Munich is the 3rd most populous city in Germany and the capital of the federal state of Bavaria. The city itself is made up of historic buildings and impressive architecture, as much of Munich was reconstructed after World World II. National Geographic Traveler ranked Munich at number 30 out of top 100 historical destinations around the world.
One can spend many days discovering Munich… think BMW, beergarden, lederhosen, traditional Bavarian dishes… Mmmm. So far I’ve spent over a month in Munich, over 3 or 4 trips and it’s one of my favorite cities to visit and work in. This will be first of many 1-day itineraries for this fabulous city and I’ll start with the city center or better known as Marienplatz.
Stay at the 3-star Hotel Schlicker near the city center. Do not be turned off by the McDonalds and a Burger King next to the hotel. This boutique hotel is a stone’s throw away from Marienplatz and the underground. A double room starts at 117 euros. Only book a single if you are traveling solo as single rooms are usually equipped with a twin bed.
Start the day at Munich’s oldest open air market a block away from the hotel. Since 1807, the 22,000 square meter Viktualienmarkt is the site of 140 stalls and shops offering gourmets and delicacies including wine, flowers, exotic fruit, game, poultry, spices, cheese, fish, juices and more. While perusing through the market, keep an eye on the time.
Reach the Glockenspiel in the center of Marienplatz by 11:55a and keep your eyes on the clock tower of the ornate New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus). As the clock strikes 12, the automated clockwork figures begin to move to the chime. For the next 12 to 15 minutes, enjoy these handmade figurines enact scenes from the 16th century. The end of the spectacle is marked by the 3 chirps of a small golden bird at the top of the Glockenspiel.
Next walk up Dienerstrasse to Dallmayr Haus, the oldest gourmet shop in Munich. Dating back to the 17th century, this delicatessen offers freshly ground coffee, delicious cheese, freshly baked goods and other Bavarian delicacies. Grab lunch at the cafe attached to the shop.
After lunch walk over to Frauenkirche. Built in the medieval era the “Cathedral of Our Blessed Lady” is the largest church in the city. The church’s distinctive twin dome towers are the models for many towers throughout Bavaria. Step inside the church to find an example of a tomb monument for a Habsurgian ruler at the entrance. Climb the stairs for a view of Munich and the Bavarian Alps, visible on a clear day.
Follow the cobblestone streets back toward the Glockenspiel. From the square, take a leisurely stroll down Kaufingerstrasse toward Karlstor. Many people consider this pedestrian-only promenade THE shopping street of Munich as the street is filled with retail stores both large and small.
Stop in the Augustiner Restaurant for a little break. Sit outside in the beer garden behind the building if weather permits. Order up a pilsner and a pretzel. Established in 1328, the Augustiner brewery is Munich’s oldest brewery and produces some of Munich’s most popular brands of beer. Consider taking the beer in a “mass” (basically a 1-litre glass jug) for the true biergarten experience.
The afternoon ends at the medieval gate that marks the entrance to the old city. One of the three remaining gates from the 14th century, Karlstor was part of the defense walls that at one time completely surrounded Munich. It’s not surprising that Karlstor does not show its old age, as this 700 year old landmark has been refurbished over the years.
Classical Bavarian dish is on my menu tonight. Head to Haxnbauer on Sparkassenstraße. Haused in a historical building built in the 14th century, this dining destination is well known for its “schweinehaxen” or roasted pig knuckles. The perfect schweinehaxen has crispy skin, fatty, juicy, and full of flavor. Of course the dish is not complete without a side of sauerkraut.
The day wouldn’t be complete without at stop at the Hofbräuhaus. One of the must-see tourist spots, Hofbräuhaus can accommodate 3,500 beer drinkers and diners simultaneously, with 100 waiters and waitresses serving up to 30,000 guests on busy days. Make yourself comfortable at one of the communal tables and wrap up the evening with the lederhosen-clad house band, live music, and hundreds of your closes friends… the ingredients for an unforgettable night out.