Things to Do in Munich: From River Surfing to Fine Art Museums

So you are planning your trip to Munich and wondering what are the Top Things to do in Munich on your trip? In this post, I will cover in detail the attractions in Munich and will go over some of the spots which you should not miss on your trip. You can also check my video from the Munich Travel Series and let me know in the comments if you like it, it is further down in the post. If you are a fan of beer and drinking well the first thing which is going to pop up on your mind while hearing Munich the world’s famous Oktoberfest Fest the annual beer and folk festival. But the city has much more to offer. With a fascinating history, splendid art and architecture, museums and castles, and some delicious food and drink, there is plenty to keep any traveler occupied. But it would be difficult to experience all the city has to offer in just one day. If you have time to spend on a sightseeing day trip to the Eisbach Free Walking Tour you can consider doing that as it offers a crash course on the History of the city and some famous spots and stories around that. We tried with Sandeman’s guided tour during our visit but you can also try finding some more like Free Walking Tour Munich. In case you want to reserve a spot for the walking tour and don’t want to wait you can get your tickets for Skip the Line Munich Free walking tour for 2 Euros. But in case you have less time to spend in the City you may want to skip the walking tours and consider exploring the beauty of the city on your own.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1ET0qQ5JyU
In case you want to watch my Munich Travel Vlog check our Youtube video.

Top Things to Do in Munich

Marienplatz

Top Things to do in Munich - Marienplatz
Top Things to do in Munich – Marienplatz
Marienplatz has been Munich ‘s central square since 1158 and a stroll around the narrow streets and courtyard is a must-see for the magnificent historic buildings with breathtaking architecture such as Neues Rathaus (New City Hall), which dominates the square and the Altes Rathaus (Old City Hall) Gothic-style buildings. With lots of cafes , bars, shops and street artists like those in Viktualienmarkt, it’s a fun place to hang out. The cheerful Glockenspiel, from high up on the tower of the New City Hall, chimes out and re-enacts 16th-century tales, with 43 bells and 32 puppets, each morning at 11 am and 12 pm. Even visit nearby St. Peter’s Church (Peterskirche), the oldest church in Munich and one adorned in the interior. Avoid the crowds and climb the 299 steps to the tower early and take stunning views of the city at 360 °. This is the liveliest location in Munich and you will end up seeing it crowded with many tourists getting their finest click around the new Rathaus. The reason for including this as the first in our Top things to do in Munich is that it is in the centre and is the most loved location in Munich.

Church of our Lady / Frauenkirche

Top Things to do in Munich- Church of Our Lady
Top Things to do in Munich- Church of Our Lady
The red gothic-style, Our Lady’s Church (Frauenkirche) is a Munich landmark, with its striking domed towers rising up into the bright blue sky. With massive pillars, arches and beautiful colourful stained glass windows, the interior of one of Munich’s landmarks is spectacular. Go out of the hustle and bustle of the streets to spend some time and relax in the quiet environment surrounded by beautiful art and the scent of incense. The cathedral not only houses Louis IV’s remains but also secrets that you can discover about the footprint of the Devil and why it’s always windy around the church. The bell tower is open all day, and the views from the top are well worth all the stairs!  Be warned though, the staircase is narrow and there is only one which is used for going up and coming down, so take your time and be aware of other people who are going up or down at the same time. From the top, you get a spectacular view of Marienplatz and the New Town Hall, as well as the whole city around you (the cover photo is from the top of the tower).

The Devils Footprint

If you’re a believer or not, I’ve loved this story about the Frauenkirche architect making a bargain with the devil. The church was built in just 20 years, which for a church of that scale is incredibly fast considering it was built in the 1400s without modern technology. Legend has it, the devil came into the church during construction and talked to the architect, and promised to help him improve the building as long as the church had no walls. At the time, the church already had windows, but he couldn’t see them from where the devil stood, because they were concealed along the aisle by the tall pillars. The skilful architect decided to make no improvements to the church, and a few years later construction was finished. When the devil came back to inspect the job, he was angry to see the beautiful windows all over the church, and when he discovered he was fooled, he stamped his foot in rage and left his footprint behind.

