Use this guide to see all the top sights in Munich, Germany. Start by watching the famous Glockenspiel as the clock strikes 11 am or noon each day and the figures inside it come to life. Then, walk past churches, historical buildings, and plazas. Stop to watch surfers – yes surfers – in a river in the park before you spend some time in one of the world-class museums. Visit the food and flower market before ending your day at the famous Hofbrauhaus brewery with beer, food, and fun entertainment!
(Click the bar above to listen to the podcast. See descriptions, maps and pictures below.)
If you would like a pdf file of the information and map screen shots to save on your device or to print out to have with you as you visit Munich, just send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and type “Munich Highlights” in the subject line. Please let me know if you like this or if you have any questions! Thank you! Cindy
Thinking about planning a trip to Germany? Be sure to spend at least one perfect day….or several more….in Munich. I first went to Munich for just a couple of days. When I realized how much the city had to offer, I went back and stayed a week. Munich not only has many things to do and see right there in the city, but it is a fantastic base for exploring the many world-class sights nearby via the train on day trips.
In this blog and podcast I describe some of my favorite highlights of Munich and their locations so you can follow the directions if you would like to walk from one highlight to the next one. The walk can be completed in a couple of hours of leisurely walking if you want a quick overview of Munich, but it can easily be expanded to fill a full day if you stop to visit the sites.
Each highlight is numbered and lettered. The letters correspond to stops on the map. The map is also interactive on the website www.walkli.com. You can find the interactive maps for this tour on Walkli by searching for “Munich” on the site.
1 – A – Marienplatz
Begin this walk in the massive central gathering place of Munich, the Marienplatz. This large plaza gets its name from the column dedicated to the Virgin Mary that has stood here since it was erected in 1638 to celebrate the end of Swedish occupation. The Glockenspiel (see picture) in the tower of the new city hall (Neue Rathaus) is the focus of attention daily at 11 am and noon (and at 5 pm in summer) when thousands of people flock to the plaza to see the historical figures come out to joust and dance to the tune of the music of this world-famous mechanical clock. Try to arrive here at one of these times to see the display.
2 – B – Frauenkirche
Walk to your right as you leave Marienplatz, facing away from the Glockenspiel, and walk down the shopping street, Kaufingerstrasse. Turn right on Liebfrauenstrasse and this will lead you to the entrance of the Frauenkirche, the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Munich. The church towers are often depicted as a symbol of Munich. No other building in Munich is allowed to be taller than these spires. The cathedral opens daily at 7 am. It closes at 6 pm on Friday, at 8:30 pm on Thursday, and at 7 pm on other days.
3 – C – Bayerische Staatsoper National Theatre
From Frauenkirche, turn right and then left at the corner and right on Perusastrasse. This will become Max Joseph Platz. Turn left in front of the columned National Theatre. The theater, the Bayerische Staatsoper, is a historic opera house and home of the Bavarian State Opera, Orchestra and Ballet.
4 – D – Feldherrnhalle at Odeonsplatz
With the National Theatre behind you, follow the curve around Max Joseph Platz to your right to Residenzstrasse and turn right. After you walk about two blocks, you will see the Feldherrnhalle (Field Marshals’ Hall) on your left at Odeonsplatz. The large structure was commissioned in 1841 by King Ludwig I of Bavaria to honor the army.
5 – E – Eisbach (river surfers)
Walk across the street and walk diagonally through the public Italian style Renaissance garden. Cross Franz Josef Strass and walk along Prinzeregentenstrasse until you see the park on your left. Walk over to the bridge over the Eisbach river. On most days, and especially on the weekends, you will see surfers here in the wetsuits surfing on the river. It is amazing and certainly not something I had expected to see in Germany!
6 – F – Neue Pinakothek
Walk back along Prinzeregentenstrasse in front of the Haus der Kunst, and turn right and walk on a path in the park until you can turn left on Schonfeldstrasse. Then, walk to Ludwigstrasse and turn right and take the first left on Theresienstrasse. Keep walking until you reach the Neue Pinakothek. This is one of several world-class art museums in this area. This is my favorite, because it houses Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” in its permanent collection. It is open every day except Tuesday from 10 am to 6 pm, and until 8 pm on Wednesday. It is 7 Euros to visit most days, but it only cost 1 Euro on Sunday!
