Munich is a special place for me. It was the first city I moved to after I left India. New place, new lifestyle, new culture, a new language, and new opportunities. For the last 5 years, Munich has been a superb host. I love this city so much. This is why I have not written about it yet. It is difficult for me to pen down all my thoughts and emotions about Munich in one article. I can’t. That is why I am writing this Munich weekend guide from a tourist’s perspective. Insider’s suggestions for people visiting Munich. So, after months of not-letting-it-go, I finally present you the Munich weekend guide.
Don’t have enough time now? Download my FREE map below (with all the attractions, museums, favorite restaurants, and cafes) and use it before/during the trip!
Munich Weekend Guide: Things to do in Munich
Old town and Rathaus
The Rathaus cannot be missed! It is difficult to be in the city center and ignore the big Rathouse building in Munich. It is the building with impressive Gothic architecture with a spooky vibe to it. Functionally, it is the government office but due to its interesting design, it has become one of the main attractions in Munich (Seriously! When you Google Munich, most of the images are from this building.) You can also see the interiors of the building by entering through the main courtyard. Every hour there is a puppet show depicting the story of Munich and Oktoberfest. Don’t worry, you will notice it when you see everyone pointing their phones and camera towards the huge building.
About two minutes walking distance from the Rathaus lies the medieval Viktualienmarkt. This farmers market was created in the early 1800s to store grain and fruits. Until this day, it still houses daily farmers produce and makes a wonderful stop in your Munich itinerary to have some high-quality local and imported snacks. There is a beer garden as well. This market also hosts multiple seasonal events so make sure to visit it when in Munich. I can definitely recommend the Belgian chocolate shop, Beluga for a nice collection of chocolates, chocolate drinks, and other artisanal products. And do not forget to try the falafel sandwich at Sababa.
World war history tour
Munich has a very strong role in German history, especially before and during World War II. While the city was bombed heavily during the war, there are still many historical points of interest. I highly recommend taking a guided tour through the city which explained what led to the German role in World War II, which specific events took place (and where) and how people are dealing with it. It was a life-changing tour for me. Especially because I was in Munich for five years before I took this tour and it changed how I saw the city. Those meeting points where I casually walked for five years were in a completely different light now. I can recommend the Sandeman’s Third Reich Tour from my experience.
Munich has a lot of museums. Yes! A lot of interesting museums. From the tech-savvy Deutsches museum (impressive and huge!) to Beer and Oktoberfest Museum, from Munich state museum to BMW Welt (free entrance), it has something for everyone. Trust me, they even had a Kartoffel (potato) museum. Most of the museums are cheaper on Sundays (1 euro!) so please check out before and plan accordingly to save some extra bucks for a beer! Some museums also have guided tours a few times a week, so please check the respective websites. I can highly recommend the guided tour at Moderne Pinakothek.
If you are a soccer fan, you are probably already familiar with the Bayern Munich league team. Munich is crazy over soccer. Oh, I know! I was there when they won the 2014 world cup! If you find everyone wearing a red Bayern Munich t-shirt, don’t be confused. There must be a league match that day. Allianz Arena is a real treat for Bayern Munich fans. About 20 minutes from the city center, you can visit the famous stadium. Guided tours are available a few times every day. Please check the website for exact timings.
No Munich weekend guide will be complete without mentioning the big open green spaces and urban parks in Munich. Hosting of the biggest beer garden in Munich, the English garden is fully packed in summer. You can find half of the Munich there on a summer evening. Just chilling, biking, playing games, drinking beer, swimming and surfing on the river. Beware, there are some sections of the park where nudity is allowed. So, if you are not comfortable with such sights, pay attention to the signs!
BMW has a big museum in Munich. Car enthusiasts can visit BMW welt for FREE and see the latest designs of BMW, Mini Cooper, and other fancy cars. They also have a bike section upstairs. While most of the museums and attractions close down around 6 or 7 pm, BMW welt is open until midnight.
Olympiapark or Westpark
While the English garden gets is the fair share of attention, Olympiapark, and West Park are also local’s favorite to spend summer weekends. You can even bring your own grill and have a BBQ at Westpark. These parks also host several concerts, festivals and open-air movies in summer afternoons.
