Travel Advice: Munich

During my time in Europe this summer, my favorite city by far was Munich, located in southern Germany. Here is some advice to help you get around the "best city," as it's known to locals.

Essentials: Transportation, Food and Lodging

Getting to Munich from anywhere in Europe is very easy, as the city has an international airport and a long-distance train station. These are serviced by Munich’s local public transportation system, MVV, which is very easy to use. There are three main methods to get around the city: the S-bahn, U-bahn and Strassenbahn. The S-bahn and U-bahn are forms of subways, servicing the city's many touristy areas and outer fringes of the city. Strassenbahns are like buses that run on the city streets.

To better plan out your trip, check out a map of Munich’s U- and S-bahn lines on the MVV’s Web site in English.

Vinzenzmurr

Vinzenzmurr is a great place to get German food on a budget. Their stands/shops are located all around the city, not far from any touristy site. My favorite meal was Wienerschnitzel. Unlike the American chain with the same name, Wienerschnitzel is a typical Bavarian meal consisting of breaded veal, usually with a lemon squeezed over it. It is typically served with French fries or potato salad. Munich is also known for the region’s Weisswurst, or white sausage. It is usually served with a sweet mustard and Brez’n, or pretzels. While in Bavaria, you can’t forget to try the beer. Be sure to sample beer from at least one of the Munich Six: Augustiner, Hofbrau, Hacker-Pschorr, Löwenbräu, Paulaner and Spaten. These are the local brands allowed to set up tents in the city’s annual Oktoberfest celebration.

Though I was lucky enough to have lodging provided for me during the majority of my time in Munich, I did stay for a brief time in A&O Hostel on Arnulfstrasse. It had a great location - only one stop away from the Hauptbahnhof, or main train station, and three stops away from Marienplatz. Although it may not be the most luxurious lodging, for those on a tight budget, this hostel will be greatly appreciated.

Sights

The Rathaus on Marienplatz

You can’t visit Munich without quickly stopping to see the Altstadt, or old city. The focus of the Altstadt is Marienplatz, the home of the world-famous Glockenspiel. Around the corner from Marienplatz is St Peterskirche, the church of St Peter. It is known as Alter Peter – old Peter – to locals because it was built in the 12th century. I would recommend this for visitors because it is one of the cheapest of the three towers in the vicinity, but offers the best view of Marienplatz and the Altstadt. You will have to work for this rewarding view though, climbing up 92 meters, or more than 300 feet!

From the top of Sankt Peter, you also have an amazing view of the Frauenkirche, one of Munich’s landmarks. Its two towers are visible from nearly everywhere in the city, due to an ordinance allowing no structure to be built taller than the two towers to preserve the city’s skyline.

A few blocks from the Altstadt is the Hofbrauhaus, the site of Hitler’s famous “Beer Hall Putsch” in 1923. Although it is quite touristy, it offers visitors relatively cheap food in a traditional beer hall setting.

You can’t leave Munich without spending at least a few hours in the Englischer Garten. This park, located nearly downtown, is larger than New York’s Central Park. It also features some of the regions typical outdoor beer halls, centered around the Chinesischer Turm. I’d recommend bringing a picnic to eat in the park, and then afterwards visiting one of the outdoor beer gardens.

Daytrips

Within a reasonable day trip from Munich are also the famous sites of Dachau and Neuschawanstein.

Dachau was developed as one of the prototypes for Hitler’s system of concentration camps and is located about 40 min away from the city on the S2. Entry to the camp is free, although I would recommend getting an audioguide for a few Euros. Although not necessarily a happy tour, it makes you appreciate history.

Neuschwanstein is about a two-hour train ride from Munich. Located in the small town of Füssen is the dream castle of Prince Ludwig II, or the “crazy prince.” If you venture all the way out of Munich to visit Neuschwanstein, I would recommend taking the 10 min hike up the mountain to see the castle from Marienbrücke, or Mary’s Bridge. From this angle, the castle might seem familiar-it inspired all of Walt Disney’s castles, including the one that’s shown at the beginning of every Disney movie.