Let me be frank, I did not know that Munich was this beautiful. I thought intricately decorated churches and sprawling parks and gardens were reserved for places like Paris and Amsterdam, but man was I wrong. Call it ignorance, but I was overjoyed by the beauty in Munich. If you haven’t considered visiting, you need to add it to your list. While Munich is known for it’s Oktoberfest celebration (you can see my whole guide here!) there is so much more to explore in the city that I expected.
The best part is that you can easily see the city by walking and using the super convenient public transportation system. I wanted to give you a quick guide of the highlights of what we saw and the best way to explore this extraordinary city.
Munich is from a medieval German word, “München,” which when translated means monks. Dating back to the 12th century, it was named after Benedictine monks who settled here in the 7th century. It was founded by Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria over 800 years ago. The city eventually became the capital of the kingdom of Bavaria.
How to Get to Munich
Munich has a large airport so it’s easy to fly or you can take a train. Once you’re there, you can take public transit to get into the city. You can find all the stops on MVV’s public transit website. The most well known area is Marienplatz. This is a bustling area of shops, food, street performers, and gorgeous architecture. This is one of the most notable stops on public transport and if you get off here, it’s easy to venture to the other sites.
What to see in Munich
Since we’re starting at Marienplatz, you’ll see why this is so popular. We started at Marienplatz and New Town Hall. One of the most stunning structures I’ve ever seen, the ornate neo-Gothic building. It took over 40 years to complete in 1908 and spans over 300 feet long. This is the seat of the mayor and the city council. I never got tired of seeing this gorgeous building and seeing it lit up at night.
There is so much to see and do around the Marienplatz. It’s a great area to stop in to a cafe for a quick bite to eat, or you can spend a few hours at a restaurant and take in the sites.
After seeing Marienplatz, we walked over to Viktualienmarkt. This is a food and farmer’s market along with flower shops and a beer garden. Michael and I stopped here and had a delicious meal at Speisecafe steirer. The weather was exceptional, so we sat outside and drank beer and wine and ate pasta and roast beef. Since it was during Oktoberfest, people walked around in their lederhosen and dirndls.
Next, we walked over to Peterskirche or St. Peter’s Church. This is Munich’s oldest parish church and was also the only church for many years. Inside is absolutely stunning and worth it to go inside and explore.
You MUST go inside the church. Not only for this stunning view. Inside the church on the left-hand side is a glass coffin containing the jeweled skeleton remains of Saint Munditia: the matron saint of matrons. Aka saint of all the single ladies. And it’s her REAL bones y’all. All decked out with jewels and a crown and… eyes.
Since we got there later in the day, we headed back home but you could spend a whole day in the city center seeing all of the sites.
The next day, we headed back near Marienplatz, to one exit up, Odeonplatz. We headed over to Frauenkirche. There are twin onion towers that are one of Munich’s most recognizable landmarks. These twin towers actually survived World War II bombing despite the rest of the church being heavily damaged. Unfortunately, it was being constructed on when we were there, but it was absolutely gorgeous. There is a law that forbids new buildings to obscure the view of the church… so there are no skyscrapers in Munich!
Next we went to my favorite place in Munich, the the Church of St. Kajetan or Theatinerkirche. On the outside the yellow stone is eye catching, but my favorite was inside. Ornate white stone is so different from others I’ve seen and gets tons of light from the gorgeous dome at the top before the altar.
Please pause for dramatic effect…
Hi I took this picture.
The Feldherrnhalle or Field Marshal’s Hall is right next to the church. This is an open air building that has lions on either side and a stairway leading up to a statue.
Right next to that, The Residenz Museum is a HUGE museum that I’m told is absolutely incredible. Unfortunately, I just went on the grounds of the museum since we didn’t have time to spend the whole day in the museum (it’s over 800 rooms…). The grounds are beautiful and there is a rotunda lined with red flowers in the Hofgarten and then was a piano performer playing inside the dome. It was pretty incredible.
From there, we walked the grounds to the Hofgarten (Palace gardens). This is a beautiful walk with tree lined walkways and a river running through.
We kept walking through the park, named The English Garden, and found where the water really came rushing by. So much so, that it creates a natural wave. Sure enough, there were surfers who took their boards and bravery to the wave. It was fun to sit and watch them.
We kept walking to the open air spot where people picnicked and laid out (some of them nude) by the water’s edge. Lots of people brought their (really well trained) dogs and walked or biked the path.
On our way out of the park we went by the cemetery, which contains massive graves that date back centuries ago.
After that much walking we stopped and ate a slice of pizza at a local cafe.
Then we walked over to the recommended Der verrückte Eismacher which is Alice and Wonder themed and they have lots of funky flavors. We tried chicken and beer flavors, but I opted for chocolate.
I opted for chocolate, since I needed some in my life.
We walked back to public transportation through the pretty alleys and saw the multicolored buildings and came upon this sunset.
We spent such a short time in Munich and so much time spent at Oktoberfest, I will be back soon to see more. It really is incredibly lovely and such a wonderful place to visit.
Have you been to Munich? Is it on your must see list?