7 – G – Glyptothek
From Neue Pinakothek, walk to Carolineplatz on Barer Strasse and turn right on Brienner Strasse and follow it to the Glyptothek at Konigsplatz. This beautiful building is Munich’s oldest public museum and the only museum in the world that is solely dedicated to ancient sculpture. It is open every day except Monday. Admission is 6 Euros, except for Sunday when admission is only 1 Euro.
8 – H – Karlsplatz (Stachus)
Walk away from the museums on Katharina von Bora Strasse until you reach the botanical garden. Walk through the gardens or alongside Sophienstrasse, crossing Elisenstrasse, until you reach Karlsplatz (Stachus). This large square is named Karlsplatz after an unpopular Bavarian elector in the 1700’s. So, most people only call it Stachus, after a pub that was previously located in the square. Be sure to look for Karlstor, the gothic gate left over from Munich’s medieval wall. The Palace of Justice is located on this square, as well.
9 – I – Asamkirche (Asam Church)
From Stachus, walk on Neuhauser Strasse to Eisenmannstrasse and turn right. Walk a few blocks and, after the street changes names to Kreuzstrasse, turn left on Asamhof and follow the road to Asamkirche (Asam Church). This church is officially named St. Johann Nepomuk Catholic Church, but it is mostly known as Asamkirche after the brothers who built it in the mid-1700s as their private church. The church is open daily from 9 am to 6 pm.
10 – J – Viktualienmarkt
From Asamhof, turn left onto Sendlinger Strasse and right onto Hermann-Sack-Strasse. Then, turn left onto Oberanger, and turn right onto Rosental
and walk into the Viktualienmarkt (Victuals Market). You can’t miss the 140 stalls and shops selling flowers, fruit, sausage, poultry, spices, cheese, fish, juices and some crafts. There is a large outdoor beer garden, too. The market is open Monday to Saturday 8 am until 8 pm, but some stalls close as early as 6 pm.
11 – K – Peterskirche
Walk toward Marienplatz on Petersplatz and turn right on Rindermarkt and you will be standing on the spot where Munich began at this oldest recorded parish church, Peterskirche Catholic Church (Peter’s Church). Established in the 12th century, the original church had to be reconstructed in the 1300s. The tall spire was added in the 1600s.
12 – L – Heilig Geist Kirche (Holy Ghost Church)
Circle around Peterskirche and you will come back to Viktualienmarkt. Turn left, and Heilig Geist Kirche (Holy Ghost Church) will be on your right. The church is open daily 7 am to 6 pm. If you have the time, take a look at the light and airy interior designed by the Asam brothers who built the Asamkirche. The wooden altarpiece, the Hammerthaler Madonna, dates to the 1400s.
13 – M – Juliet Statue
From the Holy Ghost Church, turn to your right and take an immediate left. You will see the statue of Juliet on your right. Verona, the hometown of Romeo and Juliet, is the sister city of Munich. The City of Verona sent the statue to the City of Munich as a gift.
14 – N – Altes Rathaus
The building to your right is the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall). It is still used for meetings of the Munich city council representatives. Its Grand Hall was the location of the infamous speech of Joseph Goebbels known as the beginning of the Kristallnacht.
15 – O – Ratskeller
Walk toward the center of Marienplatz and turn right on Dienerstrasse. Enter the Ratskeller on your left, even if it is just to take a quick look. This 1200 seat restaurant under the town hall of Munich was built in the late 1800s. It serves traditional Bavarian food. Be sure to observe the hand painted Bavarian murals on the walls.
16 – P – Hofbrauhaus
Even if you choose to have dinner at the Ratskeller, you may want to end your day with a beer at the Hofbrauhaus. From the Ratskeller, walk back toward the Altes Rathaus and turn left on Sparkassenstrasse. Turn right on Munzstrasse and you will soon reach the 500 year-old Hofbrauhaus on the left. You may hear the music as you approach this indoor/outdoor beer hall that serves delicious German food at one of Munich’s oldest breweries. It is filled with tourists, but everyone should visit at least once! The Hofbrauhaus is open 9 am until 11:30 pm every day.
I hope you have enjoyed this little tour of some of the highlights of Munich. Please let me know if you have enjoyed it! You contact me at email@example.com.
For more detail about planning a trip to Munich and visiting the castles and surrounding historical sights, check out my just-published book on Amazon, “One Perfect Trip to Munich with Bavarian Day Trips,” for $8.99 paperback and $5.99 Kindle version:
For a detailed description of how to travel to Neuschwanstein Castle, check out my post and podcast:
Until next time, I hope all your travel days are just perfect!