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Munich (German: München, Bavarian: Minga) is the capital city of the German federal state of Bavaria. Within the city limits, Munich has a population of more than 1.5 million, making it the third most populous city in Germany. Greater Munich including its suburbs has a population of 2.7 million. The Munich metropolitan region which extends to cities like Augsburg or Ingolstadt has a population of more than 5.6 million.
Located at the river Isar in Southern Bavaria, it is famous for its beautiful architecture, fine culture, and the annual Oktoberfest beer festival. Munich has a thriving cultural scene and many travellers are absolutely stunned by the quality of the architecture. Although it was heavily damaged by Allied bombing during World War II, many of its historic buildings have been rebuilt and the city centre appears mostly as it did in the early 1900s, including its largest church, theFrauenkirche cathedral, and the famous City Hall.
Munich is a major international centre of business, engineering and research, exemplified by the presence of two research universities, several multinational companies, and world class technology and science museums like the Deutsches Museum and BMW Museum.
|POPULATION :||• City 1,429,584|
• Urban 2,606,021
|TIME ZONE :||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
|RELIGION :||Roman Catholic 33.1%, Protestant 11.9%, Muslim 7%, Other 7%, None 45%|
|AREA :||310.43 km2 (119.86 sq mi)|
|COORDINATES :||48°8′N 11°34′E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49.1%|
• Female: 50.9%
|AREA CODE :||89|
|POSTAL CODE :||80331–81929|
|DIALING CODE :||+49 89|
The Deutsches Museum or German Museum, located on an island in the River Isar, is the largest and one of the oldest science museums in the world. Three redundant exhibition buildings which are under a protection order were converted to house the Verkehrsmuseum, which houses the land transport collections of the Deutsches Museum. Deutsches Museum's Flugwerft Schleissheim flight exhibition centre is located nearby, on the Schleissheim Special Landing Field.Several non-centralised museums (many of those are public collections at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität) show the expanded state collections of palaeontology, geology, mineralogy, zoology, botany and anthropology.
The city has several important art galleries, most of which can be found in the Kunstareal, including the Alte Pinakothek, the Neue Pinakothek, the Pinakothek der Moderne and the Museum Brandhorst. Alte Pinakothek's monolithic structure contains a treasure trove of the works of European masters between the 14th and 18th centuries. The collection reflects the eclectic tastes of the Wittelsbachs over four centuries, and is sorted by schools over two sprawling floors. Major displays include Albrecht Dürer's Christ-like Self-Portrait, his Four Apostles,Raphael's paintings The Canigiani Holy Family and Madonna Tempi as well as Peter Paul Rubens two-story-high Judgment Day. The gallery houses one of the world's most comprehensive Rubens collections. Before World War I, the Blaue Reiter group of artists worked in Munich. Many of their works can now be seen at the Lenbachhaus.
An important collection of Greek and Roman art is held in the Glyptothek and the Staatliche Antikensammlung (State Antiquities Collection). King Ludwig I managed to acquire such famous pieces as the Medusa Rondanini, the Barberini Faun and figures from the Temple of Aphaea on Aegina for the Glyptothek. Another important museum in theKunstareal is the Egyptian Museum.
The famous gothic Morris dancers of Erasmus Grasser are exhibited in the Munich City Museum in the old gothic arsenal building in the inner city.
Another area for the arts next to the Kunstareal is the Lehel quarter between the old town and the river Isar: The Museum Five Continents in Maximilianstraße is the second largest collection in Germany of artifacts and objects from outside Europe, while the Bavarian National Museum and the adjoining Bavarian State Archaeological Collection in Prinzregentenstrasse rank among Europe's major art and cultural history museums. The nearby Schackgalerie is an important gallery of German 19th-century paintings.
The former Dachau concentration camp is 16 km (10 mi) outside the city.
Arts and literature
Munich is a major European cultural centre and has played host to many prominent composers including Orlando di Lasso, W.A. Mozart, Carl Maria von Weber, Richard Wagner, Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Max Reger and Carl Orff. With the Munich Biennale founded by Hans Werner Henze, and theA*DEvantgarde festival, the city still contributes to modern music theatre. Some of classical music's best-known pieces have been created in and around Munich by native composers, for example Richard Strauss's famous tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra or Carl Orff's Carmina Burana.
The Nationaltheater, where several of Richard Wagner's operas had their premieres under the patronage of Ludwig II of Bavaria, is the home of the Bavarian State Opera and the Bavarian State Orchestra. Next door, the modern Residenz Theatre was erected in the building that had housed the Cuvilliés Theatre before World War II. Many operas were staged there, including the premiere of Mozart's Idomeneo in 1781. The Gärtnerplatz Theatre is a ballet and musical state theatre while another opera house, the Prinzregententheater, has become the home of the Bavarian Theatre Academy.
Hofbräuhaus and Oktoberfest
The Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, arguably the most famous beer hall worldwide, is located in the city centre. It also operates the second largest tent at the Oktoberfest, one of Munich's most famous attractions. For two weeks, the Oktoberfest attracts millions of people visiting its beer tents ("Bierzelte") and fairground attractions. The Oktoberfest was first held on 12 October 1810 in honour of the marriage of crown prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The festivities were closed with a horse race and in the following years the horse races were continued and later developed into what is now known as the Oktoberfest. Despite its name, most of Oktoberfest occurs in September. It always finishes on the first Sunday in October unless the German national holiday on 3 October (Tag der deutschen Einheit, i. e., "Day of German Unity") is a Monday or Tuesday—then the Oktoberfest remains open for these days.
Origin as medieval town
The year 1158 is assumed to be the foundation date, which is the earliest date the city is mentioned in a document. The document was signed in Augsburg. By that time the Guelph Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, had built a bridge over the river Isar next to a settlement of Benedictine monks—this was on the Old Salt Route and a toll bridge.
In 1175, Munich was officially granted city status and received fortification. In 1180, with the trial of Henry the Lion, Otto I Wittelsbach became Duke of Bavaria and Munich was handed over to the Bishop of Freising. (Wittelsbach's heirs, the Wittelsbach dynasty, would rule Bavaria until 1918.) In 1240, Munich was transferred to Otto II Wittelsbach and in 1255, when the Duchy of Bavaria was split in two, Munich became the ducal residence of Upper Bavaria.
Duke Louis IV, a native of Munich, was elected German king in 1314 and crowned as Holy Roman Emperor in 1328. He strengthened the city's position by granting it the salt monopoly, thus assuring it of additional income. In the late 15th century Munich underwent a revival of gothic arts—the Old Town Hall was enlarged, and Munich's largest gothic church, now a cathedral—the Frauenkirche—constructed in only twenty years, starting in 1468.
Capital of reunited Bavaria
When Bavaria was reunited in 1506, Munich became its capital. The arts and politics became increasingly influenced by the court (Orlando di Lasso, Heinrich Schuetzand later Mozart and Richard Wagner). During the 16th century Munich was a centre of the German counter reformation, and also ofrenaissance arts. Duke Wilhelm V commissioned the Jesuit Michaelskirche, which became a centre for the counter-reformation, and also built the Hofbräuhaus for brewing brown beer in 1589.
The Catholic League was founded in Munich in 1609.
In 1623 during the Thirty Years' War Munich became electoral residence when Maximilian I, Duke of Bavaria was invested with the electoral dignity but in 1632 the city was occupied by Gustav II Adolph of Sweden. When the bubonic plague broke out in 1634 and 1635 about one third of the population died. Under the regency of the Bavarian electors Munich was an important centre of baroque life but also had to suffer under Habsburg occupations in 1704 and 1742.