Oktoberfest and other seasonal festivals
Talking about festivals, it is hard to not mention the elephant in the room: Oktoberfest. Munich is widely known for Oktoberfest and receives a ridiculous amount of tourists for this two-week-long festival. While some tourists believe it is the NOT-TO-BE-MISSED event in Munich, locals disagree. Where do I stand? Somewhere in between. While I do not fancy people getting sick (and puking) all over the city after drinking the most expensive beer in Germany, I do love the spirit of Oktoberfest where everyone dresses up in traditional clothes and have a gala time together! So, I guess you need to pick accordingly. Beer tents are usually crowded and you need to wait hours before getting a seat inside unless you go there early morning (Oh Yeah! People start drinking at ten in the morning) and/or weekday afternoons. And please drink responsibly.
Nymphenburg Palace was the summer-house of the Wittelbachs family. Constructed in the 1600s, this palace is a tourist sight in Munich and can be included in your Munich weekend guide. The garden outside the palace is really nice in summer. I cannot pinpoint why but I am not a big fan of this palace but you can plan your visit using the information from this website.
Traveling with kids? Take a stroll in the amazing Hellabrunn zoo in Munich. Actually, strike that. Even if you are not traveling with kids, this zoo deserves a spot in your Munich itinerary. And yes, they have Flamingos and Meerkats as well. For the updated information about the prices and opening timings, please check the website.
Booking your flights to Munich? Check if your cheap flight is really the best offer?
Munich Weekend Guide: Where to eat/drink in Munich
This is my favorite beer in Germany so I am sometimes also visiting their beer garden/restaurants. There are plenty of them in various parts of Munich. Google the nearest one and stop by for beer and pretzel (and Obazda, a very Bayerish bread spread).
They have good coffee and amazing brunch menus. Try their flammkuchen and cheese and mandarin cake. Thank me later 🙂 I also love their homemade fruit teas and lemonades.
Boulevardier Bar (Mauro’s Negroni club before)
Hands-down! This is my favorite bar in Munich because they have the best cocktails EVER! Insider’s tip: try J32 (sweet and creamy! melts in your mouth. Umm..) and Mojito here. I am not a big fan of bitter drinks but if you like drinks on the bitter side, go for their Negroni cocktails.
This is a hidden petite restaurant in the city center. You can only access it from the concept store of Care at Sendlingerstrasse. They have amazing Asian food, especially their soups!
Another hidden and very small bar in Munich. Really small, I don’t think it can fit more than seven or eight people! But they really take their drinks seriously. It is a treat to just see them making the drinks. If you do not like anything from the menu, you can ask them to make something of your taste. As it is a very small place, be there early or you might not find a seat.
One good thing about Munich is that it is geographically close to Italy which means they have plenty of good Italian cafes and pizzerias/restaurants. Pepenero is one of them. They have really good food for a comparatively nice price! People love the lasagna there. And their house wine is well recommended.
I don’t why specifically, but Munich has a large number of Indian restaurants. Although not cheap, some of them are really good. You can find the best Indian food in Munich at Dhaba. Reservation recommended. I also like the food at Motimahal, but they are a bit out of the center.
Budget Tips and suggestions for your weekend in Munich
If you are planning to use public transport in Munich (which I highly recommend), you can save money by buying a day ticket, a three-day ticket or even a week ticket from the ticket machines. If you are traveling just inside the Munich city Zone 1 (Ring 1-4) ticket should be enough.
Strip-ticket/ One-way ticket
If you do not need the day ticket you can also buy a strip ticket with 10 strips on one ticket. One strip equals a short trip journey (4 stops on bus or 2 stops on S-Bahn) and you need to clip two tickets when planning a long journey. You can also break your journey within the time limit. For example, if you buy a regular one-time ticket, you can use it for three hours. So, you can use the same ticket for your next journey if you stop somewhere in between for coffee or beer. But please note that the direction has to be the same. You cannot use the same ticket in the return direction.
You can also buy a family ticket if you are buying a day ticket, a 3-day ticket or a week ticket. This ticket is cheaper than buying each ticket. Even if you are not a family, you can buy a group ticket and use the same ticket for up to 5 people.
