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Munich, the capital of Bavaria, is a friendly German city full of attractions. Munich has a wonderful blend of the old and the new, possessing both the Altstadt (old town) section and also a modern airport, shopping centres, and transportation system. Home to many palaces, art museums and cultural events, Munich also has lovely parks, a former Olympic village and BMW headquarters. Here are ten things to do in Munich.
Things To Do In Munich
German food is hearty, and Munich has a wide variety of restaurants that serve traditional German fare. You can find Wiener schnitzel, dumplings, sausage, sauerkraut, and cheese served in many restaurants; Italian, Chinese, Mexican, French, and many other types of cuisine are also available, so visitors to Munich need not go hungry.
The Viktualienmarkt is an open-air market where many different types of food can be bought for a quick and inexpensive lunch. It’s near Marienplatz, the town centre, and fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, loaves of bread, and drinks are all available there at food stalls. Dallmayr Coffee, a delicatessen also near Marienplatz, is Munich’s oldest gourmet shop, and it would be hard to think of the food they don’t offer.
Munich is known for its wide variety of beers, and every visitor should go to the Hofbrauhaus, the huge beer hall that seats hundreds of customers. The brewery there dates back to the 1600s, and the festive hall has the traditional oom-pa-pa band, old guys in Lederhosen and Tyrolean hats with feathers and hundreds of pins, and beer served up in one-litre steins. There’s a restaurant upstairs with an abundance of good food, and the place is always packed with tourists as well as the regular crowd from Munich.
Party At Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest is a huge festival that actually begins in mid-September and ends the first week of October. Giant beer tents are set up on the festival grounds, there are parades with beer wagons and people wearing old German costumes, and people from all over the world come to eat, drink, party and participate in huge group sing-a-longs. There is also fabulous carnival rides there. This is a very popular festival; seats in the tents are hard to get, and hotels must be booked months ahead for Oktoberfest.
Meet At Marienplatz
Marienplatz is the centre square of Munich and is a good meeting place since everyone knows where it is. The famous Glockenspiel, the huge mechanical clock, is there on the Rathaus, the new town hall, and tourists line up to see the elaborate figures come out at 11 am, 12 noon, and 5 pm when dance and a jousting tournament are enacted. There’s a giant Christmas Market during the holidays, and there are lots of shops, cafes, and coffee shops around Marienplatz. The huge Bavarian restaurant Ratskeller is in the basement of the Rathaus; it rambles through many rooms and has great food and wine.
Relax At Englischer Garten
This vast green space is one of the largest parks in Europe and has many interesting elements. There are cool rivers running through the park, a lake with ducks, swans, and boats, a beer garden in a large Chinese pagoda, a Greek temple, and lots of people participating in activities such as horseback riding, soccer, cycling, swimming, and even nude sunbathing. Englischer Garten is a great place to relax, participate in sports, or just enjoy the scenery.
View The Memorial At Dachau
The little town of Dachau was the site of a Nazi concentration camp during World War II, and many inmates lost their lives there. It is a sobering experience to tour the camp; there are exhibits and both audio and guided tours that tell about the atrocities that went on there. At the back of the camp, the crematorium is still there, and there are reconstructed barracks, a bunker, a gas chamber, and a prayer centre. Dachau is a part of history that everyone should see, but the experience would probably be too intense for small children.
See Schloss Nymphenburg
The Nymphenburg Palace is in the western part of Munich and is surrounded by beautiful grounds. The palace is one of the largest and most beautiful examples of a European baroque palace; the central part was constructed in the 1600s and was then expanded by several generations of Bavarian rulers. There’s a lovely lake with swans, breathtaking gardens, and lavish decor inside the buildings; many visitors go just to see the gardens.
Say A Prayer At Frauenkirche
This gothic cathedral was built during the 1400s and was partially destroyed during World War II; its reconstruction was recently finished. The two towers with the onion-dome tops, which were added to the cathedral in the 1500s, are visible all over Munich, and visitors can walk upstairs to the top of one of them for a great view of the city.
Shop On Maximilianstrasse
The buildings on this impressive street are architectural delights; there are designer boutiques, restaurants, museums, hotels, and other businesses, and this is the place to be seen in Munich. Maximilianstrasse is known as the “Golden Mile,” and shoppers from around the world come here to max out their credit cards in the high-end shops.
Revisit The Olympics
The Summer Olympics of 1972 were held in Munich, and the remains of the Olympic Park are still there. Visitors can see the “glass tent” and go up to the top of the tower and get a good view of the BMW site nearby, the Olympiapark, and sometimes the Alps. Parts of Olympiapark still hold events, such as soccer games and swimming meets, and there are concerts and other entertainment there frequently.