Ahhh, München ❤
Munich is a city where you can easily spend as much as a month exploring the area or as little as a few days, and no matter what you will probably leave happy if you do it right.
My guide will be geared towards having only a few days to explore Munich and all it has to offer. Having a limited amount of time in a city like Munich can be overwhelming and a little bit stressful if you’re not sure where to go or what to do. However, that is why I’m writing this guide, which will take you through the touristy (but necessary) activities, as well as give you some insider tips on what traps to avoid and what is worth the hype. I hope it will be useful for you throughout your travels no matter how long you will be in Munich for!
TIPS & TRICKS – before planning your schedule:
- You should always check whether there are any fun festivals or events happening in Munich on the dates you will be in the city (although it’s likely that is the reason you are coming). Munich has festivals going all year long which are very entertaining, and would definitely be worthwhile to check out if you happen to be in Munich at the right time.
- You should also check what the weather is going to be like. It is not always 100% accurate, but a few days out usually gives a pretty good indication of what it will be like. This should not keep you from doing things you had planned to do, but might help make the day easier (if it is going to rain for example, bring an umbrella and you will be a lot happier). Or if it is going to rain one day but not the next, maybe plan your walking day on the sunny day, and a museum day on the rainy day.
- Ask for recommendations from family and friends – chances are you know someone that has been to Munich. On top of that, do research! Either way, I hope I can help some of you in the planning process.
*This is just a general daily guideline for a few days in Munich, but feel free to mix and match or take only tidbits from my experience and recommendations to fit your needs.
Day 1: Arriving Day
Depending on what time of the day you arrive, your day could vary quite a bit. Let’s say you drove in and got into the city around 1PM. You’ll check in, need to grab a bite to eat, and get your evening started.
Munich has a wide variety of food to choose from. Depending on your preferences (and also your location), I’d recommend hitting up Google honestly. I know everyone is on a different page after a long flight, but if you want to jump right in and have some good Bavarian food, I have a few suggestions for you:
- Kaisergarten (location: Schwabing)
- Lowenbrau (location: Maxvorstadt)
- Augustiner-Keller (location: Maxvorstadt, not far from Munich Hbf)
- Haxnbauer (I recommend this when you tour Marienplatz – seen in picture)
- But if you would rather get some comfort food after a long flight or drive, the burgers at Hams Im Glück are amazing, and it is a chain with locations all over.
After you are finished eating, I’d head on over to whichever festival that is on at the moment. Some of the major ones that happen in Munich are:
- Starkbierfest (March)
- Frühlingsfest (April-May)
- Oktoberfest (September-October)
- Christmas markets (December)
Now this is not all of them, just the major ones – so be sure to check them out! If there is nothing on while you’re here, then just head on over to the nearest bierhall and have a mass!! And I’m sure if you are in Munich during a festival like Oktoberfest then you will probably be heading there multiple days and will be your main focus – and please make it so!! Just use this guide for your day off, haha!
You can also check out if there are any events/concerts going on at Olympiapark!
Day 2: Exploring Day
I would suggest doing a big walking tour of Munich on this day. You can sign up for a Free Walking Tour if you are interested in learning about the little details about things, or you can do it yourself. I think there is a lot to learn when you have a guide and I enjoyed doing it it, but if you don’t care that much then it is really nice to be on your own schedule and not have to wait around for a group all day (especially when you have a limited timeline).
If you are going it on your own, I have put together a list for you of the main places you should visit in the order that makes the most sense to walk in. Again – I would recommend doing a bit of your own research on these places before you go just to get an idea about their significance or even what they are – maybe check this out for help with a few. It will only enhance your experience! Just a heads up, my guide is very beer focused – would you do it any other way?! I mean, it’s a lot of walking so you’ll need many hydration breaks 😉
- Start your tour in Marienplatz. The clock tower goes off usually on the hour but you can check online for the times it will chime, it might depend on the day you are there. There is a lot to see in this area.
- Next, you should climb St. Peter’s Church Tower. It will cost around 3 EUR a person to go up, and it is a couple hundred stairs to climb. But the views are amazing and so worth it. (Go as early in the morning as you can! It get’s really busy in the middle of the day).
- Then you can head to the Farmer’s Market right next to it and try the local cheeses, olives, fruits, etc. and take a break in the biergarten which sits in the middle of all of the stalls.
