When you think of Munich, the first thing that probably comes to mind is the world famous, Oktoberfest, the annual beer and folk festival, but the city has much more to offer. A fascinating history, splendid art and architecture, museums and castles, and some delicious food and drink, there is plenty to keep any avid visitor occupied. But it would be difficult to experience all the city has to offer in just one day. With that in mind, here is a guide to Munich in two days.
Table of Contents
- 1 How to spend 2 days in Munich
- 2 Munich in 2 days: Day 1
- 3 Munich in 2 days: Day 2
- 4 More than two days in Munich? The best day trips
How to spend 2 days in Munich
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Munich in 2 days: Day 1
Built in 1903, the Deutsches Museum is one of the oldest science and technology museums in the world. And, covering some 66,000 sq ㎡, it’s one of the largest and you could easily spend more than a day wandering around the unique and interesting exhibits. From astronomy, oceanography, and marine navigation to physics, environment, and transport, everything is well presented and informative. If you’re interested in science and technology this is the a fabulous place to visit. Cost €11 for adults; €23 for families. More information on prices can be found here.
Museum Quarter (Kunstareal)
The Kunstareal has some of the best museums exhibiting art through the ages all in one place, but, be warned, it would be impossible to visit all in a day, so the best option is to choose what you really want to see and go from there. There are five museums in the area; the Alte Pinakothek (€4) houses over 700 works of art from the 14th-17th centuries from master painters such as Raphael, Da Vinci, and Ruben. The Neue Pinakothek (€7) is where you’ll find stunning impressionist works by Renoir, Monet, and Van Gogh. The Pinakothek der Moderne (€10) has one of the largest collections of modern and contemporary art, architecture, and artists such as Andy Warhol. The Glyptothek and the State Collection of Antiquities (Staatliche Antikensammlung) (€4) have a collection of statues, busts, Greek and Roman art, ceramics, and other relics from the Archaic through to the Roman eras. A day wandering around these beautiful and intriguing places will be a day well spent and a memorable one at that. Cost €29 for a combined ticket for all 5 museums. More information on prices can be found here.
Marienplatz has been Munich’s central square since 1158 and a wander around the area’s narrow streets and courtyard is a must for the beautiful historical buildings with stunning architecture such as Neues Rathaus (New City Hall), which is the dominating feature of the square and the Gothic-style Altes Rathaus (Old City Hall). It’s an interesting place to hang out with lots of cafes, restaurants, shops and street artists. Every morning at 11am and 12pm, the charming Glockenspiel, from high up on the New City Hall’s tower, chimes out and re-enacts stories from the 16th century, with 43 bells and 32 puppets. Also visit nearby St Peter’s Church (Peterskirche), Munich’s oldest church and one that is ornately decorated inside. Avoid the crowds and go early to climb the 299 steps to the tower and take in 360° sensational views of the city.
Church of Our Lady
The red Gothic-style, Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche) is a landmark of Munich, with its striking domed towers looming up into the bright blue sky. The interior is impressive with huge pillars, arches, and exquisite colourful stained glass windows. Go to enjoy some time out from the hustle and bustle of the streets and sit in the peaceful atmosphere surrounded by beautiful art and the smell of incense. The cathedral not only holds the tombs of Louis IV, but also secrets that you can uncover regarding the Devil’s footprint and why it’s always windy around the building.
Eat in Hofbrauhaus
Opened in the 16th century, the Hofbrauhaus is Munich’s oldest brewery and an evening here is an amazing experience. It’s an interesting place to eat and drink, especially in the beer hall where you can sit at tables that have been there since 1897, some of which have initials and comments carved into the wood. The atmosphere is electric with many people, locals and tourists alike, who come to enjoy the musicians who play lively music every day. It’s at the Hofbrauhaus that you’ll experience the Bavarian way of life and Gemutlichkeit or warmth, friendliness and good cheer. The food is mouthwatering; a selection of salads, soups, and German speciality dishes with excellent beers and wines to wash it down. It’s chaotic, it’s loud, and you might have to share a table with strangers, but rest assured they won’t be strangers for long, and you’ll be delighted that you stopped by.
Munich in 2 days: Day 2
The Englischer Garten (English Garden) is a huge park, one of the world’s largest, in the middle of Munich, and a terrific place to spend the day. There is lots to see; a Japanese tea house, a 5-level Chinese tower, Apollo’s temple, Schonfeld Meadow and Kleinhesseloher Lake, which all add to the distinct character of the park. There are green expanses for sunbathing, nude if you like, dense forests and many trails to explore on foot or on bike, you can even ride the waves and surf along one of the streams. There are plenty of cafes, restaurants and beer gardens which serve a delicious range of food and drinks.
Nymphenburg Palace (Schloss Nymphenburg) is one of the most famous attractions in Munich and the opulent decoration is jaw-dropping. The ceiling frescoes, depicting mythological characters, the tapestries, the portraits, and rooms, filled with furniture, are impressive and as you wander along the corridors, you can imagine what life would have been life for the kings and queens who lived there. The grounds are equally impressive with gardens, pavilions, waterfalls, and Roman and Greek statues, it’s a wonderful way to spend a sunny day in such a spectacular environment.
In the Oberwiesenfeld area of Munich, you’ll find Olympia Park, former home of FC Bayern Munich and host of the 1972 Summer Olympic Games. Nowadays the park is used for cultural events, concerts, exhibitions, and sports. There are many buildings in the park, like the Olympic Tower which has a revolving restaurant and observation deck where you can enjoy magnificent views over the park itself and the city. The grounds of the park are well looked after and people flock there to enjoy recreational activities, like walking, jogging or bicycling. There are also stalls which serve excellent food and drinks to satisfy your hunger and thirst as you while away a few happy hours in the sunshine.
More than two days in Munich? The best day trips
Perched high above the village of Hohenschwangau, near Fussen in southwest Bavaria, is Neuschwanstein Castle (New Swanstone Castle). The 19th century palace was built as a retreat for composer, Richard Wagner, and the eclectic mix of architectural styles, along with its location on a tree-clad hill and surrounded by the bright greens and blues of the countryside, make it one of the most picturesque attractions in Germany. The interior is just as striking with palatial arches, columns, and marble floors. There is a guided tour available and, although it only lasts 30 minutes, it’s worth taking the time to admire the outstanding paintings for an insight into the obsession King Ludwig had with Wagner and Germanic myths. Tip: book well in advance.
Here are some great tour suggestions for you:
Dachau Concentration Camp
Located 16 km from Munich is the sobering Dachau Concentration Camp, the first of the like opened in Germany. There are guided tours available with knowledgeable guides, but if you want to spend time there alone, there are audio guides that give information about what happened there and there is an informative short documentary that will help to set the context. It’s a haunting and somber place, and some of what you see and learn will leave you speechless, but they have done an amazing job at expressing the past in a respectful way. Allow at least 3-4 hours to see everything.
Munich is an appealing city and one that you’ll be sure to love. Whether it’s castles or palaces, history or sports, or you’ve simply come to indulge in the excellent food and drink, you’ll find the city has everything to offer and I bet you’ll return more than once.
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