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Munich is a glorious city that shrugs off the coldness and sternness of buildings that are so prevalent elsewhere in Germany. Sure, it has a few of these buildings, but in the old city visitors will find attractive historic buildings and monuments. Munich has a good public transportation system (bus and subway) that makes it convenient to move around the city. Munich makes a good base for day trips to outlying areas, such as the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau or scenic Salzburg, but there is plenty to keep visitors in the city too. Here’s a look at the top tourist attractions in Munich:
10. Allianz Arena Stadium
wikipedia/Maximilian DorrbeckerSports fans who’ve ever wondered if football (soccer) is popular in Munich need only visit Allianz Arena Stadium, which seats more than 75,000 spectators who want to see one of the city’s two teams take the field. The stadium replaced the city’s Olympic stadium beginning with the 2005-2006 season. The stadium, which hosted the World Cup finals in 2006, is known for its panels that change colors, depending on which team is playing and the type of match, i.e., local or national, being played.
flickr/Rob124Pinakothek Museums are actually three museums: Old, New and Modern. The Old Pinakothek is one of the oldest art galleries in the world, and houses an outstanding collection of paintings by Old Masters. The New Pinakothek covers the 19th century, while the newest, the Modern exhibits modern art. They are part of Munich’s art area that is known as Kuntstareal. When it was ordered built in 1826 by King Ludwig I, the Old Pinakothek was the largest museum in the world; its neo-renaissance exterior soon became the model for museums located throughout Europe.
wikipedia/Max-k mucThe Deutsches Museum is a world class science and technology museum that appeals to visitors of all ages, even those who profess not to be interested in such subject matter. Visitors can take free guided tours (conducted only in German though) through the museum’s 50 exhibit areas, view demonstrations on subjects ranging from electricity to musical instruments, and participate in a wide variety of hands-on activities. The museum has a mind-boggling collection of more than 100,000 science- and technology-related objects from the Stone Age to today. The museum is family friendly, with 1,000 activities for kids 3-8 offered in Kids Kingdom.
flickr/jiuguangwThe Munich Residenz was home to Bavarian rulers, the Wittelsbachs, for centuries before it was opened to the public in 1920. Its art collections and various architectural styles became symbols of the royal family’s power. The residence sustained heavy damage in World War II, but has since been restored as much as possible; today, it is considered one of the finest palace museums in Europe. The Wittelsbachs collected fine art and objects for centuries, so visitors will be able to see outstanding collections of porcelain, paintings, silver objects, rare furniture, chandeliers and sculptures.
flickr/oliver.kratzkeBMW is known for its fast cars and motorcycles; what better place to learn more about them than BMW Welt and the BMW museum. BMW Welt is a place to see and gain knowledge of the company’s latest product offerings. BMW Welt also sells auxiliary accessories and parts for their vehicles, and hosts exhibitions of their latest models. It’s located near Olympic Park; park ticket holders can get a discount on BMW Welt admission. The nearby BMW Museum has exhibits tracing the history of these famous two- and four-wheeled vehicles. Many old cars and motorcycles are on display along a spiral ramp that curls along the inside of the bowl-shaped building.
The Nymphenburg Palace celebrates the birth of an heir to the Bavarian throne, ordered built by the parents of Maximillian II Emanuel in 1664. The palace served as the summer residence of Bavarian rulers. When he inherited the throne, Max Emanuel significantly enlarged the palace. Today this baroque palace is one of Munich’s more popular tourist attractions, even though sections are closed to the public since it also serves as the home for the current Duke of Bavaria. Original baroque ceilings, some with frescoes, survive to this day, as do King Ludwig I’s Galleries of Beauties that portray 36 beautiful Munich women.
The Munich Frauenkirche is another famous Munich landmark that towers over the rest of the city. It dates back to the 15th century when it was built in an astounding 20 years’ time, though completion of some features was postponed due to lack of money. The Munich Frauenkirche serves as the cathedral for the Archdiocese of Munich and is home to the archbishop. The Gothic cathedral is capable of holding 20,000 worshipers. The cathedral was damaged during World War II, but has been restored It is famous for its bells and as the final resting place for the Dukes of Bavaria.
flickr/maveric2003Munich residents do love their beer, celebrating it annually at Oktoberfest. Travelers who won’t be here then can still sip the suds at the Hofbrauhaus, one of the oldest breweries in town. The Hofbrauhaus dates back to 1589 when it was founded by Wilhelm V, Duke of Bavaria, when it served as the official brewery for Munich’s royalty. Even back then, the beer had an international reputation, with Swedish invaders agreeing not to sack Munich in exchange for 600,000 barrels of beer. The brewery and the beer hall are among the most popular tourist attraction in Munich today.
flickr/halbagThe size of New York City’s Central Park pales in comparison to Munich’s Englischer Garten, one of the world’s largest urban parks. The park, which stretches from the city center to northeast Munich, was established in 1789, but has been enlarged over the centuries. It takes its name from the traditional English gardens that were popular in the 18th and early 19th centuries. It was built by soldiers during times of peace to teach them agricultural skills. The garden contains a Japanese teahouse, a meadow where nude sunbathing is permitted and an artificial wave used by surfboarders.
Marienplatz is the most famous square in Munich, drawing thousands of tourists every day who come to see the New Town Hall that dates back to 1874. The city hall was built in the Gothic Revival style, and features most of the Wittelsbach rulers on the main façade while statues of four Bavarian kings are on a lower level. This highly ornate building is a tourist magnet in itself, but what really draws the tourists to Marienplatz is the thrice-daily performance of the Glockenspiel. The famous Ratskeller restaurant is in the basement.
10. Allianz Arena Stadium
9. Pinakothek Museums
8. Deutsches Museum
7. Munich Residenz
6. BMW Welt & Museum
5. Nymphenburg Palace
4. Munich Frauenkirche
2. Englischer Garten