Do you really need to refer to a travel guide before visiting Munich – one of the most forward cities in a developed nation? This was my thought before travelling to Germany’s Bavaria for 6 days. But, God, I was wrong to assume; Munich is nice but can be confusing for first-timers.
Plus, Munich usually gets an average review from its visitors despite being fascinating – I wonder why, and I don’t agree with them.
Let me entangle your puzzlement with this detailed Munich travel guide with things any first-time visitor should know before going.
- Why Visit Munich?
- Munich Vs Berlin
- How many days to spend here?
- Best time to visit
- How to get to Munich
- Getting around Munich
- Where to stay
- Vegetarian food in Munich?
- What to wear?
- Awesome things to do.
Why is Munich a good place to visit?
Munich called as Munchen by it’s folks, is the world’s beer capital, so you can hop from brewery to brewery and say “Prost!” until your heart’s content. But there’s more to this Bavarian gem than just beer. It’s home to stunning architecture, world-class museums, and beautiful parks. Plus, the city is easy to navigate. So, whether you’re a culture vulture or a beer enthusiast (or both), Munich has got you covered.
I loved Vienna and Hofburg’s jewel collection. But when I entered Munich Residenz Palace’s jewellery exhibition, I wondered why this particular place didn’t get enough hype! The Bavarian Monarch collection was more sparkling and dazzling than Hofburgs!
What is cool about Munich?
Munich is ultra multi-cultural! It’s diversity is more than Amsterdam’s when it comes to ethnicities. Turks, Albanians, Croatians, Serbs, Nigerians, Greeks, South Africans, Pakistanis, Indians and also refugees from Syria – These are just a few among many I could think of after meeting them at subways and cafes!
In Munich, the majority group makes up 64% of the city’s inhabitants. 23% of the city’s total population are non nationals. First and second generations migrants make up 3.20% of the city’s inhabitants – Source.Source
After having a horrible experience of discrimination in other parts of Bavaria, Munich seemed to be the opposite of the rest of Bavaria we had been to. I am not saying Munchen folks are friendly like Japanese or helpful like Salzburgians. But they accept multi-culture.
What is Munich best known for?
Munich is known for its Octoberfest. But my heart goes to their vast parks and the youthfulness the engulfs these gardens.
How can I not talk about Munich Olympic Stadium as an architect? This isn’t just Frei Otto’s creation that architects must visit. But everyone. Of course, Munich is home to the world’s only BMW Museum!
Is Munich a cheap city to visit?
But accommodation is expensive. The cheapest hostel near old town of Munich may cost you about 45€/night/one adult. A mid-range hotel in the same area would cost you about 120€/night/two adults.
Some travel Tips on saving money in Munich are :
- Many Museums and palaces in Munich charge you 1 Euro as an entrance fee on Sundays. Research and plan accordingly.
- Buy coffee and breakfast at the subway station – they are good and cheaper.
- Don’t go shopping in Munich street side in Old town. Strangely, bigger malls are cheaper than streetside shops.
- Use only public transport and walk.
- Do a bit of a month and buy a useful public transportation card that suits your travel duration and place of interest.
- Some old taverns let you peek inside without you needing to purchase anything. Ask before you enter and have a glance around.
- You don’t always have to go to a bar or garden to sip beer in Munich. Open container is legal in Munich. So buy your beer and come to the public square to enjoy watching people while sipping beer.
- Choose gardens that don’t have an entrance fee.
Is Munich safe to walk at night?
Yes! Munich is safe to walk at night. Mom and I returned to the room at 11 PM without getting troubled by anyone. Saying that you must not ignore the usual care you would take in any other place.
When you hear too much beer, you expect drunkards everywhere and question your safety. A funny thing about Munchen folks is they sit in a public square to drunk with their mates. It is fun to watch them once they are drunk!
Their voices become louder. Though I didn’t understand a word of the German language, Mom and I could figure out they were having a fun conversation. If they are too drunk, they pass out in Metro stations or Patios without troubling others much.
Or they sing their hearts out after dark until an old couple shouts from their house windows at these drunk singers.
Is Munich friendly to tourists?
With a low crime rate and great connectivity, Munich is tourist friendly. Compared to the countryside of Bavaria, Munchen folks are more open to tourists. It is possible to crack a small talk with a local or ask for a food recommendation with your co-passenger in Munich’s subway, unlike the rest of Bavaria. And when you talk to older people, they won’t forget to mention words like “I was born here – A pure Bavarian Girl.”
Which is better to visit Munich or Berlin?
I believe each city has its own charm and hence deciding which is better gets tougher and totally depends on your preference. Both Munich and Berlin have strong histories and have witnessed brutalities in Nazi time.
