We travel to Munich quite often. Or at least we did before the Coronavirus hit. Munich is in Bavaria, and friends and family live and work in Bavaria. Munich is a wonderful place to explore.
For a place rich in tradition, Munich really has a lot of modernity. Munich is the third largest city in Germany and is one of the largest tourist centers in the country. Much of the city center of Munich is largely reminiscent of what it was in the 17th century to the cult Frauenkirche that marked the city line. Munich has existed even longer than that, however, the first mentions of the city are recorded in a document from 1158. Rewind to 1806 and Munich becomes the capital of the Kingdom of Bavaria and there is truly the size of the city taken down. Becoming a center of baroque art, extravagant palaces, castles and art from Richard Wagner’s operas to architectural wonders.
After World War II, the city retained most of its old world charm, while welcoming a new one. The grand palaces of Neuschwanstein and the Royal Residence were restored while modern innovation and technology thrived in businesses like BMW, sports teams like Bayern Munich were world famous, and museums of modern art were opened to great recognition.
Munich is really a city that opposes, it is old and new, it is modern, but still traditional. It has everything from art and science, to Bavarian pubs in the old school. There is a little something for everyone.
Take a look at the new town hall
When you arrive in a new city, it is usually the first thing to get to know it. Located in the rather literal heart of the city, the Neues Rathaus almost has its center of gravity, because once you get there, it will feel like you are in the hectic epicenter of everything that is happening. The building is located in the Marienplatz area and is hard to miss. Go through the crowds of people and tourists and take a second to see the absolutely monolithic Gothic renaissance building.
The building itself is used as a town hall and is mostly home to administrative workers and offices, but the decorated facade is over 100 meters long and has 400 rooms. It is decorated with towers, arches and four statues of Bavarian kings. One of the biggest attractions to this is Glockenspiel. Since 1908, a large tower with a coward at 11, noon and 17 hours with vending machines playing Bavarian stories from the 1600s.
For budget travelers, be sure to check out the eerie Gothic courtyard and open memorial room reminiscent of those who died in both world wars.
Explore the English Garden
Located in the heart of the city, the Englischer Garten is a massive green space created in the 18th century on the left bank of the Isar River. The park starts at the Residence and seemingly simply lasts forever. The park was part of the official royal home until it was open to the public, and now this 914-acre park is one of the world’s largest urban green spaces overtaking New York’s Central Park. The large expanse of lawns, lakes and rivers brings both tourists and locals. Explore small corners of the park like the Japanese teahouses added to the 1972 Olympics or the Chinese tower erected in 1790 (and the site of the beer garden). Isar passes through the area and in the heart of the summer months people enjoy socializing along the river banks, picnicking and, perhaps, a little naked sunbathing. It is unusual to see, nor is it unusual to see people bouncing in the water and floating down a river when the heat of the summer sun is saturated.
You may think Munich with no way out is a strange place to surf, but there is one of the few places in the city where “urban surfing” is a thing. Located on the edge of the Englischer Garden is a small place where water from the river thunders under the bridge and creates a constant wave. Special boards are sold in Munich shops and unlike traditional surfing, surfers don’t have to wait to catch a wave, so they basically just jump on the board and get going. As future surfers patiently wait their turn to ride the wave, no matter what time of year, you will always find someone jumping on the water. Whether it’s winter or the heat of summer. The activity brings professional surfers, amateurs and a multitude of observers.
Walking through the door next to Sendlinger, the view is like any other city. Shops and apartments line the streets, and people pass by the buildings, but the Asamkirche is sandwiched between two ordinary buildings.
Built between 1733 and 1746, the church is officially called the “Church of St. John of Nepomuk”, but is colloquially called Asamkirche. The church was built by the Assam brothers as a private chapel and since it was not open to the public, the brothers could build it in any way they deemed appropriate. If it is said that the church is decorated, it is underestimated. The Baroque façade is integrated into the houses along Sendlingerstrasse, but looking closely you will notice a large, dark, heavy and carved door, along with a gilded sculpture of death with scissors cutting the thread of life. The concept of light is professionally used in a relatively small space with directed light that illuminates the three figures of the trinity. Frescoes, mosaics and gold ornaments cover every corner of the small church. Despite the sheer amount of things happening, it still manages to look cohesive with the space divided into three sections, and each section represents something different.