In 1806, the city became the capital of the new Kingdom of Bavaria, with the state's parliament (the Landtag) and the new archdiocese of Munich and Freisingbeing located in the city. Twenty years later Landshut University was moved to Munich. Many of the city's finest buildings belong to this period and were built under the first three Bavarian kings. Especially Ludwig I has rendered outstanding services to Munich's status as a centre of the arts, attracting numerous artists and enhancing the city's architectural substance with grand boulevards and buildings. On the other hand, Ludwig II, famous the world over as the fairytale king, held himself mostly aloof from his capital and focused more on his fanciful castles in the Bavarian countryside. Nevertheless, his patronage of Richard Wagner secured his posthumous reputation, as do his castles, which generate significant tourist income for Bavaria to this day. Later Prince Regent Luitpold's years as regent were marked by tremendous artistic and cultural activity in Munich, enhancing its status as a cultural force of global importance.
World War I to World War II
Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, life in Munich became very difficult, as the Allied blockade of Germany led to food and fuel shortages. During French air raids in 1916, three bombs fell on Munich. After World War I, the city was at the centre of much political unrest. In November 1918 on the eve of revolution, Ludwig III and his family fled the city. After the murder of the first republican premier of Bavaria Kurt Eisner in February 1919 by Anton Graf von Arco auf Valley, the Bavarian Soviet Republic was proclaimed. When Communists had taken power, Lenin, who had lived in Munich some years before, sent a congratulatory telegram, but the Soviet Republic was put down on 3 May 1919 by the Freikorps. While the republican government had been restored, Munich subsequently became a hotbed of extremist politics, among which Adolf Hitler and the National Socialism rose to prominence.
In 1923 Adolf Hitler and his supporters, who were then concentrated in Munich, staged the Beer Hall Putsch, an attempt to overthrow the Weimar Republic and seize power. The revolt failed, resulting in Hitler's arrest and the temporary crippling of the Nazi Party, which was virtually unknown outside Munich. The city once again became a Nazi stronghold when the National Socialists took power in Germany in 1933. The National Socialist Workers Party created their first concentration camp at Dachau, 10 miles (16 kilometres) north-west of the city. Because of its importance to the rise of National Socialism, Munich was referred to as theHauptstadt der Bewegung ("Capital of the Movement"). The NSDAP headquarters were in Munich and many Führerbauten ("Führer-buildings") were built around the Königsplatz, some of which have survived to this day.
The city is known as the site of the culmination of the policy of appeasement employed by Britain and France leading up to World War II. It was in Munich that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain assented to the annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland region into Greater Germany in the hopes of sating the desires of Hitler's Third Reich.
Munich was the base of the White Rose, a student resistance movement from June 1942 to February 1943. The core members were arrested and executed following a distribution of leaflets in Munich University by Hans and Sophie Scholl.
The city was heavily damaged by allied bombing during World War II—the city was hit by 71 air raids over a period of five years.
After US occupation in 1945, Munich was completely rebuilt following a meticulous and—by comparison to other war-ravaged West German cities—rather conservative plan which preserved its pre-war street grid. In 1957 Munich's population passed the 1 million mark. The city continued to play a highly significant role in matters of German economy, politics and culture, giving rise to its nickname Heimliche Hauptstadt("secret capital") in the decades after World War II.
Munich was the site of the 1972 Summer Olympics, during which Israeli athletes were assassinated by Palestinian fedayeen in the Munich massacre, when gunmen from the Palestinian "Black September" group took hostage members of the Israeli Olympic team.
Most Munich residents enjoy a high quality of life. Mercer HR Consulting consistently rates the city among the top 10 cities with the highest quality of life worldwide—a 2011 survey ranked Munich as 4th. The same company also ranks Munich as the world's 39th most expensive city to live in and the most expensive major city in Germany. Munich enjoys a thriving economy, driven by the information technology, biotechnology, and publishing sectors. Environmental pollution is low, although as of 2006 the city council is concerned about levels of particulate matter (PM), especially along the city's major thoroughfares. Since the enactment of EU legislation concerning the concentration of particulate in the air, environmental groups such as Greenpeace have staged large protest rallies to urge the city council and the State government to take a harder stance on pollution. Today, the crime rate is low compared with other large German cities, such as Hamburg or Berlin. For its high quality of life and safety the city has been nicknamed "Toytown" among the English-speaking residents. German inhabitants call it "Millionendorf", an expression which means "village of a million people". Due to the very high standards of living in combination with the thriving economy of the city and the region, a high influx of people made it possible, that Munich's population passed the 1.5 million mark in June 2015, increasing its total population by more than 20% within the last 10 years.
Munich has a continental climate, strongly modified by the city's altitude and proximity to the northern edge of the Alps. This means that precipitation is high, and rainstorms can come violently and unexpectedly.
Winters last from December to March. Munich experiences cold winters, but heavy rainfall or snowfall is rarely seen in the winter. The coldest month is January with an average temperature of −2.2°C (28.0°F). Snow cover is seen for at least a couple of weeks during winter. Summers in Munich are warm and pleasant, with an average maximum of 23.8°C (73.8°F) in the hottest months. Summers last from May until September.
An oddity of Munich is the föhn wind, a warm and dry down-slope wind from the Alps, which can raise temperatures sharply within a few hours, even in winter, and increases the range of sight to more than 100 km (60 mi). These winds are sometimes associated with illnesses ranging from migraines to psychosis. The first clinical review of these effects was published by the Austrian physician Anton Czermak in the 19th century. Residents of Munich sometimes use the Föhn as an excuse for having a bad mood, which should not be taken too seriously.
|Daily highs (°C)||1.1||3.5||8.4||13.3||18.0||21.4||23.8||22.9||19.4||13.6||6.5||2.3|
|Nightly lows (°C)||−5.0||−3.7||0.4||2.9||7.1||10.4||12.0||11.7||8.8||4.5||0.2||−3.5|
Munich lies on the elevated plains of Upper Bavaria, about 50 km (31.07 mi) north of the northern edge of the Alps, at an altitude of about 520 m (1,706.04 ft)ASL. The local rivers are the Isar and the Würm. Munich is situated in the Northern Alpine Foreland. The northern part of this sandy plateau includes a highly fertile flint area which is no longer affected by the folding processes found in the Alps, while the southern part is covered with morainic hills. Between these are fields of fluvio-glacial out-wash, such as around Munich. Wherever these deposits get thinner, the ground water can permeate the gravel surface and flood the area, leading to marshes as in the north of Munich.
Munich has the strongest economy of any German city and the lowest unemployment rate (3.0% in June 2014) of any German city with more than a million people (the others being Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne). The city is also the economic centre of southern Germany. The initiative "Neue Soziale Marktwirtschaft (INSM)" (New Social Market Economy) and the "WirtschaftsWoche" (Business Weekly) magazine awarded Munich the top score in their comparative survey for the third time in June 2006. Munich topped the ranking of the magazine "Capital" in February 2005 for the economic prospects between 2002 and 2011 in sixty German cities. Munich is a Financial centre and a Global city and holds the headquarters of Siemens AG(electronics), BMW (car), MAN AG (truck manufacturer, engineering), Linde (gases), Allianz (insurance), Munich Re (re-insurance), and Rohde & Schwarz(electronics). Among German cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants purchasing power is highest in Munich (26,648 euro per inhabitant) as of 2007. In 2006, Munich blue-collar workers enjoyed an average hourly wage of 18.62 euro (ca. $20).
The breakdown by cities proper (not metropolitan areas) of Global 500 cities listed Munich in 8th position in 2009. Munich is also a centre for biotechnology,software and other service industries. Munich is also the home of the headquarters of many other large companies such as the aircraft engine manufacturer MTU Aero Engines, the injection molding machine manufacturer Krauss-Maffei, the camera and lighting manufacturer Arri, the semiconductor firm Infineon Technologies (headquartered in the suburban town of Neubiberg), lighting giant Osram, as well as the German or European headquarters of many foreign companies such as McDonald's and Microsoft.
Munich has significance as a financial centre (second only to Frankfurt), being home of HypoVereinsbank and the Bayerische Landesbank. It outranks Frankfurt though as home of insurance companies such as Allianz and Munich Re.
Munich is the largest publishing city in Europe and home to Süddeutsche Zeitung, one of Germany's largest daily newspapers. The city is also the location of the programming headquarters of Germany's largest public broadcasting network, ARD, while the largest commercial network, Pro7-Sat1 Media AG, is headquartered in the suburb of Unterföhring. The headquarters of the German branch of Random House, the world's largest publishing house, and of Burda publishing group are also in Munich.
