...feed your curiosity
munich | germany
If you're looking for sausage, beer and lederhosen, Munich is your destination. The people are incredibly warm and welcoming, and the food scene is "stick to your bones" good. Munich is what you want it to be. From open-air markets and historic beer halls to luxury shopping and cafes, the city has something for everyone. This is the capital of Bavaria, so expect to see plenty of traditional Bavarian charm, architecture and cuisine.
how to get there
If flying into Munich, you will arrive at Munich Franz Josef Strauss International Airport (MUC), Germany's second busiest airport. The airport is huge, and it is an experience in itself. There are direct flights from the US and many European capitals.
The airport is connected to Munich by the S-Bahn train (S1 for western districts and S8 for eastern districts). The train station is located in Terminal 1 on level 2. To reach downtown and Munich Central Station (München Hauptbahnhof), you can take either train, and both will take around 45 minutes. Trains run every 10 minutes and cost around €12.80. There is no need to book your train in advance, but if you would like to, you can book your ticket here.
Before entering the train, you must validate your ticket. Validation machines are at the top of the escalator to the station and in the actual station next to the ticket vending machines. Once you get on the train, there are no machines to validate your ticket. Also be sure to validate your ticket on the right-hand side marked by "HIER ENTWERTEN". Validating the ticket on the wrong side or getting on the train without a validated ticket will ultimately invalidate the ticket.
You will find rental car counters on level 3 in the Munich Airport Center.
Tip: Before you drive off, use your smartphone to take video around each side of the car, talking through any areas of damage. Make sure you get the rental car agent to note the damage on the damage report and have them initial.
You will find the taxi service outside Terminal 1 at the arrivals and departures level 4. You can also find taxis outside Terminal 2. The fare into central Munich is around €60.
Tip: Make sure you get cash out of an ATM in the airport just in case the taxi does not take credit card.
Where to stay
When I choose where to stay, it often depends on where I'm going, what time of year, what experience I want, and what my budget is...once I have that figured out, there are 6 basic criteria I follow to make my selection:
Walkability to city center
Safety of the area
The accommodations below meet the above criteria and were selected for overall experience, convenience and proximity to the historical city center.
Hotel Bayerischer Hof (Luxury)
This place puts the swank in swanky! The hotel has an amazing lobby with stain-glass dome, just steps away from my favorite libation point, Falk's Bar. And with over six unique bars on the property to choose from, Hotel Bayerischer Hof is the place to sit back, relax and enjoy a drink. And for drinks with a view, head to Blue Spa Bar, the hotel's incredible rooftop lounge. The hotel has all the amenities you would expect from a luxury property, and it is also conveniently located to Maximilianstraße for of course, some luxury shopping and cafes.
Price: >$250 per night
6 minute walk to Marienplatz in the historic center
Valet Parking (€37 per day)
Airport Shuttle available
Courtyard Munich City Center (Mid-range)
This is a great choice for a comfortable and affordable stay, close to city center. The hotel also offers a great daily breakfast to get your day started on the right foot.
Price: <$100 per night
16 minute walk to Marienplatz in the historic center
Self-parking (€25 per day)
Hotel Amba (Budget)
This is a solid place to stay if budget is your concern. Don't expect a lot of frills, but it has all the essentials for a comfortable overnight stay, and the staff is super friendly and helpful. This is where we stayed when we filmed for Euro Trotter.
Price: <$50 per night
18 minute walk to Marienplatz in the historic center
Self-parking (€15 per day)
where to eat
You will find everything from food stands and open-air markets to trendy cafes and Michelin restaurants in Munich, but let's get real...this is Bavaria, so we're talking sausages, pretzels, pork, and beer. I've listed my favorite places below for traditional food and drink, but also for the overall Bavarian experience.
This is a fantastic beer hall with excellent food. If the weather is nice, eat outside at one of the cafe tables and people watch as you feast on sausages and more. The Bavarian cream of mushroom soup at Zum Franziskaner is the reason I come back to Munich, and it will be yours too! Although, after recently having the pretzels here, I'm moving those to the top of the list, they were by far the best pretzels I have ever had.
