Frauenkirche and Marienplatz in Munich

Munich, Germany is the capital and center of the state of Bavaria. Rich in culture, tradition, arts, technology, and outdoor splendor, Munich is a wonderful place to start your German vacation. There is so much to see and do here, you may never have occasion to leave.

The biggest festival of the year finds hundreds of thousands of locals and tourists flocking to Munich for its annual celebration of Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest actually begins in the middle of September, so plan accordingly to attend this festival of the best in Bavarian food, beer, costumes including dirndl and lederhosen and traditional Bavarian folk music and dance. The fairgrounds house numerous beer tents and sampling bars from the area breweries. You will also find tents serving traditional Hendl (chicken,) Wurst sausages, sauerkraut and spatzle, or noodles. Included in the festival activities are carousels, a tradition since the early days Munich of the 1800s as well as roller coasters and other carnival rides.

Outside of Oktoberfest, Munich is home to many medieval palaces, museums, churches and other locations of cultural significance. At the center of Munich is the Marienplatz square, home to New Town Hall or Rathaus. The gothic structure built in 1908 houses one of the largest glockenspiels in the world. It chimes its 43 bells daily at 11am and tells the story of Duke Wilhelm V’s marriage in the 16th century. Thirty-two life-sized figures spin and dance to honor the happy occasion. The cooper’s dance follows, symbolizing hope and vitality.

The Frauenkirche church is another popular landmark and often recognized as the symbol of Munich. Completed in the 15th century, the gothic style red brick church holds Catholic Mass regularly. Look for the Devi’s footstep at the entrance of the church, said to mark the place where the devil stood and mocked the “windowless” church. Other important churches and cathedrals in Munich are the Theatine Church built in Baroque style and St. Michael’s Church with its ornate renaissance style golden figures guarding the church.

Galerie at Residenz Palace in Munich

The former royal palace of Bavarian monarchs is now open to visitors wishing to glimpse the fantastical architecture, decorations, and royal art gallery. The Residenz Palace museum in Munich has numerous courtyards and over a hundred rooms to stroll through. Enjoy art and design from the renaissance, baroque, and neoclassical eras. The gardens and courtyards are also as varied with English and French influences.

Nymphenburg Palace and park is another former royal residence to the rulers of Bavaria that is now open to visitors. The palace sits on nearly 500 acres near Munich divided up into many garden pavilions featuring meditation retreats, a hunting lodge, temples, bathing houses and buildings. The interior of the palace is decorated with detailed ceiling frescos, baroque furnishings and the Gallery of Beauties, portraying 36 women from various social classes.

The English Garden at the center of Munich is larger than New York’s Central Park and has as many varied sights to explore. Residents here enjoy cycling, walking, rowing, and sunbathing. There are a number of monuments and buildings such as the Chinese Tower and Japanese Tea House. A biergarten at the center of the park serves Bavarian specialties such as sauerkraut and sausages, and of course beer.

Whether you are looking for designer shops, luxury boutiques, fine jewelry, or upscale hotels such as the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, Maximilianstrasse Boulevard is where you will find it. Known as one of the city’s royal avenues, Residenz Palace and the National Theatre are here as well.

BMW World in the Evening in Munich

The Bavarian Motor Works (BMW) company is also headquartered in Munich. Here you can visit BMW World to witness firsthand the latest technologies from BMW, tour the BMW Museum, and even drive off with your custom ordered vehicle or motorcycle.

Nightlife in Munich is as varied as the city. At the neighborhood bars, see shelves lined with beer steins, where locals keep them to use when they visit. Live music can be found almost anywhere and ranges from traditional Bavarian folk music to rock and roll. The oldest brewery in Munich, the Hofbrauhaus is popular among tourists. Come here to drink the beer that helped define the distinguished and highly regarded Bavarian beer.

Since Munich is the center of the Bavarian region, it is a great place to launch a day trip or two. There are many famed castles minutes from Munich such as Neuschwanstein, Wurzburg, and Marienberg among many others. The Romantic Road travels through Bavaria and is worth a drive. Or spend a day in the Bavarian Alps. While not as large as the Swiss side, the Bavarian Alps offer breathtaking views while skiing or hiking the lush hills.

Christmas Market at Marienplatz in Munich

If you visit during the holiday season, be sure to check out the oldest Christmas Market in Marienplatz, which dates back to the 14th century. The many stalls sell Bavarian woodcarvings, gingerbread, and even a manger market where you can shop for a nativity scene to take home. A 100-foot Christmas tree adorns the center of the square and the Alpine Choir performs on the balcony of the town hall.

Outside of the Christmas or Oktoberfest holidays, summer is a great time to visit Munich. Temperatures are comfortable to enjoy the city on foot and enjoy all the activities in the English Garden. To schedule and exclusive tour of Munich, or book your trip, contact the Luxe Travel team at 1-866-365-8747 or concierge@luxetravel.com.