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What to Do in Munich

Enough for 3 Days

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Updated: May 14, 2024

Munich offers a vibrant and diverse range of activities, ensuring you'll never be bored.

Below, we've answered a few of our most popular questions and built a 3-day Munich itinerary for you.

We've also provided a list of several other fun and interesting things to do, including visits to a variety of different attractions, events, festivals, and more.

You're in for a great time in this lovely city, and we wish you an enjoyable visit.


HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU BUDGET FOR MUNICH?

The cost of a trip all depends on where you want to stay and what you want to experience. Some will budget travel and others will go all out.

There are always ways to save money when traveling, so below we've listed some general costs that should work for the average traveler.

We don't include flights, as that depends on where you are flying from and at what time of year.

The average cost of a four-star hotel, for example, varies by season and depends on what events are taking place in town.

You can expect to spend around $150-$250 (€130-€232) a night in Munich. You can find plenty of well-reviewed hotels in the $150 range.

Of course, if you're hosteling or renting an apartment, it could be less expensive.

Then there is the cost of transportation. If you get a CityTour card, it will give you discounts on 80 tourist attractions and FREE travel. (See below for more information.)

There are a few zones, though, that impact the price, and the more days you buy, the more the price comes down. To play it safe, estimate around $12 (€13) a day.

A taxi ride is more, and would on average cost you around $26 (€24) a day for a few trips around Munich city center.

If you're not eating anywhere too fancy, you can expect to spend up to $29 (€27) a day for food for each person.

Grocery stores and bakeries for breakfast and lunch are always good options, and then you can splurge a bit on dinner.

Of course, with world-class cuisine and many Michelin-starred and Gault-Millau-toques restaurants, you could spend much more than that if you wanted.

When it comes to attractions, you can find a number of free museums to visit, or you could get a Munich Tourist Pass which provides free and reduced entrance fees and, in some cases, free travel on the metro.

If you do get the pass, as mentioned above, you should budget around $12 (€13) a day per person, or less, depending on which pass you get.

Note that if you pay to get into each site directly, it will cost quite a bit more than doing it with a discount tourist pass.

For tours, you can find many pay-what-you-wish walking tours.

Overall, you could be safe in assuming it would cost around $220 (€204) a day for a single person, or around $140 (€130) per person.


HOW MANY DAYS ARE ENOUGH TO VISIT MUNICH?

If you're wondering how much time you should plan on spending in Munich, you're not alone.

A lot of people ask this question, and it's not necessarily the easiest to answer.

While some travelers will be able to hit most of the top sites in 5 days, you could also see a good number of them in 3 days.

When planning out an itinerary, you should start from the assumption that most of the attractions you want to visit will take at least 1-2 hours to enjoy, if not more.

It's also important to set aside time for bathroom breaks, meals, snacks, and transportation.

With that in mind, it's probably reasonable to expect you could visit 4-5 locations each day.

Below is a 3-day sample itinerary for Munich


DAY 1


1. Take a Sightseeing Bus Tour

Many people visiting a new city will look into taking a bus tour.  These tours give you the lay of the land and are a good way to start out a visit.

Munich from above. Image source: Pixabay user flyupmike.
Photo by: Pixabay user flyupmike

In Munich, bus tour prices range from €18 - €28 per person, depending on how many days your ticket lasts, and are offered in a number of languages.

There are three companies offering this service in the city. 

For more information and to book tickets, please visit our post on Hop-On Hop-Off Tours in Munich.


2. Staatliches Museum

Staatliches Museum (SMÄK) is an underground archaeological museum dedicated to Egyptian antiquities.

The design is inspired by Egyptian burial chambers, with the collections displayed in one large, airy modern room, lit from the courtyard above.

A brass line indicates the path to follow through the museum, past mummies, sphinxes, obelisks, sculptures, coins, canopic jars, Assyrian panels, and more. 

Photo by: Szilas | public domain

Descriptions are in German and English, and audio guides are available.

Some exhibits include reconstructions of fragmented items, so one can imagine what they might have looked like at one time.

The museum is located in the Munich art area, near Koenigsplatz U-Bahn station, under the Junstareal.


3. NS-Dokumentationszentrum

The free-to-enter NS-Dokumentationszentrum/NS Documentation Center guides visitors through the history of the rise of Nazism in Germany

Munich was ground-zero in this devasting part of history, and the center is built on the site of Munich’s Nazi Party Headquarters, the actual birthplace of the party.  