Take the Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour

Enjoy Munich on a panoramic hop-on hop-off tour across the city in a double-decker bus. Enjoy magnificent views of the city, from Olympic Park to Nymphenburg Palace, and get on or off the bus anytime you like to experience the city at your own pace. The good thing is that this is available in multi language i.e. Spanish, Danish, English, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Russian It starts from Bahnhofsplatz, in front of the Elisenhof, located right by the Munich Central Train Station in the city center. We booked the small city tour and It was very interesting to see the nicer corners of Munich. The day trip went about 1 hour with several stops for sightseeing. There were free headphones for listening to the band announcement and an overview plan.
Munich Travel Card - Top Things to Do in Munich
Munich Travel Card – Top Things to Do in Munich
    • Use public transport such as metro, bus and tram unlimited and free of charge
    • Get a free map and a travel brochure from Munich that contains some useful information for your stay

Deutsches Museum

Top Things to Do in Munich
Top Things to Do in Munich
Our top things to do in Munich is going to empty if we don’t include this museum on it. The Deutsches Museum was founded in 1903 and is one of the world’s oldest science and technology museums. And, covering some 66,000 sq m2, it is one of the biggest and you could easily spend more than a day walking through the exclusive and fascinating exhibits. All is well described and descriptive, from astronomy, oceanography, and marine navigation to physics, the climate, and transport. This is a fabulous place to visit if you’re interested in science and technology. Adults cost €11; families cost € 23. You will find more detail on the rates for the guided tour here. More information on prices can be found here.

Englischer Garten ( English Garden )

Top Things to Do in Munich
Top Things to Do in Munich – Englischer Garten – Monopteros
The Englischer Garten (English Garden) is a massive park in the middle of Munich, one of the world’s biggest, and a nice place to spend the day. There is plenty to see; a Japanese tea house, a Chinese 5-level tower, Apollo’s temple, Schonfeld Meadow and Kleinhesseloher Lake, all contributing to the park’s distinctive character. You can also ride the waves and surf along with one of the lakes the most famous portion where you will see people surfing is Einbach in one of the starting portion of English Garten, there are green expanses for sunbathing, naked if you like, thick woods and several trails for exploring on foot or by bike. There are plenty of cafes, restaurants and beer gardens offering a delicious variety of food and beverages. If you want to include this in your itinerary make sure you have sufficient time and you have planned all what you want to see in the garden because it 900 acres and is the largest garden in Europe so you will end up lost in the garden if you don’t know what you want to see. If you want to Fly drone in Munich then this is one of best spot where you can fly your drone. The Monopteros the circular Greek temple lies in the flying zone so you can get creative with your drone around that. Next on our list of top things to do in Munich is Glyptothek

Glyptothek Museum

Top Things to Do in Munich
Top Things to Do in Munich – Glyptothek Museum
If you are a fan of museum and sculpture then you should definitely consider visiting this museum during your visit to Munich. This is one of the oldest public museums in Europe and the only museum in the world dedicated solely to ancient sculpture. The name “Glyptothek” is a modern art word. It is made up of the ancient Greek words “glyphein” (chiseling) and “theke” (storage), thus denotes a storage place for sculptures. Here Greek and Roman marble statues of the highest quality are displayed in an ideal setting. As of September 2020, this is currently closed for renovation, So you may want to check when it available for visiting. Admission for a sightseeing day trip €6.00/4.00 and Sundays €1, children free; ticket valid for both museums (Glyptothek and Staatliche Antikensammlungen). You can check their website here Location – Königsplatz

Assamkirche

Things to Do in Munich - Assamkirche
Top Things to Do in Munich – Assamkirche
The Asamkirche Munich is located on Sendlingerstraße, which with its numerous shops is one of the most popular shopping streets in Munich. The Asamkirche in Sendlinger Straße – one of the most important buildings The Assam Church was built between 1733 and 1746 by the Asam brothers. The special feature of the church is its original construction as a private church and not, as was customary at the time, on behalf of the congregation. For the Asam brothers, the construction was rather an expression of their honour to God. A protest by the population later allowed public access to the Asam Church. It is free to visit and is open daily. You can easily walk to this place from Marienplatz without any issue. Location – Sendlinger Straße 32, 80331 Munich

