Best known for major beer festival Oktoberfest, it should come as no surprise that Munich is one of Germany’s liveliest destinations. Built on culture, eclectic architecture and a buzzing nightlife scene, Munich is a spirited and stylish city. But with only two days to explore, planning an effective sightseeing itinerary can prove something of a challenge.
A great way to start your visit is with a trip on Tram 19 which is far cooler and cheaper than any sightseeing bus. An hour or so along this tram-line, beginning at Hauptbahnhof and heading to Ostbanhof, affords views of the palatial courthouse at Justizpalast, the cobbled streets filing down towards Maximillianstrasse, picturesque Lenbachplatz and the Bavarian Stock Exchange building before winding up to the quiet style of the hip French quarter. This relatively short trip allows you to get a feel for the city layout, as well as the spread of its history.
To discover the city’s spiritual side, head to Frauenkirche at Ludwigsvorstadt Frauenplatz. This is one of Munich’s finest and best loved churches and although bombed to near total destruction during the Second World War, the sections of reconstruction seem only to enhance the sense of enduring peace enjoyed here by tourists and locals alike.
As one of the world’s most celebrated science museums, the Deutches Museums is a must-see. Go early, while it’s quiet, and fuel up on strong coffee and sweet kuchen in order to make the most of your visit. Pick up a map on arrival and prioritise your areas of interest as you could spend weeks wandering the curious corridors of this sprawling institution.
If you find that you’re in need of a little refreshment while on your whistle-stop culture tour, look no further than Englischer Garten. Spreading its green fingers farther than the likes of London’s Hyde Park or New York’s Central Park, this is one of the world’s most expansive public gardens. Its grounds are shared peaceably by students, buskers, cyclists, street performers and retirees, making this an excellent place to people watch before nightfall.
When night does fall, find a spot of cultural entertainment at the National Theatre which boasts a thriving programme of music, dance and drama all year round. Home to both the Bavarian State Opera and the Bavarian State Ballet, there’s no better place to enjoy a performance from one or two of Germany’s most celebrated cultural troupes. The building itself, reconstructed by Gerard Moritz Graubner in 1963, based on the theatre’s original 1818 plans, is well worth a look, even if you’re too late for tickets.
And of course no Munich bound city break could be complete without giving the local beers a thorough tasting. Weissbeer – a pale, wheat beer – is Munich’s tipple of choice and you’ll find plenty of beer gardens in which to sup a pint or two. Four of the most popular beer stations are found in Englischer Garten, with the largest in Hirschgarten. But Augustinerkeller – 52 Arnulfstrasse – boasts a homely interior as well as large garden making it a great choice at any time of year. It is also one of the city’s few remaining beer houses to serve Weissbeer straight from the wood. Prost!
Adriano Comegna writes on behalf of Thomson holidays, a leading travel operator specialising in Package holidays.