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The 31 best sights in Munich every Expat should plan on taking in

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If you don’t live in Munich, it should be on you list of places to visit! Here are 31 sights in Munich

Munich has an abundance of sights to keep you busy every day of the week! The sights in Munich are rich in culture that every visitor will be left in awe – a colorful potpourri of sights, opulent baroque churches and museums at the highest level. One of the most popular excursion destinations in Munich is the art area with its collection of art museums with numerous masterpieces. But there are a lot of other things you can do in Munich. Below are 31 sights in Munich that you have to plan on seeing.

1. Marienplatz

sights in munich

Marienplatz with the New Town Hall is the historical center of Munich. Whatever the season, it is full of locals and tourists shopping, sightseeing, or just exploring the city. The square has been in the center of the city since the 12th century and is named after a Marian column that was erected here in the 17th century. The memorial dates from 1638 and is intended to commemorate the withdrawal of Swedish troops from Munich during the Thirty Years’ War.

The most prominent buildings on the square are the New Town Hall in the north and the Old Town Hall on the east side. There are also department stores, restaurants and cafes here. Absolutely worth seeing is the Christmas market, which attracts thousands of visitors every year in December with its wonderful specialties and delicacies.

2. Peterskirche (Alter Peter)

sights in munich

The Peterskirche (Alter Peter) behind the Marienplatz is the oldest parish church in Munich and is enthroned on the Petersbergl. It was built at the end of the 11th century and destroyed by fire in 1347. The reconstruction was carried out in the Gothic style. There have been many extensions over the years, adding elements of the Renaissance and Baroque to St. Peter’s Basilica.

This amalgamation of styles can also be seen in the 15th century Gothic painting by Jan Polack, which was created under the late Baroque ceiling fresco by Johann Baptist Zimmermann. Those who climb the 299 steps of the tower have an excellent view of Munich’s landmarks from the dome.

3. Frauenkirche in Munich

sights in munich

The Gothic cathedral and parish church “To Our Lady” is the most important landmark of Munich. The late Gothic brick building from the 15th century was badly damaged in the Second World War and rebuilt and partially redesigned in the post-war years.

The towers of the Frauenkirche, crowned with onion domes, tower above all of Munich. No new building may exceed its height of 109 meters. The design of the church is simple, with few window openings and unadorned walls. Even so, there are plenty of restored works of art to look for inside.

The choir stalls from the early 16th century are decorated with busts of prophets and apostles. Some precious altars, glass paintings and benefices donated by wealthy patrician families to the previous church were later built into the new church. Some of the stained glass windows date from this period. The footprint in one of the floor slabs at the entrance is also worth seeing. The black kick was supposedly left here by the devil.

4. The English Garden of Munich

sights in munich

The English Garden in Munich is one of the largest inner-city parks in the world, a popular attraction and a paradise for recreational sports and relaxation.

The park, created in the 18th century, extends over 370 hectares on the left bank of the Isar in the north behind the Munich Residence. There are huge lawns, tree groves, pastures and waterways in the complex. The Kleinhesseloher See in the southern part of the park is one of the largest urban lakes in the world with 8.64 hectares.

The English Garden is one of the most visited sights in Munich because of the nice little wonders such as the Japanese tea house or the Chinese tower from 1790. Popular excursion destinations are the Aumeister beer garden and the Schwabinger Bach , where bathers cavort in summer. The artificial Eisbach is a special highlight . Its current is so strong that it forms a static wave. Experienced surfers can surf here for up to a minute.


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5. Nymphenburg Palace and the Botanical Garden

sights in munich

The most beautiful thing about Nymphenburg Palace is the adjoining palace park. It is one of the most beautiful and largest garden art works in Germany. The baroque garden was designed around 1800 based on the models of the French gardens of Vaux-le-Vicomte and Versailles. Due to its size (180 hectares), the park of Nymphenburg Palace, together with the botanical garden, is also known as the “green oasis” of Munich city center. This makes it one of our favorite sights in Munich.

