A historic Bavarian wonderland

Known across the world for its Oktoberfest celebrations, the capital of Bavaria is steeped in centuries of history. Munich holidays certainly have so much more to offer than this impressive annual gathering of revellers and beer lovers. Many writers and composers once called the city their home. In fact, after visiting, writer Ernest Hemingway quipped, “Munich is the best place. Everything else is a waste of time in Germany.” He may have been being flippant, but Munich really will steal your heart. From its bustling squares to its magnificent churches, Munich celebrates its past, having conserved and rebuilt most of its destroyed architecture in the original style.

The towering Frauenkirche (church used as a cathedral) and the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) define the skyline with their neo-Gothic features. The impressive art collection at the Kunstareal museum recalls Bavaria’s royal days, while the BMW museum is a nod to the wealthy city’s booming industrial side. The shops in Munich are some of the best nationwide and it has a stellar Christmas market. Dining is also unconventional in this German region. Breakfast can include ‘Weisswurst’ (white sausages) and local wheat beer, while beer gardens and halls serve Bavarian staples around large communal tables. Holidays to Munich offer the perfect way to experience the best of Bavaria.

All resorts in Munich

Three tips for a top trip

Buy a day pass

When arriving from the airport, it’s wise to buy a day pass for the entire public transport network (called Gesamtnetz). This will avoid hassle and save you money.

Get free water

Fountains around the city flow with crystalline water straight from the Bavarian Alps, so bring a water bottle and fill up with ice-cold, thirst-quenching, free hydration.

Try some liver cheese

It’s neither liver nor cheese, despite that being its direct translation, but ‘Leberkässemmel’ is a famous Munich snack of baked ground meat in a roll with spicy mustard.

Best attractions to see in Munich

Oktoberfest crowds

Starting in September and running into October, huge crowds of revellers enjoy multiple taps of beer and a vast range of ‘wurst’ (sausage). Join in or just watch the fun.

Cultural artefacts

The Kunstareal (museum quarter) has it all, from classical paintings and Greek sculpture to Impressionist works and contemporary artists across 18 museums and more than 40 galleries.

Surfer dudes

Surprisingly, Munich features a popular area for surfing on the man-made Eisbach River in the Englischer Garten (park). Even if you don’t fancy it, it makes for a popular spectacle.

Your Munich questions, answered

Climb 86 steps to the elevator in order to ascend the south tower of the Frauenkirche, which many say looks like a giant beer stein (rather fitting for Munich).
While locals do sometimes wear traditional outfits, such as lederhosen, outside of Oktoberfest, you’ll be fine with casual clothes. Although bring a few layers, as the weather can change rapidly.
You can enjoy a Munich holiday year-round as there’s always something going on in the city. The most popular times to visit are the summer, when there are film, opera and other festivals, and during Oktoberfest or around Christmas, when there are vast traditional markets and festive events. Of course, these months also attract high travel prices so, if you’re on a budget, you might want to consider March to May, which has mild weather and fewer crowds. You can enjoy Auer Dult in spring, a traditional market and folk festival. January and February are inexpensive, if a little cold, and you might even catch some Munich Fashion Week events.
Munich features plenty of world-class alpine hiking trails, less than an hour away by train. Once there, seek out the rest stops, called ‘almhütte’, for a beer or two.
Munich is a city break destination, a great place to learn about Bavarian history and culture, enjoy German cuisine, beers, and wine and maybe even sample the lively nightlife. It’s also well-placed for day trips, such as visiting Neuschwanstein Castle, as seen in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, or you can enjoy heading out to the Bavarian hills for a day of hiking or biking if you’re feeling active.
Altstadt is a good choice for first-time visitors as the old town is in the heart of the city and has charming Bavarian style. There are cobbled streets and neo-gothic buildings aplenty, and it’s easy to explore on foot. Just to the north, Maxvorstadt is a cultural neighbourhood that is also popular with tourists thanks to its close proximity to museums and art galleries. If you want something a little more bohemian, try Glockenbach, an arty, LGBT-friendly neighbourhood with cool coffee shops, bars and lively nightlife.
You can fly to Munich from London, Manchester and Edinburgh, with fast, direct flights. London or Manchester to Munich flight times are just under two hours, while Edinburgh flights are a little over, so it’s perfect for a short-haul city break. From the airport, you can reach the city centre on the S-Bahn, which runs regularly and takes just 40 minutes.
Munich can be done in a long weekend, with three to four days giving you time to soak up the city’s atmosphere and see the main attractions. But, as with any holiday, the longer you can stay, the better. If you spend a week, you can take day trips to see castles and enjoy the rolling green hills and fairytale villages of Bavaria or take a cruise on one of the lakes.
There’s plenty for young kids to enjoy in Munich. They’ll love exploring the historic streets, seeing the historic glockenspiel or visiting the fun, interactive German Museum, which teaches them all about science and technology. If they need to run around outside, the English Garden has plenty of space, with a river where you can paddleboard or surf, plus a playground. Many beer halls are family-friendly, and your child can enjoy a soft drink and the traditional entertainment and lively atmosphere.