The Bavaria Film Studios are located in the suburb of Grünwald. They are one of Europe's biggest and most famous film production studios.
Top 10 largest companies in Munich (2016)
|Employer||est.||Munich located employees|
|Technische Universität München||1868||9.800|
Munich is divided into 25 administrative districts. However, those districts don't necessarily reflect historical relationships and connections of neighbourhoods, or make much sense to travellers. Therefore, the districts provided below describe entities in a travel rather than administrative sense. Most of Munich's main attractions are in the Altstadt and Maxvorstadt; the districts of Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt and Haidhausen are major night-life spots. The other areas, while mostly residential, feature some hidden gems, which are definitely worth a visit.
Altstadt (Old City)
The Brain of Munich with a relaxed and studenty atmosphere, which is home to most attractions that aren't located in the city centre, including the world famous galleries Pinakotheken, along with cozy cafés and bars and several universities
Night-life area immediately south of the centre, home to many cafés, restaurants, bars, clubs and theatres, hotels and hostels, Munich Central Station, the Oktoberfest grounds and, last but not least, the Deutsches Museum, the world's biggest museum of science and engineering and the focal point of Munich's gay culture
Around the station Munich East, to which Europe's largest contiguous party area Kultfabrik & Optimolwerke draws tens of thousands of people every weekend
The North of Munich is full of parks, gardens and relaxation areas. It includes the district of Schwabing, dominated by 19th-century architecture and the famously expansive English Garden, the park and palace ofNymphenburg, the Olympiagelände (site of the 1972 Olympic Games) with the BMW Welt and the Allianz Arena in the far north end.
A mostly residential area with an upmarket neighbourhood to the north, a working-class neighbourhood and the Bavaria Film Studios to the south, the Munich trade fair grounds in the east, and the Flaucher beaches along the east side of the river Isar in the west.
Prices in Munich
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€0.89|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||€6.00|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||€30.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||€50.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||€|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||€7.00|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||€3.50|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€3.50|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||€10.00|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||€17.00|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||€0.10|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||€6.00|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||€1.20|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||€85.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||€38.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||€92.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||€2.65|
61 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
221 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
The main airport of Munich is Franz Josef Strauß International Airport 30 km (20 mi) to the north-east, close to the city of Freising. It's Germany's second busiest airport and a major hub for Lufthansa and its Star Alliance partner airlines. The city centre can be reached in about 45 min by suburban train (S-Bahn) lines S1 and S8. The S-Bahn station is located directly under the airport, with both lines S1 and S8 travelling directly to the city centre.
Allgäu Airport Memmingen
Allgäu Airport Memmingen (IATA: FMM) is around 110km (65 mi) west of Munich close to Memmingen. It's rather misleadingly marketed as "Munich West" by Ryanair. Other names include "Memmingen Airport" or "Flughafen Allgäu". There are shuttle buses to Munich with timetables aligned to Ryanair's schedule. One-way tickets are €19.50, or €15 if pre-booked via the internet. The buses arrive (and leave) close to Munich Central Station.
Munich Central Station (Hauptbahnhofor main station) is conveniently located 5 min on foot from the historic city centre of Munich in Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt district. To the very heart of Munich at Marienplatz it's two stops on the suburban train (S-Bahn). It is well connected to Munich's dense public transportation network. Munich Central Station has a traveller-friendly infrastructure including several restaurants, shops, a tourist information and a Deutsche Bahn ticket and travel agency office.
Deutsche Bahn uses Munich as one of its main German hubs and offers direct regional and long-distance connections to many German cities. This includes several connections with ICE, TGV, and railjet high-speed trains:
- ICE 11 to Augsburg, Ulm, Stuttgart, Mannheim, Frankfurt, Fulda, Kassel, Göttingen, Braunschweig, Berlin
- ICE 25 to (Nuremberg,) Würzburg, Fulda, Kassel, Göttingen, Hannover, Hamburg
- ICE 28 to Nuremberg, Jena, Leipzig, Berlin, Hamburg
- ICE 31 to Nuremberg, Würzburg, Frankfurt, Mainz, Koblenz, Bonn, Cologne, Duisburg, Essen, Dortmund, Osnabrück, Bremen, Hamburg, Kiel
- ICE 41 to Nuremberg, Würzburg, Frankfurt, Cologne, Duisburg, Essen
- ICE 42 to Augsburg, Ulm, Stuttgart, Mannheim, Frankfurt, Cologne, Duisburg, Essen, Dortmund
- RJ 61 to Salzburg, Linz, Vienna, Budapest
- TGV 9575/9576 to Augsburg, Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Strasbourg, Paris
There are also a number of Eurocity connections to Strasbourg, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Vienna, Budapest, Zürich, Verona, Venice, Milan and other international cities.
Furthermore, the night train connections (CityNightLine) can be an inexpensive as well as time saving alternative. Destinations include Amsterdam, Berlin, Budapest, Florence, Hamburg, Ljubljana, Rome, Venice, Verona, Vienna and Zagreb.
Two additional train stations are located in the west (Munich Pasing) and the east (Munich East (Ostbahnhof)) of Munich. Both stations are connected to the public transportation system and serve as transportation hubs for Deutsche Bahn's regional and long-distance trains.
Long-distance buses can be an inexpensive possibility to travel to Munich from several neighbouring countries, especially from eastern and southern Europe and the Balkans. Buses arrive at Munich Central Bus Station (ZOB) close to Hackerbrücke suburban train (S-Bahn) station. While historically domestic buses were few and far between, there are now a number of domestic bus lines as well. Despite signs, itineraries, and maps that imply that ZOB is right next the central train station, it's actually a 10-15min walk from one to the other due to the train tracks in the area.
- Paris, Belgrade, Zagreb, Budapest (e.g. Orangeways), and Berlin via Leipzig have daily connections.
- Barcelona, Madrid and London are served by several buses a week.
- There are several buses per week to South Tyrol
- Freiburg, Friedrichshafen and especially Zurich have several connections a day (meinfernbus.com and flixbus.com ).
Munich is well connected to other cities in Germany and Austria by the German autobahn network:
- A 8 connects Munich with Augsburg,Ulm, Stuttgart and Karlsruhe in the west and Rosenheim and Salzburg in the east
- A 9 leads to Ingolstadt, Nuremberg,Leipzig and Potsdam/Berlin in the north
- A 92 connects Munich with Landshut and Deggendorf in the north-east
- A 94 has only been partially completed and will lead to Passau
- A 95 connects Munich with Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the south
- A 96 connects Munich with Lindau at Lake Constance in the south-west
Autobahn A 99 is an autobahn ring around the city, which connects the various autobahns. Munich has two inner ring roads in addition to the A 99: Mittlerer Ring (B 2R) and Altstadtring.
Traffic in Munich can be a challenge at peak times. Therefore, and especially due to the shortage of parking within the greater city centre, you might want to leave the car in a P&R parking deck (see the "Get around" section) in one of Munich's suburbs near an S-Bahn station and use public transport within the city.
Transportation - Get Around
By Public Transport
The best way to travel around Munich—besides using your own feet—is the public transport system consisting of the suburban trains (S-Bahn), subway (U-Bahn), the tram and buses. There is only one ticket system, called MVV, which means you can use all elements of the public transport system with the same ticket. You can get individual, group, day and week tickets. The U-Bahn stations are signed with a white capital "U" on a blue background. S-Bahn stations are signed with a white "S" on a green background. All S-Bahn lines join in one tunnel (Stammstrecke) between the stations Donnersbergerbrücke and Ostbahnhof in central Munich.
The Munich MVV website includes maps of the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, tram and bus network, maps of the P&R parking decks, pricing information as well as timetables and a journey planner. The official urban rail-network map is indispensable.