St. Peters Kirche

St Peters Kirche - Top Things to Do in Munich
St PetersKirche – Top Things to Do in Munich
Situated opposite to new Rathaus in Marienplatz this church can be recognized easily by the tall towers with eight clock faces on it. Saint Peter’s Church or Alte Peter (Old Peter) is the city’s oldest church, it was constructed in 1180. During WWII the church was almost completely obliterated and it took up until 2000 to complete the church’s reconstruction. The interior is predominantly baroque in style and features a high altar by Stuber (1730) and statues by Egid Asam. In a gilded glass coffin you can see the skeletal remains of Saint Mundita. The bones are adorned with precious stones and gold. It is possible to climb the 306 steps to the top of the church steeple, which is 56 meters high, and get brilliant views across the city. The cost to see the beautiful panorama view of the city is just 3 Euro per person. While currently, this is closed because of the restrictions of Coronavirus but this absolutely is one of the interesting things to do in Munich.
Munich Travel Card - Top Things to Do in Munich
Munich Travel Card – Top Things to Do in Munich
    • Use public transport such as metro, bus and tram unlimited and free of charge
    • Get a free map and a travel brochure from Munich that contains some useful information for your stay

Pinakothek Der Moderne

This modern art museum is one of the three great Pinakothek museums in Munich’s Art District or Kunstareal together with the Alte Pinakothek (museum of Old Masters) and the Neue Pinakothek (18th and 19th century art museum). These three museums, together with the Antikensammlungen (museum of antiquities) cover the history of art from ancient civilizations and through to modern art. The entry inside the museum cost 10 Euro. Location – Barer Strasse 40, 80333 Munich

Alte Pinakothek

Alte Pinakothek - Top Things to do in Munich
Alte Pinakothek – Top Things to do in Munich
This is one of the oldest museums in the world, “Alte” actually means “old”; the museum covers the “old” masters (hence the name) mainly from the 13th to 18th century. It is part of a group of three “Pinakotheken” museums all located in the Art District or Kunstareal. This museum is an house to around 800 paintings. The cost of the entry to the museum is 4 Euro. Location – Barer Strasse 27 80333 Munich

Neue Pinakothek

The original building of the Neue Pinakothek dated back to 1853 when the museum opened, but it was destroyed during WWII and so the present home of this museum opened in 1981. The museum is home to around 400 modern art created in 18th and 19th century. Currently it is closed. The admission cost for this museum is 7 Euro. Location – Barer Str. 29, 80799 München, Germany You can find more information about this here.

Bayrische Staatsoper

Bayrische Staatsoper - Top Things to do in Munich
Bayrische Staatsoper – Top Things to do in Munich
The Bayerische Staatsoper is one of the world’s leading opera houses and proudly looks back on a history of opera and ballet that has lasted more than 350 years. With around 600,000 guests attending more than 450 events each year, the Bayerische Staatsoper contributes significantly to Munich’s reputation as one of the major international cultural cities. Within one day trip, more than 40 operas from five centuries and more than 20 ballets from the 19th century to the present day are given, along with concerts and recitals. This makes the house’s program one of the most diverse internationally diverse. With 2,101 seats, the Classicist National Theatre is the largest opera house in Germany and is considered one of the most beautiful theatres in Europe. You can find more information about this here

Visit the Munich Residenz

Residenz - Top Things to Do in Munich
Residenz – Top Things to Do in Munich
Enjoy visiting the Residenz which is the largest city palace in Germany and is for sure the one of Munich tourist attractions which is one everyone itinerary. From 1508 to 1918, the Munich Residence was the Bavarian dukes, electors and kings’ residence and seat of government. Throughout the ages, the princes converted a castle in the north-eastern corner of the city fortifications (“Neuveste”, 1385) into a splendid ruler’s seat and expanded town courtyards and gardens. Spaces and collections of art from the Renaissance, Early Baroque and Rococo periods to Classicism attest to the House of Wittelsbach’s sense of art and political ambition. You can find more information about this here

