The city of Munich boasts centuries of beer-brewing culture, a vibrant Arts scene, and a fascinating history. Outside the city, soaring peaks and fairytale fortresses offer hidden secrets and spectacular countryside scenery. 

If you’re planning a trip to Bavaria’s beautiful capital with friends or family, check out our list of top activities in Munich. Make the most of your time in this lively and welcoming city.

Arts and Urban Culture in Munich

Munich is a wonderfully creative place to visit, with galleries and theatres to entertain art lovers of all kinds. Top examples include Kunsthalle Munich, Sammlung Schack, a collection of 19th-century art, Galerie Hegemann, and the contemporary art-focused Heitsch Gallery.

But perhaps the best way to explore the creative side of Munich is by diving into the city’s thriving street art scene. Some of the most talented street artists in the world have used the walls and urban spaces of Munich as their canvas. The quality of their work is amazing!

Top locations for street art spotting in Munich include the Werksviertel-Mitte (just behind Ostbahnhof) and the Schlachthofviertel district. Stroll beneath the Angel of Peace monument, explore around Munich Central Station (Hauptbahnhof), and be sure to take a peek under the mighty Brudermühl Bridge (Brüdermühlbrücke). All these places get painted and re-painted regularly, with some of the sharpest street art you’ll see anywhere in the world.

The city is also home to the Munich Graffiti Library – a treasure trove of colourful history packed with graffiti books and fanzines. It’s the best place in the city to learn how Germany’s graffiti and street art scene has grown and developed over the decades. 

Green spaces to rest and relax 

If the bustling streets and busy crowds get too much, there’s one place where you’re guaranteed a little peace and quiet; the beautiful Englischer Garten. Opened in the late 18th century and nestled in the heart of Munich, it’s an inviting haven of rest and relaxation.

Features include a Chinese tower and a Japanese teahouse – but there’s a welcoming beer garden to enjoy for something with a little more local flavour. The beautiful Englischer Garten is a popular spot on our hop-on hop-off city tour of Munich.

Aerial view over the Englischer Garden in Munich, at sunrise

Family-friendly fun in Munich

When you need a break from pounding the pavement or the kids are up for a 2-wheeled adventure, hop into the saddle and see the best of Munich in style. Exploring Munich by bike is fantastic fun, and there are plenty of bike tour options to choose from.

Private bike tours in Munich show you the sights and sounds of the city as a family – with your knowledgeable guide to lead the way. And for something a little less organised, you could opt for a bike rental. Munich’s separate bike paths make it an ideal city for cycling.

Socialising and nightlife

Munich is a very lively city, with restaurants, bars, and nightclubs to suit all tastes and budgets. For an authentic taste of Bavarian beer culture, the Hofbräuhaus is a must – it’s one of the world’s most famous beer halls!

Visitors enjoy premium quality beer, classic Bavarian cuisine, and a vibrant atmosphere. Explore the history of beer-making in Munich on a guided tour, or settle in for a thirst-quenching session with a chilled stein of Hofbräu Original in hand. Prost!

Munich’s rich history and heritage

The best place to begin exploring the Bavarian capital’s history and heritage is, without a doubt, the beautiful Marienplatz – or Mary’s Square. Surrounded by striking Gothic architecture, this scenic town square has been the beating heart of Munich since the 12th century. Today, it hosts public events and festive Christmas markets, and the iconic Glockenspiel clock adorning the New City Hall (Neues Rathaus) rings out daily.

History fans must also be sure to visit Munich’s spectacular Nymphenburg Palace. This Baroque masterpiece is located in the Neuhausen-Nymphenburg district. It was commissioned by Ferdinand Maria and Henriette Adelaide of Savoy in the late 17th century and boasts beautiful gardens, opulent state rooms, and hidden pavilions dotted around the elegant parkland.  

Aerial view of Marienplatz in Munich, with clear blue skies overhead

Day trips from Munich

Munich is a great city to use as a base for exploring Bavaria, and there’s a dazzling range of day trips and destinations to consider. 

The iconic Neuschwanstein Castle—a striking fortress set high in the foothills of the Alps—is at the top of the list. It features soaring towers and turrets and looks like it was pulled straight from the pages of a Disney fairytale. Visitors can reach Neuschwanstein Castle on a guided tour from Munich, including transportation and skip-the-line access. 

Next up, the dizzying peak of the Zugspitze is the tallest in the German Alps – and dominates the beautiful Wetterstein mountain range. Soaring to 9,718 feet (2,962 meters), the Zugspitze attracts outdoor adventure lovers worldwide and affords jaw-dropping views over the surrounding peaks and valleys. A cable car and cog railway transport eager sightseers to the top and back, and on a clear day, you can see as far as Austria and Italy! Guided sightseeing tours from Munich to Zugspitze make access easy, and winding hiking trails offer bold explorers a high-altitude blast of nature. 

We couldn’t mention day trips from Munich without including one of Bavaria’s most alluring secrets: the Romantic Road. Here, beautifully preserved medieval towns like Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Dinkelsbühl give way to the open countryside of the Hallertau – the largest hop-growing region in the world. Guided tours of the Romantic Road from Munich take in top local attractions like 11th-century Harburg Castle, which dominates the skyline above the graceful Wörnitz River – a tributary of the Danube.

Whether visiting for the first time, travelling with the children in tow, or enjoying a romantic couple’s escape, Munich and the surrounding countryside hold seemingly endless opportunities for adventure. For more travel inspiration from Bavaria’s beautiful capital, check out our blog on How to Make the Most of 48 Hours in Munich.

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