Munich City Guide
Last Christmas, my sister very generously gifted Boyfriend & I plane tickets to Munich. The plan was to bring Boyfriend around, introduce him to our relatives, and prove how easy it is to fall for the city from our childhood. My sister & I had only visited the city on a number of occasions together, but the two of us have always had a special fondness for Munich.
Below is a loose guide of things to do in the city, including all of the places we visited and loved during our trip. We’ve covered accommodation, eating, drinking, and a small bit of sightseeing, so there should be something for everyone.
STAY IN THE HEART OF THE CITY
I have two main deal breakers when looking for accommodation in a city. #1 it cannot be one of those cheap, crappy places right beside the main train station. From experience, those places are usually surrounded by a whole strip of other undesirable businesses. #2 it needs to be within walking distance of the places you know you want to visit. Getting public transport in a new city is a pet peeve of mine, and we avoid it at all costs. I mean, how are you going to discover the city from the underground!? We knew we would mostly be exploring the Old Town, so we chose our accommodation accordingly:
Müller Inn // this was one of the most delightful surprises of our trip – we stumbled across it online & fell totally in love with the place! Located about five minutes walk to the Viktualienmarkt, and 10-13 minutes walk to the Old Town, the location is perfect. Added bonus: the Hofbräuhaus is a mere 16 minute walk, just sayin’.
DRINK LIKE A LOCAL: BEER, BEER, BEER
When you think Munich, there’s no doubt in my mind that the next thing you think of is Oktoberfest. Men in lederhosen, big breasted women in dirndl, litre sized steins of beer swinging from their hands. The hype is understandable: the beer in Munich is on a whole different scale. Between the six main breweries, visitors are spoiled for choice. There’s Augustiner, Hofbräu, Hacker Pschorr, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, & Spaten. I have a soft spot for Augustiner, Boyfriend adores Hofbräu, and we also sampled some Hacker Pschorr & Paulaner for good measure. Below are some of our favourite places to enjoy a half-litre or two.
Augustiner am Platzl // the main Augustiner beer hall in the city. There seems to be a never ending stream of people coming through the front door. The place is cozy, traditional, and friendly. Added bonus: they serve the half litres in the traditional steins, so you really feel like a local! A must-visit.
Augustiner am Dom // a less populated beer hall = a more relaxed vibe. My favourite beer hall of the trip, not too loud or rowdy, just the perfect place to chill with a beer & a pretzel.
Hofbräuhaus // walking in the doors to the Hofbräuhaus feels like you’re being squished together with every other tourist in the city. Which is probably because you are, basically. Everyone goes here, and as crowded & touristy as it is, I consider it a must-see for first time visitors. Dirndl clad waitresses carrying pretzels as big as my head, communal tables, traditional Bavarian folk band plonked right in the centre. It screams “Welcome to Munich!” A must-visit.
a close second:
Beer Garden at the Chinese Tower // nestled amid the lovely landscape of the English Garden is one of the biggest beer gardens in all of Munich. You grab your beer, find yourself a seat around the Tower, and people watch to your hearts content! Germans are big fans of beer gardens, so no matter how cold or snowy there will always be people sitting out enjoying the atmosphere. Added bonus: they serve Hofbräu!
DRINK LIKE A LOCAL: COCKTAILS + WINE
Alas, it’s not always about the beer – sometimes it’s about wine and/or cocktails! The German side of me is baffled as to how anyone could ever need a break from German beer, but I digress. Here are a couple of the trendiest cocktail bars in the city, and one reliable wine bar for good measure. Prost!
Garçon // a very pared back, hipster kind of vibe to this tiny cocktail bar wedged into the middle of a seemingly quiet street. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to snag the perfect window table, we were. The menu is printed in a concise leather bound booklet, and is filled with creations that’ll bring you back night after night. Pro tip: go for the Garçon Sour! A must visit.
Loretta // similar in style to Garçon, but on a much larger (read: busier) scale. The windows are heavily laden with condensation, the long benches lining the communal tables are packed. The menu is well worn and perfectly crafted. Shots are served in adorable Alice in Wonderland potion bottles, and real smoke is brewed special cocktail orders.
Pfälzer Residenz Weinstube // a wine bar that specializes in wine from the pfälz/palatinate region of Germany. They have a very impressive wine list and the room is similar in style to that of the traditional German beer hall. My sister really adored this place!