Bayrisches National Museum

National Museum - Top Things to Do in Munich
National Museum – Top Things to Do in Munich – Source
The Bavarian National Museum was founded in 1855 by King Maximilian II of Bavaria, after the archive director Karl Maria Freiherr von Aretin had already submitted plans for the construction of a Wittelsbach museum in 1853. The aim was to “remove the most interesting and paternal monuments and other remains of bygone times from oblivion”. According to the taste of the times, the focus was on the Middle Ages during our day trip. In the first period, everything “that contributes to the characterization of the past centuries … in terms of arts and commerce”. You can find more information about this here

BMW Museum

BMW Museum - Top Things to do in Munich
BMW Museum – Top Things to do in Munich
This museum focuses on the history and products of the car company BMW; it is situated in close proximity to BMW Welt, a product show room, conference space and also a museum in an innovatively designed building. The BMW Museum building was opened in 1972 and in 2008 underwent extensive renovations. The BMW Museum is one of the most visited sites in Munich. The entry cost for the museum is 10 Euro. Location – Am Olympiapark 2, 80809 Munich, Germany You can find more information about this here

Go surfing on the Eisbach

Go surfing on the Eisbach If you’re an avid surfer looking for a unique and challenging experience, then the Eisbach in Munich, Germany is the place for you and of course it is one of the unique things to do in the city. This man-made river wave has been a popular spot for river surfing since the 1970s and has become a well-known attraction for both locals and tourists. The Eisbach wave offers a thrilling and consistent ride for experienced surfers, with a powerful and fast-moving wave that can reach up to 6.6 feet in height. It’s a challenging spot that requires skill and experience to navigate, but the reward is an exhilarating and unforgettable surfing experience in the heart of a vibrant European city. While the Eisbach wave might not be suitable for beginners, it is a must-visit destination for surfers seeking a unique and memorable adventure. And after a day of catching waves, you can explore the beautiful city of Munich and immerse yourself in its rich culture and history.

Munich for Oktoberfest

This is one is more like an yearly event and is something which sets this city apart from the other places in Europe. Oktoberfest is one time when people come to life in Munich. There are so many fun sights in Munich during this time, I cant forget when I saw people carrying barrels of beer and walking near the Munich Residenz. I would say personally it is one of the best time to explore Munich. Period.

Viktualienmarkt Food Market

While markets are not unique to Munich, the Viktualienmarkt offers a special Bavarian experience. This bustling market in the heart of the city features over 140 stalls selling fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and local specialties. Try some traditional Bavarian snacks or pick up ingredients for a picnic in the nearby English Garden.

Day Trips from Munich

If you some more time to spend in Munich Germany and you are already done with all the tourist attractions in the city then I would recommend you to try some of the day trips from the city. I personally tried this and it was absolute fun.

Neuschwanstein Castle:

    • One of the most iconic castles in the world, Neuschwanstein Castle is located about 2 hours southwest of Munich. The fairy-tale-like architecture and stunning surroundings make it a must-visit destination.

Salzburg, Austria:

    • Mozart’s birthplace and the setting for “The Sound of Music,” Salzburg is a charming city just a 1.5-hour drive from Munich. Explore the Old Town, visit Hohensalzburg Fortress, and enjoy the picturesque scenery.

Nuremberg:

    • Known for its medieval architecture, Nuremberg is about 2 hours north of Munich. The Nuremberg Castle, the old city walls, and the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds are some key attractions.

Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site:

    • Located just a short train ride from Munich, the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site is a sobering and important historical site. It provides insights into the history of the Holocaust and World War II.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber:

    • This well-preserved medieval town is approximately 2.5 hours north of Munich. Wander through cobblestone streets, visit the Christmas Museum, and experience the medieval charm of Rothenburg.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Zugspitze:

    • About 1.5 hours south of Munich, Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a picturesque town at the base of the Bavarian Alps. You can take a cable car or cogwheel train to Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak, for breathtaking views.

