Things to do in Munich

Things to do in  Munich

Drink and be merry

Munich, the capital of Bavaria, is home to many of the country's most quintessentially German traditions—every September, the famed Oktoberfest comes to the city. But the festivals, lederhosen, and beer halls are only a small part of the city and region’s story. Munich’s architecture shines in palaces such as the Nymphenburg and castles like Residenz, and there are plenty of similarly intriguing buildings scattered across Munich. On Marienplatz, the city’s central square, old and new town halls compete for attention. The Church of St. Peter (Peterskirche), a Romanesque structure, was built even before the city's foundation in 1158. Get a sense for the city’s layout, top attractions, and historical context on a guided tour, with everything from walking to biking to Segway to hop-on hop-off bus tours available. Visitors can also enjoy the English Garden, an enormous park with “urban naked zones” (yes, expect some voyeurs in the buff) and a lakeside beer garden. Of course, you'll also probably want to explore Bavaria's offerings outside of Munich. Sightseeing tours to the royal castles of Neuschwanstein—inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle—and Linderhof are especially popular, and guides provide historical tidbits you might not otherwise hear. Half-day trips to the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial take visitors to the first Nazi concentration camp in Germany, and can be combined with a Munich Third Reich tour. Just across the border in Austria, the delights of Mozart's native Salzburg await.

Top 15 attractions in Munich

Neuschwanstein Castle

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With its snow-white limestone facade and fanciful turrets peeking out from the forested mountain tops of the Hohenschwangau valley, Neuschwanstein Castle (Schloss Neuschwanstein) could easily have been lifted from the pages of a fairy tale. In a way, it has—the German castle famously inspired Disney'sSleeping Beauty castle.More

Linderhof Castle

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Inspired by the Palace of Versailles in France, Bavaria’s 19th-century Linderhof Castle is one of the country’s most magnificent structures. The smallest in a trio of elaborate royal palaces built by King Ludwig II (also known as the “Mad King”), Linderhof was the only one he saw completed.More

Marienplatz

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A public plaza in the center of Munich, Marienplatz is full of history—it’s been the city’s main square and central heart of Munich’s Old Town (Altstadt) since 1158. Marienplatz is a popular gathering spot and possibly the busiest location in all of Munich, with crowds of locals and tourists visiting its landmarks, shops, and restaurants on foot from early morning until late at night.More

Victuals Market (Viktualienmarkt)

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Munich's historic Victuals Market is the city’s main destination for gourmet Bavarian goods. Its stalls—many family-run for generations—overflow with exotic fruits, fresh vegetables, truffles, flowers, spices, sausages and hams, artisanal cheeses, honey, and much more. Snack as you go or gather items for a picnic at the nearby park.More

Cathedral of Our Blessed Lady (Frauenkirche)

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A Munich landmark, the Cathedral of Our Blessed Lady (Frauenkirche) features two 325-foot (99-meter) towers topped by spherical domes. According to local ordinance, no other building in the city may be taller than this, preserving the cathedral’s central position on the skyline of Bavaria’s capital.More

Munich Residence (Residenz München)

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Elaborately adorned rooms and royal art collections define the Munich Residence, the former royal palace of the Bavarian Monarch. This landmark is the largest city palace in Germany, containing museum displays spread across 130 rooms, including collections of porcelain, silver, antiquities, and paintings.More

Odeonsplatz

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Hemmed in by Italianesque palaces, grand concert halls, and Baroque churches—Odeonsplatz is a testament to Munich’s storied past and the site of some of the city’s key historic events. At the northern end of Munich Old Town (Altstadt), the busy public square is the gateway to the Hofgarten gardens and the Munich Residenz.More

Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site

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The Dachau Concentration Camp was opened by Adolf Hitler's Nazi government in 1933, and served as a model for later concentration camps. Today, the camp is a memorial to the more than 32,000 people who died and the more than 200,000 who were imprisoned there during the Nazi regime. The memorial was established as a site of memory and education in 1965, 20 years after Dachau was liberated by American troops.More

English Garden (Englischer Garten)

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One of the largest urban parks in the world, the English Garden (Englischer Garten) is Munich’s most popular green space, boasting over 48 miles (78 kilometers) of walking and cycling trails. It offers plenty to explore, including a Japanese teahouse, a boating lake, and traditional beer gardens.More

St. Peter's Church (Peterskirche)

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Explore a piece of Munich’s history with a visit to St. Peter’s Church or Peterskirche, a Roman Catholic church built in the 12th century. The building is known for its Gothic paintings, sculptures, and a ceiling fresco, plus panoramic views from its spire. Colored rings at the lower platform reveal details about the view from the spire; a white ring means the Alps are visible.More

King's Square (Königsplatz)

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King's Square (Königsplatz) was initially built to serve the urban notionsof King Ludwig I, who wished to integrate culture, administration, Christianity and Bavarian military in one massive green space. The king opted for a European Neoclassic style based on the Acropolis in Athens. He even had two museums built in the same style; first was the Glyptothek, where he could house his sprawling collection of Greek and Roman sculptures, and second, the Bavarian State Collection of Antiques, which contains Greek, Etruscan and Roman artifacts. King Ludwig I also commissioned the Propylaea, an imposing and austere gate which served as a memorial to his son, the Bavarian prince Otto of Greece.Despite this architectural and urban prowess, the square is now infamous for being the place where the Nazi party held marches and mass rallies during the Holocaust. In fact, the national headquarters of the Nazi party, the Brown House, was located on Brienner Straße just off the square. It was even featured in a Nazi propaganda film, The March to the Führer. Two temples were built on Königsplatz to honor the 16 Nazis killed in the failed coup attempt by Adolf Hitler to seize power in 1923 – they were later on destroyed (except for their platforms, which are still visible today) as part of Munich’s denazification by the US Army in 1947.However, not all Nazi constructions were systematically demolished; the Führerbau, for example, where the Munich Agreement was signed in 1938, still exists to this day and houses a music school.Today, Königsplatz has returned to its pre‐war appearance and remains one of Munich’s most significant attractions. It is now regarded as the center of Munich’s museum quarter, the Kunstareal.More