6. Karlsplatz (Stachus) in Munich

sights in munich

The Karlsplatz , also known as Stachus , is the gateway to Munich’s largest pedestrian street. Since the 13th century, the Salztstrasse has led through the Karlstor, which is still standing today. Elector Karl Theodor had the fortifications around the then Neuhauser Tor demolished at the end of the 18th century and the square was completely redesigned.

Today the Stachus Passages are located in the adjacent roundabout buildings. Opposite is the Hotel Königshof. Instead of the building that now houses the Kaufhof, there used to be the “Stachus” restaurant with its beer garden. A name that has been popularly preserved to this day. After the Second World War, the Stachus developed into the busiest place in Europe until Neuhauser Strasse was converted into a pedestrian zone. And the shopping center below the square is the largest underground structure in Europe.

7. Allianz Arena Munich

sights in munich

The Allianz Arena is the venue of FC Bayern and one of Germany’s most modern and spectacular football stadiums. Even if you only have a temporary interest in football, a visit to the home of FC Bayern must be on the program. The stadium has a capacity of 66,000 and is clad with 2,874 light panels that light up in the club’s colors on match days.

The one-hour tour of the Allianz Arena is not only an experience for football fans. The tour leads through the public as well as the otherwise inaccessible area, the players tunnel and the press conference room, in which interviews are given after the game. Combined tours are also offered, which also include the FC Bayern Erlebniswelt, Germany’s largest club museum.

8. Odeonsplatz

sights in munich

The Odeon Square with its historic buildings is located in Munich’s Old Town at the southern end of the Ludwig street . The square is named for the Odeon, the concert hall on the southwest side of the square. Parades traditionally take place here. The parade of traditional costumes and rifle clubs at Oktoberfest also goes along here.

Odeonsplatz is also the northern boundary of the pedestrian zone. Around the square are the royal residence including the courtyard garden, the Feldherrnhalle , the Theatinerkirche , some city palaces and the elongated bazaar building .

9. The New Town Hall (Neue Rathaus)

sights in munich

The new town hall on Marienplatz was built in the neo-Gothic style and is one of the most popular photo and postcard motifs in Munich. Its facade is adorned with battlements, niches and statues of the first four Bavarian kings. Completed in 1874, the building soon had to be expanded due to the city’s enormous population growth.

Today there are 400 rooms in the Munich City Hall and its facade is 100 meters long. Visitors can take the elevator up to the tower of the New Town Hall. From here you have a magnificent view over the old town and on cloudless days as far as the Alps. Also worth seeing is the carillon that sounds every day at 11:00 and 12:00.

10.The Munich Residence (Die Münchner Residenz)

sights in munich

The Bavarian dukes, electors and kings have ruled the Munich residence since the 14th century. The former castle of the Wittelsbach monarchs is located on the northern outskirts of Munich. Over the centuries, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical buildings and extensions were added to the castle. Today the now gigantic palace complex with its ten inner courtyards is considered the largest inner city palace in Germany.

Due to its large number of buildings, one visit will probably not be enough to see the entire complex. There are 130 showrooms in the Kaiserhof alone. The Italian Grottenhof, the Brunnenhof and the Kaiserhof, which used to be the scene of court receptions, festivals and ceremonies, are particularly worth seeing.

11. Deutsche Museum in Munich

sights in munich

The museum is located on an island in the Isar and shows masterpieces as well as the development of science and technology in Germany.

The diversity of its areas is fascinating, from nanotechnology to reproduction, aerospace and astronomy to hydraulic engineering. Each section has well-presented and fully interactive exhibits that invite children to press buttons, crank wheels and pull levers.

12. Olympiapark in Munich

sights in munich

In 1972 the Olympic Park in Munich was the venue for the 20th Olympic Games. Today, sporting events are still held in the 85 hectare park. In addition, the area has become a popular local recreation area with many concerts, festivals and a wide range of sports. It is almost the case that the Olympic Park wants to break the world record in organizing. Because there is always something going on here.

Various guided tours are offered through the park , during which you can learn a lot about the architecture and history of the buildings. And on the tent roof tour, you can float across the stadium at a height of 39 meters on the Flying Fox (wire rope).

