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Marienplatz in Munich taken by Aidan
Munich (German: München) is the capital city of Bavaria, the largest federal state of Germany (by area - not by population). The third-largest German city - by population, not by area- (after Berlin and Hamburg) , Munich is noted for its architecture and culture, while its annual Oktoberfest beer celebration is world famous.
Schwabing (or rather Maxvorstadt) is the upscale academic district - a trendy but charming neighborhood immediately beyond the Ludwigs-Maximilian Universitat (try blue/orange metro stops Universitat or Münchener Freiheit) filled with small coffee houses, expensive but astounding shoe stores, bookstores and speciality restaurants from around the world. Schwabing has always been an "in" place to live, and looking at the shady tree-lined streets, it's not difficult to imagine why.
And if you're feeling homesick, the Leopoldstr. (get out at universitat or münchner freiheit) also offers coffeeshops such as Starbuck's or the San Francisco Coffee House.
When Germans are polled about where they would most like to live, Munich finds its way consistently to the top of the list. Within easy driving distance from the Alps, Italy and the Merranean, the Czech Republic, Austria and some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe, it's not surprising everyone wants to be there! Add to its benefits beautiful architecture, especially Baroque and Roccoco, green countryside which starts a mere half-hour away on the S-Bahn, the second largest university in Germany, and the greatest beer culture on the planet: could there be anything wrong with Munich? Yes and no. The Bavarians are very conservative (although, Munich itself traditionally has a Social Democratic municipal council), to the point of being reactionary. This can make it tough to get to know them, and at the very least, will lead to more than a few raised eyebrows at your ripped denim shorts.
There's a price to pay for living in a city where everyone else wants to be: Munich is the most expensive city in Germany. But all in all, its advantages make a visit more than worthwhile. Just leave the denim shorts at home!
Munich`s cultural scene is second to none, its museums even outnumber Berlin in quality.
And it has been, unlike Berlin, brilliantly rebuilt after the war, most people find it hard to believe that Munich was even bombed in WWII.
Munich people don't want their city to be noticed only as a city connected to beer and the Oktoberfest. In fact, the Bavarian kings had their share of Munich becoming a city of arts and science in the 19th century. Its outstanding position among other German cities
may have faded since - especially due to Berlin becoming the German capital again in the 90s - but Munich still remains Germany's number-one place in art (many famous writers, artists, architects, and musicians who were born or lived in the region):
Egid Quirin Asam, François de Cuvilliés, Johann Michael Fischer, Albrecht Dürer, architects Barelli and Zuccalli (cred with bringing the Italian baroque style to Munich, a style that would become omnipresent throughout Bavaria), Leo von Klenze, Franz von Lenbach, Wassily Kandinsky and the artists of the Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider) School of Expressionist art.
Thomas Mann and Lion Feuchtwanger are famous german writers that lived in Munich until they were driven out of the city by the Nazis because of their religion or political attitude or both.
- Munich is extremely well-connected, with an international airport and a major hub of the German rail system.
- Highways from many directions lead to Munich, however they often get congested at peak times and at weekends, especially during the ski season. For day trips to Munich it's probably best to leave your car in a Park&Ride car park (see below).
- Munich International Airport (http://www.munich-airport.de/EN/) (MUC), is located a good distance outside the Munich center in the Northeast. Recently expanded, has multiple domestic and international connections. If unable to fly to Munich directly, travellers can arrange a transfer via Frankfurt. Flight time from Frankfurt to Munich is about 35 minutes.
- The airport connects to central Munich by subway (S-Bahn) on S1 or S8 lines. The journey (single) costs ?8.80 and takes 30-40 minutes to get to the central station. If in a group (up to 5 people) or with family, the group day ticket is certainly cheaper at ?16. Both forms of tickets can be bought at the automatic machines.
- Tickets must be validated in the yellow Entwerter machines you can find when going down to the S-Bahn station - without a stamp the ticket is invalid and you are liable to a fine!
Most major European cities connect to Munich by rail. Munich's Hauptbahnhof (HBF) is conveniently located central to Munich; it's just west of Marienplatz and is a short walk away from the city center. The HBF also has many traveler-friendly amenities, including several restaurants and a tourist's bureau.
- Hotel Royal (http://www.hotel-royal.de/) Affordable 3 star accommodation close to Central Station (Hauptbahnhof). Rated favourably on Trip Advisor (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g187309-d199660-Reviews-Royal_Hotel-Munich_Bavaria.html/) and others. Free WLAN HotSpot for customers, good price/performance.
