Munich is a fabulous choice for visitors of all ages due to its intriguing history, proximity to all sorts of outdoor activities, plentiful museums and attractions and a highly functional infrastructure that features a comprehensive and reliable transit system, and safety—there is little to no violent crime in Munich, and the city boasts a strong culture of trust. This guide aims to provide a brief overview of what it’s like to visit: including information on where to stay, when to travel and how to get around, along with some practical tips to help you make the most of your trip.
Essential Munich travel guide
The best time to visit Munich
No matter the weather, Munich has great things to do both indoors and out, from park Frisbee games to getting cozy over afternoon tea. Springtime boasts beautiful flowers and Frühlingsfest (a much more laid-back version of Oktoberfest), summer offers perfect outdoor activity weather for hiking, biking and beer gardens, autumn shows off amazing foliage and possibly the city’s best weather, and winter allows for winter sports and getting into holiday spirit.
Where to stay in Munich
From its stellar art collections to its dense history, its beer-hall jollity to its magnificent green spaces, Germany’s southern metropolis promises a whole lot of culture, interest and good cheer. For culture buffs, the Maxvorstadt is heaven, with Munich’s world-famous Pinakothek trio, the Haus der Kunst and modernist Museum Brandhorst all within walking distance of one another. Those looking to admire historic squares and churches will find a parade of Renaissance, Baroque and neo-Gothic buildings in the Altstadt, as well as the renowned state opera. For a more laid-back vibe beyond the tourist hotspots, ever-more desirable Schwabing offers great cafes and bistros, as well as proximity to the Englischer Garten, while LGBTQ friendly Glockenbach undoes some of Munich’s stiffer Bavarian buttons with some of the best cocktail bars and dance spots in the city.
Travel tips every first time Munich visitor needs to know
Munich is a very visitor-friendly city in almost every aspect: it has a highly functional infrastructure, it offers a wide array of both indoor and outdoor attractions, the climate is milder here than the northern parts of Germany and it's quite easy to get around. Most of the younger generation speaks English, but being able to utilize a bit of German (or even Bavarian, if you dare) is highly appreciated by locals. Though it may not be obvious at first glance, Munich natives are friendly and helpful once you start getting to know them. One of the possible elements of "culture shock" might be how even in the most busy downtown areas, it can still get very quiet on a weekday winter night or a Sunday; Munich can offer many pros of city life (great restaurants, beautiful buildings, plenty of things to do) minus a lot of hustle, bustle and stress. This city features the best of many worlds: an urban environment, beautiful natural surroundings, diverse and international cultures blended with many traditional Bavarian ways of life. And it goes without saying that the beer is world-famous for a reason!
Your guide to public transportation in Munich
Munich has a truly excellent public transportation network, allowing riders to get virtually anywhere within the city limits sans car—including the city's top attractions. The system operates 24 hours a day, although some of the commuter trains do not run for several hours late at night. The only downside to the network is that it can be expensive—luckily Munich is also a very bike-friendly city, so many locals prefer to bike everywhere instead (you can partake too; bikes are easily available for rent). The city has many kinds of transit vehicle represented: subway system, commuter rain, streetcars and buses. Tickets are bought on an honor system and controllers make random patrols, so make sure your ticket is validated. There are also a wide variety of ticket options, including group tickets, and yes, your dog needs a ticket to ride. A tip for pregnant women: do not necessarily expect people to offer you a seat; you may have to ask, but once you do people will usually willingly cooperate.