This list of 20 Awesome Things to do in Munich during summer will show why Munchen is an underrated destination.
Plus, at the end of this post, you will also find a short list of two things that were overhyped and unworthy of my time in this Bavarian city.
Heads Up: This list of the best things to do in Munich involves a lot of walking and is doable by public transport. Read the post “Munich Travel Guide” to learn how to use public transport, where to stay and everything else you need to know before coming to Munich.
1. Get Lost in English Garden
When you walk in a Metropolitan city like Munich, it is hard to imagine a park that is the size of 640 football fields exists inside the concrete jungle! If you want to people watch and see things that local Munich people do in Summer, English Garden is your place. And hence, this is my favourite place in the whole of Munich!
What is in English Garden Munich?
In the 1800s, this park stretching 5.5km was built by a Bavarian electoral for common folks in an unusual for that time. Unlike the Baroque gardens, this park had no rigid geometrical patterns and fountains. Simple, natural and lots of mounds undulating, imitating the natural landscape – Like those English gardens. So what was known as “Theodor Garden” became famous as English garden eventually due to its features.
What makes English Garden so special?
On a sunny day, you’ll find families picnicking on the grass, couples strolling hand-in-hand, and groups of friends playing Frisbee and the rarest game of all, Spike ball. There is such an energy in the English garden. Watching people playing spike ball on vigorous moves, laughing, cheering and celebrating is fun.
You find people sliding away with the flowing “artificial” river Eisbach. Some go crazy and bring in giant inflatable swans to float away! You can sit and watch how Munich folks open their beer or submerge their crate in river to keep it cold. Basically, this is the liveliest place in whole Munich.
Do you find people sunbathing in English Garden naked?
The English Garden was once famous for nudity – It was allowed in Munich for people to enjoy the sunshine in their birth suits. But over time, “Gawking at naked Munich folks” became a thing for tourists and locals slowly stopped bathing naked. Though it isn’t officially banned, you hardly find anyone chilling on the grass patch naked now.
There are several monuments in English garden.
The most famous of them all is Monopteros, which resembles a Roman temple!
Sitting on top of a mound, the 19th-century Monopteros built to honour Bavarian royals now give a fantastic sight of the Munich skyline of St Peter’s church and Munich’s most mystical place Frauenkirche. Or have a pizza and wonder why
2. Check if you feel the presence of Devil at Frauenkirche!
With such imposing distinctive features, Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady)dominates Old Town Skyline. The green bulbous dome on the twin tower and a conical roof over the rectangular hall gives it a “Stand out from the rest” look.
No doubt that this brick church built in the 1520s is beautiful. But my interest lies in its atypical story,
Story of the devil and the church!
The church architect was short on funds to build this marvel. Unexpectedly he entered into a contract with the devil that promised him financial aid! The only contract clause the devil added was “the cathedral must be designed as a homage to darkness and devoid of any windows to let in light.”
After completing the cathedral, the architect took the devil for a stroll to showcase his fulfilment of their bargain. Despite some illumination, the absence of visible windows initially satisfied the devil. But as it moved ahead, the columns cleverly masking the windows came to light, infuriating the devil, who stomped his foot in anger, leaving an everlasting black imprint on the floor.
So it is a thing now to check that colossal black footprint inside the cathedral stating, “Devil Made this.”
3. Take a dip at the Isar River.
Before joining the Danube at Regensburg, river Isar flows through Munich from south to North for just 14km. The flat banks, lush green background, gravel deposits and flood plains make it a hotspot for locals to go cycling, walking, relaxing and barbecuing.
Can you swim in the Isar River in Munich?
The shallow depth of the river makes it an awesome place to cool off, and taking a dip in Isar River is the best thing to do in summer to beat the heat in Munich. Due to flood levels and other ecological reasons, you are allowed to swim only at certain spots. The Isar app shows you clearly where you can swim or go barbecuing. So don’t forget to carry your swimsuit footprint mark when strolling in the city.
