Munich is the capital and largest city of the federal state of Bavaria. The city lies along the Isar river and it is near to the edges of the Northern Alps. The German name for Munich, München, means „Home of Monks“ and it traces its origins to the Benedictine monastery founded in the area around the mid-8th century.
From a Medieval settlement to a regional capital with a proud artistic and cultural community, Munich’s streets are filled with beautiful historic buildings, world-class museums, art galleries, and is a host to plenty of cultural and sporting events. The city is a home to a perfect blend of modern and traditional and it invites its visitors to immerse in the atmosphere and explore further.
The picturesque Marienplatz has been the heart and soul of the Old town since the city was founded. This is the place where jousting tournaments were held and it was the main marketplace in the Middle Ages. Nowadays, the square is surrounded by some of the city’s most emblematic sights such as the Old and New Town Halls, the Column of St. Mary, Fischbrunnen – a fountain in the middle of the square which is one of the city’s most popular meeting points. Take a moment to watch the famous Glockenspiel which has been enchanting visitors for over 100 years, as its mechanical figures dine, joust, and dance. While enjoying the show, take some time to appreciate the beautiful Neo-Gothic façade.
The English garden
The English garden is one of the largest urban parks in the world and it is often called “the green lung” of the Bavarian capital. It was commissioned in 1789 by Elector Karl Theodor. Today, the people of Munich love the English Garden as it offers paths through vibrant forests and landscaped gardens. Strolling through the park, you might come across a Chinese pagoda, a Japanese tea house, or a small Greek temple, the Monopteros, where you could enjoy the Munich skyline at sunset. A curiosity in the park is the Eisbachwelle, a wave where crowds gather to watch surfers’ stunts. From a lake to pagodas and beer gardens, the park has something to offer for everyone.
Oktoberfest is Germany’s most popular festival, and the biggest beer festival in the world. Germany has a long tradition of brewing beer, and the city’s oldest breweries date back to the Middle Ages. The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810 in celebration of the marriage of King Ludwig I and Princess Therese. Today, it is one of Munich’s main tourist attractions, while still being a tradition close to locals’ hearts too. A symbol of the festival are the lederhosen and dirndl – maybe the most recognizable country-specific outfit in the world which continue to represent German traditions centuries after they were first introduced. In 2023, Oktoberfest will take place from 16 September until 03 October.
Founded in 1903, the German Museum of Masterpieces of Science and Technology, as it is officially known, is located in a building on a small island in the Isar River. The museum is a constant time travel between early and high tech, as you follow the development of each scientific and technical discipline from its beginnings to the present. The subjects covered by the museum are diverse – from astronomy to marine biology, nanotechnology to mining, clocks and musical instruments all the way to pharmaceuticals. After being closed for more than 5 years due to renovations, the museum is now open and awaiting its visitors.
The BMW Museum
The BMW museum is housed in a futuristic circular building designed to resemble the engine of a race car, and it is home to exhibitions showcasing the history and development of the brand. The BMW Museum opened its doors in 1973, and it is part of a shared complex with the BMW skyscraper, BMW Welt, and the BMW Group’s home plant. Highlights include the original car from the James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies”, the BMW Isetta. The Museum is a dream destination for car lovers with its fascinating exhibitions of vintage cars, racing vehicles, and motorcycles amongst much more.
The Old Pinakotek
The Old Pinakothek is one of Germany’s most important art museums and one of the oldest galleries in the world. The museum dates back to the Wittelsbach family’s personal collection of art in the 16th century, and nowadays it has grown to more than 700 pieces of art. Visitors can see pieces by Raphael, Titian, El Greco, Rubens, Rembrandt and Boucher. One of the masterpieces in the museum is the painting “Madonna of the Carnation”, which makes it the only German museum to have its very own Leonardo da Vinci. The New Pinakothek is located nearby where art ranging from Rococo to Art Nouveau is displayed.
The Gothic Cathedral is officially known as “Cathedral Of Our Dear Lady” and it was built on the remains of a Romanesque church between 1468 and 1525. Visible from far and wide, the two towers of the Frauenkirche are shaping Munich’s skyline more than any other building in the city. One of the Cathedral’s most curious details is the so-called “Devil’s Footprint”, a black mark that looks like a footprint, and around which many mysterious legends revolve.
St. Michael’s church
St. Michael’s church is a magnificent Jesuit temple, the largest Renaissance church north of the Alps. It was built between 1583 and 1597 as a symbol of the Catholic Counter-Reformation and it is one of Munich’s most significant churches. Ludwig II, the Mad King, known for commissioning the fairytale castles Neuschwanstein, Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee, is buried in its royal crypt. Its location on one of Munich’s main streets makes it a good option for an escape from the hustle of the city.
The Theatine Church
The Theatine Church of St. Cajetan and Adelaide built in the 17th century, is widely known for its impressive yellow Rococo façade, twin towers and large dome. Make sure you don’t just admire this jewel from the outside – the white interior is very impressive and forms a surprising contrast to the brighter façade. The neighboring Feldherrnhalle (a monumental loggia) was built in the Italian style, so the southern part of Odeonplatz is therefore often referred to as a “piece of Italy in Munich”.