There is much to read here, covering such topics as how Nazism happened, its ideology, who the key players were, and what part Munich played in it.

You’ll learn more about Hitler’s rise as well.

Surrounding the building are some historical structures that survived Allied bombing, all of which played a part in the Nazi world.

This is shown to you on the third floor in projected historical footage. 

Audio guides are free and well worth it. There are photographs, audio recordings, video footage, and detailed descriptions in both English and German. 

There is also a bookshop on site.


4. Munich Residenz

Grandiosity and splendor are words often used to describe this massive former residence and government seat of Bavarian rulers. 

What was once a small castle in 1385 was, over the centuries, expanded into a sprawling compound, with 130 rooms, 10 courtyards, and impressive gardens. 

As tastes across the ages changed, so did the interior and furnishings. One finds Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical designs.

One may stroll through the Ancestral Gallery with its gilt carvings and over 100 portraits of the Wittelsback family. 

Or you can walk through the oldest room in the palace, the Antiquarium, originally a library and place for storing antiquities and later a banquet hall.

Marble busts line the room and the barrel vaulted ceiling sports intricate Renaissance frescoes. 

There’s also a theater from the 1700s; a treasury of jewels, swords, and tableware; a couple of chapels; royal apartments; and much, much more, 

Since 1920 the Residenz has been open to the public. A complementary  audio guide  comes with the purchase of a ticket, and there is a cloakroom in which to leave your items. Because of the size of the Residenz, some folks find a guided tour to be of help. 


5. Enjoy Bavarian Cuisine

There are a number of Bavarian foods you might want to try, such as:

  • Brotzeit: a snack usually including bread or pretzels,, sausage, sliced cheese, eggs, pickles and much more
  • Brezen: a pretzel that’s soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside, and served all any meal
  • Schnitzel: a pork (veal, beef, chicken) cutlet, pounded flat, breaded and fried in butter
  • Schweinshaxe: a pork knuckle marinated for days and then roasted
  • Weisswurst: a boiled white sausage made of pork bacon back and minced, veal and seasoning, eaten without it’s skins
  • Leberkäsesemmel: ground meat served inside a halved bread roll, usually with mustard and pickles
  • Zwiebelrostbraten: sirloin sauteed in fat and served with fried onions
  • Spätzle: a side dish of chewy egg noodles made with flour and milk or water
  • Knödel: poached or boiled dumplings that can be sweet or sour and are often potato-based.
  • Flädle: crepe style savory pancakes, rolled and sliced, and often served in soups

Below are just some restaurants you might want to visit and sample some delicious Bavarian fare.

The first, Hofbräuhaus, is only a 6 to 8-minute walk from Munich Residenz.


DAY 2


6. Nymphenburg Palace

“Stunning” is the word often used to describe Nymphenburg Palace.

The Baroque limestone palace of staggering size was commissioned as a summer residence in 1664 by Ferdinand Maria and Henriette Adelaide of Savoy.

Additional pavilions, wings, an orangery,  stables, surrounding mansions, and other extensions were added or removed up until 1826.

Today, a number of museums are located on Palace grounds, including the Natural History Museum, the Porcelain Museum, the Erin von Kreibig Museum (of art), and the Marstall Museum (of carriages and royal travel).

Hundreds of thousands of visitors each year walk through the three-story grand hall with ceiling frescoes, the Queen’s bedroom, and a palace chapel.

In the dining room, one finds the Schönheitengalerie (Gallery of Beauties).

36 portraits of the most beautiful royal, noble, or middle-class women in Munich were commissioned by Ludwig I of Bavaria, most of them painted by court artist Joseph Karl Steiler.

The 200-acre (180-hectare) surrounding grounds, inspired by the gardens of Versailles, make up Nymphenburg Palace Park.

The grounds include water features, flower gardens, sculptures, and pavilions. 

It exists as a home to many wild animals and a place for locals to walk, swim, exercise, and picnic.


7. Take a Walking Tour

Munch is a great city with so many things to see. You’ll want to make sure you see the best of it with a sightseeing tour.

Several pay-what-you-wish walking tour companies run their guided walks through Munich. 

For those who like a smaller crowd, paid small-group tours are also on offer.

