I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Munich 4 times: whilst backpacking, a girls trip with my mum, a city break with my other half and Oktoberfest with my friends for my 30th Birthday! Munich is by far one of the favourite places I have ever visited and a place which holds so many amazing memories for me. For a relatively small city, there is a lots to see and do!
Flights: each time I’ve flown with EasyJet from Edinburgh – flight prices at Oktoberfest time were about £160 return and significantly cheaper at other times
Hotels: The first time I went when backpacking we couldn’t get a hotel in Munich centre due to booking last minute over the closing weekend of Oktoberfest (my friend and I decided quite last minute to travel Europe after graduation) so we stayed in a beautiful little town in the suburbs, Erding, filled with pastel coloured buildings.
The second time, when I went with my mum, we stayed at the NH hotel in Unterhaching which is just a couple of stops on the metro.
When Neil and I went, we stayed at the Leonardo hotel in the city centre, it’s really close to the main station so perfect for getting around!
For Oktoberfest, we stayed at the Hotel Europa – it’s kind of in between city centre and the Oktoberfest location.
Things to Do
Munich city centre is really easy to get around – the main square Marienplatz is a great starting point for sight-seeing as it holds the large Town Hall building and is pretty central to other attractions.
1. Walking Tour: As always on a European city break, I like to do the Sandeman’s free walking tours (the tours are tips based): https://www.neweuropetours.eu/sandemans-tours/munich/free-tour-of-munich/ – The tour meets at the Marienplatz and lasts about 2hours taking in sights such as the Royal Residence, the Church of St. Peter, and the famous Glockenspiel as well as a stop over at the Hofbrauhaus!
2. Beer Halls!: Naturally one of the main attractions in Munich is the beer halls. The main ones I have been to are the Hofbrauhaus, Paulener and Augustiner which are all pretty central. Any time I have been they have always been really busy so can expect to buddy up with people on tables. The food and drink are table service so at least once you’re sat down, you won’t lose your spot going to the bar. The Hofbrauhaus is my favourite for the atmosphere! The food is really good as well – traditional German fare – pork knuckle was delicious!! There is usually a band playing traditional German music which adds to the experience!
3. BMW Welt: Even if you are not into cars, it is definitely worth a trip to the BMW Welt. I have been twice. Even though it is a bit out of the city centre, you can catch the metro straight there pretty easily. The museum part is in a very modern building next to the factory, there are a couple of cafe’s and a big gift shop as you go in. There is a Mini Cooper and a few motorbikes you can sit in/on which is really cool. BMW Welt section is free to access and the area also acts as a showroom for purchasing cars – I wish I could have purchased one there because when owners come to collect their car, they get to drive down a cool indoor ramp from the first to ground floor and exit the showroom through a side door – very James Bond!
To enter the museum, tickets are around 10EURO. The museum part follows the history of BMW through the ages with brilliant displays of the cars and other automotive engineering! There is the option for a guided tour of the museum but also on certain days, the actual factory itself. I would recommend planning ahead for that because each time I have been, it was not open and I think it would be a great experience (I do enjoy the Nat Geo factory documentaries!). You can easily spend a couple of hours here, more if able to do the factory tour.
The gift shop is pretty expensive and I only really purchased a note pad / pen / cup for my brother who is a structural engineer!
4. Olympiapark Munich: Conveniently the Olympia park is just next door to BMW Welt so you tick both off the list in one trip! The grounds around BMW Welt and the Olympiapark are lovely – lots of greenery and walking routes. There are quite a lot of activities to do within the Olympiapark – climbing over the roof, flying fox and abseiling as well as guided tours of the stadium. You can also visit the sea life centre, the tower and the site also hosts many live music events!
5. Day Trip to Salzburg! When I was there with my mum, we took a day trip to Salzburg which is only a short train journey from Munich (approx. 1.5hours) and can be booked fairly cheaply about £16-17 on the Trainline website. We spent the day mooching around the beautiful old town, wandered around the Sound of Music locations (obligatory photo op on the stairs, obvs) – there are plenty tours available. Mum and I are big shoppers so we spent some time on retail therapy (there is a good Zara!) and had a nice lunch in the Nordsea chain restaurant – so many amazing prawn combinations! Salzburg is a small city so pretty easy to get around and the scenery / architecture makes it well worth a visit!
6. OKTOBERFEST! No doubt one of the main reasons people visit Munich. I have been very fortunate enough to go twice – once very briefly whilst Inter-Railing and then last Oktober for my 30th birthday! Book as early as possible – this is not a last minute city break event. It is free to enter the Oktoberfest park. After a torrential rain downpour we were able to grab a big table outside in the beer garden of the Paulaner beer tent and we sat there all day! Luckily the sun came out!
Table Booking: I couldn’t figure out how to book a table despite joining a Facebook group about it. I think the best way is through the beer hall websites themselves but by time I figured that out it was too late and it was only people selling on resale at ridiculous prices! Reservations should have been about 35EUR per person and include a bit of chicken and stein, as you do! Table bookings are in 2 shifts in the main tents – approx. 10-4pm, then 4pm-11pm I believe. There is table service provided (and loitering next to a table service as well) – you cannot go to bar and queue for a drink – this is something I loved as I literally hate going to the bar.
Drinks: Steins were about 12EUR for standard beer – there were several beer options available.
Food: Most of the tents offer main meals of German local food and outside of the tents there are several food stalls like at a fun fair
Atmosphere: The atmosphere is electric, everyone is in high spirits, most people are dressed up in lederhosen and Drindls and there are bands playing great music. Even though we were outside, they have speakers playing the band outside so you don’t miss anything. Outside of the tents, there are amusement rides – ferris wheels etc. and stalls selling souvenirs.
We were there for several hours before retiring to an Irish bar with another live band! Definitely the best way to celebrate the big 3-0! Would 100000000% go back and recommend everyone goes at some point!