13. The BMW Welt

sights in munich

The BMW Welt at the Munich Olympic Park is the experience and delivery center of the car manufacturer BMW and is considered to be one of the most spectacular showrooms for car dealerships in the world. This is where buyers come to pick up their new BMWs. It is particularly exciting when the car is lifted into the glass hall.

Even if you are not a BMW buyer, you can take a closer look at all the models currently on the market, get behind the wheel and even take a test drive. There are also numerous accessories for BMW fans in the souvenir shop.

14. The BMW Museum

sights in munich

The BMW Museum in Munich is an architectural landmark of the Bayerische Motoren Werke and presents over 125 of its most important original exhibits. The winemaker Professor Karl Schwanzer, who also designed the BMW headquarters, also planned the plans for the futuristic museum building in front of it. The circular, silver-futuristic building is also often referred to as the “salad bowl” or “veal sausage kettle”.

The museum was completed in 1973 and its galleries are located on a Guggenheim-style spiral. The exhibition rooms take visitors on a journey through the technological development of the BMW brand. Oldtimers, airplanes, motorcycles, turbines, engines and unusual concept vehicles from the last two decades are on display.

15. The artsy area in Maxvorstadt (Das Kunstareal)

sights in munich

If you’re ever in Munich, why not take an art day. There is a concentrated load of culture in the  Munich art area  in the museum district of Maxvorstadt. In particular, the Alte Pinakothek , the Neue Pinakothek and the Pinakothek der Moderne can be found here. But also in the vicinity of the Pinakotheken around Königsplatz there are plenty of art, cultural and scientific institutions on the 66 hectare art area.

There are a total of 16 museums, exhibition halls, around 40 galleries and six universities. Among other things , the Brandenhorst Museum , the Glyphtothek , the Lenbachhaus and the State Collection of Antiquities . In addition, the Paleontological Museum and the State Geological Collection are not far away.

You can find more information here:  kunstareal.de

16. The Alte Pinakothek

sights in munich

The Alte Pinakothek is one of the oldest art galleries in the world. The museum’s neo-renaissance design served as a template for galleries that were later opened in Brussels, Rome and St. Petersburg. King Ludwig I was a passionate art collector and ordered the extraordinary collection of the Wittelsbach dynasty, which was begun in the 16th century by Duke Wilhelm IV, to be made accessible to the public. The foundation stone for the Alte Pinakothek was laid on his behalf in 1826.

Today, 800 German, French, Dutch, Flemish, Italian and Spanish paintings from the 1200s to 1800s of the highest quality are on display in the museum. The most important masters are Peter Paul Rubens, Albrecht Dürer and van Dyck, all of whom are represented by several paintings. Works by Leonardo da Vinci, Tizian, Hans Baldung Grien, Hieronymous Bosch and Rembrandt can also be found in the exhibition.

17. The New Pinakothek

sights in munich

In the Neue Pinakothek, works from the epochs of European art from the Enlightenment to the beginning of the modern age are exhibited. King Ludwig I also had an eye for contemporary art of the 19th century and collected many priceless pieces from this period. This collection was also made accessible to the public in the Neue Pinakothek in 1853. It was the first collection of “modern” art worldwide and complements the royal Wittelsbach old masters that have been exhibited in the Alte Pinakothek since 1836.

Around 400 paintings from the 19th century are on display in the Neue Pinakothek, which contain all the important art movements of this century. In the gallery you will find German romantics like Caspar David Friedrich and Karl Friedrich Schinkel, French realists like Delacroix and Courbet, as well as impressionist art by Degas, Cézanne, Monet, Gauguin and Renoir. But also masterpieces by Goya, Rodin, Klimt, Munch and Turner are among the exhibits.

18. The Lenbachhaus

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The Lenbachhaus is a gallery that shows paintings from the 19th century in Munich and various temporary exhibitions. The building was named after the portrait painter Franz von Lenbach, who commissioned the building in the 1880s. In 2013 a new wing was added, clad with copper and aluminum pipes.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Munich had a lively and influential art scene when the “Blauer Reiter” Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc shook up the old academies. Many leading expressionists joined the group, including Gabriele Münter and August Macke. The Lenbachaus is bursting with her paintings. You can also see a lot of contemporary art by Gerhard Richter, Andy Warhol and Jenny Holzer.

