City Guide to Munich

Munich - Bavarian Beauty

25. Jun 2022
by Sugato Mukherjee

A laid-back yet cosmopolitan culture, a relaxed café scene, beautiful castles and cathedrals, and world-famous beer hall and breweries make this Bavarian city’s quality of life among the best on the planet.

Start off your Munich explorations at Marienplatz, the historic centre of the Bavarian city since the 12th century. The picturesque square is home to some of the city’s most emblematic monuments and buildings like the New and the Old Town Halls, the towering 17th-century Column of St. Mary erected to commemorate the end of Swedish occupation, and the exquisite Fischbrunnen – the medieval fountain, serving as a rendezvous spot through the ages. Time your visit around noon, or at 5 pm during summers, when the glockenspiel on the New Town Hall’s façade springs to life with its 43 bells and 32 figures, while the gathering crowd applauds.

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty
New Town Hall

Munich’s largest church, and another symbol of the city is Frauenkirche that defines the city skyline with its twin domed towers. Built in the 15th century, the red-brick late Gothic style cathedral has a somewhat modernist appearance after its post-World War II restorations, and the voluminous interior houses important artworks from the 14th century to the 18th century period.

Right next to Marienplatz is St. Peter’s Church, the oldest parish church of the Bavarian capital. The views from its tower, lovingly called “Alter Peter” (Old Peter) by the locals, are simply breathtaking. And inside, the three-century old Baroque high altar with a golden figure of St. Peter is one of Europe’s finest ecclesiastical art collections.

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty

Head over to the Viktualienmarkt for an authentic taste of Bavarian life in Munich. A farmer’s market since 1807, the 140 stands runs the gamut with fruits, vegetables, cheeses, fine cuts of meats, flowers and baked goodies. Amble your way through the village-style market, pick some fresh produce and plant yourself in the market beer hall for some dark ale paired with authentic Bavarian cuisine.

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty

The English Garden is the place where resident Bavarians go for a jog or a stroll, or with a bicycle. Or just laze in the sun. One of the largest urban parks in the world, the green oasis stretches from the Altstadtring inner-city motorway to Munich's northeast along the west bank of the Isar River. Enjoy the panoramic views from the Monopteros, watch the surfers on the Eisbach waves and soak in the greenery and lakeside views from the beer garden terrace of Seehaus restaurant inside the park.

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty
The English Garden

And talking of beer halls, you simply cannot leave Munich without a visit to Hofbräuhaus, the erstwhile royal (now state-owned) brewery in the heart of the city. Established in 1589, this beer hall is where Munich’s tradition, culture and cuisine rules the roost. The cradle of Bavarian tavern culture, it is a magic drawcard for locals and visitors, where regulars have reserved tables and permanent personalized beer steins locked in their own case! 

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty


If shopping is your chosen mode of entertainment, look no further than Maximilianstrasse Boulevard, the world-famous promenade that houses the flagship stores of exclusive international brands. The Residenzpost building, Louis Vuitton’s Munich enclave built in the style of a grandiose villa, sets the tone right at the entrance of the boulevard and the stretch between Nationaltheater and Altstadtring is the premier zone with luxury labels such as Armani, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, Escada and Bulgari are all poised to entice the shopaholic in you. The magnificent boulevard, framed by beautiful Neogothic architecture is also home to a few prestigious art galleries.

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty
Maximilianstrasse Boulevard

One of the most opulent shopping destinations of Germany, Riem Arcaden in the Messestadt Riem district at Willy-Brandt-Platz is half a million square feet of luxury spread over three floors. With more than 140 shops and restaurants, the uber-upscale ensemble with an astounding array of fashion, sports equipment, accessories, toys, beauty salon and home décor is one-stop shopping destination for about 9 million visitors each year and remains a popular haunt of Munich socialites and fashionistas.

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty
Riem Arcaden

Opened in 2004, Fünf Höfe is dedicated to newer kids on the block in the fashion cosmos, including Japanese fashion house MUJI and jewellers CADA alongside established names like Max Mara and Karl Lagerfeld. The charming, antiquated façade leads on to the superbly designed ultra-modern interior - an ensemble of courtyards and passages with around 60 stores and about 2,500 square meters of upscale cafés and restaurants.Temporary art exhibitions are located inside in the Hypo-Kunsthalle, while the stylistically designed passages and courtyards are peppered with art installations.