- The Bayerischer Hof (http://www.bayerischerhof.de/hbh_intro_flash_en.html/) The luxury hotel in Munich. The Bayerischer Hof is a legend among tourists and residents. Everyone knows if you stay here you are either a star or someone with great taste (and plenty of money). The Bayerischer Hof is located near the City Center.
- Le Meridien Munich (http://munich.lemeridien.com/)) Le Medridien offers excellent rooms for 150 Euro - 615 Euro for its Executive Suite. The hotel is located across the street from the main train station.
- Hilton Munich Park (http://www.hilton.com/) +49-(0)89-38450.
- Mr. Lodge (http://www.mrlodge.de/englisch/e_info_english.htm/) For people staying long term
Best bet is the tram (streetcar), bus and metro (subway) system. You can get individual, group, day and week tickets. The metro (U-Bahn) stations are signed with a white capital "U" on a blue background.
The blue strip card (Streifenkarte) is a better value than buying lots of individual tickets. The cost is ?10, and may be purchased at dispensing machine at every station. Stamp 2 strips for most journeys in the city, or 8 from the airport. The rule is to use two strips for each colored ring on the map. Don't forget to stamp the tickets, otherwise they are not valid. These machines ("Entwerter") are found at the entrance down to the S-Bahn or U-Bahn platform, and on the buses and trams.
For more than two journeys a day, it's better to buy a day ticket, available for a single person or a partner card for up to five adults.
Public transportation operates with limited service from 2:00 to 5:00 in the morning. Metro doesn't operate at all and the tram and some buses operates hourly from Monday to Friday and half hourly on the weekend. So if you're staying out late, try to get the schedule of the so called Nachttram (Nighttram) in advance or don't leave the place before 5:00 (or take a taxi of course).
The Munich MVV website (http://www.mvv-muenchen.de/de/mvv-info-service/plaene/netzplaene/index.html) has underground maps and, under the Plane menu, maps of the Park&Ride car parks attached to U-bahn stations.
With over 200km of bike trails, one of the very best ways to explore the city is on a bicycle. Guided tours are available, or for the independent-minded, rentals and maps are available at the main train station (Hauptbahnhof) and other areas of the city.
Bikes can also be rented by the Call-A-Bike system, which is run by Deutsche Bahn (national rail service). You need to call a number listed on the bikes from your mobile phone and register with the callabike.de website in order to use the. The service is convenient, as you just spot an available bike throughout the city and just leave it at your destination. However, this is not an economical alternative, if you are planning many trips in a single day. In that case, it is better to get a day or multiday rental from one of the rental services located throughout central Munich
The Beaten Path
- Olympiaturm (Olympic Tower) 1 (http://www.olympiapark-muenchen.de/index.php?id=olympiaturm) - the more than 200 m high tower gives an amazing view over the complete city, and on a clear day you can see the Alps. Take a break in the rotating Drehrestaurant (http://www.drehrestaurant.de/)
Museums, Galleries, and Memorials
- Egyptian Museum (http://www.aegyptisches-museum-muenchen.de/) - admission €4 (concessions €3, children free, free for all on Sundays)
- Lenbachhaus Gallery (http://www.lenbachhaus.de/) - Expressionist art
- Dachau concentration camp An incredible, and sobering experience, this is a worthwhile excursion. Not recommended for small children. Tours can be booked in Munich or at Dachau there, in English. While the tour is certainly of historical value, there is very little to see from the original camp, as most of the structures fromt the WWII era have been detroyed.
Tourists, who, take a tour of Dachau from a private guide/tour company often complain that they didn't have enough time to explore the camp. Three hours or more should be dedicated to exploring the camp, though, to fully see the camp may require five or more hours.
Schloss Neuschwanstein near Munich
- Schloss Neuschwanstein (located in Füssen, worth a day trip) Visit the beautiful park! The famous fantasy castle built by Ludwig II, picture postcard perfect and used in the 1960s film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It is easily visited in a day trip from Munich.
