Munich is the capital of Bavaria, a German province, with about 1.3 million citizens. After Berlin and Hamburg, it is the third-largest city in Germany. It is located on the slopes of the Alps and the shores of the Izar River.
Munich is one of the most popular tourist cities in Germany and is also known for its many churches including the Church of St. Peter, the oldest church in the Old Town; Cathedral of Our Lady, also known as Frauenkirche, is the most famous building in Munich, and St.Michael’s Church, the largest Renaissance church in the northern Alps. You may not be interested in churches, but these are worth seeing.
With so many tourist attractions, museums and galleries, if you go to Munich as a tourist, expect it to take a few days if you want to see all of Munich’s cultural and historical treasures.
It is difficult to choose what to see in Munich and the following attractions should be considered.
1. Munich Residenz
This has been the seat of the dukes and kings of Bavaria for centuries. The Munich Residenz is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular palaces in Europe and something you must see.
It has seven large courts, and the huge Residence complex that can be divided into three large sections: Royal Chambers, overlooking Max-Joseph-Platz (large square in central Munich named after King Maximilian Joseph); An Old Residence that overlooks the Residenzstrasse and the Banqueting Hall Wing.
The first part of this large complex was the magnificent The Hall of Antiquities (Antiquarium). It was built between 1568 and 1571, and now is a part of an amazing museum. The Old residence is a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture and a testimony to the then growing power of Bavaria.
Today, the residence is home to numerous monuments and museums, including the Residenz Museum, The Treasury, Church of All Saints, and The Cuvillies Theatre. Be sure to visit the palace’s surroundings and all the wonderful yards – including the magnificent Court Garden (the Hofgarten) – as well as its many fountains, lakes, and parks.
Marienplatz was the main square in Munich ever since the founding of the city and until 1807 was the main place where markets were located and occasionally knights fought.
Here is Neues Rathaus (New TownHall), as well as the magnificent Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall) with a reconstructed tower. Other landmarks to see include Mariensäule (Mary’s Column), erected in 1638, as well as the Fish-fountain (The Fischbrunnen), a newer building with bronze figures extracted from an old 19th-century fountain.
St. Mary’s Square is known as a shopping spot and has many shops, boutiques, and restaurants, as the Bavarian capital has been an attractive tourist destination for decades.
As Marienplatz is always packed with tourists, there is always a lot of fun here, including a pantomimists. The celebration is in full swing during the Fasching carnival, when the square is flooded with dancers, and during the Christmas holidays, a huge market attracts people here.
This is also an ideal time to travel to Munich.
3. Altes Rathaus
As the square changed its name and purpose, so did its buildings change. The Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus) burned down in a fire in 1460 and was rebuilt in 1480 in the neo-Gothic style. During World War II, it was again destroyed and renovated according to plans from the 15th century.
4. Neues Rathaus
Completed in 1892, the impressive Neues Rathaus dominates the Marienplatz and in beauty, it equals the towers of Our Lady’s Church (Frauenkirche) and opinions are divided which of these two places is Munich’s most famous landmark.
The main entrance overlooks Marienplatz and the facade is decorated with figures and ornaments representing the Bavarian dukes, princes, and kings, as well as the saints and famous people of Munich. The world-famous bell tower is the fourth largest in Europe.
Every day at 11:00, 12:00 and 17:00 these bells ring an old folk tune, and the mechanical figures in the bell tower imitate historical events.
The wide panorama of the city can be seen from the central gallery, which is 85 meters high and is reached by an elevator. You should necessarily visit the Marienplatz to see this beautiful landmark.
5. Englischer Garten
Munich’s Englischer Garten is not only the largest city park in Germany (extending over an area of 3.6 square kilometers with more than 100 bridges), it is also one of the most beautiful if you have enough time to visit it.
Plants and trees are naturally distributed here, and there is an artificial lake, so the Englischer Garten is a fantastic landscape.
This is a great place for sunbathing and picnics.
The park also has a 9-kilometer long canal network and you can even surf on it.
