Munich is both what you would expect and at the same time not what you would expect. Yes, there are checkered beer halls and pretzels the size of bicycle tires, but as you walk around you feel that it is a well lived in city.
Munich exudes a quiet warmth. The city isn’t begging you to go traipsing around to a checklist of attractions, leaving you exhausted. It is beckoning you in to relax over a deliberate and long lunch and to dwindle over a cup of coffee (or beer) and a slice of black forest cake.
First things, first. Turn any corner and you’ll find a bakery or café that sells pretzels. Trying one of these puppies will put you on the right foot to start off your trip (yes, especially if its for breakfast). There are several variations, so be sure to check out different shapes, twists, dips, sizes and toppings. For that bicycle tire sized pretzel though, hold out until the Hofbrauhaus.
The English Garden is an expansive park in Munich. It has its fair share of outdoor beer gardens along with every day activities such as kids’ soccer practices, jogging, and couples out for a walk with their dog. The beer gardens are more suited for summer sun so if that’s top on your list, it’s best to plan a trip during a warmer part of the year.
Whatever time of year that you visit, be sure to take a walk through the park. Check out the Chinese tower and meander on towards the far edge of the small lake lined with beer drinking tables and benches.
If you're visiting during the winter, the best cure for cold ears is an ice cold beer. Head on over to the Hofbrauhaus. It is no wonder that the surrounding streets are empty. Inside is a warm cavernous hall with checkered ceilings and smiling faces. It’s not just for tourists either. We spent our evening happily crammed in on one of the many benches chatting with several different groups of locals.
On occasion, the hall has bands playing traditional music adding to the exuberance of the event. Though your main purchase may be a pint of HB beer, the experience is centered around making friends with your fellow benchmates and swapping stories while tapping your feet along with the music.
Last, but not least, consider a stop at St. Peter’s Church Tower. For about a euro or two you can make your way to the top of the tower for some spectacular city views (it’s a hike up some very narrow and windy stairs). It’s a nice way to wrap up the trip and peer out over all of the neighborhoods that you wandered around during your stay.
What: Munich, Germany
When to Go: When it’s warm enough to enjoy a beer outside
What to See:
- Hofbrauhaus for a beer, pretzel, and music
- The English Garden for a walk and outdoor beer gardens
- Viktualienmarkt a market full of food stalls perfect for grabbing a bit to eat (keep in mind it is closed on Sundays)
- St Peter’s Church Tower for the view
Where to Eat: Zwickl
- Fantastic traditional Bavarian food in a cozy place at an affordable price
- Recommended: Kaesespaetzle (essentially Bavarian Mac ‘n Cheese) and Schnitzel