- Marienplatz The Marienplatz is the traditional heart of Munich. Its Mariensaule (Marian column (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marian_and_Holy_Trinity_columns)) was built in 1638 as a reminder the city had been spared during Swedish occupation. It is not exceptionally different from any number of plague columns scattered around central Europe. What really draws a crowd on Marienplatz, though, is the Glockenspiel in the façade of the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall). The summer tourist crowds gawk at the Glockenspiel figures enacting the Schafflertanz (coopers' dance), a ritual originally performed to celebrate the end of the plague in Munich. The Rathaus was built in Flemish Gothic style between 1867 and 1908 by Georg Joseph Hauberissere. If you are interested in shopping, go here and follow the main shopping street down to Karlsplatz (Stachus), a major tram/U-Bahn/S-Bahn stop. Major chainstores, such as H&M and Saturn (for CDs and electronical equipment)can be found there.
- Englischer Garten - is in Schwabing. Entrance is free, and it is a wonderful place to relax.
- The vast Olympiapark was built for the 1972 Olympic Summer Games and is still a very active and popular place for all kinds of sports and events(http://www.olympiapark.de)
- BUGA05 (http://www.buga2005.de/) - The Bundesgartenschau 2005 is well adverised throughout the city, but is a bit of a disappointment (many of the exhibits were simply never finished!). Only pay the 14 Euros to get in if you are a die-hard gardening expert.
- Oktoberfest (http://www.oktoberfest.de/en/) - The first Oktoberfest took place on the 12 October 1810, to celebrate the marriage of Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. All citizens of Munich were invited to a meadow (Wies'n) situated in front of the city tower, subsequently renamed the Theresienwiese in honor of the bride. In the early years of the fair, horse races were held, then as the event grew, agricultural conventions, which still take place every third year. But what about beer? After all, the Bavarian hops crop has to go somewhere! In 1896 businessmen working with the breweries in Munich built the first giant beer tents at Oktoberfest, and drinking has been the primary focus since. Each of the major breweries presides over its own large tent filled with traditional musicians leading the crowd in well-known drinking chants, incredibly strong barmaids hoisting ten or more huge Maß (1-liter glass beer mugs that are heavy even when empty!), and a spate of drunken people all trying to get into the bathroom at once. In 2003, Oktoberfest hosted 6.4 million visitors who drank 6.1 million liters of beer and ate the equivalent of 91 oxen, 383,000 sausages and 630,000 chickens. Furthermore there are of course as on all similiar festivals many rides as two looping roller coasters and two large ferris wheels.
- However, visiting the Oktoberfest can be very stressful, because the tents are overcrowded and there are doormen at the entrance ruling the procedure of coming in. Especially at weekends you should try to get in the tents before 10 o'clock in the morning. During the week most tents are open all day, however it is not easy to get a seat.
- It is not recommanded to leave the tent if you want to get in it later the day. So you have to decide early in the morning if you want to go in a certain tent or you want to enjoy the rides like the coaster with 5 loopings.
- Some tents, such as the Hofbrau Festzelt, have a standing area that does not require seating; as such, you can sometimes get into this tent later than with other ones.
Theater, Opera, and Music
Munich has many theatres showing different plays:
Nationaltheater shows a variety of operas
shows more musicals and theme shows (like MAMA MIA!, etc.)
Which often surprises viewers with very modern interpretations of famous plays.
somewhat inbetween Bavarian Folkore and modern theater.
Walking tours (http://www.newmunich.com/) are one of the best ways to see any city and in Munich you can do it for free. Find the "New Munich Free Tour" at Marienplatz at 10:45am and 2:30pm everyday. How can it be free? The guides work on a tips-only basis.
During Christmas time there are many of these "Christkindl Markte", including the large Tollwood, but also smaller markets, where you can buy christmas buiscuits (Lebkuchen) souvenirs and the typical Glühwein. Although pronounced glue-wine, it is mainly hot red wine with spices and different (secret) flavouring.
- Münchner Freiheit is in Schwabing
- am Elisabethmarkt A tiny market, it has cute stalls, and an original feel. It is located at the tram stop Elisabethmarkt of the tram 27. Further information you will find here: www.elisabethmarkt.de
- Marienplatz A bigger market, it stretches across the shopping street, so you can mix christmas market shopping (and eating) with "normal" shopping.
- Viktualienmarkt (http://www.muenchen.de/Rathaus/kom/grossmarkth/viktmarkt/135530/vm_english.html) Famous market in the city centre, where you will find any imaginable sort of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, spices, and so on.
- am Elisabethmarkt (http://www.muenchen.de/Rathaus/kom/grossmarkth/elismarkt/135531/em_english) A tiny market, it has cute stalls, and an original feel. It is located at the tram stop Elisabethmarkt of the tram 27.