Here you can see some of Munich’s most famous attractions, including the Bavarian National Museum, in which is accommodated a good collection of German medieval sculptures and tapestries, as well as the Bavarian Archaeological Collection, which contains many prehistoric artifacts.
6. Cuvillies Theatre
East of the Munich Residenz is the Cuvillies Theater. It was built in 1755, represents a great example of a Rococo-style theater in Germany. The carvings in the audience section are amazing.
There was also located a special lodge for princes, which was moved to a safe place during World War II, and it is reconstructed in 1958.
This stunning masterpiece of architecture with its rare elegance is the best place to listen to an opera such as Mozart’s Idonomeo, which premiered here in 1781 and is still performed here, like many other Baroque operas.
7. The National Theatre and the Bavarian State Opera
Widely known as one of the world’s leading operas and home to the Bavarian State Opera, the National Theater was founded by King Maximilian I Joseph and built-in the neoclassical style in 1818.
Although destroyed during World War I, the building was rebuilt and reopened in 1963. Outside is a grand staircase with Corinthian-style columns and a gable that makes it resemble a Greek temple.
On the gables, there are pictures of Apollo and muses, while on the main gable there is a stained glass representing Pegasus.
Inside the building, there is a fantastic crowd section decorated in red, blue, gold and ivory. Tristan and Isolde (1865), The Mastersingers of Nuremberg (1868) and Reinhold (1869) are performed here, and the Munich Opera Festival is held here every summer.
8. Hellabrunn Zoo
Hellabrunn Zoo, the zoo that was named the fourth best zoo in Europe in 2013 and one of the largest attractions in Bavaria. Founded in 1911, this was the first zoo in the world where animals were grouped according to where they came from.
Today, more than 19,000 animals and more than 757 species live in open habitats, which are a faithful replica of the wild. The Elephant House, a huge 5,000 square foot cage, the Polarium, and the Monkey House are popular.
The area closest to the Izar River is designed to be a reserve. The zoo has many beautiful walking trails, playgrounds, and picnic areas.
9. Nymphenburg Palace
Nymphenburg Palace, a huge white-gray Baroque palace with yellow ornaments and red tile roofs, was the first residence of the Wittelsbach in the 17th century.
It extends more than 600 meters from one wing to the other. This palace is surrounded on each side by a canal that splits and runs around the main building before reconnecting into a large pool in front of the main entrance.
First, you should see the Central Pavilion, an Italian villa-style cube palace, completed in 1674, which houses a richly decorated Stone Hall and many private rooms with stylish furniture and works of art. There is also a Chapel with beautifully painted ceilings, and the paintings represent the life of Mary Magdalene.
A must-visit is also Amalienburg, a hunting lodge within the palace known for its famous Hall of Mirrors. The enchanting seventeenth-century Nymphenburg Park is also worth a visit. This fenced-in garden is known for its many marble statues of Greek gods and a large fountain.
One of Munich’s most famous squares, Königsplatz (King’s Square), was built in the Neoclassical style in 1862 and here are many of the city’s attractions.
This is where the famous Art District and the oldest city museums are located.
There are three well-known art galleries here: Alte Pinakothek (the Old Picture Gallery), with a collection of Dutch, Italian, French, German, Spanish and medieval paintings; Neue Pinakothek (the New Picture Gallery) and Pinakothek der Moderne (State Gallery of Modern Art) with works of Picasso and Warhol.
11. Olympic Park
The 1972 Summer Olympics were held in Munich, in the spectacular Munich Olympic Park, which covers an area of 2,700,000 square meters in Oberwiesenfeld, formerly the training ground of the Royal Bavarian Army.
Now the largest sports center, this huge institution is the venue for many concerts and events, including the Tollwood Festival, which is held twice a year (summer and winter) attracting over one and a half million visitors.
This is also the place for a variety of fun family activities – climbing the stadium roof, ziplining and touring the building to see all the architecture and design. You should visit the Olympic Tower, a 290-meter high television tower that was named in honor of the Olympics.
Munich’s Frauenkirche is the main church in southern Bavaria. Completed in 1488, this gothic brick building is so magnificent in large part because of its size – 109 meters long and 40 meters wide – and its high walls, as well as two large 100-meter high towers with characteristic Renaissance towers.
