5 Minute Guide to Munich, Germany
From the airport:
You will arrive at Munich airport (MUC) in either terminal 1 or 2. The best way into the city centre is by S-bahn (train), which you will find in the basement level, between the two terminals. The airport is huge, although signs are very clear and you won’t get lost. Just look for the S-bahn signs. Buy your S-bahn ticket before you leave the airport terminal, either from the ticket machines or the ticket desk. Tickets are just over 11 euro to the city centre (however a day ticket, which allows you to use public transport again when you arrive in the centre, is about 13 euro which might be a better option if you’re planning to use transport again the same day).
When you exit your terminal you will see a huge area which you will have to cross (from terminal 2, terminal 1 is closer) to get to the S-bahn station.
Validate your S-bahn ticket in the machine at the top of the stairs before you go down to the basement station. There are two lines you can take to the centre – S1 and S8. Just take the first one that comes, they both take about the same time and they leave the airport approximately every 10 minutes.
We stayed at this hotel, Hotel Sendlinger Tor and can confidently recommend it. The rooms are a little on the small side, but very clean and there’s everything you need. It’s in a really convenient location, walking distance to the main train station and interesting sites in the town. If you’re looking for something cheaper, or more luxurious, try Booking.com (if you use this referral link for your next booking on Booking.com we’ll both get a reward!).
We didn’t take any much public transport while in Munich, we went almost everywhere by foot. Of course there are excursions you can take outside of Munich, but while you’re in the city it’s not difficult to get around. The city is flat, no hills to climb, and plenty of places to stop for a tea/beer, or something stronger, if you need a rest.
German food is very heavy – but delicious. There are a lot of different sausages available (Germany is not the best place for vegetarians/vegans), and they’re all good. In Munich the local specialty is ‘weisswurst’ – a white sausage made from veal and spices. It’s good, but I find this one lacking a little in flavour. If you want something with a bit more ‘bite’, try a bratwurst instead. Sausages are usually sold as fast food in a small roll, with mustard or ketchup.
Also in Munich (and Bavaria in general) is what’s called schweinshaxe, which is roasted pork knuckle, traditionally served with a potato dumpling. Try it.
Then there’s the old favourites – pretzels (Brezel), schnitzels, sauerkraut, and of course their wonderful bakery products and cakes.
I was happy to spend just a few days in Munich, more than that and I’ll be looking for new clothes a size or two bigger. It’s impossible not to over-eat in Germany – the food is so good!
We found a lovely restaurant right near our hotel called Wirtshaus am Sendlinger Tor, which was so good we went twice! The waiters were really friendly, without being too intrusive, and made us feel welcome. The food was out of this world (especially the Argentinian steak, and the roast pork with beer sauce and potato dumpling). Reasonably priced and good quality food.
Germany, of course, is famous for its beer gardens, but unfortunately we were there in January with the snow, so no beer gardens for us.
And finally, you can’t miss the Viktualienmarkt. It’s a huge food market with farm produce, as well as delicatessen style food, meat, fish, sausages, wine, tea and much, much more. And if you’re hungry, there are plenty of stands where you can buy sausages in a bun and other fast food, or take your time and eat and drink something nice in the beer garden.
Munich is a shopper’s paradise. In the centre of the old town there are all the top brands, big shopping complexes, arcades, department stores and pedestrian areas. On top of that you have souvenir shops and kiosks and speciality shops. I think you can get anything you need in Munich if you look for it.
Munich is a great place for sightseeing! There’s so much to see, you need some time there to get to everything. We missed a lot of things due to lack of time, so I suggest a week or two in Munich to get most of the main sights covered.
Let’s look at some of them:
- Rathaus-Glockenspiel: a mechanical clock with daily shows (be there at 11am sharp to see the show)
- BMW Museum: for car lovers
- Hofbräuhaus: one of the most famous Bavarian restaurants in Munich
- Residence: once a castle for Bavarian dukes, princes and emperors
- The Munich National Theatre
- Umschreibung (or Stairway to Heaven): a sculpture of stairs in the shape of a double helix – unfortunately you can’t climb it anymore
- Palace Neuschwanstein: not exactly in Munich, take a day trip/excursion
- And the cinema, Filmtheatre Sendlinger Tor. It’s more than 100 years old, and the film posters are painted by hand on the front of the theatre. It’s Munich’s largest single-screen theatre and has been owned by the same family (Pressmar family) for more than 70 years.
And many, many beautiful buildings and architecture to be found all around the city.
Munich is pretty quirky compared to some other cities I’ve been to. Take the Englische Garten, for example. It’s basically a beautiful, huge park with many paths and monuments, and even a Chinese Tower. But, the quirkiest thing is that you can surf in the river! Yes, really. Even in winter.
Cigarettes are still available in Germany from vending machines – even on the street. But now, you have to swipe your state issued ID card to prove that you’re over 18 before you can buy from the machine.
We came across this outside cafe just outside the Englische Garten. The tables and chairs are old ski-lift cabins.
A beautiful vase of flowers painted on the side of the building…
You have to agree that Munich is a quirky place!
Everyone will love Munich. The old town is quite compact, so not too tiring for the very young and not-so-very-young. There’s a lot to see and do in Munich, I think it will satisfy all ages and travellers.
Just go! There’s something for everyone in Munich. Take your walking shoes and explore the city outside the main tourist areas. Visit some cafes away from the centre to get a feel of the real Munich.
Have you been to Munich? Got any tips for travellers going there? Leave them in the comments below.