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In case you’re new around here, I recently took my first-ever trip to Europe. I was able to find cheap flights there, which was really nice!
After starting in Heidelberg (well, technically Frankfurt, as I landed there), my next stop was Munich, Germany.
I’ve heard great things about Munich, and given that it’s only about 215 miles east of Heidelberg, it was the logical next stop.
Munich, the capital city of Bavaria, is home to lederhosen, Hofbräuhaus, Oktoberfest, and of course, all the beer you can drink! Munich is also the home of BMW, among other international brands. There are so many things to do in Munich.
Oh, and in case you didn’t know, lederhosen are *not* common throughout Germany. They are mostly confined to Bavaria and Tyrol. I didn’t see them at all in Heidelberg but saw several pairs while strolling through Munich.
Like most European cities, Munich’s history dates much further back than any city in America.
When I arrived in Munich, I was told they gave me a free room upgrade. I definitely didn’t book one of the nicer rooms, so I’m not sure how that happened – but I didn’t ask questions.
However, I ended up with one of the nicest rooms in the hotel – which was pretty nice, despite it being a Holiday Inn. I stayed at Holiday Inn Munich – Leuchtenbergring.
While I was only there four nights, Munich was actually where I stayed the longest. Still, with just four nights and so much to see, I had to act fast.
Day One: Munich Residence, Marienplatz, and Wondering around Munich
The Munich Residence was the #1 thing on my list when going to Munich, and I didn’t waste any time making it there.
The only stop I made before going to the Residence was to get breakfast. I was hoping to get breakfast at the hotel, but I couldn’t do it. The thing is, I actually booked my room using points.
This was my first time staying at a hotel in Europe, so I could be wrong, but I suspect booking with points is the reason breakfast was not included. I say this because I read a card on the wall that mentioned having to pay for breakfast if it isn’t included with your room.
In any case, they charge 18 Euro for breakfast, and there was no way I was paying that much! Sure, they were losing money on my stay, and I figure this is their way to “get me.” But 18 Euro for breakfast is highway robbery, and I wasn’t letting that happen.
So I ended up going somewhere that was kind of on the way to the Residence. This wasn’t planned ahead of time since I was hoping to just eat at the hotel, so I just found something on the map.
I found a place called Mr. Pancake and I didn’t necessarily expect it to be an American tourist place based on that name, but it absolutely is. Haha. I felt a little funny being there because I really wanted to experience more local cuisine, but it was okay. Like I said it wasn’t planned, so it was alright.
After finishing my pancake, I continued on to the Residence.
Residenz München (Munich Residence)
The Munich Residence is a palace that was once home to various kings, dukes, electors, and kings. I didn’t know this before visiting, but it was heavily damaged during World War II.
As a result, much of what you see is actually a reconstruction. Nonetheless, the ornate rooms and the majestic, long hallways are a sight to behold.
Before seeing the Residence Museum, I decided to check out the Treasury, where lots of ancient artifacts are housed.
Here are a few photos of the things I saw:
Note that the above images are scaled down to fit into the gallery. Click any of them to see a higher-
After doing my best to see all of the cool items at the Treasury, I continued on to the Residence.
One of the first photo-worthy things I saw is also one of the most striking rooms in the entire estate: the Antiquarium.
I have certainly never seen anything like this before. The photo doesn’t even do it justice; you just have to see it. It’s just so interesting to see things like this. The level of detail is just remarkable.
Nowadays, we have access to technology of which people in this time could never dream, but even by today’s standards, the artwork is still impressive.
Compare that to (lack of) technology they had back then, and it’s an absolute wonder that such a thing was even possible.
Here are several more photos of the inside of the Residence; they may not each have a story of their own, but they’re impressive all the same.
Like before, the images above are scaled down.
While I have little doubt that the Residence could only have been more magnificent before WWII, it was still the highlight of my time in Munich.
Between the Treasury and the Residence Museum, I spent about four hours there. Not an insignificant amount of time, but there were several things I glazed over or skipped entirely.
After the Residence, I headed over to Marienplatz. This is the central square in Munich, which means it’s also the busiest area. While it was still not peak travel season, it was pretty dang crowded.
Plus, there’s a lot of tourism in Munich, but it also has its own residents. It’s a large city – although not as big as those in the northern part of Germany, such as Berlin.
By this point, it was already starting to get dark (crazy how fast time goes by). So I snapped a few photos of the outdoor areas, as that’s about all I was able to do.
The first of said photos is the featured image of this post – the one at the very top. Here are a few more:
Unsurprisingly, I love this architecture; there’s nothing quite like it here in the US. As per usual, the level of detail is something I am just not used to.
For the most part, that was all of my notable photos from day one. I did grab a couple of shots of shopping centers though – again, unlike those we have in the States:
Day Two: Marienplatz (Again), BMW, and Exploring Munich
As mentioned above, it was already evening time when I arrived at Marienplatz on day one, so I couldn’t do too much. So I went back the next day to explore it bit more.
Here’s where I made a slight mistake: day two was Saturday. I wanted to see the inside of town hall, but it’s closed on Saturday, which I didn’t know beforehand. And of course that means it’s also closed on Sunday. I would be leaving Monday morning, which meant I wouldn’t be able to get into the town hall at all. Oh well; lesson learned.
That said, I did what little I could with town hall off limits. The one thing I was able to do was go to the top of the tower (again, the one at the very top of this post).
So I got a few shots up there; the views aren’t bad.
As soon as I was done taking photos, I headed over to the BMW Museum.
I actually intended to go in the Museum first, but I was a little confused as to where the entrance is. So, I ended up at the BMW Welt. That was okay though since I was going to go there anyway.