- Surfing (http://www.maddogsbreakfast.com.au/mdb/gui/art/art1c.shtml/) In spring join the locals surfing on the river at the edge of the Englischer Garten, at the bridge towards Lehel U-bahn station.
- Skiing: In winter get a "Bayern ticket" for Bavarian public transport, and go skiing at Garmisch-Partenkirchen for the day.
- Soccer: From August to May, you can catch football (Soccer) action with FC Bayern Munich and TSV 1860 Munich at Allianz Arena.
- FC Bayern Website in English (http://www.fcbayern.t-com.de/en/index.php?fcb_sid=f368e5ffe6d1190398da9da3cb4149e0/) Also available in German (http://www.fcbayern.t-com.de/de/index.php?fcb_sid=848776c5025e92c0203e86d3fbefaac9), Japanese (http://www.fcbayern.t-com.de/jp/index.php?fcb_sid=848776c5025e92c0203e86d3fbefaac9) and Chinese (http://www.fcbayern.com.cn/index.html)
- TSV 1860 Munich Website in German (http://www.tsv1860.de/)
- Maximilianstrasse - This street in the city center is the place to go if you are looking for high end luxury goods.
- shopping centres For a collection of shops under one roof go to the shopping centres PEP (U-Bahn stop: Neuperlach Zentrum, U5), OEZ (U-bahn stop olympia Einkaufszentrum) or Riem Arkaden (U-Bahn stop Messestadt Ost, U2)
- Hohenzollernstr. This street has a collection of clothes shops, such as: Mazel, Vero Moda and a cheap traditional German clothing shop. You can reach it by getting out at the U2/U8 stop Hohenzollernstr. and then walking in the direction of Münchner Freiheit (the locals will be able to tell you which directio that is, or by going one stop on the 53 bus going towards Münchner Freiheit (that's the final stop, so written on the front of the bus). From then on continue going in that direction, until you start seeing the shops. You can walk down there in about 15 minutes, but when you're shopping, who knows? And that then brings you to the next shopping zone:
- Leopoldstr. This can be reached by the U-bahn U6 or U3 at the stops Münchner Freiheit, Giselastraße or Universitat, and has chain stores such as the Body Shop, or coffee shops, such as Starbuck's.
see also the Christmas markets under "See"
Please see district articles:
If you happen to be unfortunate enough to miss Oktoberfest (http://www.ooaj.com/en/article/Munich#Festivals), you can live through a sanitized, safer version at any of Munich's many beer gardens. The Hofbrauhaus may be the most famous beer hall, but there are countless beer gardens scattered around the city. Traditionally, there are large chestnut trees (Kastanienbaume) for shade, and many outdoor tables. Bring your own picnics, or, choose from a wide assortment of traditional Bavarian meals and snacks at the kiosks. Beer gardens are family friendly, with children's play areas on site. Well-behaved dogs are welcome, on leash.
The ones thinking they are competable beer drinkers, should try Starkbierfest after Lent lasting till before Eastern. The beer is darker and stronger than normal (even than Oktoberfest beer).
Coffee Culture is also very strong, especially during the summer months.
Beer gardens and beer halls
- Wintergarten This is a very small beergarden in which you can get the feel of a true local's beergarden. It has a small children's playground with swings, a slide and sand close enough for you to be able to see it, and is located next to a grouping of market stalls where you can buy fruit or fish (but don't worry, it doesn't stink of fish!) Sometimes live music is played there, which is usually Bavarian music. You can reach it by getting out at the 27 tram stop: Elisabethmarkt.
Note: In a traditional Bavarian Beergarden (like all above) you are allowed to bring your food along with you. Only beverage (usually one litre mugs of local beer or Radler which is a half and half mix of beer and lemonade) is to be bought at the beergarden. Many locals still cling to this custom, though food is available as well, of course. Try Riesenbrezn (big pretzels) and Steckerlfisch (cured fish). Beer gardens are usally visited by a mixed crowd of people (locals, tourists, families, younger, elderly, straight, gay etc.) which the special atmosphere of a beergarden arises from though people normally don't go alone there.
If you don't manage to find a free table don't hesitate to ask if may join someone. No local would refuse this request.
Still many cafes and restaurants have good small so called beergardens where you are not allowed to bring anything along.