Single trips in a single zone such as the city centre cost €2.70, but the four-zone journey from the airport is a whopping €10.80. Thus, if you arrive at the airport and intend to explore Munich by the public transport system, the best option is to buy a €12.40 Gesamtnetz (whole network) day pass. If you are not travelling alone, then you can purchase a group ("Partner") day pass for €23.20, allowing up to five adults to travel together on all lines of the MVV system.
A day ticket is worth buying if you plan to take more than two trips on the same day. It is available for single persons and groups ("Partner"), the latter for up to five adults travelling together, and is valid until 06:00 the next morning. The day ticket is available for four areas:
|Area||Zone||Single Ride||Day ticket for 1 Person||Group Day Ticket up to 5 People||Note|
|Inner district (Innenraum)||White||€2.70||€6.20||€11.70||Enough to explore the city|
|Inner district (Innenraum) 3 Day card||White||–||€15.50||€27.10|
|Outer district (Außenraum)||Green, yellow, red||€2.70, €5.40 or €8.10*||€6.20||€11.70||Does not cover city centre.|
*depending on the number of zones (1, 2 or 3)
|Munich XXL (München XXL)||White and green||€5.40||€8.30||€14.80||Good for trips to the lakes and suburban destinations|
|Entire network (Gesamtnetz)||All||€10.80*||€12.40||€23.20||Allows travel to/from airport.|
*Cheaper option for a single trip in any direction: combining a inner district (Innenraum) single ride (€2.70) and a outer district (Außenraum) day pass (€6.30). Validate both tickets when starting your journey.
If you are staying longer than three days in Munich, a good option is to buy a week ticket. The week ticket is valid for 7 consecutive days. The price of the weekly ticket depends on the number of "rings" you want to travel during the week (starting from the centre of the city). "Rings" for week and month tickets are different from the zones used for single ride and day tickets. There are 16 rings in total. Almost all U-Bahn stations are within the rings 1–4. As of June 2015, a week ticket for rings 1-2 costs €14.10. Rings 1-4 cost €20.30.
For several journeys on different days the blue stripe card (Streifenkarte), with 10 strips, is a better value than buying lots of individual tickets. The cost is €13.00, and may be purchased at dispensing machines at every station. You need to use two strips for each coloured zone on the map. If you are making several trips a day, the day ticket is a better option.
If you plan to explore Munich and see all the sights and tourist attractions, buy the Munich CityTourCard ; this a valid for all public transportation services in Munich and a discount card for many tourist attractions like museums, sights, shopping or gastronomy. It is available in ten versions (single and group tickets) and with validity for one (only for the inner district), three days and four days.
|Inner district (Innenraum)||White||1 day||€10.90||€17.90|
|Inner district (Innenraum)||White||3 days||€20.90||€30.90|
|Inner district (Innenraum)||White||4 days||€25.90||€39.90|
|Entire system (Gesamtnetz)||White, green, yellow, red||3 days||€32.90||€53.90|
|Entire system (Gesamtnetz)||White, green, yellow, red||4 days||€42.90||€69.90|
A leaflet with information about the discount offers of the partners and a map of the city centre and a plan of the public transportation network are included. The ticket is available at ticket vending machines at all S-Bahn and U-Bahn stations and at some tram and bus stops. Furthermore it can be purchased at the MVG customer centre as well as in selected hotels and online. [www]
All tickets, except for season tickets (weekly or longer) and tickets bought onboard buses and trams must be stamped to be valid; without a stamp the ticket is invalid and you can be fined €60. Stamping machines (Entwerter) are found at the entrance to the S-Bahn or U-Bahn platforms, and inside buses and trams (look for a small blue machine with a black "E" on yellow ground). In most other German cities, passengers can validate tickets on the train; however, this is not the case in Munich, so be sure to validate your ticket before boarding any U-Bahn or S-Bahn train.
Public transportation operates with limited service from 02:00 to 05:00. The U-Bahn does not operate at all during this time, and trams and some buses operate only in one hour intervals from Monday to Friday and on 30-minute intervals on the weekend. On Friday, Saturday and nights before public holidays, there is a single S-Bahn on each line between 02:30 and 03:00. So if you're staying out late, try to get the schedule of the so-called Nachttram (night tram) in advance or do not leave the place before 05:00 unless you want to take a taxi.
MVV-Companion, journey planner for public transport in Munich, to be used on iPhone, iPad and Android-Smartphones and for free.
If you plan to explore Munich and Bavaria via regional trains, consider getting a Bayern Ticket, which is good on all regional trains within Bavaria, all Munich MVV transportation, and trains to Salzburg for up to five people for only €43 a day (single travellers can purchase the Bayern Ticket 1 person for €23, every additional person up to 5 persons: €5). The Bayern Ticket is good on any weekday after 09:00 and all day on any weekend day.
If you travel on a weekend, exploring Munich and taking a regional Deutsche Bahn train to another city anywhere in Germany on the same day, consider getting a Deutsche Bahn Schönes–Wochenende Ticket. This ticket covers all DB regional train travel and all Munich S-Bahn travel for up to five people for a single weekend day. It costs €40 for the first person plus 4€ for every additional person up to five persons.
Schönes–Wochenende Tickets and Bayern Tickets are only valid on regional train services (red) but not on IntercityExpress and Inter/Eurocity trains (white). Additionally, both tickets are valid on trains run by the Bayerische Oberlandbahn (BOB) and Arriva–Länderbahn Express (ALEX).
As everywhere in Germany, Munich taxi cabs can easily be recognized by their beige color and the yellow-black taxi sign on the roof. Taxis can be found at taxi stands throughout the city, at train stations and at the airport. It is also possible to flag down a taxi (if it is not occupied) or to call one of the many taxi companies of Munich. Prices are regulated by the city government. The basic fare is €3.30 with additional €1.70 per kilometer for up to 5 kilometers, €1.50 per kilometer for 5–10 km, and €1.40 per km for every additional kilometer above 10. Waiting time per hour is €24 and there are additional charges for pets (€0.60 per animal) and luggage (€0.60 per piece).
It is generally a bad idea to explore Munich by car. Traffic is heavy especially during rush hour, and parking tends to be close to impossible. Moreover, many landmarks and areas of touristic interest are in the inner city, which is largely closed for car traffic. Close to the historic city centre, parking space is scarce and expensive.
Driving may be an option for visiting some of the attractions in suburban Munich like the Bavaria Film Studios or for making day trips to cities and lakes outside of Munich.
Munich has three ring-roads: the autobahn A 99, Mittlerer Ring (B 2R) urban expressway and Altstadtring, which can be used to avoid getting stuck in inner-city traffic. However, during rush hours these rings are often congested, too. In July and August when people from the rest of Germany, northern Europe and the Benelux countries travel to the beaches of the Adriatic Sea and back home (half of them towing a caravan) you're almost guaranteed to get into traffic jams around Munich.
Prices for parking on streets range from €1 to €2.50 per hour, usually from 08:00 to 23:00. There may be additional restrictions, e.g. for the maximum duration. Throughout the city centre there are "blue zones". Wherever you find blue lines on the ground, you can park your car for a maximum time of 2 hours (hourly rate €2.50). The meaning of other colours is as follows:
- dotted blue line—space for disabled drivers. You will need a special permit in your car which indicates that you are allowed to park in those areas.
- yellow line—reserved for taxis, do not park here.
- red line—never park here, not even for a short time since it is strictly forbidden and may likely result immediate towing.
- orange line—reserved for deliveries, do not park here.
The best options are public parking decks which are widely available in the centre. However it can take some time to find a free parking spot. Parking garages are indicated with blue rectangular signs with a capital white "P". Usually a green sign indicates that there are free spots while a red sign indicates that the car park is full. The city has a car park routing system which shows you where you can find a parking slot. Rates are:
- from €2–6 per hour (most will charge around €3 per hour)
- from €8–30 per day (most will charge €15–20 per day)
- some may even offer monthly rates, expect €100 per month minimum
Outside the historic city centre (where the colour scheme isn't used), parking along the streets is mostly only allowed for residents with a special parking permit.