Bayern ticket/Weekend ticket
If you are planning a day trip somewhere outside Munich, you can also buy a Bayern ticket and a group of 5 people can use the same ticket. We used this recently to go to Salzburg, so 5 people pay 40 euros in total for the day, which means (8 euros each for the return journey). Amazing, right? It does not get better than this! But please note that you can only use this ticket on regional trains and not the IC or ICE fast trains.
You can also visit the beautiful Freiburg on a day/weekend trip from Munich.
Museum day ticket
If you are planning to visit more than one or two museums in a day, you can also buy a museum day ticket (or combination tickets) and use it in various museums.
Buy beer in Supermarket
Beer is cheap in Munich, especially in the grocery stores. Visit the nearest Rewe, Penny, Edeka or any other supermarket in your neighborhood (or search on Google maps) to buy from a larger choice of beers. While you might pay about 3-4 euros for 330-500 ml beer in a bar/restaurant, you can buy the same amount for less than a euro in supermarkets. Cheers! And yes, you can drink beer publicly in Munich. To grab a bottle and have a lovely stroll in the city sipping your Augustiner Helles (my favorite light beer, if you haven’t tried it yet, you definitely should)!
Beer garden rule
Munich is a delight in summer. While the city is full of open parks (English garden and Westpark are my favorites, Olympia park is also great), you are bound to visit a beer garden or two when in Munich. You can have a relaxing break with a beer (or two, no one is judging) in those gardens with wooden chairs and tables. The good thing is: you do not have to buy food there. In fact, you can bring your own food/snacks and just order a beer there. But check first because some gardens have separate sections for beer garden (where you can have your own snacks) and restaurant (you cannot have home brought food there).
As Munich has two big Universities, it is home to thousands of students from all over the world. Which also means that there are several student offers for various entrance fees. From cinema theatres to museums. So, if you are a student, bring your student ID and you can also enjoy the reduced prices.
While this is only applicable on weekdays, it is still worth mentioning if you are in the city during the week that most of the restaurants have special Lunch offers during lunchtime (usually 12 to 2 pm). During these offers, you can enjoy the food at reduced prices or can enjoy the multiple course deal for the same price as the main dish.
Museums on Sunday
Most of the museums like Pinakothek der Modern, Alte Pinakothek, Neues Pinakothek, etc are heavily reduced on Sundays with the tickets costing just 1 euro. I mean you cannot beat that offer. So if you are there on Sundays, make sure to check out the museums on Sundays.
Have more days in Munich? Plan your trip to charming Salzburg using the Bayern ticket!
Final words/Personal suggestions
Take it slow: Munich is one of my favorite cities. I mean, of course, I can be biased since I lived there for about 5 years! But my suggestion for people visiting for long-term (and hence not applicable for weekend trips) is to take it slow. Munich will grow on you. It is a very different city. It offers something for everyone. I came to Munich from India and experienced big cultural shocks from day 1. It took a while but Munich grew on me. So much that it is my favorite city in the world! Did I mention I could be biased?
Rent a bike: Munich is one of the most bike-friendly cities. It is flat and has well-maintained bike tracks all around the city. Hence is great to explore the cities on a bike. In summer, everyone is biking! So be careful of the bike tracks if you are biking or even when walking.
Events in Munich: Summer is celebrated in Munich every day. People are sipping drinks/beers in open-air beer gardens till late at night. There are different events every night ranging from open-air movie screening to theatre to biking nights. Everyone is outdoors and the city is a playground.
It was difficult for me to pen down this article because there is just so much in the city I love so dearly. But of course, you cannot see everything in a weekend. I entered all the important landmarks, my personal favorite restaurants/bar recommendations, and everything else. So, if you are still looking for more suggestions for your Munich weekend guide, look no more. Download the map below and access it using Google Maps. You can then use it when in Munich to navigate from one place to another and of course, finding my favorite cafes and ice-cream joints!
So, did you like my Munich guide? Is there something you would like to know that I missed? Need more information/suggestions? Write to me using the contact form and I would be happy to reply to your questions 🙂
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