Munich

Munich Travel Guide

Munich is one of the top cities to visit in all of Europe and has so much to offer: rich Bavarian history, impressive palaces, incredible atmosphere, plenty of relaxing beer gardens, and is the host of one of the best seasonal festivals in the world.  Just outside of Munich, the Bavarian Alps offer access to some of the best hiking and skiing in the world for outdoor enthusiasts.  Munich is definitely a “must see” if you are interested in traveling to Germany.

The Clear Travel Munich Travel Guide will help you see the top sights, save time, and save money on your Munich trip!

The Basics
Top Things to do in Munich
How to get Around in Munich
Insider Tips
Clear Travel Summary

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The Basics

  • Recommended Time: 3 Days
  • Language: German, but English can get you by
  • Currency: Euro
  • Airports: Flughafen München (MUC)
  • Train Stations: Munich Hauptbahnhof

Top Things to do in Munich

Marienplatz

City central square with St Peter’s Church, clock tower, statues, fountains, shopping, cafes, and the Rathaus-Glockenspiel. Location on Google Maps.

How to get there:

  • Munich is very easy to get around by using the subways, S Bahn, and tram lines.  Link to official MVV transit maps
  • Marienplatz stop is accessible by the S Bahn S1, S2, S3. S4, S6, S8 lines, and the subway U3 and U6 lines.

Ticket Information:

  • It’s a public square: Free

Insider Tips:

  • The clock tower show is at 11, 12 and 5pm, and lasts for about 12 minutes.  The figurines come out of the Glockenspiel an reenact famous moments in Bavarian history.

 

Nymphenburg Palace

Nymphenburg Palace is a 17th century palace that was the summer home of Bavarian rulers.  The palace is in classic Baroque style and is an impressive 700 meters wide. Location on Google Maps.

How to get there:

  • Nymphenburg Palace is easily accessible from the main train station by using Trams 16 or 17, or by using a combination of the S-Bahn and bus.
  • Tram 17: Schloss Nymphenburg stop
  • Tram 16: Romanplatz stop
  • S-Bahn: Liam stop, then a bus 51 to Schloss Nymphenburg stop

Ticket Information:

A ‘combination ticket’ will allow you to see the entire palace, carriage museum, and other buildings on the grounds for 11.50 EUR

Insider Tip:

  • The times we have been to the palace, the lines are not hours long like other impressive attractions in Europe.  So, you should not need to pre-book to see the Palace.

 

Hofbrauhaus

Iconic beer hall and Bavarian restaurant located in central Munich. No trip to Munich would be complete without enjoying a liter of beer enjoying classic “uumpa” music at the Hofbrauhaus.  Walk in, sit down, and enjoy! Location on Google Maps.

How to get there:

  • Walking distance from the Marienplatz and market area
  • S-Bahn: Marienplatz stop S1, S2, S3. S4, S6, S8 lines
  • Subway U3 and U6 lines.

Insider Tips:

  • Their outdoor beer garden is a great way to enjoy a beautiful day or evening.  Sometimes they set up a projector screen for soccer/football games, and can be a fun and lively atmosphere to watch the game.

 

Munich Residenz

Royal palace of the Bavarian rulers from 1508 to 1918.  The palace showcases impressive royal rooms and the treasury with the crown jewels of Bavaria.  Most of the palace was destroyed during WWII, but is nicely restored.  Location on Google Maps

How to get there:

  • Walking distance from Marienplatz
  • Subway U3, U4, U5 and U6 lines, Odeonsplatz stop

Ticket Information:

  • 11 EUR for combination ticket to see the palace and the treasury.  Pre booking should not be necessary.
  • Official site

Insider Tip:

  • Just outside of the west wall, you will see locals walk by the bronze  lion statue and rub the lion’s muzzle for good luck.  Feel free to join in.

 

Englischer Garten

Huge 1.4 square mile park in central Munich.  The park offers vast green space, great walking and biking trails, a place were people surf the river (yes, seriously), nude sunbathers, and a beer garden.  The park has it all! Location on Google Maps.