HUNT OUT THE BEST HOT DRINKS
…because if you like being able to feel your fingers, you’ll need them. Munich in the winter is a toughie – it gets cold. Like, really cold. The winds are wicked and the chill is real, so be ready to rock that red-nosed look. Trust me, I’ve been there – it’s not that cute. Go prepared with hats, gloves, scarves, and a list of cafes to run to whenever you need a hit of heat. Some of the best places to wrap your hands around a warm cuppa:
Man Versus Machine // the only specialty coffee roasters in Munich. A personal, small space to enjoy your morning cup of coffee. Expertly crafted by knowledgeable baristas, all of whom are branded with the cafe’s crocodile logo. Pro tip: try one of the apricot pastries, they are delicious!
Mary’s Coffee Club // a close second to the coffee served at MvsM, in a much more styled interior. Everything is a different shade of pink! Walls, marble tabletops, lights, cushions, couches, everything, all different hues of pink. Basically, it’s an Instagrammer’s dream come true.
Chocolaterie Beluga // a quick search on Google will reveal this cafe as home to the best hot chocolate in the city. Choose a flavour from the large selection, they give you a steaming cup of milk, and you melt the chocolate in yourself. The absolute perfect way to bring some warmth back into your body after shopping in the Viktualienmarkt.
EAT… A LOT
German food = hearty food. Sausages, potatoes, meat, cheese, bread. The portions are not to be underestimated – they are large and super filling. Having said that, you kinda sorta need all the sustenance you can get to keep you warm and insulated (and to soak up all that lovely beer). Our advice is to embrace it while you’re there! Though it may not sound appealing to some, it is all genuinely delicious and we promise you’ll miss it when you’re gone. Besides, when else are you gonna get the chance to eat a pork knuckle roughly the same size as your head?
Mary’s Coffee Club // an all day breakfast/brunch place. Mary’s CC offers guests a more varied food experience than the usual German breakfast. We feasted on shakshuka, avocado toast, eggs, and french toast. Added bonus: Mary’s CC also brews an excellent coffee, see above.
Augustiner am Dom // aside from being an excellent place for your daily dose of Augustiner, the food here is delicious. The pretzels come fresh out of the oven, but if you’re looking for a more substantial meal, fear not. The house flammkuchen – a thin, crispy pizza-like dish with white sauce, bacon and onions – is on a different level to the rest. Also good are their fiery red bratwurst, their regular rostbratwurst, sauerkraut, and potato salad.
Augustiner am Platzl // the quintessential German dining experience. Steins of beer, warm pretzels, men in lederhosen, massive portions – you get the picture. A particular highlight is the pork knuckle: covered in crackling, drenched in gravy, accompanied with dumplings, speared with a large steak knife. Other culinary delights include a ginormous schnitzel, a juicy pork steak, and an outstandingly delicious potato salad.
Wirtshaus zum Straubinger // a lovely local inn, packed with people at all times. If you manage to nab a table or even a coveted spot at the bar, make sure to order the käsespätzle. It’s like Germany’s version of mac & cheese, topped with crispy fried onions, and it goes a treat with a ½ litre of Hacker Pschorr. A true match made in heaven.
Viktualienmarkt // the market is full of hundreds of different food stalls, but we found a couple different places I thought you might like. Near the entrance, Schlemmermeyer is a solid choice for all things bratwurst and rostwurst. It’s exactly the kind of food we craved after walking around the cold market, so we loved it. If you’re in the mood for something sweeter, Rischart Cafe am Markt is home to an excellent selection of pastries. Boyfriend says their vanilla doughnuts are not to be missed! For warm drinks, see above.
CULTURE / SIGHTSEEING
We like to keep our trips pretty light on the tourist side of things, but these are the things we could consider must-sees:
Marienplatz / Glockenspiel // basically, the heart of Munich. Any trip would be incomplete without standing at Marienplatz, craning your neck to watch the Glockenspiel play. There are 43 bells, 32 life-sized figures, & 15 minutes of entertainment. Pro tip: take the elevator to the top of the tower to enjoy the views.
English Garden // one of the largest urban parks in the world, the English Garden is the perfect place to escape the city crowds. In the summer you can spot people sunbathing & surfing in the river. In the winter, it becomes home to a large Christmas market covered with fairy lights and smelling of mulled wine. Don’t miss: the Chinese Tower beer garden, located inside the park.
Viscardigasse // also known as Drückebergergasse – or Shirker’s Alley in English. This is a small street just off Odeonsplatz with a very understated memorial incorporated into the pavement. A gold streak of bricks highlights the silent protest the people of Munich went to to avoid saluting the Nazi statue around the corner.
Viktualienmarkt // a huge open air daily market in the centre of the city. Cheese, flowers, hot food, spices, vegetables, meats, wreaths, hot drinks, dried goods. Basically, anything you’re looking for. For food & drink recommendations, see above.