- From there you can head to the Hofbrauhaus and have lunch there or just grab another beer in the bierhall upstairs. This is the touristy bierhall, although many locals do go there regularly as well. (I recommend eating at the next place I mention instead)
- This is where I’d like to say Haxnbauer restaurant is the most amazing Bavarian food you will ever have, and I highly recommend going here for lunch (and getting pork knuckle). We’ve sent a a lot of people there over the last year and haven’t heard any complaints!
- After lunch and probably a few beers in, you can walk toward the Residenz building
- This will lead you to Odeonsplatz. There are a lot of architectural buildings here with a lot of history!
- Then you should walk through the Hofgarten, which is very beautiful and it will lead you in the direction of the Englischer Garten.
- Before you walk through the garden, be sure to stop and check out the surfers at the Eisbach!
- If you have time and energy left, make your way through the garden until you come across the Chinese Bier Garten. Once again, have some beers and plan the rest of your evening. I don’t blame you if it ends there, because this tour is a lot of walking but definitely doable with all the hydration breaks 😉
Another option to end the day is to ride bikes through the Englischer Garten, which you can easily rent through the MVG app. They are the blue and silver bikes that are always parked in random places that you can find and rent by the minute through the app. But walking is nice too!
Day 3: Museums and Tours Day
So if I’m being quite honest, I personally have not been to many museums in Munich yet because they aren’t really my favorite thing to do – BUT after making this list I would really like to a visit a few in the near future. I’ve obtained most of these recommendations from The Culture Trip article, which is really informative. I’d recommend going to museums on Sunday because there is not much else open in Munich on Sundays and all state-run museums cost only €1 to get in. Win – win! If you don’t want to visit the museums, you can check out Olympiapark and the stadium.
- Deutsches Museum – known as Munich’s most famous museum, also claims the title of the largest science and technology museum in the world
- Glyptothek (Museum)- dedicated to ancient sculptures
- BMW Museum/Welt – Read this article from The Culture Trip before heading here!
- Tour of Dachau Concentration Camp – I highly recommend doing this tour if you are interested in the history of WWII and all that went on, if you have the time! It is about 6ish hours roundtrip depending on your guide and you need to book in advance!
- If you have any specific or quirky things you’d like to do on a tour in Munich, have a look at this site and see what they have to offer.
Day X: If You Have More Time Day!
As I said, this is just a weekend or short trip guide, but if you happen to have more days and you’d like to get out of the city for the day, keep these locations in mind! They are reachable by train or car.
- Neuschwansein Castle – “Disney Castle”
- Garmisch-Partenkirchen – great hiking and cute towns!
- Salzburg, Austria – “Sound of Music” city
- Zugspitze – tallest mountain in nation
A few things to keep in mind while traveling in Germany…
- Seems like commonsense but, please pick up your trash and leave an area exactly how you found it or better! Munich is a very clean city and has trash cans everywhere for your usage. When tourist season hits, it just gets a lot dirtier and it’s respectful to keep it clean when you can.
- Always walk, ride, and drive on the right side of the road! Don’t ride a bike on the sidewalks or on the left side of the road.
- Avoid asking for tap water if you can! It’s not common in Germany and if you ask for water they will say “With or without gas (bubbles)” and you will be paying for it regardless, since it will come from a bottle. I recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle with you everywhere.
- All shops are CLOSED on SUNDAYS. Some restaurants and bars might be open but double check times on Google if you are depending on one. No general grocery stores or liquor stores will be open on Sunday, so plan ahead!
- Typical beer sizes are a lot larger than those of other countries so be sure to ask for a small one if that’s what you want, but I’d recommend going BIG and order a mass at least once while in Munich! (at a biergarten though, not a restaurant lol).
- If you’d like to use some general one word terms, (without sounding like an idiot) try some of these!
- “Bitte” – Please
- “Danke” – Thanks
- “Hallo!” – Hello
- Or maybe just skip it and be a tourist – Alles Gut! 😉
I hope this guide was sufficient enough to get you through a weekend in Munich. If you have any questions, I’ve been living in Munich for a year now and would be happy to answer any! You can find me on Instagram @ryleemariaa or by clicking my side profile on the homepage, but chances are you know me and can figure out your own way to contact me. Have a blast in Munich and don’t forget to share this with someone you know is heading this way!