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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.

Although Munich began as a market town on the salt road between mighty Salzburg and Augsburg in the 12th century, today it is a cosmopolitan technology capital that values quality of life above all else. Nevertheless, Munich still has a Medieval feel. It’s a place that seamlessly blends modernity and tradition with Lederhosen (leather pants), Dirndls (country dresses), parks, beer gardens, and cavernous halls.


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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. Marienplatz The heart of Munich, everyone passes through this pretty medieval square at the center of everything. Be sure to take in the Glockenspiel's turning knights and musicians on the facade of the Rathaus at midday.
  5. Viktualienmarkt Experience farmers'-market-style shopping, where there’s fresh produce, finger food, and a beer garden. Dating back to 1823, this market should not be missed.

When To Go

When to Go

It's nicer to walk through the Englischer Garten when the weather's fine in summer. A few post-summer sunny days are usual, but the Oktoberfest...

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