What To Get: Brezen (pretzels), Weissbier - dark beer (€5.30), Bayerische Schwammerlsuppe - Bavarian Cream of Mushroom Soup (€6.80), Franziskaner Weißwürste - weisswurst veal sausage (€3.60), Wurstelplatte - assortment of Bavarian sausages (€19.50)
Price: Lunch cost around €35.20 and was plenty of food to share
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 9:30 am to 12:00 am
Whether you come for lunch or dinner, Hofbräuhaus is about the experience, and the good thing is, the food is pretty good too! From a gift shop, to beer hall and outdoor biergarten, this is the most popular tourist attraction in Munich apart from Oktoberfest, and it's definitely worth a visit. Between the live music, dancing, singing and beer steins clinking, Hofbräuhaus is a great way to "feel" like you're really in Munich. The seating is picnic-style and it's first come first serve. When you find a seat, flag down a waiter or waitress and put in your order. And your order should be pretty simple...beer and pork knuckle please!
What To Get: Hofbräu Original - light beer (€9.20), Schweinshaxe - a crispy roast pork knuckle with knödel and pan gravy (€15.50)
Price: Lunch cost around €30
Address: Platzl 9, 80331 München, Germany
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 9:30 am to 11:30 pm
Make this your late night stop. Zum Augustiner is where you want to be for a genuine Bavarian BrewHaHa!! The food and beer is great, but the new friends you will meet will be even better. This is another come on in and find a seat beer hall. It's lively and loud and everything you would imagine Munich to be. I got the schnitzel and beer, but explore the menu, you can't go wrong. This place also has great cream of mushroom soup and the sausages are outstanding as well.
What To Get: Schnitzel (€14.95), Schweinshaxe (€20.90), Augustiner Edelstoff hell - otherwise known as "Helles", a bright and pale lager (€4.30)
Price: Dinner cost around €40.15 and was plenty of food to share
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 9:00 am to 12:00 am
What to do
There are a ton of things to see and do in Munich. From museums and opera to shopping and nightlife, I could go on and on. Below are a my "must-do" and favorite experiences when visiting Munich. Come hungry and wear good walking shoes!
Make this open-air market one of your first stops. You want to get there when all the action is going on, and that's mid-morning, unless you want to enjoy the afternoon and evening in the biergarten. This is one of the best open-air markets I've been to and you will find everything from household plants and textiles to cheese and meat stands, specialty gourmet eateries, and a super fun outdoor biergarten. Do not miss this market!
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, Biergarten Monday through Saturday 9:00 am to 10:00 pm (summer) and 9:00 am to 6:00 pm (winter)
Marienplatz also known as St. Mary's Square is the heartbeat of the historic district. This is where you want to take in some of the key landmarks listed below.
Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall)
New Town Hall is essentially City Hall, located just outside Mary’s Column. Inspired by Gothic architecture, it's most iconic feature is the Rathaus-Glockenspiel, a miniature coo-coo clock style tower that chimes and that depicts a knight show re-enacting two stories from the 16th century. Stand outside the hall and watch the show every day at 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Be sure to get there at least 5 minutes early to find your spot amongst the crowd and to get your camera ready!
Frauenkirche (Church of Old Lady)
Also known as Munich Cathedral, Frauenkirche is widely recognized as the symbol of the Bavarian Capital. It's worth a stop and and look inside, and when you do, take notice of the Teufelstritt, or Devil’s Footstep, a black footprint-shaped mark at the entrance of the cathedral. According to legend, it is believed that the devil laughed at the windowless church from this spot. While much of the interior of the church was destroyed during WWII, the footstep was one of the characteristic that remained untouched.
This is Munich's luxury avenue where you will find a ton of excellent shopping, including many well-known luxury brands.
From chocolate, candies and spices...to tea, muesli and ice cream, a trip to Schuhbecks is a must when visiting the historic center. Just outside the Hofbräuhaus, the smell of chocolate and spice will draw you in to Schuhbecks, the friendly and knowledgeable staff will be one of the reasons you stay! Owner, Alfons Schuhbeck, started his sweet and spicy empire with spices, and now at over 500 square meters, Schuhbecks is the largest tea, chocolate and spice shop in Munich. Just ask someone on the staff to give you a tour and get ready to indulge in a tasting and smelling extravaganza. As you wander around, be sure to get the hazelnut chocolate bark...it's to die for. And, be sure to get some spices and teas as you will not be able to get these anywhere else. To this day, Mr. Schuhbeck continues to mix all of the spice combinations himself. I bought Chinesisches Fünf Gewürz (Chinese Five Spice), but unlike typical Chinese Five Spice, this is made without garlic which makes it the perfect spice for cookies...think Snickerdoodle!
Address: Platzl 4A, 80331 München, Germany
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, closed Sunday
The below video and this guide go together. The video shows my experience, while the guide provides detailed information to help you plan your visit.
For more insight on my visit to Munich, check out my blog.