- Crash is a in disco for youngsters. One of the few discos where there is something happening before midnight. You can get in from 16 onwards (but are chucked out at midnight, or not let in if it's too full if you're under 18). You need your passport to get in, otherwise there's no chance. Best get there before the 8 o'clock opening time, because the queue gets really long, and you get really pissed off if you've been queuing for an hour and don't get in. oh, and if you're teenaged, go on thursdays, you can forget any other day!
- The Backstage (http://www.backstage089.de/) is the typical come-as-you-are alternative-rock-punk-grunge-ska-reggae-and-have-some-drinks location. If you go on saturdays, that is, because this is the main party, a standard event for over 15 years. (The Backstage people have survived changing physical location within munich 3 times so far). On the other days of the week, there are various other partys and concerts. Many good bands that are famous and successful in their subculture (Metal, Rock, Goth, Hip-Hop, ...) but are not mainstream enough to fill big halls can be seen here for little money (for munich standards, that is). To that end, the Backstage is more a Club, than a Disco.
If you are lucky, you can catch the Free and Easy festival, which is usually some days in May and Dezember, and a few weeks in July. That's free concerts, cabaret and party every day.
- The Nerodom (http://www.nerodom.de/) is Munich's only full-time "black club". That's Goth, Wave, Industrial, Electro, Midevial, Black Metal, depending on the day.
- All other "black events" (Goth, Wave, Industrial, Electro, Midevial, Black Metal, in case you didn't read the entry before) are ususally once a week or once a month, and can be found on Schwarzes München (http://www.schwarzes-muenchen.de/)
München Business School (http://www.munich-business-school.de/)
Munich is generally a very safe city for any age and gender at any time.
Munich is also generally safe for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered individuals, and there is very little open hostility or harassment to the same.
The S8 and S1 both go to the airport from Marienplatz S-Bahn station, but be careful because the S1 line splits into two separate trains at "Neufahrn" just before the airport- be sure that you are riding in the section that is actually going to the airport.
Dachau and Starnberg are good day trips. You may also want to see the Starnberg Lake (Starnberger See) or Ammersee.
- Andechs Monastery (http://www.andechs.de/englisch/index_main.asp|) If you happen to miss the Octoberfest it is worth to travel to the holy mountain of Andechs. It's a monastery up a hill from the Ammersee. Take the S5 from Munich to Herrsching and then either hike up the hill or take the bus. When you are there have a look at the old monastery church and the gardens before focussing on the excellent beer and Schweinshaxen in the beer garden or in the large beer hall. Makes a great day trip which can also be combined with some swimming the Ammersee.
- Garmisch-Partenkirchen at the foot of Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze. About 1.5 hours by regional train (from the Munich Hautpbahnhof) or by car via Autobahn. The cog railway train to the top of the Zugspitze leaves regularly from the Garmisch-Partenkirchen train station.
- Salzburg, Austria, is an easy day trip from Munich. Trains run from the main Munich station just about every hour, and take about 1.5 hours.
- Prague If you have a few days to spare, this is the perfect trip. many bus tours now offer very cheap transport and hotels in Prague. These trips can usually be undertaken quite spontaneously, and are truly worth the little money, if you don't mind bus journeys.
- Starnberg Getting to this beautiful lake can be relatively easy via S-Bahn. Entrance to a beach can be purchased for a few Euro. It is here that King Ludwig II mysteriously drowned with his psychiatrist.
- Nuremberg It was here that the some of the leaders of the Nazi regime faced justice. Nuremberg offers a lot of history for visitors.
Schloss Neuschwanstein near Füssen
- Füssen is nestled in the Alps of southern Bavaria. A train from Munich's main station will take about two hours. The town is famous for King Ludwig II's "fairy-tale castles," the most famous being Neuschwanstein
- Bad Reichenhall: This is a spa town near Munich.
- the Official Munich City information portal (http://www.muenchen.de/home/60093/Homepage.html) - available in English, French, Italian and German (of course!)
- MVV (http://mvv-muenchen.de/en/index.html) - online computation of subway, bus and streetcar connections. The official urban rail network map (http://mvv-muenchen.de/en/home/fahrgastinformation/mvv-netz/netzplaene/schnellbahnnetz/index.html) is an essential means of orientation.
- In Your Pocket (http://www.inyourpocket.com/germany/munich/en/) - the English language city guide to Munich
- Photos (http://www.travel-impressions.de/munich/muenchen.htm) of Munich, sights, daily life, oktoberfest, etc.
- for young people, stadtpool.de - the underground onlinemagazin for munich (http://www.stadtpool.de) is an interesting information source for culture and events in munich