Grand adventures you must take around Munich
- I’m always an enormous fan of free walking tours, and the Sandemans New Europe Free Walking Tour in Munich doesn’t disappoint. This 3 hour tip-based tour takes you on a rich and entertaining stroll around Munich, beginning at the Marienplatz at 10:45 and 14:00. I’d recommend doing this tour before anything, as the tour guide can then suggest further adventures (and foods and sights) to suit your liking.
- The famous Hofbrauhaus is an obvious must. Try to get a spot outside, as the heat and noise inside can be a bit overwhelming.
- But don’t neglect the other great bier halls around town. You can get cheaper beer and better food by dropping in on some of the Hofbrau’s neighboring watering holes.
- For those who like shiny things (…sister), stop by the Munich Residenz, home to the extravagant Bavarian Crown Jewels.
- And for the foodies, the Viktualienmarkt is a daily food market with everything from fresh produce to German delicacies.
- There’s a small segment of the Eisbach (Isar) River near the Haus der Kunst Art Museum where the perfect standing wave is formed, and where there are waves there are surfers. Make sure to swing by here to watch dozens of surfers try their hand (er…feet?) at this urban wave.
- Take a day trip to Dachau (20 minutes), a concentration camp that held political prisoners. This was well worth the visit.
- When in Germany, one should probably definitely see the “Cinderella Castle”, or Neuschwanstein Castle (about 1 hour 45 minutes from Munich). The lines for tours can be atrocious here. My recommendation? Skip the tour of the inside and just walk up (30 to 45 minutes) to the top to get the full, grand view.
Another great day trip (or overnighter) is Garmisch-Partenkirchen (1 hour), a cozy mountain town on the border of Germany and Austria. This one gets its own section because I just love Garmisch, okay?! Some things you must do while in town:
- Make the ascent to Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak. Be warned, it can be a bit costly for a family of four, but the sights are well worth it.
- Take a walk around the site of the 1936 Olympic Winter Games (pretty cool) and to Partnach Gorge (VERY cool). If you park at the Olympic Stadium, it’s about a 2 (or 3) mile walk to the gorge. The gorge itself is a narrow canal carved by rushing waters. The path in the gorge hugs the river and can be quite wet, so bring a raincoat!
- U.S. military members/dependents/retirees can stay at the gorgeous Edelweiss Lodge. Sure you’ll be surrounded by Americans and may not get the true small-town Germany experience, but it’s beautiful, has tons of activities, and is probably pretty great for families.
Things to note
- The Glockenspiel in Munich, while being one of the greatest tourist attraction in this town, does invoke the question “is that all it does?”.
- If you’re going to Munich during Oktoberfest, be prepared to open your wallet and deal with huge crowds. For a less crowded/pricey Oktoberfest experience, head to the Canstatter Volksfest in Stuttgart (about 2 to 3 hours northwest).
Read all about German foods and some local fests in this post about Stuttgart, and if you’re heading north, I also have a few tidbits about Hamburg.
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