4. Feel the grandeur at Munich Residenz.
Munich Residenz Palace – the grandeur is an understatement! The opulent palace has over 130 rooms and is divided into four sections. Everywhere you turn, there’s some ornate detail or extravagant fixture that just screams, “Look how much money we have!”
Is Munich Residenz worth it?
Yes! For a good chunk of time, stretching from the 16th to the 20th century, the Munich Residence played host to a rather prestigious group of occupants – the Bavarian dukes, electors and kings. And when they lived, they did it lavishly!
The palace is divided into four zones and you can buy a combo ticket for all four or pick your zones after skimming through their brochure. I suggest go there early, spend solid three hours and see it all! The Bavarian jewellery collection is better than Hofburg collection! The detailing of their crowns and jewles is alluring.
Then their hallways are to be stared at! The maroon-blue- green wallpaper cladding on the walls shows what Baroque grandeur means!
Most beautiful part of Munich residenz
Antiquarium is the best and oldest preserved room of Munich Palace. The 66 metres long vaulted hall makes you feel you are in Hogwarts!
And this is where a scene from the movie “Three Musketeers was Filmed.”
The Roman-style marble statues line the gallery throughout. Lattice windows, Fresco painting all over can make anyone feel they are part of Royal Gala for at least a minute. The sheer silence, unusual decor – Munich palace is stunning!
5. Go inside Bavarian State Opera – Cuvillies-Theater
Vienna’s Mozart Orchestra was delightful, but the flashy, red-seated, gold-blinged curved opera house built in 1750s was just as enchanting – the ambiance made me feel like I was listening to a symphony!
Initially hesitant to visit Cuvilliés Theatre at Munich Residenz because of its pricing, a friendly ticket seller convinced me to buy a combination ticket. The theater was breathtaking, yet not overwhelming, with a Rococo style that felt light and elegant.
It’s hard to believe that the interior is a reassembled version of the original, which was dismantled during the war and then restored after Germany became a democracy. Today, the theater is still in use for opera, ballet, and orchestra events, and you can check out the schedule to plan your visit.
6. Pay a visit to Dachau.
Visiting the Dachau Memorial site is a must for everyone, regardless of background or political views. It’s not a romantic story to read on a mountain, but a harsh reminder of the brutal inhumanity we are capable of!
What is Dachau known for?
Dachau was the first concentration camp, later becoming a prototype for others, and the start of the Holocaust. Be prepared for an emotionally intense experience and approach it with sensitivity. You can easily get there from Munich using the S-Bahn. Check out my post on walking through the somber chambers of the camp to see why visiting Dachau is a must during the summer in Munich.
7. Walk on the Roof of Munich’s Olympic Stadium.
You may have heard of Spiders blanketing Australia’s landscape at times. But do you know such a place exists in Munich? Well, not real ones, but a man-made tensile structure that covers Munich’s hills at the Olympic stadium. Designed by architect Frei Otto for the 1972 Summer Olympics, this masterpiece of modern architecture has become an iconic landmark
Is Olympiapark in Munich worth visiting?
Yes! This place is beyond sports and entrance to the parkis free for all. There are several artificial lakes where the ducks are quack. Hundreds of trees line the mounds. Of course, you must wander under the steel spider webs and wonder how thick those steel cables are. The light and shadow play here under the roof made up of Plexiglass- That roof over your head isn’t glass but a synthetic polymer!
If you want to keep it mild, stick to walking on the lower level walkways – You never know, you might be walking next to an Olympian! Because this is a place for athletes indeed.
The top of the mounds at the Olympic Park is where it’s at. Take a leisurely hike up there after strolling around – trust us, you don’t want to rush in the Munich heat! The breeze will cool you off as you ascend, and when you reach the summit, you’ll understand why people compare it to a spiderweb. It’s the best thing to do in Munich, even during summer.