The police may tow your car away if it obstructs the traffic or endangers other people. Watch out for fire brigage access roads which are marked with small signs reading "Feuerwehrzufahrt". There is no stopping and standing, parking will result in immediate towing.
If your car has been towed away contact the next available police station. There is a central place where all towed cars will be brought to (Thomas-Hauser Straße 19; open 24/7; S2/S4 to station Berg am Laim, Bus 146 to Iltisstraße until stopThomas-Hauser Straße, 5 min to walk from there). You need to show your passport/ID, drivers licence and registration document and you will have to pay a fine—expect around €150.
A constant harassment are the private towing companies that guard private parking spaces such as those of supermarkets. Their fines can easily double or triple the police's fines.
With over 200 km (120 mi) of bikeways, one of the very best ways to explore the city is on a bicycle. Guided tours are available, or for the independent-minded, rentals and maps are available at Munich Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) and other areas of the city.
Bikes can also be rented by the Call-A-Bike system, which is run by Deutsche Bahn. You need to call a number listed on the bikes from your mobile phone and register with the callabike.de website in order to use them. The service is convenient, as you just spot an available bike throughout the city and just leave it at your destination. However, this is not an economical alternative if you are planning many trips in a single day. In that case, it is better to get a day or multiday rental from one of the rental services located throughout central Munich.
You can also rent a bike from Mike`s Bike Tours at their shop close to Marienplatz. They also offer guided bicycle tours: https://www.mikesbiketours.com/.
Munich is generally a bike-friendly city, with many designated bike lanes (especially along river Isar, in the parks and even in the city centre). The English Garden as a very big park is also best explored by bike. Rates of accidents involving bicycles are rising in Munich. Hence, the police is enforcing traffic rules for cyclists more rigorously, especially at the beginning of the bike season in spring. Fines range from €10 for riding without light during nighttime to €100 for ignoring red traffic lights. Drunk cycling can result in hefty fines and even in detention. Helmets are not required for cyclists, but are recommended.
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Munich is one of the best places to go shopping in Germany. The mixture of wealthy locals & tourists lead to a huge varierty of shops and styles. Opening times in Germany are regulated by the federal state law. so most shops close by 20:00, some as early as 18:00, and most are closed all day on Sundays (exceptions before christmas and during big trade fairs). Please see the district articles for actual shop names, here is a list of the highest shop concentrations:
- Maximilianstraße / Residenzstraße / Theatinerstraße (U-Bhf Odeonsplatz or Marienplatz). These streets around the Opera (Nationaltheater) in the city center are the place to go if you are looking for high end luxury goods. All of the usual international suspects and some local designers and clothiers are present.
- Kaufingerstraße / Neuhauser Straße (U/S-Bhf Karlsplatz (Stachus) or Marienplatz). This pedestrian zone stretches from Karlsplatz (Stachus) toMarienplatz and is the primary shopping zone for mid-priced goods. Numerous department stores, chains and a few remaining independent boutiques line the corridor. The side streets are less crowded and offer some less homogenized shopping. Plenty of restaurants, open air cafes and beer halls/gardens offer a rest. During the summer, on Saturdays around Christmas and during Oktoberfest, this area will be jam packed with locals and tourists alike and can be unpleasantly crowded.
- Hohenzollernstraße (U-Bahn U2: Hohenzollernstraße in the direction to Münchner Freiheit). This street in northern Munich has a collection of clothes shops, such as Mazel, Vero Moda, and - especially during the summer in the months approaching the Oktoberfest - numerous shops selling comparatively cheap traditional German clothing (Lederhosn and Dirndl). You can walk down there in about 15 min. At the eastern end of Hohenzollernstraße you reach Leopoldstraße, which is also predominantly a shopping area.
- Leopoldstraße (U-Bahn U3, U6: Münchner Freiheit, Giselastraße, or Universität). This busy boulevard in the north of Munich has chain stores such as The Body Shop, fast food joints, inexpensive restaurants, cinemas, sidewalk cafes and coffee shops, such as Starbucks. In the side streets you can find a wide selection of boutiques and lesser known local designers. On warm summer evenings along the sidewalks dozens of local artists will be showing and selling their works.
- Gärtnerplatzviertel (U-Bahn U2: Fraunhoferstrasse). The area around beautiful Gärtnerplatz is for vintage lovers. You can find local designers and other quirky shops.
- Schellingstraße (U-Bahn U3, U6: Universität). The neighborhood west of the main university campus offers nice studenty clothes shops, small book stores, hip cafés and eats (e.g. the Pommes Boutique in Amalienstrasse with their fantastic Belgian fries)
For fresh food markets, visit the Viktualienmarkt in the Altstadt or the Elisabethmarkt in Schwabing.
There are many of these Christkindlmärkte, or Christmas fairs [www], including the large Tollwood, but also smaller markets, where you can buy Christmas biscuits (Lebkuchen), souvenirs and the typicalGlühwein (hot mulled wine).
- Marienplatz (U-/S-Bhf. Marienplatz). Big & commercial market, it stretches across the shopping street, so you can mix Christmas market shopping (and eating) with "normal" shopping. If you walk south towards Sendlinger Tor, you'll reach more traditional woodcarvers' stands.
- Chinesischer Turm, Englischer Garten 3, 80538 München (U/Bus stationMünchner Freiheit or the Bus 54, which has a stop Chinesischer Turm), . from late November until January: Mo-Fri 12:00 - 20:30, Sat-Sun 11:20:30. nice Christmas market in a pretty park surrounding. Highly recommended if there's snow!
- Christkindltram. A Christmas tram that runs only during Advent through the city center every half an hour (departure is from Sendlinger Tor). The tram is nicely decorated, where people can enjoy Christmas songs and mulled wine (Glühwein). One-way ticket costs €1.50.
Seasonal and Flea Markets
Throughout the city regular markets are well worth the visit when they are taking place and a Saturday morning must when the sun is shining! The flea markets in Munich can be exceptional in that they are generally genuine private citizens selling their unwanted belongings with a minimum of commercial interest. In addition to the weekly offerings, you'll find several neighborhood 'courtyard fleamarkets' events in the summer months.
- Auer Dult. Is a week-long market and festivity, that take place three times a year (Spring, Summer and Autumn) in Haidhausen primarily dealing in household goods and antiques but also offering beer and amusement rides. Definitely try to see this if you haven't seen Oktoberfest!
- Theresienwiese. This is supposedly the largest annual flea market in Europe, taking place on the first Saturday of Frühlingsfest (Spring Festival - occurs in the middle of April) on the same site as the Oktoberfest in Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt. There are generally several thousand citizens offering up their second-hand goods while dealers of new wares are forbidden. A yearly highlight for flea market and antique lovers, if the weather is reasonable.
- Hofflohmärkte. This is where particular Munich city quarters encourage their residents to open up their courtyards whereby entire sections of the city become a combination flea market and private courtyard siteseeing—very interesting for viewing corners of the city one usually would not see. The event dates are coordinated by the city. Inquire at local information centers for specific dates.
Visitors can count themselves lucky since Munich is home to everything quintessentially Bavarian. Munich is specifically well known for Weißwurst, a breakfast sausage that is traditionally eaten as a late breakfast along with a Weissbier ('white beer', which outside Bavaria usually goes by the more descriptive name Weizenbier, 'wheat beer') and available in restaurants until noon (and not a second later!). Weißwurst are prepared in hot but non-boiling water for about ten minutes and served with a brown, grainy and sweet mustard. If you are able to just enjoy one meal in Munich you should try Schweinsbraten (roasted pork) or Schweinshaxe(roasted pig's knuckle).
Beer gardens typically serve Bavarian food. Having dinner in a beer garden is a great opportunity to get a beer garden and a culinary experience at once. If you only fancy a snack, almost every butcher sells Leberkässemmeln, a white roll filled with a thick warm slice of "Leberkäse" — which, despite its name, contains absolutely no liver nor cheese, but consists of a mixture of veal, pork, spices and a hint of lemon zest baked in an open pan and traditionally served with a sweet and grainy mustard. This tends to be very cheap (around € 2), quite delicious, and filling.
