Munich is a city of contrasts, where the memories of the old alpine town coexist with cutting-edge technology, design, incredible museums and an offer of concerts and festivals that find their best expression in the Oktoberfest.
The capital of Bavaria has a beautiful historic center, where everything revolves around the Marienplatz, the central square since the city was founded in 1158.
The main attractions of Munich are: its colorful City Hall, the three access gates to the old city wall, the BMW museum, the Nymphenburg Palace, the Hofbräuhaus brewery (which has existed for almost five centuries) or the gigantic Viktualienmarkt food market.
Below you can discover the best places to see in Munich, the capital of the federal state of Bavaria.
All activity in Munich revolves around Marienplatz, the central square of the city since the mid-twelfth century which is one of the places to see in Munich. The main streets of Munich surround the square and concentrate the largest number of stores and restaurants. One of the landmarks of Marienplatz is the Fish Fountain (Fischbrunnen), which during the Middle Ages was used by fish sellers to keep their wares wet. Another important site here is Mary’s Column, built in 1638, during the so-called Thirty Years’ War. During the New Year’s holidays, Marienplatz hosts a Christmas market with 150 wooden stalls selling their handicrafts.
The New Town Hall building – the Neues Rathaus – is spectacular and dominates Marienplatz with its neo-gothic air, with a gigantic tower that can be climbed to contemplate the city and is another beautiful place to see in Munich. Every day at 11, 12 and 17 there is a unique spectacle: to the rhythm of the chimes, wooden dolls on a human scale make the so-called Cooper Dance, which commemorates the end of the great plague in 1517. The Neues Rathaus, built between 1867 and 1908, has an imposing facade and a medieval interior decoration.
Gates of Munich
During the Middle Ages, Munich was protected by a great wall with four large Gothic entrance gates, three of which are still standing today. The most important is the Isar Gate, built in 1337, with its large main tower. The other two are Karlstor (in honor of Prince Karl Theodore) and Sendlinger Tor. The Munich gates should definitely be on your list of places to see in Munich.
Viktualienmarkt food market
The Viktualienmarkt food market is gigantic. It consists of 140 stalls on an area of 22,000 square meters. Fruits, vegetables, cheeses, honey, fish and gourmet products are sold. Visiting this colorful market is a great program, because you can browse the stalls for hours and consume a large mug of fresh beer in the Biergarten, one of the busiest beer gardens in Munich.
One kilometer from the historic center is the Englischer Garten, or English Garden, located on the banks of the Isar River. The park is huge, even bigger than New York’s iconic Central Park, and was laid out in 1789. With a typically English style, this green space has lakes, sculptures, woods and a Japanese tea house. It is a perfect place for a picnic and is especially pleasant in spring and autumn, so we recommend you to include it in your itinerary of places to see in Munich.
Car fanatics have a must-see in Munich: the BMW Museum, where everything from the first models of the German brand to racing cars, motorcycles and sketches of the cars of the future are on display. You can also visit the production plant on a two-and-a-half-hour tour where you can observe the meticulous assembly process of the new cars.
With almost five centuries of history, the Hofbraühaus Brewery is one of Munich’s icons. About 30,000 people pass daily through this emblematic site (true lung of the Oktoberfest), which witnessed great historical events, since in these halls Adolf Hitler gave the speeches that laid the foundations of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (the Nazi Party). At the end of World War II, the establishment was completely destroyed and reopened in 1958.
The summer residence of the Bavarian rulers was for centuries the Nymphenburg Palace. It is undoubtedly one of the great attractions to see in Munich. Of baroque style, its elegant interiors stand out, with antique furniture and a majestic ballroom; and the royal stables, which house magnificent carriages (in the so-called Museum of Carriages). But most impressive are its vast gardens, where four pavilions were built, one of which is a rococo hunting lodge.
Another of the places to see in Munich is the Olympic Tower of Munich, to get there you must get off at the Olympiazentrum Station. It is a very good plan to climb the Olympiaturm (the highest place in Munich) to see the Olympic Park in all its magnitude. Visiting this area of the city is a good opportunity to also visit the BMW Museum (you should get off at the same subway station), which is very close to the great tower.
In addition to the beautiful Marienplatz, another of the places to see in Munich is the Odeonsplatz square as it is another great attraction of Munich. Located north of the old town, it offers a beautiful green space to rest, surrounded by Italian-inspired buildings. In Odeonsplatz highlights the Church of the Theatines, built between 1663 and 1690, with a “late Italianate Baroque” style.
Another of the best places to see in Munich is undoubtedly the Neuschwanstein Castle, built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in 1869. Located in the Bavarian Alps, this medieval castle is impressive and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Germany. The story goes that Walt Disney himself was inspired by this palace to build his castle.
Dachau Concentration Camp
Another excursion from Munich is the Dachau concentration camp, 13 kilometers northwest of the Bavarian capital. Along with Auschwitz, this site is one of the best known Nazi death camps. Every year, thousands of people visit it to commemorate one of the darkest periods in world history.