19. The Pinakothek der Moderne

sights in munich

As the “third” in the ensemble, the Museum of Modern Art is just as important alongside the Alte and Neue Pinakothek. The Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich shows art from a wide variety of areas in four museums. As with its neighbors in the art area, its galleries are extensive and stocked with art from the most famous names of the past 100 years.

Probably the most exciting is the Expressionism exhibition by the groups Brücke and Blaue Reite as well as the works of artists such as Kirchner, Kandinsky, Klee, Franz Marc and Emil Nolde. The contemporary galleries from the 1960s to the present are filled with art by Sigmar Polke, Andy Warhol, David Hockney and Lucio Fontana, among others. In addition, the museum houses exhibitions for applied arts and industrial design, photography, drawings and architecture.

20. Hellabrunn Zoo

sights in munich

Hellabrunn Zoo in Munich is located in the nature reserve of the eastern Isar floodplains and is the first geo-zoo in the world with species-appropriate animal husbandry. The zoo in the 40 hectare floodplain forest is the most visited zoo after Berlin and one of the most popular travel destinations in Germany.

Opened in 1911, the zoo was the world’s first geo-zoo. Instead of cages, moats and ditches were used as barriers for the first time. In addition, the concept was introduced in which the animals are in their geographic regions. The around 18,500 animals are housed in a jungle world, polar world or the giraffe savannah. There is also an elephant house, a monkey house, a bat grotto and much more.

You will find more information here: hellabrunn.de

21. The Bavarian State Opera

sights in munich

The Bavarian State Opera in Munich is one of the leading opera houses in the world. Its premieres were known throughout Europe as early as 1700. Today the Munich State Opera also houses the Bavarian State Orchestra and the Bavarian State Ballet. Together, almost 350 opera and ballet performances are staged here each year.

22. Hofbräuhaus in Munich

sights in munich

The building of the former Hofbräuhaus is now a tourist attraction and one of the most visited sights in Munich. If you fancy a beer, the carefree atmosphere and the traditional Bavarian cuisine of the inn is just right for you.

Although you won’t find many locals in the Hofbräuhaus, it’s one of the things you should definitely do in Munich.

The building is still used today by the State Hofbräuhaus brewery, which was located here from 1589 to 1897. One of the many prominent regulars in the beer hall was Mozart, who lived just around the corner in the 18th century. On the wall hang beer mugs belonging to regular guests, which are kept strictly under lock and key.

But beware! If you order a beer here, you will be served a full mug. There is also Wiener schnitzel or veal sausage.

23. The Old Court (Der Alte Hof)

sights in munich

If you walk through Munich’s old town, you will come to the archway of the Alter Hof from Burgstrasse . The former city castle from the 12th century and is one of the most important sights in Munich. The dukes of Upper Bavaria used to reside in the magnificent building from the 12th century. The building complex was later used by Ludwig the Bavarian as an imperial residence.

Today you can go shopping here or taste the specialties of the region in the restaurant of the same name at the wine bar. On the north side, the Alte Hof is connected to the Alte Münze. The inner courtyard of the old mint is considered a showpiece of the Munich preservationists. The offices and the information center for visitors to museums and castles in Bavaria are also located here.

24. The Viktualienmarkt in the old town of Munich

sights in munich

At the traditional Viktualienmarkt in the old town of Munich there is fresh food, gourmet stands and of course a beer garden. Fresh fruit and vegetables from the region have been sold on the Viktualienmarkt every day since 1807. Food (Viktualien) and specialties such as olive oil, wine and tea are sold from around 110 stands.

The market stalls are arranged around one of the most popular beer gardens in Munich. Here you can order a schnitzel or sausage with your beer in the self-service restaurant or enjoy one of the regional specialties from the surrounding market stalls. You can also have an excellent breakfast in the cafés and restaurants around the Viktualienmarkt. The nearby Schrannenhalle is also a great tip for a brunch or breakfast in Munich .