8. Drink cool beer in Munich’s beer gardens.
Germans know how to do beer, and they do it best in the garden! Beer gardens are so ingrained in Bavarian culture that they’re legally recognized as “an expression of the Bavarian way of life.” You’ll find these garden oases all over Bavaria, and as the temperatures rise, they only get busier.
Why is chilling at a beer garden one of the best things to do in Munich during summer?
Grab a table under the shade of chestnut or oak trees and enjoy the huge beer mugs that wait for you.
The waitstaff is practically Olympic medalists, carrying multiple one-liter mugs at lightning speed through the crowds. Plus, there’s plenty of meat and even vegetarian options to keep you satisfied. Just remember the unwritten beer garden etiquette – share tables, make space for strangers, and don’t be late to the last call!
9. Explore the City’s Oldest Open-Air Farmer’s Market in Munich.
Munich is a city that mixes the old and new in the best way possible. Within minutes of wandering around the ancient walls and churches of the old town, you’ll stumble across Viktualienmarkt – an old, humble farmer’s market.
What is the Victuals market?
In German, the food market is known as the Viktualienmarkt. Viktualien, like the English “victuals”, is an old word for food. So you find cooked food, ingredients, bakeries, seeds and many more. Viktualienmarkt existed for a long time but was shifted to this location in the early 1800s and got bigger by 1823.
Walking through the market
As you stroll through the market, the pungent aroma of cheese greets your nose. The farmers from the Bavarian Alps have been selling their Bonifaz cheese here for centuries. And if you missed the spectacle of German sausage, don’t fret! You’ll be amazed by the array of vendors selling everything from meat to flowers, cheese to souvenirs. And amidst all this, there are rows of vegetable sellers.
Their variety of fresh produce is so impressive that you’ll want to ask them why they don’t make more vegetarian dishes. After all, you need to balance out the meat with some greens! And when you’re done exploring, head to the open-air beer garden to enjoy some strawberries, cheese, and beer under the shade of chestnut trees. It’s the perfect way to cap off your Bavarian adventure!
10. Enjoy Munich’s diversified Food Culture.
Munich’s diversity shines through its food scene. Unfortunately, traditional Bavarian cuisine isn’t veggie-friendly, unless you’re satisfied with pretzels and knodel. Traditional taverns look a dreamy places for dinner – But as a vegetarian, you will wonder what you could eat!
Fear not, Munich has a wide array of global cuisine options! From Thai to Turkish, Iraqi to Mexican, you’ll never go hungry here.
Some of the best restaurants in Munich are
- Vollaths, Thalkirchner Street. – Delicious breakfast with dozens of vegetarian options.
- Kaimug – Affordable Thai food with many branches in Munich and decent options for vegetarians. The food is great but be prepared to be served by grumpy waiters. The place is so Thai that you even get Singa beer here.
- Alis Superfood, Marienplatz – Most delicious Turkish falafel and Haloumi wraps.
- Cafe Kreutzkamm, Maffeistrasse – Juicy cakes, cheese things and butter braids.
- Restaurant Savana, Maistrasse – South African food. The Cape Malay (Coconut vegetable stew with turmeric rice) is drool-worthy!
11. Check out The Neues Rathaus in Marienplatz
Neues Rathaus in Marienplatz is a building that screams “I’m important!” with its grand Gothic architecture and imposing clock tower.
Built in the 1800s, boasting a whopping 400 rooms and the iconic Glockenspiel show, featuring dancing figures and chiming bells. The real star of the show at town hall is – the Glockenspiel.
What is the story of the Glockenspiel in Munich?
The Glockenspiel comes to life with its dancing figures and chiming bells at 11 AM and 12 PM daily (and an additional 5 PM during the summer). It’s like a mini theatrical performance, with the knights on horseback jousting and the Bavarian dancers twirling around
Legend has it that the figures are mocking the city councillors for their greed and corruption.
If you pay 6.5 Euros, you can get to the observation in Town Hall tower and have that sight only birds can have!