This would be a good time to take a tour through Viktualienmarkt, a food market that's been open since 1807. It lies in Old Town and is a great pull for foodies.

You can also save money on tours with the Munich Turbopass. It includes a 1.5-hour walking tour through Old Town as well as several other walking tours. 

For information on all of this and more, visit our post on free walking tours in Munich.


8. St. Peter's Bell Tower/Marienplatz Plaza

St. Peters is Munich’s oldest parish church, dating back to the 12th century.

Its clock tower, known as Alter Peter (Old Peter), sits 299 feet high above the Marienplatz plaza. The climb takes you past the tower bells, four were made between 1327 and 1720.

Be sure to have your hiking shoes on, as you have to climb a narrow staircase up to a viewing platform. There, you’ll find a 360-degree view of Old Town Munich and beyond.

Inside the church itself is a 300-year-old altar in the Baroque style, Gothic paintings, and a frescoed ceiling.

Outside the church, in Marienzplatz Plaza, is the 300-foot facade of New Town Hall with a 43-bell Glockenspiel with 32 life-size moving figures.

There's also a column with a gold statue of the Virgin Mary atop it and the Fischbrunnen fountain.

Note that this square is where the Christkindlemarkt is held, so you'll want to stop by if you're there in December.


9. Asamkirche

The German Baroque Asam Church is a sight to behold.

It was originally built in the mid-1700s as a private chapel by the Assum brothers. One was a painter and the other a sculptor.

The outside, although impressive, holds nothing on the inside.

The interior is ornate and gilded, covered in frescoes, stucco and sculptures, with every inch holding something for the eye to take in.


10. Attend a concert

After a day of touring, it might be nice to sit back, relax, and enjoy a concert.

Munich, although known as a city of opera, has many choices when it comes to music.

Rock, Pop, Other

Classical

Opera

Jazz, Blues

By the way, if you do decide to attend the opera, there is no need to wear something overly formal. There is no strict dress code.


DAY 3


11. Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle/New Swan Stone Castle is a spectacular 19th-century palace, located about 2 hours from Munich in Hohenschwangau.

It was commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and constructed on the site oof the ruins of older castles. 

At times, over 300 workers each day worked high atop a cliff overlooking lakes and mountains, bringing the King’s vision to life.

It’s a highly stylized castle due to Ludwig II’s desire for something romantic and elaborate, one inspired by his love of poetry and legend.

He was a dreamer, one who enjoyed a world of fantasy and imagination.

One can see how it inspired Walt Disney to build Sleeping Beauty’s castle at Disneyland. The latter features the same white stone and blue turrets as the original.

Neuschwanstein Castle was opened to the public after his death in 1886, and is today one of the most visited castles in the world.It sees at least 6,000 visitors a day, and 1.3 million a year. We have some tips for visiting the castle.


12. Alte Pinakothek

The Alte Pinakothek, a fine art museum, has one of the world's oldest, and, at one point, largest, art collections.

The art was originally gathered by the noble Wittlesbach family, originating in the 1500s. 

Over time, the collection has come to include works from the personal galleries of Bavarian royalty.

Although small, at around 800 paintings, the collection includes works covering the 13th to 19th centuries, by Old German, Old Dutch, Early Italian, Flemish, and Spanish masters (and more). 

Each painting has a description in English, and audio guides are available. 

This is a world-class museum and one often raved about.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the door. Also nearby are the Pinakothek Der Moderne, with modern art and architecture, the Museum Brandhorst, with contemporary art, and the Sammlung Schack, with art from the late Romantic period.


13. Olympiapark/Olympiatarm

After a full day, a trip to a park is in order.

Olympiapark is where you want to head if you’d like to picnic, exercise, stroll around a large green space, or just people-watch.

The park was built for the 1972 Summer Olympics and has since become a central location for relaxation, sporting activities, sporting events, festivals, and concerts.

It’s fairly close to the city center and is easy to get to on public transportation.

There are food stalls, beer gardens, and even a food hall on the grounds. 

For €11, you’ll be able to access the 955-foot Olympiaturm/Olympic Tower. At 620 feet, there’s an observation platform with a 360-degree view of Munich (and the Alps if the weather is good).

You can also climb the roof of the Olympic Stadium, tour the stadium, rock climb, bungee jump, zipline, abseil, visit the Munich SeaLife Centre aquarium, go boating, or swim in the lake. 

Audio tours are available from the information pavilion.


