The effervescent sprawling capital city of Bavaria is well known for its beauty, incredible architecture, romance, culture, and mouth-watering food. Oh, and of course, the very stuff legends are made of, their annual Oktoberfest. Bavaria in Germany is a fascinating corner of the globe and one you could spend a virtual lifetime exploring and not even end up scratching the surface.
Bavaria has a stunning and colourful history with roots dating back to the 1100s, with Munich surviving through some horrendous difficulties through both world wars. What was once the very epicentre of Baroque life became a struggle with massive fuel and food shortages. Suffering enormous damage from bombs in the Second World War as well. The city has been painstakingly and lovingly restored to its former glory. The remarkable city has been completely transformed back to its glorious, majestic and resplendent self.
Modern-day Munich is a traveller’s delight and incredibly popular amongst the younger crowd, especially during Oktoberfest time. So popular in fact, that If you don’t book your accommodation and tickets to the Oktoberfest something like a year in advance, there is very little chance you will get a good booking. The city has so much more to offer. See for yourself, go for a weekend getaway or a stop on your German road trip and experience Munich.
More than just Oktoberfest
But there is so much else to do in the city and it's not all about Oktoberfest. In fact, it has been known to better the stunning city of Berlin in terms of being the cultural hub of Germany. Indeed, according to Ernest Hemingway, every other part of the country was a waste of time to visit. If you were travelling in the area, he maintained that Munchen -as it is known in the native language – was the only place worth seeing.
If you are interested in art, history, sprawling Baroque palaces, fine dining, castles, historic churches, Bavarian markets, theatre then this is the city for you. The city is known for being culturally and ethnically diverse, with a whopping 25 % resident expat community. And is open-minded, friendly and welcomes everybody with open arms. Safe for travellers to explore on their own. The only real danger a tourist might have is not being able to keep up with the local beer drinking pace.
Summer in Munich
The summer months from May to September bring excellent weather to the city. Perfect for a lazy afternoon under the leafy shade in one of many biergartens. As well as exploring some of the magnificent manicured gardens in areas like Schwabing. Wander through the Englischer Garten. You can even check out intrepid surfers sweating their stuff on the manmade wave park at Eisbach Creek.
When you are visiting the city you must not miss out on some of the grand iconic tourist landmarks. Some of the regal sites you must see:
- Schloss Nymphenburg, the summer residence for many a Bavarian King. Odeonsplatz, one of the magnificent royal sites
- Frauenkirche, an enormous cathedral being able to seat a 20,000 strong congregation
- Maximilianeum, the State Parliament building of Bavaria
But take time to get off the beaten track and head away from the heavy tourist areas and check out life in the city like a local.
The city is heaving with trendy, yet cosy neighbourhoods. In the summertime along the banks of the Isar River, families get together to picnic, spend a day relaxing and to enjoy some swimming time. Coffee culture is huge in Munich and the city is literally heaving with sidewalk cafes. Ein Kaffee bitte (one coffee please). The perfect place to start your day with a steaming fresh coffee, a pastry and morning paper as you watch the city unfold.
This glorious slice of Germany is a bustling metropolis for sure. It has the small-town ambience and all the right ingredients to make you fall in love with it. And with all this at your fingertips, you may never want to leave. Especially as you're just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Alps. Check out tours you can in and around Munich.
Note: This blog post was posted between 2010 and 2015 when we were called DIY-OE. As we’re still happy with the quality, it was published again on our new blog Travel.Geek.NZ