And if that’s not enough, the town hall square is always bustling with street musicians – some amazing, some not so much. It’s the perfect place to people-watch and sip coffee during Munich’s summer.
12. Explore Munich’s plazas and Listen to Street buskers
I have never seen and listened to street buskers as much as I did in Munich! With a hot summer, the best way to beat the heat and soak up the local vibe is to sit on a bench and listen to street buskers. Some are amazing, and some not so much, but if you enjoy them, you can always show your appreciation. And buskers are in every corner of Munich!
Is busking legal in Munich?
It’s all legal! Munich even requires buskers to audition before issuing them a permit. You can find all kinds of performers, from English instrumental bands to German folk singers and even ISKCON devotees chanting.
And if you’re lucky, you might stumble upon a rock band in front of Munich Residenz or a solo musician practicing at the Olympic Stadium. So grab some strawberries, beer, or pizza and enjoy the show!
13. Take a free walking tour.
Munich streets hold a ton of history that’s worth exploring. But if you’re not a history buff, it’s easy to miss the significance of the buildings and statues. That’s where a walking tour comes in handy – it’s like a history lesson with fresh air and exercise. From Bavarian royals to Nazis, Munich’s streets have seen it all. And if you think Munich is underrated, take a walking tour and you’ll see why it deserves more love.
I chose a free walking tour that showed me around Munich’s history, food customs and some important moments in Munich’s History.
14. Gaze at the gold bling in Asamkirche.
We ogled at colossal castles and churches that made us feel like ants, but this tiny church next to our hotel was the real deal! The Baroque bling and ultra-detailed sculptures are in every corner!
You might miss the unassuming St. John’s church while wandering around Sendlinger Street. It’s nestled between less impressive buildings, but don’t be fooled! Once inside, prepare to be blown away by its ceiling frescoes and ornate golden decorations.
And if you’re feeling particularly observant, keep an eye out for skull-shaped door handles and creepy skeletal details on the columns. This little church proves that the Asam brothers had a serious flair for the dramatic when they built it in the 18th century.
15. Observe the cute little things of Munich.
Whether the old historical street at Alstadt or New Munich, the people of Munich have paid extreme attention to add in details. So when you walk on Munich streets, don’t forget to look up! You will find cute and particularised figurines! Especially at Wein Street and Albertgasse.
At one point in time at Alastadt, Mom and I got neck pain after straining muscles and started to look on the sides! Not bad! The glass shopfronts also add fun to the vibe – They add witty phrases to attract shoppers!
16. Go shop till you drop in Munich
From haute couture to streetwear galore, Munich’s shopping scene has everything! You need not be a billionaire to go shopping in Munich! I l show you how.
Is Munich good for shopping?
Yes! Shopping in Munich is fun and there is a variety of things you can buy as a tourist beyond magnet stickers!
What to buy in Munich as a tourist?
When shopping in Munich, Lederhosen shorts and Drindls may be the first thing that comes to mind. However, Lederhosen can be heavy and made of deer leather, so consider carefully before purchasing.
Then there is “Ludwig Beck” – A great brand for knitwear, scarves and other woollen wear. The best part is – they are affordable and fall within the mid-range.
While strolling in Munich, my mother and I discovered a perfumery established in 1893. Although their fragrances were expensive, we couldn’t resist trying and experiencing their different scents, and eventually bought a perfume worth 200 Euros, as a guilty pleasure to end our 20-day trip.
Get your sweet fix with Munich’s gingerbread hearts, but don’t forget they have an expiry date – better munch them up before you leave!
Alstadt’s Hummel figurines are adorable porcelain figures with a history dating back to 1935. Originally based on German kids wearing traditional outfits, the collection has expanded to include everything from a plumber to a lady working in the farm.
Additionally, tourists love Munich’s popular candies such as Haribo and Heilemann Chocolates. However, Dallmayr Coffee is overrated.
What are the best places for shopping in Munich?