Hofgarten

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A formal court garden built by Elector Maximilian I in the 17th century, the Hofgarten is one of Munich’s favorite parks. At its center lies an octagonal pavilion, known as the Diana Temple; covered arcades skirt the edges; and the landscaped grounds host games of boules and even tango dancing during summer.More

Munich Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus)

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One of Munich’s architectural landmarks, the Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus) encloses the city's central square, Marienplatz, and today serves as the center for city council activity. The building’s tower is now home to the Toy Museum, a childhood collection by filmmaker Ivan Steiger.More

Nymphenburg Palace (Schloss Nymphenburg)

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Built in 1664, Nymphenburg Palace (Schloss Nymphenburg) was once the summer residence of Bavarian kings. One of the largest royal palaces in Europe and located on the outskirts of Munich, this magnificent complex boasts a dramatic baroque facade, lavishly decorated interiors, and an expanse of stunning gardens and lakes.More

Amalienburg

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The Amalienburg palace is the former hunting lodge of Emperor Charles VII. Located on the expansive, scenic grounds of Nymphenburg Palace (Schloss Nymphenburg), it is considered a fine example of European Rococo style.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Munich

Small-Group Munich City and Oktoberfest Tour Including Reserved Oktoberfest Tent Table
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Bavarian Beer and Food Evening Tour in Munich
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Neuschwanstein and Linderhof Castle Small-Group Premium All-Inc Tour from Munich
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VIP tour to the royal castles Neuschwanstein and Linderhof from Munich
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Neuschwanstein Castle, Ettal Abbey and Oberammergau Private Tour from Munich
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Neuschwanstein Castle, Ettal Abbey and Oberammergau Private Tour from Munich

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Private Neuschwanstein Castle skip the line Tour in Mercedes Van
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Munich Sightseeing Bike Tour

Munich Sightseeing Bike Tour

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All about Munich

When to visit

It won’t come as a surprise that the busiest time of year is fall—when over 7 million travelers descend on Munich for Oktoberfest. This world-famous festival has brass bands, circus acts, rides, processions—and of course, beer. If you want to skip the crowds, then come in spring for Frühlingsfest; a smaller and more chilled-out version of Oktoberfest. Summer is also a great time for beer gardens and hiking in the Alpine foothills—but watch out for high peak season prices.

Getting around

Munich is known for being a very walkable city, so the first option should be exploring its highlights on foot, as the most important city landmarks are within close proximity of each other. To venture further afield, the city has great public transport options; you can travel on the S-Bahn (light rail), the U-Bahn (subway), by bus, or tram (Strassenbahn). Get tickets from vending machines at stations, or buy tram/bus tickets from the driver when you board.

Traveler tips

A lot of travelers are caught out by the fact that most shops (including supermarkets) are closed on Sundays. To stay entertained, and fill the shopping void, a museum trip is a great backup; the city has a special €1 entry deal to museums, just on Sundays. There are over 80 different museums to choose from; some of the best are the BMW Museum, the Residenz Museum, and there’s even a Beer and Oktoberfest Museum.

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People Also Ask

What is Munich famous for?

Munich is known for beer, and its famed Oktoberfest, which begins in mid-September, is the pinnacle. The well-known Hofbräuhaus tavern serves more than a million visitors yearly with ales, lagers, and giant German soft pretzels. Munich is also known for its architecture, with spots like the Marienplatz steeped in history.

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How many days do you need in Munich?

You’ll want at least three full days in Munich, though, to properly tour the city’s 16th-century architecture, biergartens, and world-class museums, you may want a week. Consider using the city as a Bavarian hub for day trips to spots such as Neuschwanstein Castle and Salzburg, Austria.

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What should you not miss in Munich?

Visitors have choices: Kick back with a Hofbräu Dunkel in the 16th-century Hofbräuhaus, tour the BMW Welt and Museum, take a walking tour of WWII sites including Munich Old Town Hall, and wander the English Garden, Marienplatz, and Deutsches Museum. Of course, that’s just the tip of the schnitzel.

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What is there to do in Munich in October?

The acclaimed Munich Oktoberfest ends early in the month, so autumn is about more than beer here. Explore the city’s gardens (Nymphenburg Palace Park), walking paths, and markets (the daily Victuals Market). On rainy days, head to Munich's Kunstareal arts district for your pick of incredible art museums and galleries.

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Was Munich the capital of Germany?

No. Munich has never been the capital of Germany. That title has mostly belonged to Berlin (though Bonn was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990). Munich, however, is the capital of Bavaria, a state in southeast Germany known for its beer, sausage, and lederhosen—and lake views.

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Is Munich touristy?

Yes and no. Before the pandemic, Munich had nearly nine million visitors a year—with a robust tourist scene, regardless of season. The city’s most popular hotels, museums, and attractions are geared toward global visitors, but it’s still easy to go off-the-beaten path for more authentic experiences.

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Frequently Asked Questions