14. Relax in a Biergarten

For your last night in Munich, you may want to relax in a Biergarten.

There are dozens and dozens of Biergartens in Munich, the city where Biergartens originated. 

In the early 19th century, brewers offering their own beer and food had become so popular that innkeepers and tavern owners were upset at the loss of business.

The trees that had been planted above beer cellars to keep them cool made for a nice spot for folks to meet up to eat and drink.

A biergarten in Munich as seen by night.
Photo by: Martin Falbisoner |  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Bavaria’s first king, Maximilian I, eventually signed a decree to pacify the innkeepers and tavern owners, one that said breweries could continue to serve beer but couldn’t sell food other than bread.

Locals could bring their own sausage and cheese, however, which they did, making the Biergartens a traditional meeting spot. 

By the 1900s, the food ban had been lifted, and Biergartens became recognized as essential to Bavarian culture. 

Today, these usually large open-air spaces, often attached to a restaurant or brewery, are the perfect location in which to socialize and enjoy a meal and, of course, beer.


OTHER THINGS TO DO IN MUNICH

If you have more days in Munich, here are some other activities you might find of interest.


15. Attend a Sports Event

Football is a hugely popular sport in Germany, and Munich has the most successful team in German Football Association history. FC Bayern Munich. 

It also has a basketball team that plays both domestically and internationally and a domestic-title-winning hockey team.

Note that there is an FC Bayern Museum that covers the history of Bayern Munich since 1900, along with a full stadium tour of Allianz Arena. 

Information on this combination tour-museum visit can be found here.


16. Honor Those Lost at Dachau

A name that signifies the horror of large-scale Nazi atrocities, is Dachau.

The Daucau Concentration Camp was the first of its murderous kind, built about twelve miles north of Munich in 1933.

It was originally a place for holding political prisoners, expanding into a death camp for Jews and others whom Hilter and the Nazis wanted to be detained, tortured, and annihilated.

This camp alone, either through brutal treatment, malnutrition, and disease, or intentionally and systematically through execution, removed over 41,000 souls from the earth. 

It served as a model for additional murder camps built throughout Germany and Poland.

Today Dachau serves as a memorial.

The original main gate, some barracks and bunkers, watchtowers, and crematorium are still on site, or have been rebuilt, some of which can be walked through. 

There are audio tours available in 14 languages as well as 2-hour guided tours for those aged 14 years or older.

The vast grounds can be walked around the Camp Road, past religious memorials.

There is also a permanent exhibition and film that takes guests through what a prisoner would have experienced at the camp.

It is truly a somber experience and a reminder that we must remain vigilant in protecting the rights of all mankind.


17. Stroll Through an English Garden

Munich’s Englischer Garten/English Garten is larger than New York’s Central Park and London’s Hyde Park, making it one of the largest urban public parks in the world. 

It stretches from the city center, northeast to the city limits, providing hundreds of acres and over 50 miles of pathways on which to jog, bike, and walk.

Its green rolling hills and large meadows provide a way to get away from the crowds of the city, and its well-manicured lawns make it the ideal place for a picnic.

In the park, you’ll also find Munich’s oldest Biergarten (one of four Biergartens there), a Chinese Tower, a small Greek temple, and a Japanese Tea House.

There are also places to surf and ride a pedal boat, do some nude sunbathing, and attend open-air performances.

The park also holds events like the annual summer Kocherlball, July’s Japan Festival, and a Christmas Market.


18. Visit the BMW Museum

The BMW compound includes one of Germany’s most visited museums.

Those who love cars will find plenty to be entertained by, be it a showroom of cars, the chance to watch production at their plant, or the museum with over 120 exhibits covering the history of BMW.

There are a number of tours on offer, and tickets can be purchased online


19. Watch the Rocky Horror Picture Show

Since 1977, The Rocky Horror Picture Show has been playing every week at Museum Lichtspiele.

The show takes place at 11:00 PM every Friday and Saturday Night, in the original (English) format).

The theater is small so the audience is always full. Be sure to buy your tickets a few days in advance.


20. Note the Street Art

Munich has a vibrant street art scene and was one of the first cities to celebrate graffiti artist murals.

The city provides space for street art and is now even subsidizing some of it. 

From world-renowned street artists to local art students to illegal sprayers, there are many inspired and talented folks making their mark on the city.  