How to get there:

  • Walking distance if you are seeing the Residenz.
  • Subway U3 or U6 Universität stop
  • Tram 36 from the Isartor stop (S-Bahn and other lines)

Ticket Information:

  • None needed, it’s a public park

 

Oktoberfest Grounds (Seasonal)

Site of one of Europe’s most famous festivals: Oktoberfest.  The folk festival is an incredible mix of music, beer, food, parades, and fun.  The celebration dates back to the marriage of King Ludwig I and Princess Therese in 1810, when the celebration beer was so good the celebration continued for days.  Massive tents are constructed for the event, but if you are not visiting in the early fall or during Oktoberfest, there is nothing to see at the grounds.  Location on Google Maps.

How to get there:

  • Walking distance from the central train station
  • Subway: U4 and U5 lines, Theresienwiese stop

Ticket Information:

  • Festival entry and entry to the tents is free, but you can book a reservation at a tent (recommended) for a fee. Official festival site.

Insider Tips:

  • The festival is busy (around six million people attend each year), and the prime spots in the tents require reservations.  Each tent has a slightly different experience, so if you are going multiple days, make reservations in different tents to maximize your experience.
  • Book your tent and hotel reservations months in advance if you are attending.

 

Bavarian Beer Garden Tour

Munich has dozens of Beer Gardens to enjoy all around the city.  A Bier Garden is an incredible way to enjoy classic Bavarian food, a liter of beer, and a relaxing atmosphere.

You can spend a relaxing day going on a beer garden tour, or just enjoy one when you are nearby after seeing another sight.  Beer Gardens are a great way to enjoy a nice summer afternoon in Munich.

What are the best Beer Gardens in Munich?

  • Hofbrauhaus is the iconic Bavarian restraunt in the city center, and has an excellent beer garden in the center.
  • Hirschgarten is a large Beer Garden just west of the city center near Schloss Nymphenburg.  If you are seeing the palace, the beer garden is a great stop on your way back to the S-bahn.
  • Alter Botanischer Garten is a great summer beer garden in walking distance from the central train station.
  • Victuals Market (farmer’s market) in central Munich has a nice large beer garden in the center of the market square.
  • Englischer Garten has one of Munich’s largest beer gardens in the center of the Englisher Garten park.  When you are seeing the park, we highly recommend a stop at the beer garden by the “Chinese Tower.”
  • Biergarten am Muffatwerk is just on the other side of the Isar river and nearby the Isator gate.

 

Viktualienmarkt

Daily farmers market in central Munich. There are 140 stalls and shops featuring a wide range of fruit, vegetables, flowers, cheeses, meats, fish and spices.  Wandering the market us a great way to enjoy a picnic breakfast or lunch, and perhaps even a liter of beer at the bier garden in the center.  The market is famous for its size and unique Maypole in the center.  Location on Google Maps. 

How to get there:

  • Walking distance from the Marienplatz and market area
  • S-Bahn: Marienplatz stop S1, S2, S3. S4, S6, S8 lines
  • Subway U3 and U6 lines.

Ticket Information:

  • None needed

 

Dachau Concentration Camp

First Nazi concentration camp opened in Germany.  Dachau was operated between 1933 and April 29, 1945 when it was liberated by US forces.  The camp and memorial is a somber reminder of the suffering endured by Germany’s political prisoners during that period.  Location on Google Maps.

How to get there:

  • Dachau memorial is easily accessible via public transpiration from central Munch.
  • S-Bahn: S2 line, Dachau stop.  Then take bus 726 towards Saubachsiedlung and get off on the KZ-Gedenkstätte stop.

Ticket Information:

  • Entrance to the Memorial site is free, and no pre-booking is necessary.  There is a small fee for an audio guide, which we do recommend renting.

 

 

Isator (Isar Gate)

Historic city gate and tower, which was one of the main gates of Medieval Munich.  Seeing the gate is a quick stop, but definitely worth doing if you are interested in seeing the old medieval walls and gates of the city.  Location on Google Maps.