Herrenchiemsee Palace:

    • Located on an island in Lake Chiemsee, Herrenchiemsee is one of King Ludwig II’s fairy-tale palaces. It’s a 1.5 to 2-hour drive southeast of Munich, followed by a boat ride to the island.

Andechs Monastery:

    • Around 40 minutes from Munich, Andechs Monastery is known for its brewery and beer garden. You can take a short hike to the monastery and enjoy traditional Bavarian food and beer.

Tegernsee:

    • A beautiful lake located about an hour south of Munich, Tegernsee offers a serene escape. Explore the lakeside villages, take a boat ride, and enjoy the scenic surroundings.

Würzburg:

    • Approximately 2.5 hours north of Munich, Würzburg is known for its impressive Residenz Palace and vineyards along the Main River. The Würzburg Residence is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Conclusion: Places to Visit in Munich Germany

I hope I have got your excited to visit Munich, that was all the places to see in Munich which should be on your itinerary. Don’t forget to enjoy the bavarian beer when you are on the trip. Enjoy you visit in Munich 🙂 and you can share your Munich Experience in the comment box below so that other user can learn. With that in mind, here is a Munich 2-day guided tour includes a visit to the old town and the Viktualienmarkt beer hall. Cheers! If you are already travelling in this region you might wanna read about things to do in Koblenz and some other magical road trips from Frankfurt don’t forget to visit the Eltz Castle and Cochem Castle along with this trip. You can also explore the Chiemsee Lake which is one of the best lakes in Germany and just 1 hour away from Munich.. Well, this doesn’t cover all the places in Bavaria, Like the famous Romantic Road trip in Bavaria is something which people come here to see a lot.

FAQs: Attractions in Munich

Q: What are some popular attractions in Munich?

A: Munich offers a wide range of attractions, including the Nymphenburg Palace, the Neues Rathaus, the Munich Residenz, and the English Garden.

Q: What are some unique activities to do in Munich?

A: You can try river surfing at the Eisbach, explore the quirky street art in the city, or take a walking tour to discover hidden gems and unusual things in Munich.

Q: What are some recommended places to visit in Munich?

A: Don’t miss out on visiting the Bavarian State Opera, the BMW Museum, the Hofbräuhaus, and the beautiful churches like Frauenkirche and Asamkirche.

Q: How can I experience the Bavarian culture in Munich?

A: You can immerse yourself in the Bavarian culture by visiting traditional beer gardens, beer halls, and exploring the Bavarian cuisine in the city’s restaurants and markets.

Q: What are the best ways to explore Munich?

A: Consider taking a guided walking tour of the Old Town, joining a bike tour to see the city’s landmarks, or hopping on a sightseeing bus to cover the major attractions.

Q: Are there any interesting day trips around Munich?

A: Absolutely! You can take a day tour to visit the nearby Bavarian castles such as Neuschwanstein, explore the picturesque towns of Rothenburg and Regensburg, or visit the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site.

Q: What are some free things to do in Munich?

A: Munich offers various free attractions, including strolling through the Englischer Garten, exploring the Marienplatz and watching the Glockenspiel show, or visiting the iconic Odeonsplatz.

Q: Where can I find art and cultural experiences in Munich?

A: You can visit world-class art museums like the Alte Pinakothek, the Lenbachhaus, and the Pinakothek der Moderne, as well as enjoy performances at the Bavarian State Opera and Munich Philharmonic.

Q: What are some seasonal attractions in Munich?

A: During the Christmas season, the city comes alive with festive markets like the Christkindlmarkt at Marienplatz, offering a delightful experience with traditional crafts and holiday treats.

Q: How can I make the most of my time in Munich?

A: To maximize your visit, consider taking a guided walking tour to cover the major sights, indulging in the local cuisine at traditional eateries, and experiencing the vibrant nightlife around the city center.

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