21. Visit A Pretty Neighborhood

Glockenbachviertel, once home to millworkers and a Jewish Community, then to the gay community, is one of Munich’s most attractive neighborhoods. 

One can still find a thriving gay community, and the neighborhood is considered chill, modern, and non-judgmental.

You’ll also find trendy clubs, bars, stores, cafes and restaurants, nightclubs, and galleries, in addition to charming green spaces.


22. Celebrate Oktoberfest

The world’s largest celebration of Bavarian culture can be found at Munich’s Oktoberfest, with almost 6.5 million people attending. 

It’s been held in the same fairground location, Theresienwiese, for over 200 years!

The festival lasts for 16 to 18 days and includes beer tents where massive quantities of beer are served.

Additionally, there are beer barrel tappings, impressive opening and closing ceremonies, parades, brass music, food options, dancing, carnival rides, a horse race in historical costumes, and more. 

Festival goers often wear traditional Bavarian garb.

If you can’t make it there for Oktoberfest (which usually runs the last weeks of September through early October) you might stop by the Beer and Oktoberfest Museum. 

It’s small but offers some beer-related history through guided tours and tastings in a traditional 18th-century pub. There is also Bavarian food on the menu..


23. Visit a Christmas Market

As with many cities in Germany, Christmas Markets spring up near the end of the year. 

The Christmas Market (Christkindlmarkt) at Marienplatz has been in existence in some way or another since the 14th century!

It’s one of the oldest and largest in Germany, with hundreds of stalls and millions of visitors each year.

All of this takes place in the main square, underneath the towering and stunning city hall.

You’ll find glüwein, handmade crafts,  seasonal decorations, holiday foods,  festive music, and much more, both in the main square and in smaller Christmas Markets nearby.

Also look out for a weekly sing-a-long, a Krampus Run, and a Christkindl Tram that loops through the area. 


24. Enjoy Other Festivals or Events

In addition to Oktoberfest and the Christmas Markets, Munich has a number of festivals each year.

Starkbierzeit/Strong Beer Festival (March-April): This 3-week-long festival is like Oktoberfest, only smaller. On tap is a high-in-calories and high-in-alcohol content malty beer that has been brewed going back to the 1600s.

The Long Night of Music (May): Hundreds of locations throughout the city provide space for all forms of art, music, and dance to take place.  Over 400 performances take place. There’s truly nothing like it.

Munich Streetlife Festival (spring and fall): This twice-a-year, car-free, festival is a celebration of sustainability and the environment. In 2023, it’s being reorganized and will come back in a different format.

Kocherlball (third Sunday in July): Get on your dancing shoes. The Kocherlball is Munich’s folk early-morning dance festival. Expect many folks to show up in costume, some dressed as cooks, servants, and nannies, others in traditional costumes. All meet at the Chinesischer Turm in the Englischer Garten.

Greenfields Open Air Festival (July): This all-day electronic, house, and techno music festival pulling some of the biggest names in the business. Food, drinks, vendors, and shops are on offer. The event takes place in Galopprennbahn.

Impark Summer Festival (July and August): This annual festival takes place in Olympiapark. There are vendors selling food, funfair rides, and musical performances, all of it perfect for the family. 

Auer Dult/Market Fair (spring, summer, and fall)): A fair that’s been around since the late 1700s, this festival brings hundreds of vendors to an open-air market. A fairground is also on hand for children.

Tollwood Festival (summer or winter, bi-annually): Around since the early 90s, this festival in Olympiapark, brings together various musical styles, cultural offerings, theater, art, and food, each year under a different theme.

Angertorstraßenfest (July): This lesbian street festival, around since 2006, is part of gay pride week. There is a beer garden, food stalls, a dance area, and information booths, located on a street in the Flockenback district.

Munich Opera Festival (June-July): Since 1875, the Bavarian State Opera has been putting on the Munich Opera Festival. Dozens of concerts, ballets, and events take place, with over 100,000 people attending the various free and paid-for performances.

Theatron Festival (August): This festival welcomes 100,000 people to this open-air music festival, in Seebuhne. All sorts of genres are represented, including rock, classical, pop, and hip-hop. 

Munich also puts on some additional music festivals, such as the Free and Easy Festival (rock and metal music) and the Superbloom Festival (music, art, culture, and lifestyle). 


And much, much more

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About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.
Updated: May 14th, 2024
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