One of the ways I was able to travel to Europe so cheaply was using credit card rewards. One of them is the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which I still use just about every day!
This card is great because it gives you 1.5% cash back on every purchase. Plus, you can also use those points to earn much more lucrative redemptions for flights (what I did).
If you don’t have this card yet, it’s a must-have. Sign up for the Chase Freedom Unlimited today!
The BMW Welt is basically just a glorified showroom; I believe all of the cars there are current offerings. That’s different from the museum for obvious reasons.
Still, there are more types of cars there than what you would see in your typical showroom.
My personal favorite was the i8 Roadster. Why? Because the i8 is a plug-in hybrid (PHEV).
I mean, sure, the car costs well north of $100k, meaning I would probably never buy one. Not only that but the electric range is a paltry 37 km (23 miles).
If you want a more practical EV from BMW, you probably want the i3 – the 2019 model has 126 miles of battery-only range. I definitely don’t love how they look, but the crossover body does allow it to be a bit more spacious on the inside.
After seeing a few of the cars at the Welt, I went over to the museum.
BMW actually has a pretty interesting history. Most of us think of them as a car company today, but they didn’t actually start as a car company.
In the early 20th century, BMW had two main products: jet engines and motorcycles.
Founded in 1916, BMW didn’t start making cars until 1928, when they purchased a company called Automobilwerk Eisenach. After this acquisition, the BMW 3/15 would become their first production car.
I managed to snag a photo of a 1929 3/15:
And here are a few other photos of some cool cars I came across:
After exploring Munich, I didn’t have any attractions I wanted to see for the rest of the day.
I did have one more very important item on the agenda: to get some schnitzel! I hadn’t had any schnitzel in Germany yet at this point, and I wanted to be sure to do so.
Since this was, of course, my first time in Munich, I wasn’t sure where to go for schnitzel. So, I just found a restaurant in Sendlinger Tor. This is another cool area in Munich, so I figured it would be a good way to kill two birds with one stone.
First, I had to get a picture of the archway in Sendinger Tor:
Then, of course, schnitzel:
Really, it’s amazing how quickly these days went by. Now that I’m recalling them, I feel like I didn’t even do that much each day. But I was out and about from morning until the evening!
For the rest of day two, I just explored a bit more of the city. One of the last highlights was Asamkirche (Asam Church) – and incredibly ornate church near Marienplatz:
That was about it for day two. I meant to make it to Viktualienmarkt (Victuals Market). I didn’t get around to it, although I did wander through Schrannenhalle, which is a cool indoor food market (Victuals is outdoor).
Lastly, I did try to go to the famous (infamous?) Hofbräuhaus at the end of the day, but it ended up being so busy that I didn’t stay. It was a Saturday night, so I honestly wasn’t surprised.
I headed back to the hotel to rest as day three would be my last full day in Munich!
Day Three: Englischer Garten (English Garden)
So, I actually didn’t do much the last day in Munich. The last day was a Sunday, and I forget that in Europe, businesses often have shorter hours or aren’t open at all.
I didn’t even take very many photos. I did snap a few that day while walking around Munich, but that was about it:
As far as the garden itself, just about the only thing I got of this garden were the Instagram stories I shared:
And this short video of the trails within the park:
And yes, that was about it for the last day. I wanted to do more, but as I said, most things were closed by then.
I figured I may as well grab a few beers from the hotel bar. After all, my stay would have been a total loss for them otherwise – it was the least I could do, right!? At least that’s how I justified it.
And with that, my time in Munich had come to a close. It went by quick, but I did and saw quite a bit – even if there were things I had to skip.
Getting Around Munich
Getting around Munich is a breeze. The Munich U-Bahn and S-Bahn run very frequently with stops all over the city. Many routes overlap, meaning that even if you miss the train you wanted to catch, another one will also get you to your destination.
Despite Munich’s large size, I had no problem around getting around exclusively by foot and by train. Germany’s larger cities are clearly designed so that a car isn’t really a necessity.
In addition to Munich’s great public transit, this is also a highly bike-friendly city. As I mentioned in my post about Heidelberg, there are bike lanes on every street I came across.
The way it’s setup is each sidewalk has a divider. About two-thirds of it is for those on foot, and one-third is for bicyclists.
As in any city, many people still rely on cars. However, with Munich’s combination of trains, buses, and bike lanes, it’s hard to imagine anyone living within city limits would really need one.
Eating in Munich
I didn’t feel many of the things I ate were extremely aesthetically pleasing, so I guess I didn’t take many photos. Though you did see schnitzel above.
Other than that, I got a hamburger the first day I arrive along with a half liter of beer. It wasn’t terrible expensive, but not super cheap, either. I spent the equivalent of $18. (For the Americans who don’t feel like plugging that into a calculator, 🙂 a half liter is about 16.5 ounces.)
I also went to a Greek deli stand, which was pretty good. I didn’t keep track of the price but I believe it was between $12 and $15.
This was all still a bit expensive for me so I had to get a kabob the other day. That was only 7 Euro and yet, it was one of the best things I ate. Cheap wins!
Munich has a ton of great places to visit. Some will argue in favor of smaller cities – and while Munich wasn’t necessarily my favorite overall (that will come later) – there is still a lot to love.
The food/beer, history, architecture, museums – and yes, even the lederhosen – make it a one-of-a-kind experience.
The only thing I really felt like I was missing by visiting in late March is that it was neither Oktoberfest, nor was it the season for the Christmas markets. I would seriously consider returning for at least one of those, even if I worry they may be absurdly crowded.
Overall, Munich, Germany is an amazing place to see, and I highly recommend it – especially if you were only considering Berlin.