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty
Fünf Höfe

Restaurants & Bars

A heady blend of fine dining establishments and intimate Bavarian banquets define the culinary cosmos of Munich.

Matsuhisa at Mandarin Oriental Munich is run by the multi-award winning Nobu Matsuhisa who fuses modern Japanese cuisine with Peruvian flavours and techniques in his eponymous enclave. Right from the appetizers to the sushi boxes and cold dishes, the celebrity chef leaves his stamp in each and every of his curated cuisine to ensure his restaurant is the hippest culinary address in Munich. Oriental decorative elements complement the golden and brown overtones, and palm-and-leather furniture conjure up a stylish vibe to accentuate the gastronomic experience.

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty

Perched 181 metres above ground in the city’s Olympic Tower, Restaurant 181 juxtaposes great food with stupendous views. The slowly revolving enclave completes a full rotation every 49 minutes, ensuring diners have a true-blue 360 degree experience while savouring the superbly crafted three-course sunset menu or the gourmet prix-fixe menu. Linger over for a post-dinner craft cocktail to enhance the epicurean experience at what is one of the finest dining venues of Germany.

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty
Restaurant 181 munich

Helmed by chef Bousquet, the lively and intimate Atelier Gourmet blends the traditional and the innovative in its delectable French-forward cuisine. The elaborate five-course menu, always rustled up with freshest of seasonal ingredients, change regularly and the French wine pairing from the extensive list is impeccable. The exquisite plating, personalised service and a casual bistro-style vibe makes this Michelin-starrer a clear winner.

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty
Atelier Gourmet

When in Munich, you must try out traditional Bavarian cuisine. Look no further than Zum Dürnbraü, serving homeland classics with elevated uptakes. Located on a quiet side street, just 10 minutes from Marienplatz, this is said to be a favourite Bavarian beer hall since 1487! Homemade pretzels, pork knuckles and tenderloins, oxtails and ox tongues – all guzzled down with German dark beer or fine German wine – this can be an authentic German meal for you. Go hungry, as the portions are really generous.

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty
Zum Dürnbraü

Located on the roof of the plush Bayerischer Hof Hotel, the Blue Spa Bar and Lounge serves gourmet spa cuisine and craft cocktails along with scintillating views of the Munich cityscape. The BBQ evenings in summer and the Polar Bar with a cracking fireplace on cold winter nights get magical with the 360-degree panoramic vista.

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty
Blue Spa Bar and Lounge

Stop by for a craft beer and exceptional cocktails at Die Goldene Bar, especially if you are around the Haus der Kunst art gallery on a sunny summer afternoon. The terrace gets impossibly beautiful with mellow rays of the summer sun. Sip on a handcrafted gin-based cocktail or down a couple of pints while marveling at the original 1937 gilded maps adorning the walls, depicting he origins of wines, spirits and tobacco around the world.

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty
Die Goldene Bar

Museums & the Arts

An eternal favourite with children and curious minds, the Deutsches Museum is the world's largest museum dedicated to science and technology. Spanning 28 permanent exhibitions, it is a staggering treasure trove of interactive exhibits, live demonstrations and model sets. Located on an island on River Isar, the most favourite section of this temple of science is the Kinderreich area, designed for young minds. The interactive displays and demonstrations are perfect nurturing grounds for children who simply love the hands-on learning activities.

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty
Deutsches Museum

One of the world’s largest modern and contemporary art museums, the Pinakothek der Moderne, located in central Munich’s Kunstareal, houses a whopping collection of art, architecture, industrial design and works on paper. From masterpieces of German expressionism to monumental works of modernism, and from leading works of applied arts and graphic design to groundbreaking works of renowned architects, the rectilinear building encompasses a mind-boggling array of contemporary art and design.

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty
Pinakothek der Moderne

The sprawling baroque summer residence of the erstwhile Bavarian royalty for three centuries, Nymphenburg Palace dates back to 17th century. Its frontal width of 632 mts even surpasses Versailles Palace. Most of the opulently ornate rooms, pavilions and galleries show their original baroque design, with others reflect an updated rococo or neoclassical motifs and decor. The three-storied grand hall with stunning ceiling frescoes, the queen’s private apartment that still features some of the original furniture and the surreally beautiful palace chapel are simply not to be missed.