- Maximilianstrasse – The glam jam of luxury brands next to Munich Palace is a great place for “Window Shoppers.”
- Fünf Höfe –The most elegant mall with creepers and Edison bulbs hung from the ceiling. You do find some affordable brands along with endless options to eat.
- The pedestrian area: Neuhauser, Kaufingerstrasse and Sendlinger Street – A usual brand to a local candy store, these pedestrian-only lanes located at Old streets of Munich are a shopper’s paradise.
- Glockenbachviertel – Take a break from traditional souvenirs and enjoy the hipster vibe. If you are looking for a beer stein, you will find the right one in this trendy neighbourhood.
- Olympia shopping centre – The most affordable of all! This giant mall is your paradise if you are like me and looking for “No-brand” clothing.
If you’re looking for a shopping experience that’s as exciting as watching paint dry, Hohenzollern Street and Kurfurstenplaza are the perfect destinations for you! You’ll be underwhelmed by the mediocre merchandise and the chaotic streets.
17. Explore other palaces and Gardens.
Munich isn’t just about romance and castles far away. Nymphenburg Palace is a gem within the city! It was once a summer palace for Bavarian royalty and boasts stunning staterooms and a festive hall. But the real magic is the landscape park, where you’ll find four little palaces tucked away in the forest.
Is it worth going inside Nymphenburg Palace?
Yes! This opulent baroque complex once served as the summer palace for the Bavarian prince-electors and kings, and it does show! The interior is a feast for the eyes, with stunning staterooms and a breathtaking central festive hall adorned with impressive frescoes and stucco work. But the best part is the landscape park that surrounds Schloss.
Are there entry fees to Nymphenburg palace
Entry to the gardens is free, while the palace fee is 6€. It’s a great spot to watch tourists snap selfies and fall in love with Germany!
18. Wonder how a beer hall can be that Magnificent at Hofbräuhaus
The Hofbräuhaus is the king of all beer halls in Munich, serving beer that flows like water and pretzels that are as big as your head. This legendary beer hall has been around since the late 16th century and has an awesome vibe! The vaulted roof with minimal traditional painting and the band playing German folk songs – Traditional touch with a bit of noise. Well, after two jugs of beer, the noise becomes music. Right?
What is Hofbräuhaus Munich famous for?
With its dark wood panelling, long communal tables, oompah band, and waitresses in traditional dirndls, the Hofbräuhaus feels like stepping into a time machine. It’s known for its signature brews, including the Hofbräu Original and the Dunkel, which the waitresses will keep bringing until you say stop.
If you aren’t willing to sit and drink, you can always peak inside, wander around and come out! The place is so full of people that you won’t be questioned!
Was Hofbräuhaus Munich Adolf Hitler’s place?
Adolf Hitler was known to have frequented the Hofbräuhaus in Munich during his rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s. At the Hofbräuhaus, Hitler gave some of his early speeches, including the infamous Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, an attempted coup that ultimately failed.
19. Wander in “Non-Touristy” areas of Munich.
Irrespective of the season, take a break from Old city and places where tourists go. Munich has amazing historical architecture and plazas. But to understand what Munich is now, spend at least half a day wandering in the modern Munich.
These areas offer an authentic glimpse into the local culture, lifestyle, and traditions. You’ll be able to experience Munich as the locals do, rather than the polished and curated version of the city that is often marketed to tourists.
Generally, as someone from a developing nation, we tend to assume everything in a developed nation like Germany is fancy! Definitely, Germany is developed. But it is good to know the other side of it too!
Exploring these areas can lead to unique discoveries that you won’t find in the typical tourist guidebooks and also some shops where things are cheaper!
In other countries, wandering in local areas would allow you to interact with locals. Well, Germans aren’t that into talking to strangers. They aren’t hostile. But they consider these healthy conversations “Small Talks and it is worthless.”
