Munich is famous for its beer and bratwurst, not to mention Oktoberfest, the world’s largest festival. But there’s more to Munich, which consistently ranks as one of the world’s most livable cities. While Munich’s most iconic sites are located within the medieval city gates, it’s also worth taking time to explore the many beer gardens, which are surprisingly family friendly, or the numerous cycling and walking paths that make it such a green city. Not to mention the 100+ museums and galleries. Also be sure to indulge in the German afternoon tradition of Kaffee und Kuchen, coffee and cake!


Photo Courtesy of Ralf Kronenberger


When’s the best time to go to Munich?

Many tourists flock to Munich in late September/early October for Oktoberfest, but this is when hotel rates soar through the roof. Late spring or early fall are ideal times to go. You’ll avoid the summer crowds, get a lower rate on a hotel, and still experience all the city has to offer in warm weather.

How to get around Munich

Munich Airport is Germany’s second busiest airport. It’s a fair distance outside of Munich, so public transportation—either the S1 or the S8—is the recommended way to enter the city. A one-way ticket will cost you just over 10 euros.

Munich has an excellent public transportation system consisting of the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams, and buses. If you’re planning a day of sightseeing, purchase a day ticket for unlimited access. Alternatively, you can choose to walk or rent a bicycle (bike rentals are available at Hauptbahnhof, the main train station). Munich is a flat city, and cycling is a very popular mode of transportation.

Can’t miss things to do in Munich

Müncheners are very active, so go local by taking a walk or a bike ride along the Isar River and stopping for refreshment at one of the beer gardens en route. You’ll observe more of Munich and discover how the locals really live.

Food and drink to try in Munich

You won’t go hungry when you’re in Munich, as Bavarian food is very hearty, consisting of large portions of pork, sausage, and potatoes. Be sure to try a Weißwurstfrühstück (white sausage breakfast). It typically consists of white sausage, sweet mustard, and a pretzel, often served with a beer. Traditionally it was only eaten in the morning, but now you can eat it any time of day. Germany is famous for its breweries, and approximately half of them are located in Bavaria. Try a few Munich-based brews including Paulaner, the top-selling beer in Munich. You’ll also want to sample a variety of styles—like a Helles, a pale, malty, lightly hopped beer, or maybe a Weizenbock, a dark, slightly spicy beer.

Culture in Munich

Munich prides itself on both its traditions and its modernity. As a result, the city is often called the “Land of Laptops and Lederhosen.” It’s not uncommon, especially during festivals, to see women walking around in dirndls and men wearing lederhosen. Unsurprisingly, beer has a long-standing tradition in Munich, so much so that Hirschgarten, Europe’s largest beer garden, is sometimes referred to as “Munich’s living room.” Unlike other places in the world, though, families and beer do mix—and not in a bad way. Many beer gardens have playgrounds situated near tables so that the whole family can enjoy the outing. It’s not about overindulging but about enjoying time with friends and family over a leisurely beer or two.

Oktoberfest is the most famous festival in Munich, running 16 days from the middle of September to the first week in October each year. Lesser known but loved by locals is the Starbierfest (Strong Beer Festival), which runs during Lent. But go easy—this beer has around 7.5 percent alcohol content. Tollwood is a cultural and environmental festival of sorts running in both summer and winter. It features musical and theatrical performances along with multicultural food vendors. You don’t want to miss Fasching, Munich’s Carnival. It runs from January to March every year. Bring your finest dress, because there are over 800 fancy-dress balls held every year during this time!

Local travel tips for Munich

When tipping in restaurants, locals will simply round up the bill, so if the bill comes to 28.60 euros, a Münchener would give the server 30 euros, or perhaps 31 if the service was really good. Servers’ base wages are much higher here than in North America, so you can tip less. On escalators, you’ll want to stand on the right side. The left side is reserved for people in a hurry, walking upward, so keep the left side clear. German efficiency at its finest! As a word of caution, watch out for cyclists. Many streets have a bike lane between the walkway and the road. Cyclists move fast here, so you never want to cross a lane without first checking that the coast is clear. People say drivers are aggressive in Munich, but they have nothing on the cyclists!

Guide Editor

Laurel Robbins is an award-winning travel blogger. She’s originally from Canada she now calls Munich, Germany home.

Read Before You Go
Resources to help plan your trip
Kebabs, Thai, and gluten-free beer and pizza... and of course breads and wonderful, stinky cheeses.
You definitely won’t go thirsty in Munich, with too many beer halls to count! Try a Helles—a pale, malty lager, the most popular style of beer in Munich—or the more robust Dunkles, in the traditional style.
This list of 12 must-do experiences in Munich helps you make the most of your time here in the Bavarian capital. Without a doubt the #1 thing to do in Munich is to visit Marienplatz. From there, continue on to medieval courtyards and historical buildings. Then visit the sprawling English Garden to see Munich’s most unique attraction—surfers on a standing wave on the Eisbach River!
With beautiful scenery, forested pathways, and historic taverns, the quieter side of Bavaria is accessible via convenient train service from Munich.
Haidhausen, located just east of the city center, is one of the prettiest districts in Munich. It’s often referred to as the “French Quarter.” Streets here in Haidhausen have French names and the layout is similar to cities in France. It’s a great neighborhood for a self-guided tour on foot and to see how Müncheners (as Munich locals are called) live. You’ll find plenty of cafes serving up traditional Bavarian cakes!
You can see all the top sights in Munich in three days, but bring your walking shoes—Müncheners (as Munich locals are called) love to walk! Fortunately, many of the tourist attractions here are centrally located and within walking distance of each other: from the best view over the city center to the Munich Residence (former home of Bavarian royalty) to the English Garden.
You know you’ve always wanted a cuckoo clock, lederhosen, and a 34-ounce beer mug—or maybe just a bag of German cookies—so check out these shops, and take a little piece of hofbräu home with you.
Wondering where to eat traditional Bavarian cuisine in Munich? Well, all the breweries and beer gardens in Munich serve Bavarian food, and if you’re looking for dining options other than a beer hall, you can find both family and upscale Bavarian restaurants all over Munich. A word to the wise: Even though you won’t find hamburgers on the menu, Bavarian cuisine is hearty, so go hungry!
Along the Isar River, through the English Garden, past the Munich Residence or Nymphenburg Palace—Müncheners love their fresh air and exercise. So head outdoors and explore the city on foot. Go really local and reward your efforts with a coffee or beer, in the German fashion! It’s tradition, after all.
There are an incredible 80+ museums in Munich, showcasing the importance of culture and history to the residents, and it can be hard to choose which to visit. If you only visit one, make it the Deutsches Museum, which is the most famous museum in Munich, and also the world’s largest museum of science and technology. But there are numerous must-visit art galleries and castle museums, too. Some Munich museums offer €1 admission on Sundays, so be sure to check the websites!
Beer gardens became popular in 19th-century Munich during the rule of Max I, the King of Bavaria. Today the tradition lives on and there are over 100 beer gardens in Munich. They are surprisingly family friendly, with most of them even having a playground! Visitors are often surprised to learn that you can even bring your own food to a Munich beer garden—as long as you buy the beer there!
Bavaria’s capital may best be known for Oktoberfest, but it offers more than good beer. To experience Munich in style, book a stay at Bayerischer Hof. This five-star 19th-century hotel, commissioned by King Ludwig I, commands an imposing position on Munich’s Promenadeplatz. The Mandarin Oriental Munich puts visitors in striking distance of the Bavarian Opera House, the Marienplatz, and the Maximilianstrasse. For fancy digs close to Oktoberfest action, stay at the Sofitel Munich Bayerpost.
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.