Munich is a lot more than just Octoberfest; this Bavarian city has something for everyone. In one day, you won’t begin to see it all — but you can make a good start!
Start your day with a walk through the old town, admiring the old and new town halls and picking up food for a picnic in the Victuelenmarkt. Make sure you’re in Marienplatz at 11am or 12pm to see the glockenspiel on the new town hall play, or better yet, climb St Peter’s Tower for an amazing view of both the clock and the city.
While you’re in the old town, also visit the iconic Frauenkirche, which is the city’s most important symbol, and the Baroque Asamkirche.
Make your way to the Englischer Garten, stopping at the bridge on Prinzregentenstraße on your way in to check out the surfers. That’s right, surfers. The Eisbach stream emerges from underground here, and to slow it down after its rapid transit below the city streets, town planners put some rocks on the riverbed. As well as slowing the flow of the river, this also created a standing wave, which is used by hardy surfers all year round.
If its a nice day, you could easily spend several hours in the English Garden — and many locals do: slack lining, playing soccer or frisbee, swimming, or just hanging out with friends.
Your destination within the garden is the Chinese Tower, where a large beer garden surrounds the hundred-year-old wooden construction. You’ll have to pay a deposit for your glass when you buy your beer, which comes in half- or one-litre steins, so don’t forget to get that back before you leave! You can buy food here but it’s also perfectly acceptable to bring your own and eat it at the long wooden tables, as long as you buy a drink.
If you’re after a bit of culture, Munich has a lot of fantastic art galleries to choose from: there’s the old and new Pinakotheks, as well as a modern art gallery that was being refurbished during our visit. I really enjoyed the recently reopened Lenbachhaus, which has a great range of art including an exhibition on the Blue Rider group, who were based in Munich before the First World War.
If you’d prefer something outdoors, head to the Olympiapark, built for the 1972 Olympics. There’s a tower you can climb for views of the city, and after a walk by the lakes you can cross the road and visit BMW World — the showroom is free to enter and is actually quite a good little museum.
Spend your evening the traditional way — in a beer garden. If it’s raining, an indoor beer hall will do, but it’s not quite the same. There are many to choose from, but the central-city Victuelenmarkt is a good choice: the six breweries based in the city take turns to serve their beer.
[box]A great way to get around Germany is with the German Rail Pass, available from ACPRail.[/box]