Best “Non-Touristy” Areas in Munich to wander around are
Bahnhofsviertel – Perhaps the most multi-cultural area of Munich! From hookah bars to
Eduard-Schmid-Streert and it’s surroundings on the south bank of Isar river is one of the wealthy residential areas! It is a delight to see mansions surrounded by neatly trimmed hedges and fancy garden here.
The Bellevue di Monaco: Whatever Baroque / Gothic style you have been seeing in the old town of Munich vanishes here! The plain facades and honestly, boring buildings! Yet somehow this street is interesting. Locals and refugees both live here together and you find a lot of affordable cafes in the surroundings.
Karlsfeld – Closer to Dachau, this area is considered as the wealthiest and costliest areas to live in Munich. If you want to know how Bavarian contemporary luxury looks like, come here.
20. Make many day trips from Munich!
As a Bavarian capital city, Munich is just a few minutes drive from hilly regions. Plus, the castle mania continues outside of Munich too. So with the extensive network of Deutsche Bahn, it is a delight to make day trips from Munich.
What day trips can you take from Munich?
For those looking to take a royal detour from Munich, the Neuschwanstein Castle is a top pick. But if you want to really immerse yourself in the castle’s majesty, take my advice and extend your stay in the Schwangau region like I did.
As for Salzburg, unless you’re just trying to cross it off your bucket list, don’t make the mistake of planning a mere day trip. This city is so enchanting that I ended up staying for a week – and I’m pretty sure I left a piece of my heart there.
Recommended Day Trips from Munich are:
Konigssee is a beautiful emerald lake in Berchtesgaden National Park. I made a day trip to Konigssee and Eagle’s nest from Salzburg. But it is also doable from Munich if you catch an early train to Berchtesgaden
Explore Nuremberg’s old town, smaller castles, market, and WW2 memorials by the riverside, just an hour away from Munich by train.
Or head to Zugspitze, the surreal mountain region of Tirol with the highest mountain which can be reached by a cable car.
Murnau is Staffelsee is also a great option for hiking in a small town surrounded by mountains. But my choice turned out to be a big mistake, and you can read about it ahead.
I went off the beaten path in search of cheesy countryside adventures during my Munich trip. Let’s just say it didn’t go as planned. Read on for the cheesy details.
Things that weren’t worth my time in Munich summer are.
I pounded the pavement with a minimum of 22k steps/day in Munich. Not gonna sugarcoat it, some things were overhyped. Being a non-car person, the BMW belt and Museum didn’t rev my engine, but the architecture was still worth a gander. For those auto enthusiasts, the BMW Museum will be pure heaven.
Things in Munich that weren’t worth the “Build-up” are
1. Herrmannsdorfer Farm
I wanted to escape the city and find some cheesy goodness in the Bavarian countryside, so I headed to Herrmannsdorfer Farm, which came highly recommended by fellow travelers on an online travellers platform.
We hopped on the S4 train from Marienplatz to Grafing station, then a bus to Westerndorf. The scenic ride was filled with rolling meadows and cows grazing – seemed like we were headed in the right direction.
The 1km walk from the bus stop through maize farms and Bavarian hills was a dream, except for the pungent aroma of cow dung. But when we arrived at Herrmannsdorfer Farm, our expectations were deflated like popped balloons. The place looked nothing like their website, and there were no cheese farms or cattle barns in sight.
We only saw some unattended bushy farms and a group of kids learning to bake. It was a waste of time in that scorching summer heat. We did see many cow sheds in the nearby village, but there was no one around to ask about cheese-making.
2. Endless Staircase.
Regarded as one of the best places to takephotographs in Munich, this staircase located in KMPG Headquarters courtayrd isn’t worth the hype! It is actually a sculpture done by an artists who says ” it is supposed to create movement without destination, a space defined by motion rather than walls“.
The three-floor structure is climbable, but the first step was barricaded when I visited. Luckily, it’s free to enter the open courtyard, surrounded by concrete and jungle, for Instagrammers to snap away. And the place was full of them!
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