Hallo! Munich, the capital of Bavaria, is a vibrant and historic city in southern Germany and was our very first stop in our European travels. The city of big giant pretzels, wiesswursts, and beer is absolutely worth visiting and the locals are so nice. We were lucky enough to visit this picturesque city during the most beautiful time of year, Christmas! All fun christmasy things will be saved for another post. Here are the top 5 things you MUST do in Munich:
1. Visit the Cities Oldest Farmers Market
The Viktualienmarkt is one of Munich’s oldest and most famous markets, located in the heart of the city. We were lucky enough to stay in a hotel right across the street, so we visited this lively market on a daily basis. It is a must-visit destination for foodies, with over 140 stalls selling everything from fresh produce to artisanal cheese, meats, baked goods, and more.
As mentioned earlier, we visited during Christmastime and there were many stalls selling decorations and mini Christmas trees. It was very festive! Walking through the market, you’ll be struck by the vibrant colors and aromas of the local and international foods on offer. Sample some of the local specialties, like the famous Bavarian sausages or the fresh pretzels, or indulge in some of the international cuisines available, including Thai curries, Spanish tapas, and Italian pastas. The potato pancakes are worth noting; Michael didn’t stop talking about them during our entire stay.
One of the highlights of the Viktualienmarkt is the beer garden, obviously, which is located right in the center of the market. Here, you can enjoy a cold pint of beer or a glass of local wine while taking in the lively atmosphere.
Overall, the Viktualienmarkt is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Munich. It’s a great place to experience the local culture and cuisine, meet some locals, and pick up some unique souvenirs to remember your trip by. So make sure to add the Viktualienmarkt to your itinerary when planning your next trip to Munich!
2. Explore the Heart of the City: Marienplatz
Marienplatz is one of the most famous squares and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city.
The square is surrounded by some of Munich’s most iconic buildings, including the New Town Hall, the Old Town Hall, and the St. Peter’s Church. The New Town Hall is particularly impressive, with its ornate façade and famous Glockenspiel, which chimes twice daily.
Marienplatz is also a great place to soak up some Bavarian culture. You’ll often find street performers playing traditional Bavarian music, and there are plenty of outdoor cafes and restaurants where you can sample local specialties like pretzels, sausages, and beer.
One of the best times to visit Marienplatz is during the Christmas season, when the square is transformed into a winter wonderland. The Christmas market is one of the largest and most festive in Europe, with hundreds of stalls selling everything from handmade ornaments to gingerbread cookies. And don’t forgot the mulled wine served in Christmas mugs!
3. Enjoy a Beer (or 2) and a Pretzel at the Hofbrauhaus
The Hofbrauhaus is one of the world’s most famous beer halls and a must-visit destination for beer lovers and travelers alike. Founded in 1589, the Hofbrauhaus has a rich history and has played a significant role in Munich’s cultural and social life for centuries.
The vibe of this place is immaculate. Lots of chatter, laughter, and live music from a traditional Bavarian band. We found ourselves a seat at a long wooden table, and we were quickly joined by friendly fellow travelers. The communal tables create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, and it’s easy to make new friends.
Of course, the real reason people come to the Hofbräuhaus is for the beer. The brewery has been producing beer since 1589, and they serve it in massive one-liter steins, known as Maß in German. The beer is served fresh and cold, and it’s the perfect accompaniment to the traditional Bavarian food on offer. The menu includes dishes like roasted pork knuckle, sausages, sauerkraut, and pretzels. Vegetarian and vegan options are also available.
If you’re looking for a unique and memorable night out in Munich, the Hofbräuhaus is definitely worth a visit. Just be prepared to embrace the lively atmosphere, indulge in the beer and food, and have a great time. Prost!
4. Visit St. Peter's Church
While Munich has a handful of stunning churches, St. Peter’s Church is without a doubt at the top of the list.
The Baroque architecture of St. Peter’s Church is a sight to behold. The interior of the church is adorned with intricate frescoes, paintings, and sculptures that reflect the beauty and grandeur of the Baroque era.
One of the most striking features of the church is its tower, which stands at over 91 meters tall. Visitors can climb to the top of the tower to get a panoramic view of Munich, including the famous Marienplatz and the surrounding Alps. If you’re afraid of heights you may want to sit this one out. I struggled a bit as heights really aren’t my thing, while Michael never has a problem getting right against the edge.
Another impressive feature of St. Peter’s Church is its altar, which is considered to be one of the finest examples of Baroque art in Germany. The altar depicts scenes from the life of Saint Peter, including his crucifixion and ascension into heaven. It..is…JAW-DROPPING.
St. Peter’s Church has a rich history that dates back to the 12th century. The original church was built in the Romanesque style and was one of the oldest churches in Munich. However, it was destroyed by a fire in the 14th century, and the current church was built in the Baroque style between 1663 and 1678.
The church has undergone several renovations and restorations over the years, including after it was severely damaged during World War II. Today, St. Peter’s Church is not only a place of worship but also a popular tourist attraction that showcases the rich history and culture of Munich.
Michael and I attended Christmas Day mass here and even though the entire service was in German and we couldn’t understand a thing lol, we were completely moved by the music and the ambience itself. This was definitely a highlight of our stay in Munich.
5. Explore the Residenz
The Residenz is a must-visit attraction in Munich, Germany. It served as the former royal palace of the Bavarian monarchs and is now a museum complex that attracts visitors from all over the world.
One of the highlights of the Residenz is the magnificent architecture, which spans several centuries and styles. The complex includes various buildings, including the Antiquarium, a grand hall filled with ancient artifacts and sculptures, and the Treasury, which houses the Bavarian Crown Jewels.
Visitors can also explore the residential quarters of the royal family, including the Rococo-style Ancestral Gallery, the Court Garden, and the Palace Chapel. The Residenz also boasts a vast collection of art, including works by some of the most prominent artists in Europe.
The Residenz can be a bit overwhelming, so it’s a good idea to plan your visit ahead of time. Make sure to allow plenty of time to explore the various buildings and exhibits. We didn’t take the guided tour as we much more prefer exploring on our own time.
Overall, a visit to the Residenz is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Bavaria. Whether you’re an art lover, history buff, or simply a curious traveler, this museum complex is not to be missed when visiting Munich.