From Christmas markets and castles, to concentration camps and handcrafted brews, Munich can make for a pretty strange trip. The city is also one of Germany’s most picturesque places and it’s a fantastic spot to visit in the winter with its fairytale rooftops dusted with snow and Christmas markets among the best in Europe.
What’s more, you can get to the city relatively easily and cheaply – check out the deals on flights with Monarch Airlines to get an idea of how much it’s likely to cost you – and there’s affordable accommodation available too.
Now we’re going to take a look at some of the main attractions in Munich that are there all year round, so even if you’re not planning on taking a winter break you’ll know there’s still plenty to enjoy here.
We’re going to start with one of Munich’s many galleries – the Alte Pinakothek. This is home to more than 800 works of art from the Middle Ages through to the Rococo period and showcases some of Europe’s most important artists, like Titian, Rubens and Durer.
Complementing the Alte Pinakothek is the Neue Pinakothek, which picks up where the other gallery leaves off with pieces from the late 18th to the early 20th centuries. Again, European creatives are well represented here, with Goya, Pissaro, Gaugin, Van Gogh and famous German artist Hans von Marees among those whose works hang on the walls.
The Neue Rathaus or Munich’s town hall is one of its most famous landmarks and you can’t really miss it if you spend any time in the centre of the city. The main – and most impressive – facade faces Marienplatz (where one of the Christmas markets is held each year) and is a stunning example of neo-gothic architecture.
Its most amazing feature is the Glockenspiel in the tower, where intricately carved figurines enact stories from Munich’s past three times a day (apart from between November and February when the 5pm showing doesn’t take place).
The one thing that Munich is most famous for is its annual Oktoberfest celebrations and you certainly shouldn’t leave the city without sampling some of its beers. Head to Hofbrauhaus – one of Munich’s oldest and best known breweries – and try some traditional brews.
There’s also a restaurant here that serves up Bavarian specialities, so it’s a fantastic place to come to recharge after a day of sightseeing.
Nymphenburg Palace was once the summer residence for the Bavarian royal family and it’s a really beautiful site to explore. The building itself was constructed in a Baroque style, while a vast area of landscaped gardens surrounds it.
Head inside the castle and you can wander through some stunning and delightfully ornate chambers, including the Great Hall and King Ludwig II’s former bedroom.
Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site
Of course, there is a dark side to Germany’s past and in Munich you can learn about this at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site. This has the dubious honour of being the first such camp to be constructed by the Nazis and was used as a model for their other sites across Europe.
Some of the buildings – including the crematorium and former works buildings – are open to the public. Although it’s a very sobering experience to visit this kind of site, it’s also one that’s very worthwhile.