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Munich Travel Guide

  • Photo: Pavel L Photo and Video/Shutterstock

Plan Your Munich Vacation

Known today as the city of laptops and lederhosen, modern Munich is a cosmopolitan playground that nevertheless represents what the rest of the world incorrectly sees as "typically German": world-famous Oktoberfest, traditional lederhosen (leather pants), busty Bavarian waitresses in dirndls (traditional dresses), beer steins, and sausages.

Munich's cleanliness, safety, and

Mediterranean pace give it a slightly rustic feel. The broad sidewalks, fashionable boutiques and eateries, views of the Alps, a sizable river running through town, and a huge green park make Munich one of Germany's most visited cities. When the first rays of spring sun begin warming the air, follow the locals to their beloved beer gardens, shaded by massive chestnut trees.

The number of electronics and computer firms—Siemens, Microsoft, and SAP, for starters—makes Munich a sort of mini–Silicon Valley of Germany, but for all its business drive, this is still a city with roots in the 12th century, when it began as a market town on the "salt road" between mighty Salzburg and Augsburg.

That Munich was the birthplace of the Nazi movement is a difficult truth that those living here continue to grapple with. To distance the city from its Nazi past, city leaders looked to Munich’s long pre-Nazi history to highlight what they decreed was the real Munich: a city of great architecture, high art, and fine music. Many of the Altstadt’s architectural gems were rebuilt postwar, including the lavish Cuvilliés-Theater, the Altes Rathaus, and the Frauenkirche.

The city's appreciation of the arts began under the kings and dukes of the Wittelsbach Dynasty, which ruled Bavaria for eight centuries, until 1918. The Wittelsbach legacy is alive and well in many of the city's museums and exhibition centers, the Opera House, the philharmonic, and, of course, the Residenz, the city's royal palace. Any walk in the City Center will take you past ravishing baroque decoration and grand 19th-century neoclassical architecture.

Known as the city of laptops and lederhosen, Munich traces its history back to the 12th century, when it began as a market town on the salt road between mighty Salzburg and Augsburg. For all its business drive and the cosmopolitan style of its millionaires, Munich represents what the rest of the world sees as "typical Germany," embodied in the world-famous Oktoberfest, traditional lederhosen (leather pants), busty Bavarian waitresses in dirndls (traditional dresses), beer steins, and sausages. There are myriad local brews to say Prost (cheers) with, either in one of the cavernous beer halls or a smaller Kneipe, a bar where all types of people get together for meals and some drinks.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Deutsches Museum The museum has an impressive collection of science and technology exhibits, and its location on the Isar River is perfect for a relaxing afternoon stroll.
  2. Englischer Garten With expansive greens, beautiful lakes, and beer gardens, the English Garden is a great place for a bike ride or a long walk.
  3. Gärtnerplatz Gärtnerplatz and the adjoining Glockenbachviertel are the hip hoods of the moment, with trendy bars, restaurants, cafés, and shops.
  4. Views from the Frauenkirche This 14th-century church tower gives you a panorama of downtown Munich that can’t be beat. There are 86 steps in a circular shaft to get to the elevator, but the view is worth it.
  5. Viktualienmarkt Experience farmers'-market-style shopping, where there’s fresh produce, finger food, and a beer garden; it’s not to be missed.

When To Go

When to Go

Munich is a year-round city, but it's nicer to walk through the Englischer Garten and have your beer under a shady chestnut tree when the weather...

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