25. The Asamkirche in Munich’s old town

sights in munich

The Asamkirche in Munich’s old town is considered one of the most important buildings of the southern German late baroque. The extravagant church is not far from the Sendlinger Tor and clearly highlights neighboring houses. The building is named after the Asam brothers who built it in the 18th century. The church was built as the brothers’ private chapel and was not subject to any religious order.

In this way, the painter and the sculptor were able to realize their project independently of clients according to their own ideas and broke some baroque rules for layout and interior design. For example, the church faces west and the crucifix opposite the pulpit is hung unusually low. The ceiling frescoes and the confessional with its life-size stucco figures are particularly beautiful.

26. The Theatine Church (Die Theatinerkirche)

sights in munich

The Munich Theatinerkirche on Odeonplatz was designed by Italian architects in the Baroque style in the 17th century. The model for the monument was the Sant’Andrea della Valle in Rome. The magnificent yellow-washed facade with its richly decorated niches, reliefs, Doric columns and Ionic pilasters is outstanding.

Especially the altar with the pictures of the evangelists from 1722 and the black wooden pulpit from 1688 are worth seeing. In addition, several members of the Wittelsbach family found their final resting place in the crypt.

27. The Bavarian National Museum

sights in munich

The Bavarian National Museum is one of the largest art and cultural history museums in Europe. In the building, inaugurated by King Maximilian II in 1855, there are more than 40 rooms with decorative objects ranging from antiquity to Art Nouveau at the beginning of the 20th century. Here, among other things, artistic ceramics, weapons, armor, porcelain, oil paintings, musical instruments, furniture and costumes are exhibited.

In particular, the Bollert collection, the sculptures from religious buildings around Bavaria and the set of Rococo Nymphenburg porcelain figures by the Swiss model maker Franz Anton Buselli are worth seeing. Also worth mentioning is the historicist museum building, which was built at the end of the 1890s to complement the collections.

28. The Glyptothek

sights in munich

Another museum in the Munich art area is the Glyptothek on Königsplatz. King Ludwig I had the neoclassical temple built as a repository for his Greek and Roman sculptures. The building was completed in 1830, making it the oldest museum in Munich .

The collection contains sculptures from the Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods as well as the Roman Empire, some of which are over a thousand years old. A highlight is the Hellenistic life-size Barnerini faun, which was created at the end of the 2nd century BC.

29. The Munich National Theater

sights in munich

The Munich National Theater on Max-Joseph-Platz is the main venue of the Bavarian State Opera. The neoclassical theater on Max-Joseph-Platz is one of the best opera houses in Europe and the seat of the Bavarian State Ballet and the Bavarian State Orchestra.

Opera fans who can’t get tickets can still take a guided tour to see the breathtaking multi-story backstage area and learn more about the people who made this building famous. A number of Richard Wagner’s operas made their debuts in the National Theater such as Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Das Rheingold and Die Walküre.

30. The neo-baroque Müller’sche Volksbad in Munich

sights in munich

There is a whole range of good wellness offers in Munich. However, the absolute jewel among saunas and bathing houses is the Müller’sche Volksbad. You can relax in the traditional Art Nouveau building and at the same time be whisked away to the era around 1900. The ceilings are decorated with patterned stucco. The bizarre lamp sockets and wrought iron railings give the wellness temple its very own charm.

When the Volksbad opened in 1901 as the first public indoor swimming pool in Munich, it was the largest and most expensive swimming pool in the world. After several renovations, bathing fun is offered in two large pools. There is also a sauna area with a Finnish sauna, a Roman-Irish sweat bath and other temperature-controlled warm and hot air rooms. In particular, the open-air courtyard and the relaxation rooms on the upper floors offer relaxation in a historical ambience.

31. The Eisbach in Munich’s Tucherpark

sights in munich

The raging Eisbach in Munich’s Tucherpark is a hot spot for professional surfers. The Eisbach wave falls two meters down on Prinzregentenstrasse. With 25,000 liters per second, it is the fastest flowing body of water in Bavaria. Bathing and swimming is now allowed here, but only absolute professionals should venture on the wave. Nevertheless, the place is a popular place to chill out in the English Garden and you can watch the professionals surfing on the occasion.

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