Munich is your abode if you’re up for a jaunt through Germany’s history and a quest for majestic castles. Plus you are very close to serene lakes and the Alps. But if you’re feeling young and hyper and crave a pulsing, electric atmosphere, Berlin is your bae.
How many days to spend in Munich?
I spent 5 days in Munich and quite happy with it. I am not saying I saw everything in Munich. But I am glad to claim I experienced and visited plenty of places at a slow pace. You can make many day trips if you are here for a week.
So 4 days in Munich is a must. A week is plenty.
What is the best month to visit Munich?
Summer, from June to August, is the peak tourist season. Many prefer to travel to Munich this season due to the holidays for kids. I was there at the end of July 2022, and Munich was freaking hot. So I recommend visiting Munich in Autumn, from September to December. Avoid winter as it gets freezing cold, and the train gets cancelled more than usual during Munich’s winter.
How to get to Munich?
The best way to get to Munich is by train – From other German cities and internationally. Germany is among 26 Schengen countries, so Munich easily connects with international rails. Deutsche Bahn’s EC trains (Eurocity Trains) cross international borders and are more economical than flying.
There are direct trains to Munich from Austria’s Vienna and Innsbruck, Czechia’s Prague, and HUngary’s Budapest. You can even take trains from Paris, London, and Brussels to Munich, which involves one or two transfers. Don’t forget to carry your passports with you as there may be checking.
RB (Regional Bahn) are the cheapest trains to get to Munich from nearby cities.
ICE (Intercity-Express) is a fast and long-distance train that connects all the larger cities in Germany.
Is Munich central station good?
Munchen Hauptbahnhof is one of the largest train stations in Germany, with 36 platforms with facilities better than their airport. The subway lines to get to the city centre are located in the lower floors. Taxi stand and Tram lines are right outside the station.
That vast hall of payable lockers at Munich Central station is heaven for tourists to dump their luggage. But good luck finding an empty one that isn’t broken!
Where do you fly into for Munich?
You fly into Munich’s international airport, MUC, about 34km from the city centre. Flyers like Lufthansa, Oman Air, and Turkish Airlines frequently fly to Munich’s airport. Established in 1992, it is the second busiest airport in Germany and got Two Terminals.
The online reviews gave it top-notch ratings and claimed it as a high-flyer’s paradise. It isn’t the best like those 5* reviews, but it does its job decently. Global Blue for getting your VAT refund for Tax-free shopping closes by 4.30 PM in one terminal. There are no enough seating inside the airport and you are forced to stand for longer hours.
How to Get from Munich Airport to the City Centre.
I recommend taking a taxi from Munich Airport to the city centre though there is a direct S-Bahn for first-timers and non-German-speaking tourists. Trust me, catching the right train and getting off at the right station immediately after you land in Munich can be stressful. Booking a prepaid taxi on reliable sources like Welcome Pickups resolves first-minute confusion as these are prepaid, flat-rate services with English-speaking drivers.
After staying in Munich for a few days and you have mastered using Munich’s public transportation, it is good to take S-Bahn to the airport. But not on your first day.
What is the best way to get around Munich?
The Cycle rickshaws of old town
The combo of walking and using public transportation is the best way to get around Munich in all seasons. Of course, cycling is a good way to explore Munich- but it is suitable for those with Herculean strength to face the scorching heat of summer.
So be prepared to walk a lot when you travel to Munich – The fun lies there.
What type of public transportation is available in Munich?
Munich’s got a transit game so strong you’ll be riding in style on their extensive web of U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams, and buses.
Keep your eyes peeled for the white “U” on a blue background for U-Bahn subway stations, a white “S” on a green background for S-Bahn, and a green “H” in a circle on a yellow background for trams and buses.
Use Google Transit to know which line you should take from point A to B in Munich.
Do Munich trains run 24 hours?
If you’re worried about missing the last train home in Munich, fear not! On weekdays, most trains run until 1 AM and are back in action as early as 4 AM. But if you plan a wild night out on a Friday, Saturday, or public holiday eve, you’re lucky because the trains run all night.
The only thing that runs non-stop 24/7 is the S-bahn connection to Munich airport ( S1 & S8 lines)
Are masks still required in Munich?
In August 2022, masks were mandatory in buses and trains. If you weren’t wearing one, the pensioners would get furious at you and would curse you. As the latest update, no more mandatory masks on buses and trains.
Is public transport free in Munich?
Public transport in Munich is payable. You may already know how well Germans are obsessed with following rules. So if you try to sneak in without purchasing a ticket, you may get into trouble and pay a huge fine.
Is there a common pass for all Public Transport in Munich?