Don't miss enjoying some of the truly marvellous Bavarian/Austrian style cakes and tortes by the slice in any of the countless bakeries and cafés. Regardless of where you enjoy them, they are all traditionally made with fine quality all natural ingredients. The same applies for the amazing range of bread which can be bought at any bakery. Not to be missed as a snack are the soft pretzels ("Brezn").
Due to the large influx of international business travellers & tourists, all international cuisines (from Sushi to Pizza) are available. There is a strong presence of Italian restaurants because so many Italians visit Munich.
Despite all the local dishes which are meat based, it is possible to get vegetarian food in some of the main restaurants and indeed there are some Vegetarian and Vegan restaurants in Munich.
Like in many other German cities, an interesting option for a quick bite is a visit to one of the local bakeries, who serve both breads and pastries as well as sandwiches, salads and sometimes even have broader offerings including soups or non-pastry desserts. One Munich-only chain of bakeries is Rischart.
Munich also has numerous fresh markets, which can be a tasty, expedient and inexpensive alternatives to restaurants (see the Buy section for market listings). There are also numerous small stands throughout the pedestrian area selling fresh fruit, snacks, ice cream in spring and summer and chestnuts during fall and winter.
Sights & Landmarks
Munich offers visitors many sights and attractions. There is something for everyone, no matter if you are seeking arts and culture, shopping, fine dining, night life, sport events or Bavarian beer hall atmosphere. The listings in this section are just some highlights of things that you shouldn't miss, if you are visiting Munich. The complete listings are found on individual district pages.
Royal avenues and squares
Four grand royal avenues of the 19th century with magnificent architecture run through Munich's inner city.
Briennerstraße starts at the magnificentOdeonsplatz (where you can findFeldherrnhalle, Theatinerkirche and theResidence) on the northern fringe of Altstadtand runs from east to west pastWittelsbacherplatz with the statue of Maximilian I and Karolinenplatz, with a black obelisk built in 1833 by Leo von Klenze in honor of the Bavarian Army, to Königsplatz, designed with the Doric Propylaea, the IonicGlyptothek and the Corinthian State Museum of Classical Art. The eastern section of Briennerstraße is lined with upscale shops, galleries, cafés and restaurants. It is dominated by neo-classical buildings such as the Alfons-Palais at Wittelsbacherplatz, which today serves as global headquarters of Siemens AG.
Ludwigstraße also starts at Odeonsplatz, but runs from south to north, through the district of Maxvorstadt, connecting the inner city with Schwabing. It is lined by buildings of Italian Renaissance designed by Leo von Klenze and Italian Neo-Romanesque architecture designed by Friedrich von Gärtner, e.g. St. Ludwig's Church and the main buildings of the University of Munich (LMU). Ludwigstraße ends at Siegestor, a triumphal arch crowned with a statue of Bavaria with a quadriga of lions, north of which it is named Leopoldstraße.
Maximilianstraße starts at Max-Joseph-Platz, where the Residence and the National Theater are located, and runs from west to east crossing the river Isarbefore ending at Maximilianeum, the Bavarian state parliament. The avenue is framed by mostly neo-Gothic buildings influenced by the English Perpendicular style. The western section of Maximilianstraße forms with Residenzstraße Munich's most upscale shopping area and is home to flagship stores of luxury labels, upscale retailers and one of Munich's most luxurious hotels, the Vier Jahreszeiten.
Prinzregentenstraße runs parallel to Maximilianstrasse beginning at Prinz-Carl-Palais. Several museums can be found along the avenue, such as Haus der Kunst, the Bavarian National Museum and Schackgalerie. The avenue crosses the Isar and circles the Friedensengel monument passing Villa Stuck. Prinzregentenstraße also forms a southern border of the English Garden, where you can watch surfers riding a permanent wave at the Eisbach creek.
Buildings and landmarks
The vast majority of landmarks commonly associated with Munich can be found within the bounds of Altstadt, and include the imposing Neues Rathaus (new Town Hall) with animated figurines, as well as the old one, the Frauenkirche cathedral whose twin, "salt and pepper shaker" towers are an unmistakable symbol of Munich, the royal palace of Residenz and many more historic buildings. The Maxvorstadt adds more magnificent buildings housing many of the museums the city is famous for. For more lavish palaces and gardens, take a trip out to Nymphenburg or Schleissheim.
As Munich has been a rich and large city for centuries, and it has been almost completely rebuilt after World War II, you will find historic buildings throughout the city, also in districts like Haidhausen and Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt. That said, as the city's regulations stipulate that no building can be taller than the Frauenkirche towers, and the amount of land available for any additional construction is limited, you will not find much contemporary architecture in the city, and most of the post-war buildings are quite unremarkable residential and office blocks. One exception would be the BMW complex in the North of the city, known for its unique shape.
For a large city, Munich is relatively spread out and green, so you can enjoy its many parks and green areas, especially in the warmer months. The most known is the English Garden in the North of the city. Also of note are the Olympiapark at the site of the 1972 Olympic Games further northwest and the Munich Zoo, southeast of the centre.
Museums & Galleries
Bavaria's kings transformed Munich into Germany's art capital during the 19th century, and it is still home to world-class collections and museums. The Kunstareal in Maxvorstadt includes 16 museums, 40 galleries and 7 art schools. An equally impressive collection of museums is to be found in the very centre of the city. The renowned Deutsches Museum of science and technology is to be found further south in Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt, and there are interesting museums to be found also on the other bank of the Isar in Haidhausen. Another museum of global reputation is the impressive BMW Museum, documenting the history of Munich's famous car manufacturer, in the northern part of the city, where you will also find the Nymphenburg palace.
Most of Munich's museums are closed on Mondays, except for the Nyphemburg and Deutsches Museum — and also the Neue Pinakothek and Pinakothek der Moderne, which instead close on Tuesdays. The BMW Museum is also closed, but the adjacent BMW Welt, a state of the art BMW showroom is open for public visit on Monday. Hence, the best way to plan your itinerary is to visit the museums on days other than Monday and use Monday to explore the city. For many museums, Sunday will be the best day to visit since admission is only €1. This includes the Pinakotheken, Museum Brandhorst, the Bavarian National Museum and the Glyptothek as well as the Staatliche Antikensammlungen.
Things to do
Theatre, opera, and music
Munich is a very culturally active city, and you will find many theatres showing a wide variety of performances. You will find most of them in the Altstadt, Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt and Maxvorstadt. While you may not find many plays in languages other than German, the many opera, ballet and musical shows can be enjoyed regardless of your language knowledge.
If you want to see a movie, keep in mind that foreign movies are normally dubbed with German voices. Adverts will generally indicate if the movie will be shown in its original version (i.e., no overdubbing) with the abbreviations OF (Original version), OmU (Original with German subtitles), and OmeU (original with English subtitles). In the movie theatre right next to subway station Stiglmaierplatz, named "Cinema", they play all movies in the original language. Other options are the "Museums Lichtspiele" or the big Multiplex cinema "Mathäser " at Stachus, which usually show 1-2 movies in their original version.
- River-Surfing (Eisbach). In spring, join the locals surfing on the river at the edge of the Englischer Garten, at the bridge near the Lehel U-bahn station.
- Wintersports. Munich is one of the few cities in the world, where you see people in a ski dress in the public transport Skiing is popular at Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Several companies offer good value day trips to Austrian ski resorts such as Kaltenbach (Zillertal), St. Johann and Matrei.
Football is almost a religion and from August to May live games of FC Bayern Munich and TSV 1860 Munich at Allianz Arena can be seen.
- FC Bayern, Säbener Straße 51-57, 81547 München, .Serial German football champion and internationally one of the best clubs in the world.
- TSV 1860 Munich, Grünwalder Str. 114. Local counterpart to FC Bayern. Second League, more local focus. Webpage only in German
- Ice Hockey. The local professional hockey club in Munich. They play at the Olympic ice arena in Olympic Park.
