Munich is synonymous to the wild and grand celebration that is Oktoberfest. While there is no denying that the beer festival is amazing by all means and is a must try at least once, there is so much more to the Bavarian capital besides beer. It is a cultural hotspot with a rich history, the remnants of which are dotted throughout its perimeter. While the cities like Frankfurt and Berlin have embraced the modern developments at the risk of their historical landmarks, Munich has very much retained its old charm.
If you plan a Munich trip only to attend the beer festival, you’ll probably find yourself staying for a couple more days having realized there is so much for you to do and see. Here are the top attractions in Munich and everything you do can do in the city.
1. Admiring The Architectural Genius of Historical Marienplatz
Lying in the heart of the city, Marienplatz had a major market in old times which was later moved. However, it remained a centre of public events and executions in the old times. Today, the square is a testimony to German history, having served as a focal point in many of its events. The main highlight is the town house building that exhibits an impeccable architecture.
If you plan your visit between 11:00 am and noon, you’ll hear the Glockenspiel ring and watch the 32 life-sized figures re-enact historical Bavarian events.
While there isn’t much you can do in Marienplatz, it requires a visit on account of its historical significance and the architectural brilliance of its buildings.
2. Picnic Delight in West Park
Located close to Marienplatz, the West Park remains unexplored by tourists. Yet, it has an eclectic mix of things to offer. A Japanese zen garden, a Thai temple, a BBQ ground by a lake and a small beer garden are what make West Park a favorite among locals. There is something for everyone. If you are visiting, don’t forget to try some spit-roasted fish retailed at a little wooden hut to go with your beer.
3. Surfing Adventure at Eisbachwelle
If surfing and adventure is your thing, a quaint spot at the edge of the Englischer Garten is where surfers gather throughout the year, looking forward to tame the roaring waves. But there is a difference in surfing in the river here and surfing in the open waves of an expansive ocean. You need to jump off the bank and onto your board and maneuver through sharp turns to avoid crashing against the river walls. The surfboards in Munich are therefore smaller.
4. Tracing the Nazi agenda at NS-Dokumentationszentrum
The museum is a gut wrenching reminder of Germany’s dark past and the rule of Hitler. In addition to a collection of many Nazi documents, the museum also focuses on history of anti-semitism and racism, both of which Hitler was guilty of practicing.
A visit to this museum is a must to understand Germany and many key historical events. Since most exhibits are text based, you may find yourself so immersed in reading that you’ll lose the track of time, nevertheless, time well spent.
5. Exploring the Museum of Residenz
The erstwhile castle of Bavarian dukes, emperors and princes is a popular attraction in Munich. Each emperor who found abode in the castle worked towards decorating, renovating and expanding it, ultimately constructing an opulent palace complete with lush gardens.
Today, the palace is a magnificent complex serving as a museum and hosts exhibitions about Bavarian history. Many classical concerts and music contests are also held in the palace premises.
If you are a history buff and architecture aficionado, a visit to the museum will appease to both of your passions. The palace architecture is a clear reflection of the taste and style of every Bavarian royal and the period during which they ruled. It is interesting how much a building can tell you about history.
6. Chugging Beer At Hofbräuhaus
We know we just told you there is more to Munich than Oktoberfest, but beer is so important for the people of Bavaria that we just couldn’t not tell you where you can get the best of it.
Dating all the way back to 16th century, Hofbräuhaus is an essential part of Munich’s history, culture and cuisine. Today, it is a popular German beer hall serving the most authentic German bier. Add to the mix a hearty meal and a live bass band performance, and you are guaranteed a great time.
While Oktoberfest is a fun event, to confine Munich to just that one festival is unfair to the city that has so much to offer. Rich in history that is evident in every building, street and park you visit, not exploring the city is indeed a tragedy. There are museums and opulent palaces, sprawling parks and old town squares, and just enough beer halls for you to close your day of exploring.