Updated on May 30, 2016
I l.o.v.e Munich
After being unimpressed with Berlin, I had mixed feelings in regards to Munich. But I fell in love with Munich straight away; the city was everything that Berlin wasn’t: beautiful, clean, lively, had a city centre easy to get around, great parks and delicious food. It was completely different than walking around the industrial-grey Berlin.
A bit far from the centre – I mean it’s not a walking distance from the centre but just 15 mins drive and easy to reach by public transport – is the Nymphenburg Palace. With its majestic jaw-dropping entrance the palace is a great symbol of Germany splendour. I had little time in Munich, when we arrived the palace was already closed and unfortunately I missed the palace – I honestly regret not being able to visit, but it is a highlight of the city. The palace and its vast gardens should not be missed.
Munich also hosts internationally renowned technological and automotive industries. Fans of German cars, rejoice! The BMW Museum is here! Just on the outskirts of the city centre, a short drive away from the Nymphenburg Palace you won’t miss its tall and shiny building where you will find some of the most stunning vehicles from BMW’s past and present. (Also gutted for missing it, but I will certainly go back to see Tom going nuts in there!)
It’s quite amazing to see Munich’s ability to stay ahead with its technological developments and also maintain its cultural, costumes, traditions, folklore and parties. Munich is the region in Germany where they are most preserved. You find lots of shops selling traditional clothes and people wearing them, not only on Oktober fest. They are really proud of their roots and retain the distinct Bavarian characteristic, which gives this beautiful city its authenticity.
The new town hall (Neues Rathaus) dominates Marienplatz, the city’s main square, and its neo-gothic structure is a feast for the eyes with the power to turn anyone into an architecture fan. The building is one of Munich’s most recognizable landmarks and is decorated with statues and gargoyles throughout that make every corner to be different.
The building becomes alive at 11am and 5pm when 32 nearly life-size figures come out and give a performance to the hundreds of people, residents and tourists, that come to watch its world-famous “glockenspiel” – In case you have a heavy camera (like I do…) I would advise you to take your tripod to make a video as your arms will hurt a lot! and you might need to ask somebody to hold them for you.
The Englischer Garten was a big highlight of the city for me; its Munich’s little (big) paradise beating London’s Hyde Park and New York’s Central Park, you can easily spend an entire day here.
The park is the ultimate chill out area in the middle of the city; as soon as you get there you will find peace. Munich has spots where you can find some peace and quiet, while in London you can always hear the traffic outside or the mass of people going around.
One thing that not only Munich but all the places I visited in Germany really amazed me were the rivers. The water of Germany rivers and canals were so clean and transparent that you could see the pebbles on the bottom and people fishing.
As we were in Munich during European summer we found swimmers and sunbathers enjoying the pretty river and its riverside stretches of pebbly “beach”. Its beautiful shores and very calm current makes it a highlight for summer visitors.
And Munich had plenty of waterways, lakes, rivers and canals to make me fall in love with. I had to take my share of those amazing clear waters and went for a paddle.
Make sure you stop to watch the guys doing some super fun urban surfing at the Isar river – It was an amazing thing to see! Its hypnotising, we totally lost track of time watching them make some wicked manoeuvres on its fast-flowing waters.
Saving the best for last: Sausages and beer! The city has plenty of beer halls all over serving delicious beer and traditional German food, which is really delicious pig-focused cuisine. I was pleasantly surprised by Bavarian food.
Most Germans (if not all of them!) will say that German beer is the best in the world and after trying so many during my 10 days around the country I have to admit they are right. My biggest advice for you would be to try as many different types as possible.
Munich has a vast number of breweries, large and small, they are all different from each other but with some similarities. Let me try to make you to picture this – the place is crazy! The traditional beer gardens have long communal benches and tables full of people squeezed together (friends or strangers) eating and drinking beer. The place is noisy but the atmosphere is intoxicating with traditional German songs playing live in the background.
Hofbrauhaus was actually our first stop as this is the most famous (and touristy) among all Munich’s beer gardens. You will be amazed of how huge this place is, we went there really early in the morning to have a look at the place first and then we went back for food and beer around lunch time and the place absolutely transformed and it was absolutely packed! No matter what time of the day, it’s never empty. In the morning we found some locals already having some of their specialties and by morning I mean 9am.
I couldn’t go without mentioning that Munich hosts lots of beer festivals and the most famous one is the infamous Oktoberfest – next post about Munich I promise I will bring details and tips about the Oktoberfest.
I think Munich is as charming as London… but a bit cleaner, cosier, less crowded, the parks are prettier, with a lot more trees, the Bavarian beer hall environment is lots of fun and the food is hmm… delicious!
Aaaahhh… If I could speak German… I love Munich.