How to get there:

  • Walking distance from other things to see in central Munich.
  • S-Bahn: Isator stop S1, S2, S3. S4, S6, S8 lines

Ticket Information:

  • None needed

 

Top Day trip from Munich: Day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein is one of the most popular and stunning castles in all of Europe.  The castle is accessible by train or by car within a couple hours of Munich, and offers a great chance to enjoy the Bavarian Alps on your trip.  Visit our page on Fussen for the full details on how to maximize your day trip to Neuschwanstein.

 

How to Get Around in Munich

To/From the Airport to Central Munich:

By Train

  • Munich Airport (MUC) to city center:
    • S-bahn S1 or S8 lines.  The journey time to the central train station is around 40 minutes.  The S8 line is faster than the S1 line.
    • Cost: 13 EUR for an MVV entire network day pass.  This will cover your trip from the airport and any other transit you use that day in Munich.  Link to official MVV transit maps

By Bus

  • Munich Airport (MUC) to city center:
    • Lufthansa Express Bus operates an express route to city center.  The journey time takes around 45 minutes. Lufthansa Express Bus
    • Cost: 11 EUR

By Car

  • Munich Airport (MUC) to city center:
    • Taxi and car services are available.  Journey time is approximately 45-60 minutes.
    • Cost: Around 50-70 EUR
How to get around in central Munich:

Munich is very easy to navigate and has multiple travel options between the S-bahn trains, subways, above ground trams, and buses.  Day passes to the entire MVV network can cover all of your airport travel, S-bahn, subway, tram, and bus transportation while you are in Munich.  We have found that buying a day pass for the entire network, and utilizing public transportation between the sights is the easiest and most cost effective way to see Munich.

Ticket Information:

Individual and group tickets are available for the MVV network.  There are 1-day and 3-day passes available for a number of different zones.  Below we make some sense of the zone naming system to help you identify they right pass to purchase.  You can buy your passes in advance online, or from an automated kiosk at any transit stop or the airport. MVV trip planner

  • Group tickets – Up to 5 adults on the same ticket.  If you are traveling in a group, this is by far the cheapest way to get around.
  • Travel to/from the airport – Purchase the ‘entire network’ pass
  • Traveling to Dachau and around central Munich – Purchase the ‘Munich XXL’ pass.
  • Travel around central Munich – Purchase the ‘inner district’ pass.

Insider Tips for Munich

  • If you are not interested in attending Oktoberfest, we recommend avoiding Sept/Oct for your Munich trip.  Munich hosts millions of visitors during those two weeks, and hotel prices and local sights are all packed.  If you are interesting in seeing Munich, and not necessarily the festival on your first trip, then we recommend not traveling to Munich in Sept/Oct.
  • Munich can be navigated easily by utilizing public transportation.  It is not necessary to rent a car to see the top sights in Munich, or to take your day trip to Neuschwanstein castle.
  • Limit time with luggage. Consistent with other European cities, staying in relative close proximity of the train station or other public transit stop is convenient with plenty of hotel options.  We like to limit time wheeling around heavy luggage on busy streets. 
  • Plan extra time between sights to enjoy a Beer Garden.  The city has dozens of them, and they are a great way to enjoy authentic Bavarian atmosphere between the top sights.  
  • Know some basic German phrases, like
    • Hello, do you speak English:  “hallo sprechen Sie Englisch”
    • Thank you: “danke”
    • One liter of beer, please: “Bitte einen Liter Bier”

Munich Travel Guide Summary

Munich is one of our top recommended travel destinations in all of Europe.  The city is easy to navigate, and has a wide variety of things to do.  You can see incredible castles and palaces, city squares, parks, and enjoy one of Munich’s iconic beer gardens.

We recommend at least 3 days in Munich to see all of the top sights, especially if you are planning on taking a day trip to Neuschwanstein castle.  If you are attending during Oktoberfest, you need to make your reservations far in advance, but beyond that, there are few sights in Munich that require advance pre-booking.  This can allow you to enjoy the city at your own pace, and stop at some beer gardens along the way.

As always, a hotel/Airbnb near a public transit stop is recommended for ease of getting around.  The Marienplatz area is where the action is in the city center, and there are plenty of accommodation options within walking distance or a stop or two away (like the main train station area)

Munich is an incredible city, and should be on the “must see” list for any traveler.