Best Things To Do In Munich
Whether you’re visiting for a long weekend or planning to make Munich your new home, there’s plenty to see and do in Germany’s third biggest city. This green city is known for its beautiful parks, many museums, and beautiful palaces. To make the most of your trip, we’ve put together a list of the best things to do in Munich here.
Best Things To Do In Munich
1. Alte Pinakothek
Dating to 1836, the Alte Pinakothek is one of the world’s oldest art galleries. The museum’s Neo-Renaissance design would be a model for galleries that sprouted in Brussels, Rome and St Petersburg.
It was all ordered by King Ludwig I to house the Wittelsbach dynasty’s exceptional collection, started by Duke Wilhelm IV back in the 1500s. The upshot is 800 German, French, Dutch, Flemish, Italian and Spanish paintings from the 1200s to the 1800s, of superlative quality. The masters who take the spotlight are Peter Paul Rubens, Albrecht Dürer and van Dyck, all represented by multiple paintings.
This square has been the heart of the city since 1158 when it was used for markets and even tournaments. Today, it’s best known for the Christmas markets, which start three weeks before Christmas. Marienplatz is dominated by the Neues Rathaus, which covers 9,159 m² (3.5 sq mi) and has over 400 rooms. It was designed by Georg Hauberrisser, who won a competition to design the city’s new town hall. One of its most famous features is the elaborate Glockenspiel cuckoo clock with a carousel of figures dancing at 11am, noon, and 5pm.
Next to the Feldherrnhalle are the distinctive towers of the yellow Theatinerkirche (Theatine Church) standing at 66 metres (216.5 feet) tall. This 17th-century Catholic church was built by a Bavarian nobleman to give thanks for the birth of a long-awaited heir to the throne.
Its Italian architect, Agostino Barelli, brought a touch of the Mediterranean to Munich with its High Baroque style. Step past the yellow Rococo exterior into its incredibly beautiful, ornate interior, stare up at the dome 71 metres (233 feet) above, and admire the stucco and sculptures.
You know beer’s important to a city when there’s a state-run beer hall! The famous Hofbräuhaus dates back to the 16th century and offers the quintessential German beer hall experience complete with live brass band.
Oktoberfest rules apply: no service without a seat, so expect to charm your way onto the end of a table and share space. If possible, avoid Friday and Saturday nights; as one of the most popular tourist attractions in Munich, it can take over 45 minutes to find a table and get a beer. For speedier service and a less stressful experience, go on a Sunday evening instead.
5. Munich Residenz
What began as a 14th-century castle for the Wittelsbach monarchs on the northern edge of the city burgeoned over the course of several hundred years into a sublime palace complex of ten courtyards and 130 rooms.
Successive dukes, emperors, princes and kings all made grand statements in the Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical styles. Given the size of the palace and the richness of its art, the Munich Residenz is a sight to do in several visits if you can. But a few musts to tick off are the Italian Renaissance Grotto Courtyard, the lavishly adorned Antiquarium banquet hall and the gilded mouldings in the Baroque Ancestral Gallery.
6. Neues Rathaus
A postcard favourite, Munich’s town hall on Marienplatz is a Gothic Revival wonder, a monument worthy of the city.
The facade is festooned with pinnacles, niches with little trefoil arches and statues of the first four Bavarian kings on the bay of the tower.
Munich’s population doubled in less than 20 years between 1880 and 1900, and the Neues Rathaus, which was originally completed in 1874 had to be expanded barely 20 years after it was finished. That facade is 100 metres long and the building was extended to 400 rooms, and you can go in to scale the 85-metre where you can see to the Alps on cloudless days.
7. Glyptothek museum
One of the most impressive Neoclassical buildings of Königsplatz is the Glyptothek. This beautiful building claims to be the only museum in the world dedicated solely to ancient sculpture. Visitors are free to wander the exhibits and get up close with the art, which is openly laid out rather than hidden away behind glass.
Far from a stuffy traditional museum, it feels like an art gallery and prides itself on interesting, modern twists – they currently have modern replicas of famous statues carved from wood with a chainsaw. An entry ticket will also grant access into the State Collection of Antiques in the opposite building, and it’s just €1 on Sundays.