One of the most famous things about this church is the unusual footprint found on the floor of the church, thought to have been left by the Devil himself when he came to see the church. Being so enthusiastic, he got carried away and left a footprint that can still be seen today.
13. Asam Church
The beautiful Asam church in Baroque style is dedicated to St. Johann of Nepomuk and it was built by the Asam brothers and richly decorated with plaster figures, murals and oil paintings.
The exterior is impressive, but the church interior is even more impressive.
On the large vault below the ceiling is a fascinating fresco that represents the life of St. Johann. The most beautiful part of the church is the high altar with a wax figure of St. Johann.
14. St. Peter’s Church
St.Peter’s Church is the oldest church in Munich built in Gothic style in 1386, this church was changed in 1636 by replacing the Gothic towers with a classical bell tower.
The most famous parts of the interior are the baptistery made by Hans Krumpper, the monuments of red marble and an altar from the 15th century with sculptures of the Crucifixion. Also known is 18th-century altar, 20 meters high, with figures of the Four Fathers of the Church and St. Peter.
Be sure to check out the paintings on the walls painted by Jan Polack as well as the famous Altar of the Virgin Mercy from 1756. There is also a famous tower with 299 stairs, 8 clocks and 8 bells, 91 meters high, from which the Alps can be seen.
15. Theatine Church
Theatine Church, a Catholic basilica built in the Italian Baroque style, is one of the most beautiful churches in Munich and, together with Frauenkirche and St. Peter’s Church is one of the most famous landmarks in this city.
This church has the most impressive 71-meter high tower, richly furnished interior and a stunning two-tower facade. In front of the church are marble statues of saints, and the tower is painted white with many plaster ornaments.
There is also a high altar with a painting of the Virgin Enthroned with Angels. Finally, there is the royal tomb, in which many members of the Wittelsbach family are buried.
16. Bavaria Statue
Bavaria statue is 18 meters high statue, representing a female figure in the old German style. It is designed to show the importance of Bavaria in Europe.
Bavaria statue looks like it is covered with a long cloak, her left hand is raised and holding a wreath of oak leaves, in her right hand is a sword, and beside her sits a lion – protector of Bavaria.
The 126-staircase leads up to the head of the statue and offers a magnificent view of the city. This statue is the largest bronze statue ever made. Behind the statue is also an impressive Hall of Fame.
17. BMW Museum
If you are a fan of BMW cars, old and new models, then you may also want to visit the BMW Museum in Munich.
The museum is located right next to the office of the BMW car company and then it is clear to you that everything here is in the sign of BMW. The museum was opened in 1972 just before the opening of the Olympic Games, and its core business is to represent the development of this auto company through history.
This is the only place in the world where you can see the development of the BMW company for over 100 years.
One of the biggest attractions for the male tourists, but women are not far behind, is certainly the Augustiner Brewery.
It is one of those with the longest tradition in Bavaria and is ranked first in the “beer” section of every guide you can get in town.
The building where the place is located is of course not from the fourteenth century, but the interior has a completely authentic look. Those who have been there described it as the best beer they have ever drunk in their life.
The Hofbräuhaus is a famous place in Munich because Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists held their first meeting there. The place has its roots from the seventeenth century and is very authentic, but also expensive because it is considered a tourist attraction.
All beer drinkers, but also those who are looking for a good time, come to Munich at the end of September on Oktoberfest. Every year, Oktoberfest is visited by over six million people, located in 14 large tents that exclusively serve beer, sausages and pretzels.
Entry is free of charge, but a larger sum of money must be set aside for beer. The atmosphere is truly unique. You will be impressed with the sounds of traditional Bavarian Melos, tons of sausages and hectoliters of beer.
What gives the strongest impression, not only in Munich but in other cities in Germany is cleanliness. You can hardly see the full wastebaskets, pickets and garbage on the streets.
Make a good tour plan, and be well prepared, as it is worth seeing all these sights. You will be impressed with all the beauty that Munich has to offer.
Last Updated on March 22, 2023