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty
Nymphenburg Palace

Exclusive Experience

For the one-of-a-kind Munich experience, you should time your visit to this Bavarian city during Oktoberfest. One of the biggest festivals in the world, it annually draws six million visitors during the two weeks in late September through early October. With huge tents offering refreshments and beer from local brewers along with amusement rides, sidestalls, games and colourful parades, the city is magically metamorphosed into a giant carnival  ground with non-stop merriment. The festival originated on October 12, 1810, in celebration of the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria, and has ever since remained a top priority of every reveller’s bucket list.

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty

Hidden Gem

Fancy seeing a little part of history tucked in the folds of Munich’s cobbled streets and alleyways? Head over to Viscardigasse – a pedestrian-only passage with a winding trail of bronzed paved bricks. During the Nazi rule in Germany, the infamous Nazi salute was mandatory when someone was passing by the Feldherrnhalle in Munich, site of the climax of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. Many pedestrians avoided this mandate by detouring through the small Viscardigasse that earned it the nickname “Shirkers’ Alley” or “Deserters’ Alley”. To this day, the bronze bricks shine on this walkway, as a reminder of the passive resistance to bow down to autocracy.

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty

Side Trip

Built by Ludwig II of Bavaria in the late 19th century, and the inspiration for the Disney Cinderella castle, Neuschwanstein is straight out of your childhood fairytale. The castle drips with medieval romanticism with its elegant spires and turrets, battlements and stone walls perched on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau, about 2 hours from Munich. While the castle looks bewitchingly beautiful from afar, especially with the serene lake in the foreground and the majestic Bavarian Alps forming a picture-perfect backdrop, the thematically designed, opulent interiors bear brilliant testament to the ultra-refined taste of the Bavarian King. A professionally guided tour takes you through the imperial rooms.

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty


Munich is the most successful city in the history of Bundesliga, the fiercely challenging German football league. The city-based Bayern FC has won 30 national championships, along with 6 UEFA titles. Catch the world famous club in action at the 75,000-seater Allianz Arena, their hometurf since the 2005-06 season to have a feel of the pulsating football fever.

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty
Bayern FC

If you love the spectacle of armoured players gliding gracefully over snow and if you are here in winter, head straight over to the Olympic ice rink to catch a game of EHC Red Bull Munchen.

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty
Ice hockey

If you love a tee time while on holiday, Munich and Greater Munich Area is your sweetspot. The region offers golf courses with international flair for different levels and requirements and many of the clubs offer pay and play facility for non-members. Golfclub Munchen-Riem, located in the middle of the Munich racecourse, has a challenging 9-hole course for the seasoned golfers, while the public short course is fun at the beginners’ level.

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty
Golfclub Munchen-Riem

Must Buy Souvenir

For sophisticated collectibles, head over to Nymphenburg. Since its establishment in 1747, this world-renowned manufactory has produced finest quality porcelain and it is one of the last porcelain producers in the world where every single part is handcrafted. The cavalier house on the grand circle in front of Nymphenburg Palace has operated as the production centre since 1761. The niche clientele includes international aristocracy, embassies, churches and palaces. Any item from an exquisite range of mocca cups, figurines, baskets, vases, maiolica and decorative pieces would be a touch of refined class to your home.

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty
Chic porcelain


Historic hotels dating back to mid-19th century with stupendous city views, uberluxe boutiques discreetly tucked away in posh neighbourhoods, graceful properties with muted design, Munich exudes class and luxuriance when it comes to its staying options.

The guide to the best luxury hotels in Munich:

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty
Mandarin Oriental, Munich 

Getting Around
The S1 (via the west of the city) and S8 (via the east of the city) S-Bahn Lines connect the airport (MUC) with the city centre every 10 minutes. The trip is conveniently covered in about 40 minutes. There is also the super-reliable Lufthansa Express Bus service operating 24x7, 365 days a year for passengers of all airlines.

The city's excellent public transportation — the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, tram or bus – takes you anywhere in and around the city. However, the best way to explore is on foot since many of the attractions are located close to one another.

Destinations Articles - Munich - Bavarian Beauty
The Munich tram system is extensive and efficient searches hundreds of travel sites at once to help you find the best premium travel offers for both flights and accommodation in Munich.

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