bayern Munich’s light blue and TSV 1860s deep red, depending on which of the home football teams is playing.
I was then taken pitchside to have a feeling of what the stadium looks like. Afterwards I checked out players dressing room, the showers and where they have their ice bath after the match, the media lounge where the post match press conferences are held and the best part for me is the tunnel from where the players emerged onto the pitch to the sound of the Champions League anthem.
From Marienplatz take the U6 underground line (in the direction of Garching-Hochbrück) to Fröttmaning. The travel time from Marienplatz to Fröttmanning is approximately 16 minutes. From the station it is another 10-15 minute walk to the stadium.
Big question: How can I get tickets to see a game at Bayern Munich?
A short answer is that it’s pretty tough and almost impossible. Bayern Munich always sell out their matches, home and away. To buy tickets via the official site , register via Viagogo.com the international resale site which has a direct link on FCB’s website. Otherwise, the other option is to turn up on matchday and when exiting the station, you often find touts selling tickets for the game. Again, you are never sure of the validity of the tickets so this represents a risk.
3:30pm Schloss Nymphenburg
Back at Munich Central station, I hop on the No 16 tram to visit Schloss Nymphenburg. I wasn’t sure about visiting the palace but on first glance, it doesn’t disappoint . It is breathtakingly beautiful. The palace is at the end of a long drive with ornamental ponds and fountains right in front of it. If your time is limited forgo the guided tour and check out the extensive gardens at the back which are free for you to roam at your leisure.
Getting there Take the S-Bahn (Tram) No 16 to Romanplatz
4:30pm Englischer Garten
If the weather is good, there is no better place to relax and enjoy than the historic, beautiful Englischer Garten. It’s one of the the world’s largest parks, bigger than New York’s Central Park. It has everything-from waterfalls and horse drawn carriages to people frisbee slacklining , beer gardens, Japanese teahouses (where traditional tea ceremony takes place regularly) and even surfers riding this man-made ‘standing wave.’ This garden really has it all.
I end my 48 Hours in Munich in style at the raucous and fun-filled Hofbrauhaus. This is as touristy and crazy as Munich gets, packed to the rafters with beer swilling customers merrily drinking, laughing and dancing the night away. It gets busy in the evenings when it becomes quite difficult to find a table. However, often the lack of space means joining a table where you often meet tourists from all over the world. The drill is get to know your table friends, toast them, take pictures with them, toast them again. Coming here is the closet thing to experiencing the mother of all beerfests-Oktoberfest. The concept of the Hofbrauhaus is focused on the idea of extending of the Fest to 365 days a years.The waiters can be surly so don’t come here expecting world class service.The beer is decent and pricey with a stein (litre) of beer coming in at €7. They have a pretty decent restaurant serving classic Bavarian fare. The Oompah brass band whip up a frenzy getting the customers into the festive spirit. Munich has several excellent beer halls and this definitely one of the best-an essential Munich experience.
Top Munich tip
Central and East station both have short-term lockers which you can rent for upto 72 hours. So if you have a late checkout or on a flying visit you can dump your luggage & you are free to explore the city. The extra large locker in picture was big enough to store my 80l rucksack and my backpack for just €5 for 24 hours.
Here’s a little video from a few years ago when I spent 15 hours in Munich on the last day of Oktoberfest as part of a blogger challenge for easyJet
Total cost 48 Hours in Munich
2 nights in Wombats Munich: € 56
St Peter’s Tower: €1.50
Icecream at Café Rischart: €1.20
Lunch at Pizza Granero: €9
Entry into the Residenz: €7
0.5l of Augustiner Hell lager. €3.95
Rostbratwurstl at Schlemmermeyer’s €2.60
Night at the ‘Cinema’ €10
Lunch at Kaimug: €6.90
Allianz Arena Tour: €10
Schloss Nymphenberg: € Free
Englischer Garten: € Free
Hofbrauhaus: €7 for 1 litre
Plus 2 day travel ticket (XXL Area) €15.60 ( €7.80 -1 day ticket)
I’m toured Germany as part of an effort to highlight and discover the country’s emerging ‘Youth Hotspots.’
A big thank you to the Munich Tourism Board for their kind support for my trip.
Please note: While my trip has been sponsored, the views and thoughts represented in this article are my own.