On a visit to Munich, you will experience Germany as you thought it would be: After all, the Federal State of Bavaria and its capital Munich are known for oversized portions of beer, the fairy tale castle of Neuschwanstein and of course the world-famous original Oktoberfest! But there is so much more to Germany's third largest city. Find out all you need to know in this quick guide to Munich…
Munich Travel Guide Overview:
- Films to see for inspiration
- Where to stay
- Things to do
- What to eat and drink
1. Films to see for inspiration
14 films that were filmed and / or set in Munich
Das Boot (1981)
Asterix & Obelix Take On Cesar (1999)
Sophie Scholl (2005)
Eight Miles High (2007)
The Baader Meinhof Complex (2008)
Keep Surfing (2009)
Desert Flower (2009)
The Three Musketeers (2011)
Ludwig II (2012)
Look Who's Back (2015)
13 Minutes (2015)
Marie Curie (2016)
Fack Ju Göhte (2013, 2015 + 2017)
Scene from the film "13 Minutes", in which Nazi resistance fighter Georg Elser tried to kill Hitler with a self-made bomb he planted in the Bürgerbräukeller in Munich. Photo: © Lucky Bird Pictures, Bernd Schuller
2. Where to stay
Budget: Hostel Haus International – I stayed here during my Munich visit in October 2017. If you can live with (occasionally noisy) school groups (at night they were quiet though), you can make a real bargain here. They also do a good breakfast buffet with everything you may expect from a hearty German breakfast.
Medium priced: Motel 1 – I've stayed in other Motel 1 hotels before. They all offer a similar design and great service, so you can't go wrong!
3. Things to Do
Marienplatz – Munich’s main square is the perfect starting point. Marvel at the impressive medieval town hall that survived the severe air raid bombings during World War 2. Then visit the Tourist Information located on the ground floor of the town hall. Most walking tours start from here, which brings me to the next point of interest…
The Eisbach Wave on the river Isar– you will pass by this surfer's paradise on your guided tour. In 2009, a documentary film called Keep Surfing was made about the famous Munich wave.
Bavaria Statue – Munich's Statue of Liberty is best enjoyed without the crowds of Oktoberfest. The "Wiesn", where the original Oktoberfest is happening every year in September, is just opposite this pretty statue.
Munich's very own "Statue of Liberty": A lady called "Bavaria"
Bavaria Filmstadt – use the rare opportunity to visit one of Germany's biggest film studios. Here, you can look behind the scenes of film locations for the German classic Das Boot, Astérix & Obélix or Germany’s recent comedy smash hit Fack Ju Göhte (spelled wrong on purpose by the way). English speakers can combine a walking tour in English with a guided bus tour of the city. Read more in my post Film Locations Tour in Munich: My visit to the Bavaria Film Studios
Old and New Pinakothek – a must-do for art fans! Check out Rembrandt, da Vinci and co. at the Old Pinakothek Museum or Klimt, van Goth and co. at the New Pinakothek Museum. On Sundays, entrance is just 1 Euro.
Kunsthalle – more art (old and new blended together) is on display here! On Tuesdays you'll get 50% off the entrance fee (except on public holidays).
Deutsches Museum – a huge museum worthwhile going if you like technology. Entry is 14 € (combo tickets available)
Residenz – Munich's former royal palace is located in the heart of the city. This is where the “fairy tale king” Ludwig II (who later built Neuschwanstein Castle) grew up.
Day Trip to Neuschwanstein Castle (55 €) – One of the best known landmarks of Germany is just a 1 1/2 hour train ride away from Munich! Go on an organised day tour with a guide so you can sit back and relax and make the most of your day! Read more in my post Neuschwanstein in a Day: How to Make the Most of visiting Germany's Fairytale Castle
Day Trip to Salzburg, Austria (48 €) – For more beautiful countryside, head to Austria on a guided day trip tour. Before you visit the UNESCO World Heritage city of Salzburg (by the way the birthplace of the famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart), you will pass through the picturesque landscape that was used as a backdrop for the musical movie The Sound of Music (1965). There is also a special The Sound of Music film location tour including a visit to the underground Salt Mines in Berchtesgadener Land.
Day Trip to Berchtesgadener Land – Other day tours from Munich will lead you through the beautiful lake scenery of the Bavarian Alps.
Day Trip to Dachau Concentration Camp – The darkest chapter of German history is difficult to digest, but all the more important to remember. This half-day tour will give you all the insights on the concentration camp closest to Munich.
Culinary Experiences worth checking out:
Biergarten – if there is one thing that Munich and Bavaria are world-famous for, it is of course beer! If the weather is nice, don't miss to sit in a typical Bavarian beer garden, too. A really nice one is in front of the "Seehaus" restaurant (Kleinhesselohe 3) located within the so-called "English Garden" ("Englischer Garten" in German).
Another tip is the Munich Beer Tour with Sandemans, which includes several beer tasters, a pretzel and lots of entertaining beer facts from your guide!
Oktoberfest – Now a worldwide phenomenon for celebrating a typical German (or rather Bavarian) drinking feast, Munich is where it all started. If you don't mind masses of drunk people and overpriced beers and / or you like to dress up in the typical Bavarian clothes such as leather trousers and dirndl, you should check out the original Oktoberfest every year in September.
4. What to eat and drink in Munich
- Pretzel (or Brezel as it's called in Germany, Brezen as it's called in Bavaria) – you can get this typical bread, which usually comes with salt, everywhere in Germany. But #OnlyInBavaria can you get a particularly big one!
- Beer – Contrary to other parts in Germany, the beer in Bavaria only comes in big sizes. Half a liter is the minimum (roughly equals one pint), but many Bavarians have a 1 litre glass. Typical Bavarian beers are Weizenbier or Radler, which is half beer / half lemonande.
- Knödel (round dumplings made out of breadcrumbs) – together with assorted mushrooms in a sauce ("Pilzschwammerl") a great option for vegetarians like me!
- Apple Strudel – Remember that tense moment when Christoph Walz alias Nazi officer Hans Landa ate his Apple Strudel in front of the terrified Jewish girl Shosanna in Inglourious Basterds (2009)? Here you can have a taste of the famous South German / Austrian dessert.
- Kaiserschmarn – another dessert typical found in the Southern Germany and Austria
Where to eat and drink in Munich
Zum Augustiner (Neuhauser Straße 27 – they serve their own beer called Augustiner)
Hofbräuhaus (Platzl 9 – Munich's most famous beerhouse can now be found all over the world, but you will find the original here)
Alter Simpl (Türkenstraße 57 – friendly student folk and student prices, there are several other good eating places along this street)
#OnlyInBavaria will you see a guy in Lederhosen just walking down the streets…
Unless otherwise credited, all photos by © Sonja Irani | filmfantravel.com
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