The church is considered one of the most important Baroque buildings in southern Germany. The small church was so ornate and amazing that, despite the fact that it was created for the private use of the Assam brothers, the public wanted it and has been open to everyone ever since.
Drink lots of beer
Germans are known around the world for their fertile beer drinks. Beer connoisseurs there may be aware of the “German Beer Purity Act” which is a law that ensures that German beer is brewed to certain specifications and that many others could be familiar with Oktoberfest. Countries around the world on all continents have their own versions of Oktoberfest, but the original and largest is located here in Munich. But if you’re not here during Oktoberfest, hanging out in the pub is a fun time for both locals and tourists alike.
Pubs and beer gardens: As for beer, the Munchners aren’t kidding. There are six breweries within the city limits, and some less so on the outskirts, but it is basically a law that there are only six breweries allowed within the city limits of Munich. These six are: Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, Spaten-Franziskaner. Of these six, each offers variations such as Helles, Dunkles, Weissbier, Weissbier Dunkle and occasionally Bock.
As for visiting the pub, you can’t get much more Bavarian. Each brand of Munich beer has its own pub / garden which is basically a giant restaurant that serves beer directly from the tap. Here you can experience the best of classic Bavarian cuisine and beer culture. Usually people don’t go there alone, and the tables are big and designed to accommodate more people, so sitting next to strangers is a definite and part of the experience, so don’t be afraid to make new friends. Many halls also have live oompah music, and the size of the beer is half a liter or a liter (known as Maß).
Drinking cold beer on a hot summer day is an internationally known activity and the Bavarians have basically perfected it. In addition to pubs, in the summer months breweries also have open spaces where the idea basically remains the same as pubs. Moreover, public beer gardens can also be found throughout the city. For example, there are two beer gardens in the Englischer Garten, and several others can be found outside the brewery grounds. Expect an eclectic mix of people visiting beer gardens, from locals and tourists, to blue-collar workers, white-collar workers, families, straight gays and just about everyone else. It is not uncommon to see children with their parents or even dogs hanging out with their owners.
Oktoberfest: Oktoberfest brings all the fun and excitement of pubs and gardens and intensifies it to a two-week temptation. The first occurred in October 1810 in honor of the marriage of Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. All the citizens of the city were invited and it grew from year to year, although it was not until 1896 that the cult massive beer tents were brought. An average of 7 million people from all over the world come to celebrate and drink about 7 million gallons of beer.
Six breweries have their own tents and gardens, but keep in mind that getting a seat at the table can be inconvenient and many people on the opening day, and on weekends they come as early as 6am to get a seat, and drinks only start at 10am. Opening days and weekends are the most lewd, as Tuesdays are a “family day,” and most locals favor going during the workday to avoid a big crowd.
Try yourself in Müller´sches Volksbad
One of the beautiful Art Nouveau buildings in Munich is currently an oddity in the modern world, but it is still an interesting place to visit. Originally opened in 1901, the building was a decorated public pool. It is characterized by the latest architectural styles of the time, the Art Nouveau building is characterized by Baroque elements, stucco, bronze statues and iron doors. The pool used to be the most beautiful and most beautiful in Europe, and over the years it has had some accessories like a Roman-style steam bath and a Finnish sauna with colorful lights. The dip will only cost you about 5 euros and again don’t be surprised to see some naked people enjoying the amenities.
Take a defiant walk along the Viscardigasse
Munich was the unfortunate center of the Nazi party during Hitler’s coming to power. After the failed Beer Hall Putsch for which Hitler was arrested along with the deaths of 4 policemen and 16 Nazi marches in front of the Feldherrnhalle Hitler made the monument a national landmark. He became a symbol of the movement, and in front of him were even placed two officers who greeted a Nazi salute from someone passing by.
Viscardigasse provided an alternative route for those who refused to show their support. The narrow alley provided a path around the monument that allowed people to passively resist, and the pedestrian-only alley has a small trace of bronze-paved brick in memory of the brave who did not want to give in giving Hitler pleasure.
Our final word
Munich is a city that offers many amazing things to see and do. It keeps Bavarian traditions alive and thrives, and is not afraid to be something new and completely modern. Relax in the massive green areas, try a local beer or go swimming naked. There is a lot of fun in this old town.