7 Must-Have Experiences in Munich

January 1, 1970

by Megan Lethbridge

In the heart of Bavarian Germany, you will find the striking city of Munich. Full of history, beer, and more, this city has much to offer its visitors. The next vacation you have, take a trip to Munich and don’t miss out on these 7 experiences:

1. Arrive at Marienplatz via the S-Bahn

New Town Hall in Munich

New Town Hall in Munich

The S-Bahn urban rail system is the best way to get around Munich, so naturally also the easiest way to find yourself in the heart of Munich’s main square, the Marienplatz. Pictures cannot prepare you for when you first come up for air from the subway down below and find yourself gazing upon Munich’s New Town Hall, perhaps one of the most stunning gothic architectural buildings in all of Germany, if not Europe. Explore the beauty of New Town Hall by not only admiring the front and exterior sides of this spectacular building, but also make sure to creep your way through the arches to get a peak of the inner courtyard. Additionally, if you find yourself at the Marienplatz at the right time you can see the Rathaus-Glockenspiel show. The center of Munich has other notable views as well, including the golden statue of the Virgin Mary, Old Town Hall, and Munich’s Teddy Bear Museum.

2. Climb to the Top of St. Peter’s Church

View from the top of St. Peter's Church in Munich

View from the top of St. Peter’s Church in Munich

One of the most breathtaking views in all of Munich comes from the top of St. Peter’s Church. Very near the Marienplatz, this church is easy to stumble upon. For 3 euros you can climb to the very top of the tower and experience an unforgettable view of Munich. The climb is not an easy one, but well worth the view. Additionally, kind strangers coming down the stairs often offer encouragement to keep climbing to the top. Before or after the climb, make sure to stop inside of the church as well and witness the stunning and beautiful interior of this church.

3. Oktoberfest at Theresienwiese

Bavaria Statue in Theresienwiese

Bavaria Statue in Theresienwiese

Naturally having this experience depends on the time of year you find yourself in Munich, but regardless Oktoberfest is an event not to be missed. Although October is in the title, this world-famous beer festival opens earlier than many think, annually in mid-September and lasts everyday for three weeks through the beginning of October. Traditional costumes (lederhosen for men and dirndl dresses for women) are expected for the festival and rumored required for some of the more popular tents, but not completely necessary. This time of year also typically brings rain to the Munich area, so make sure to have a poncho and umbrella to accompany your costume (ponchos are also sold for approximately 5 euros on the rainy days). Reservations at the beer tents are available in advance for parties of 10 or more. Any less in your group, and you will need to squeeze in with a few new friends at the singles tables. While finding a seat may be difficult at certain points in time, it is still very much possible. Sitting at a table inside of a tent is the only way that you will get a beer, so even if you don’t have a seat right away, the wait is well worth it!

Even if you find yourself in Munich not during Oktoberfest, Theresienwiese is still worth a visit to see the towering Bavaria Statue.

4. Take a Walk Through the Hofgarten

Munich Residenz

Munich Residenz

The Hofgarten (Court Garden) can be found within the Munich Residenz. While the residences themselves are certainly a sight to see, and so is this royal garden. While there may be some other tourists around, this garden is still a quiet and beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. As soon as you enter into the Hofgarten from off the street, the beauty of nature comes to life along with the spectacular residences surrounding the park. There is much to explore within, so take a stroll and relax in this unique part of Munich.

5. Stand Where the Devil Once Stood

Church of Our Lady, Devil's Footprint

Church of Our Lady, Devil’s Footprint

At the Church of Our Lady in Munich not only will you find stunning views inside and outside of the church but also a rather odd claim to fame within the entrance hall. A black footprint in the center of the entrance is known as a footprint left by the devil himself. You can read the exact legend inside of the church in several different languages. Essentially, if you stand exactly where the footprint was left, you cannot see any of the windows in the church. When the devil came to see the church being built, he stood in that exact spot and saw no windows in the church. He laughed at the idea of a church with no windows, and in his joy, stamped his foot into the ground, leaving the black footprint that still remains today. However, as he stepped further forward, he could see several windows lined alongside both sides of the church. Defeated, the devil departed from the church, but leaving his forceful wind behind in hopes of blowing down the church. Today, the Church of Our Lady is still known for being surrounded by constant blowing winds.

6. Sit in the Same Room as the Pediment from the Temple of Apaia at Aegina

Sculpture from the Temple of Apaia at Aegina at the Glyptothek Museum in Munich

Sculpture from the Temple of Apaia at Aegina at the Glyptothek Museum in Munich

Anyone who has studied the classics would immediately recognize the pediment from the Temple of Apaia at Aegina currently housed at the Glyptothek in Munich. The Glyptothek Museum (with an entrance fee of 1 euro) is not far from the famous Munich Residenz, and is the home of various sculptures from antiquity. However, none can match the pediment from the Temple of Apaia at Aegina. The west side and the east side each have their own room dedicated to the pediments and their history. In each of these rooms you can sit on the benches provided and admire the incredible sculpture work as long as you wish. Additionally,  lovers of history this is a truly remarkable and unforgettable experience.

7. Read the Writing on the Walls of the Jewish Museum of Munich

The Jewish Museum of Munich

The Jewish Museum of Munich

A haunting building not far from the heart of Munich, stands the Jewish Museum . A meaningful experience can still be had here without even entering the museum. Along all four walls of the exterior of the building are quotes, both in German and in English, that remind us of the horrors of WWII. Personal experiences resulting from the war and the attempt to move forward are etched in the glass. The words are not direct but vague, enough to encourage independent reflection on history. Just walking by and spending 5 minutes outside Of this museum is enough to provide you with a lasting impact.

Munich is a very special city with much to offer. While these are only some of the experiences to be had, there are so much more waiting. Enjoy his spectacular city and appreciate the uniqueness of such a memorable place.

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