We were one among those fortunate souls to have travelled in Germany with the cheapest public transport card that ever existed – The 9 Euro ticket allowed me to travel by every mode of public transportation (except Express and Eurocity trains) not only in Munich, but throughout Germany for a month in the summer of 2022. Unfortunately, this doesn’t exist anymore.
The good news is 49 Euro ticket is getting introduced from May 2023. It is similar to 2022’s 9 euro Ticket – Suitable if you travel through Germany for at least a week in summer.
So the available options to save money on your Munich’s public transport irrespective of the season are.
The MVV provides various types of tickets, such as single-day tickets or tickets valid for up to 6 days, like Munchen cards and City Tour cards suitable for travellers planning to travel in and around Munich for more than a day.
I recommend you buy a Zone M-6 card so you don’t have to struggle if your place of interest falls in Zone M. For example, you want to explore Munich’s old town on day 1 and make a day trip to Dachau on the second day. Unfortunately, your Zone M card is invalid because Dachau is outside Zone M.
What area to stay in Munich as a tourist?
Munich is definitely amazing to explore on foot. But it isn’t a walkable city as it is big! Tourist attractions, the Central railway station and the airport, are located in different and distant directions. So the area where you stay in Munich matters. But a good train hub weaves all the places together like a magic carpet.
What type of accommodation can you find in Munich?
You name it; Munich has it all. It can accommodate all kinds of travellers, from Luxury hotels to backpackers’ hostels (they aren’t very cheap either. Mandarin Oriental (starts at 1200 and goes upto 5100 €/night/2 adults) is one of the costliest hotel in Munich.
- Heads Up: If you are in Munich during summer and need AC Rooms, double-check before paying. Most budget hotels in Munich will neither have an AC nor an elevator to the upper floors.
Best Neighbourhoods in Munich for first timers to stay are
Near English Garden
- Green, riverside living, top nightlife spots.
- Hip neighbourhood, prime residential area, close to Oktoberfest celebrations.
- The best of Munich’s cultural side and student life, which includes galleries, museums, and university buildings.
Altstadt (Old Town)
The best Neighborhood in Munich for Sightseeing, Food and Restaurants, and Traditional Taverns. I chose Sedlinger Tor, the southern extreme end of Altstadt.
As I was on the last leg of my 21 days Austria-Germany trip, I wanted to be more comfortable. So I chose the midrange accommodation – Hotel Mio by Amano.The room was spacious, the check-in process was easy, and the staff were friendly and smiling.
The view from the room was amazing. Breakfast wasn’t delicious, but it did’s job of fuelling us.
The entire 700m stretch of Sedlinger Tor is a “pedestrian only” street. Hence the nights were quieter despite of tourist presence. The historical buildings adorned the streets and housed affordable food joints.
Is it difficult to find vegetarian food in Munich?
Yes and No, both!
From the Iraqi Shisha cafe to Biergarten, the Mango sticky rice of Thailand, to South Africa’s Cape Malay, you find an incredible food variety in Munich. Of course, there are a few Indian restaurants also. But if you are like me and Mom, who want to try local vegetarian food of the region, you will stand puzzled in Munich! There are very few vegetarian dishes, and not every cafe in Munich would make that.
So you will be disappointed not to find much authentic Munchen vegetarian food. But you won’t starve, because plenty of Thai, Turkish and Italian food joints serve you vegetarian food throughout Munich city (not in the outskirts). So your food Saga during Munich Travel will be very much continental and not purely German.
What to Wear in Munich.
If you’re headed to Bavaria, don’t fret about packing your fanciest threads. Munchen locals are all about casual dressing, so leave those ball gowns and tuxedos at home!
But don’t let the laid-back vibe fool you; Germans and their fellow Europeans take pride in looking sharp and put-together. So, while leggings may be comfy, opting for a trendy pair of cotton trousers or shorts to fit in with the stylish crowd is better. Comfortable yet easily removable shoes are a must – Munich’s parks are like forest. And there is nothing better than soaking your feet in Isar river.
Then you must consider the seasons while packing – is it shivering winter or burning summer?
If you are in a saree or a salwar Kameez like my mother, expect some curious stares from Munchen folks.
Do people wear lederhosen in Munich?
Yes! Lederhosen, the traditional German shorts for men, isn’t restricted to Octoberfest. It is very common to see Munchen men wearing Lederhosen with a beer bottles in their pockets near the zipper. Lederhosen is a cool thing in Munich.
Awesome things to do in Munich.
If someone says there is nothing much to do in Munich and 5 days are too much – Don’t believe them! Because there is a lot to be added to your Munich Travel Plan! History, parks, contemporary architecture, religious sites, world war, palaces, shopping, mountains and lakes – In a separate post, I have a big list to show you awesome things to do in Munich.
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