- European Space Agency's Columbus Control Centre, Münchener Straße 20,82234 Weßling (20km (12 mi) outside of Munich in Oberpfaffenhofen), , e-mail: [email protected]. every day from 15:00-16:00 (registration required, groups limited to 30 persons) until "Blue Dot" space mission is in space, afterwards depending on space missions.is used to control the Columbus research laboratory of the International Space Station, as well as a ground control centre for the Galileo satellite navigation system. It is located at a large research facility of the German Aerospace Centre. (DLR). [http://www.col-cc.de/fuehrungen.html free.
Festivals and events
Oktoberfest is the world's largest beer festival, lasting for 16 days and usually ending on the first Sunday in October. In 2015 the festival will run from 19 September until 4 October.
The first Oktoberfest took place on the 12 October 1810, to celebrate the marriage of Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. All citizens of Munich were invited to a meadow (Wies'n) situated in front of the city tower, subsequently renamed the Theresienwiese in honor of the bride. In the early years of the fair, horse races were held, then as the event grew, included agricultural conventions, which still take place every fourth year. In 1896, businessmen working with the breweries in Munich built the first giant beer tents at Oktoberfest, and drinking has been the primary focus since.
Each of the major breweries presides over its own large tent filled with traditional musicians leading the crowd in well-known drinking chants, incredibly strong barmaids hoisting ten or more huge Maß (1-liter glass beer mugs that are heavy even when empty!), and a spate of drunken people all trying to get into the bathroom at once. In 2014, Oktoberfest hosted 6.3 million visitors who drank 6.4 million liters of beer and ate the equivalent of 112 oxen, 600,000 chickens, and untold thousands of sausages.
However, visiting the Oktoberfest can be much more stressful than the visit of similar festivals (Cannstatter Wasen, Wurstmarkt Bad Dürkheim, etc.), because the tents are overcrowded and there are doormen at the entrance ruling the procedure of coming in. Especially at weekends you should try to get in the tents before 10AM. During the week, most tents are open all day, however it is not easy to get a seat if you are many people and as a general rule, you won't get served if you haven't got a seat. It is not recommended to leave the tent if you want to get in it later the day. So you have to decide early in the morning if you want to go in a certain tent or you want to enjoy the rides like the coaster with 5 loops.
Some tents, such as the Hofbräu Festzelt have a standing area that do not require seating; as such, you can sometimes get into this tent later than with other ones. If the weather is nice, you can enjoy your beer any time at the open air tables besides the beer tents. You won't experience the typical beer tent atmosphere with Bavarian oompah music though.
Some issues to take note of when planning your visit to the Oktoberfest:
- Accommodation will be sold out fast during the weekends and be pretty hard to find during the week. Hotel prices can easily double or triple during Oktoberfest.
- Smoking is forbidden within the tents but some tents feature designated, secluded outside smoking areas. Think twice if you want to go out for smoking since you may not get in again.
- The main underground station "Theresienwiese" (lines U4 and U5) is very crowded and is sometimes closed to avoid congestion. An alternative is the station "Goetheplatz" (lines U3 and U6). It's crowded too, but you will still have some air to breathe there. Just follow the crowd when you get out of the station.
- In most tents the bar closes at 10:30pm while the tent closes at 11:30pm. You should finish your beer before then since the security will ruthlessly clear the area.
- Tents open at 10am (9am on weekends). The first day is tapping day (German "Anstich"). There is no beer served before noon and since the tents will surely be crowded by then, it will take some time until everyone is served.
- If you are with small children, try to avoid the weekends. Every Tuesday from 12 to 6pm is family day with discounts on many rides.
- Maibaum aufstellen. On 1st May (which is a public holiday in Germany) strange things happen in some Upper Bavarian villages and even in Munich. Men in Lederhosn and girls in Dirndlncarrying long poles meet on the central square. With these poles an even longer white-blue pole is erected. There is usually an oompah band playing, booths selling food and drinks and tables where you can sit down and enjoy this non-touristy spectacle. The large white-blue pole you find in almost every village and dozens in Munich (e.g. on theViktualienmarkt) is called Maibaum (meaning may tree - known in English as a maypole) and the villages compete who has the tallest and the straightest one. It is cut down every three to five years and re-erected in the following year. Ask a local which village or district of Munich does it this year and be there not later than 10am. There's several traditions revolving around maypoles, like the dance of the unmarried men and women. The weeks before 1 May, each village has to guard its maypole, because if some other village manages to steal it, they'll have to buy it back. Usually with beer.
- Tollwood (summer: Olympic park, winter: Theresienwiese). This three week long festival combines ethnic food, souvenir shops, concerts & theater and it is very popular among the locals.
If you happen to be unfortunate enough to miss Oktoberfest, you can live through a sanitized, safer version at any of Munich's many beer gardens. The Hofbräuhausmay be the most famous beer hall. There are countless beer gardens scattered around the city. For those competent beer drinkers, try Starkbierfest after Lent lasting till before Easter. The beer is darker and stronger than normal (even than Oktoberfest beer).
The coffee culture is also very strong, especially during the summer months, but is often overlooked by most visitors.
Beer gardens and beer halls
Usually located under large chestnut trees (Kastanienbäume) for shade. Often there are rows of fold-away tables and self-service. If you see tablecloths on some tables there is normally service only there. In a traditional Bavarian beer garden, you are allowed to bring your food along with you. Only beverages (usually one litre mugs of local beer or Radler which is a half and half mix of beer and lemonade) are to be bought at the beer garden. Many locals still cling to this custom, though food is available as well. Try Riesenbrezn (big pretzels) and Steckerlfisch (cured fish). Beer gardens are usually visited by a mixed crowd of people (locals, tourists, families, younger, elderly, straight, gay etc.) which the special atmosphere of a beer garden arises from; though people normally don't go alone there. If you don't manage to find a free table, don't hesitate to ask if you may join someone. No local would refuse this request. Beer gardens are family friendly, with children's play areas on site. Well-behaved dogs are welcome, on leash.
Clubs and discos
You have to be at least 18 years old to get into most clubs and discos in Munich. Always have your passport or ID card with you, and a driver's licence may be okay, too. Some clubs have "Ü30-Parties", where you should be over 30 to get in, but usually you have no problems if you are over 25. In most places, it is ok to wear jeans and sneakers. Haidhausen is the popular nightlife district being home to Munich "Kultfabrik" and "Optimolwerk" clubbing neighborhoods. More clubs can also be found around Gärtnerplatz and Glockenbachviertel. Locations change so best to check on the internet for upcoming events (e.g. in-muenchen.de is one of the nightlife guides).
Things to know
When using escalators, people in Munich usually stand on the right side and use the left side to walk up. When waiting for a subway train, first let people get off the train, then enter. Drinking alcohol on public transport has been banned, although this new rule has been hardly enforced so far. Littering and other forms of environmental pollution are highly frowned upon.
The official language in Munich is, of course, German. With many Munich residents coming from other German regions or from abroad, "Standard German" dominates as the spoken language in Munich. Nevertheless, some residents speak with a more or less strong Bavarian dialect, which can deviate substantially from the German taught at schools. English is widely spoken and understood throughout the city in restaurants, cafés, tourist attractions and shops, and by many citizens. The exceptions are Munich's city administration offices, where non-English-speaking Germans seem to have found a last refuge from linguistic colonization.
The people of Munich do not like their city to be associated only as a city of beer and the Oktoberfest, and indeed the Bavarian Kings transformed Munich into a city of arts and science in the 19th century, and also quite notable architecture. Many of the city's finest buildings belong to this period and were built under the first three Bavarian kings during the first half of the 19th century. Munich's outstanding position among other German cities may have faded a bit, due to Berlin becoming the German capital again in the 1990s, but it is still a vibrant and important city of culture.
The Nationaltheater, where several of Richard Wagner's operas had their premières under the patronage of King Ludwig II, is the home of the world famous Bavarian State Opera and the Bavarian State Orchestra. Next door the modern Residenz Theatre was erected in the building that had housed the Cuvilliés Theatre before World War II. Many operas were staged there, including the premiere of Mozart's "Idomeneo" in 1781. The Gärtnerplatz Theatre is a ballet and musical state theatre, while another opera house, Prinzregententheater has become the home of the Bavarian Theatre Academy. The modern Gasteig center houses the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra.
Many prominent writers worked in Munich. The period immediately before World War I saw economic and cultural prominence for the city. Munich and especially its then suburbs of Schwabing and Maxvorstadt, became the domicile of many artists and writers. Nobel laureate Thomas Mann, who also lived there, wrote ironically in his novella "Gladius Dei" about this period, "Munich shone". It remained a center of cultural life during the Weimar period with figures such as Bertolt Brecht and Lion Feuchtwanger.
Bavaria has been the long-time antipode of Berlin: While the Protestant Prussian kings focused on building military strength, Bavaria's Catholic Wittelsbach kings were more interested in creating a centre of arts and science following the examples of cities in northern Italy. Bavaria takes a position among the German states with a strong emphasis on its independence and has its own conservative party, the CSU, which strongly advocates Bavarian interests in Berlin.
Münchner share a lot of characteristics with the rest of Bavaria and indeed it became popular again among older and younger people to wear traditional Bavarian clothing at least during the Oktoberfest and similar traditional beer festivals. One notable difference is politics: whereas the rest of Bavaria is a stronghold of conservative Catholicism, Munich has been governed by a liberal coalition of Social Democrats, Greens and the Rosa Liste (a gay rights party), and only 36.2% of residents are members of the Catholic church while 13.3% are Protestant, 0.3% Jewish and 50.3% are members of another religion or follow no religion.
The Bayern-Ticket is an amazingly cheap way to do day trips from Munich. With this ticket you can travel anywhere in Bavaria on the regional trains as well as all regional buses, subway, tram and S-Bahn. The ticket is valid all day in weekends and holidays, and from 09:00 on weekdays. It is valid up to Salzburg and it also covers the Austrian track that connects Kempten, Reutte and Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It costs €23 for one person and €5 for every additional person for a party up to five. Make sure you buy it from the machines as there is a €2 surcharge if you buy it from the ticket office.
Another option is the Schönes-Wochenende Ticket, which is valid everywhere in Germany, but it is only valid on weekends. It costs €42 for a group of up to five and is restricted to regional trains.
There is also the Bayern-Böhmen Ticket . The ticket is valid everywhere in Bavaria and the Bohemia region of the neighboring Czech Republic. It costs €25 for singles, €29.50 for two people and €43 for a group of five. It is also restricted to regional trains.
- Andechs Monastery (S8 to Herrsching + walking). If you miss the Oktoberfest, it is worth travelling to the holy mountain of Andechs. It's a monastery up a hill from the Ammersee. When you are there have a look at the old monastery church and the gardens before focusing on the excellent beer and Schweinshaxen in the beer garden or in the large beer hall. Makes a great day trip which can also be combined with some swimming the Ammersee. The hiking trail is unlit, and a good 30-45 min. After dark, a flashlight is mandatory.
- Chiemsee (Autobahn A8 in direction Salzburg or Deutsche Bahn). Bavaria's largest lake (with a castle on an the island of Herreninsel built by King Ludwig II, and a monastery built on the island of Fraueninsel) is only one hour away.
- Dachau (S-Bahn/Regional trains or Autobahn to Augsburg). Dachau is a suburb of Munich and reminder of the dark hours of German history. Prepare to be shocked by the atrocities committed by the Nazis during the Third Reich era displayed at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site.
- Füssen is nestled in the Alps of southern Bavaria. A train from Munich Central Station will take about two hours with one transfer at Buchloe (purchase the Bayern-Ticket option mentioned above which is valid for all trains and bus journey to the castle). The town is famous for King Ludwig II's "fairy-tale castle" Neuschwanstein. It also houses the castle where Ludwig II grew up. If you go there, buy a combined ticket for both castles. Neuschwanstein is a must-see, but Hohenschwangau is historically more interesting, and the tour is much better. Not only because there are fewer tourists and ergo more time, but also the guides are more knowledgeable and speak better English.
- Garmisch-Partenkirchen (About 1.5 hr by regional train or by car on autobahn A 95.). Access point to Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze and location of the 1936 Winter Olympic Games. The rack railway train to the top of the Zugspitze leaves regularly from the Garmisch-Partenkirchen railway station.
- Nuremberg (by ICE train in one hour / regional train under 2hrs). The Nazi rally grounds were located in Nuremberg. It was also the location of the Nuremberg Trials, in which some of the leaders of the Nazi regime faced justice. Nuremberg offers a lot of history and a charming old town for visitors.
- Regensburg. A beautiful mediaeval city at the shores of the river Danube. It's historical city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in its entirety.
- Salzburg (Austria) is an easy day trip from Munich. Trains run from Munich Central Station just about every hour, and take about 1.5 hr. The Bayern Ticket is valid all the way to Salzburg.
- Ulm. Ulm is an easy day trip from Munich. You can reach Ulm by train from Munich Central Station in around 2 hours using the Bayern Ticket. You find there the highest church spire in the world, the danube as well as the most crooked hotel in the world.
- Schliersee: A small mountain lake and popular summer and winter getaway of Munich residents. It has also a ski resort at the neighbouring Spitzingsee lake.
- Tegernsee: Being the bigger and posher neighbour of Schliersee lake,Tegernsee is the hotspot for Munich's rich and famous. Being a beautiful mountain lake at the foot of the Alps doesn't hurt, either.
Safety in Munich
Safety ( overall) - Very High /9.4
Safety ( day) - Very High /9.7
Safety ( night ) - Very High/8.9
Munich is a very safe city for its residents and travelers: it is one of the safest German cities overall and violent crime is extremely rare. Take the usual precautions (such as not leaving your camera unattended) and you will most likely not encounter any crime at all.
Munich is an open-minded, international city with a large number of immigrants and expatriates living in the city (25% of residents have a migration background), so you are very unlikely to encounter any problems because you are a foreigner. Gay and lesbian travelers should not experience any issues: Munich has a large gay and lesbian community and the Rosa Liste, a gay rights party, has been part of the city government since 1996.
The main safety hazard in Munich is the local beer drinking culture in combination with the high accessibility of alcohol. Think twice before trying to keep up with the locals or looking for your maximum level of alcohol intoxication - being drunk will sharply raise your chances of injuring yourself. Another issue for people not used to driving or walking on ice or snow, are wintry road and sidewalk conditions.
The emergency telephone number in Munich is 112 (like everywhere in the EU), which will connect you to emergency medical services, police, or fire brigade. The emergency telephone number 110(Germany only) will connect you directly to the police. All major hospitals have emergency rooms (Notaufnahme) that offer 24/7 medical assistance not only to patients brought in by ambulance but to walk-in customers as well. Waiting time might be lengthy if you are not considered an emergency case.
- Bereitschaftspraxis Elisenhof, Elisenstraße 3 (Near the main station Hauptbahnhof), . M–F 19:00–23:00, Sa–Su 08:00–23:00.For non-serious illnesses, the GPs association provides an after-hours doctor's office near the main station that receives patients without prior appointment until 23:00 every day of the week including weekends.
- Deutsches Herzzentrum München (German Cardiac Center Munich), Lazarettstraße 36 (U-Bahn U1, U7: Maillingerstraße), . The hospital was founded in 1974 as the first cardiac center in Europe.
- Klinikum Großhadern (university hospital), Marchioninistraße 15 (U-Bahn U6: Großhadern), . The university hospital of the University of Munich (LMU). The staff is able to converse in English fluently and is also prepared to deal with non-English-speaking patients.
- Klinikum Rechts der Isar (university hospital), Ismaninger Straße 22 (U-Bahn U4, U5: Max-Weber Platz), . The university hospital of the Technical University of Munich (TUM). The staff is able to converse in English fluently and is also prepared to deal with non-English-speaking patients, with a special focus on guests from Arabic countries.
- Klinikum Schwabing (pediatric clinic), Kölner Platz 1 (U-Bahn U2, U3: Scheidplatz), . The most important children's hospital in Munich.