Munich, Germany

Guide for the rail traveller

Information

CurrencyEuro
Local languageGerman
Country Germany

Introduction

Located to the north of the Alps on the Isar River, Munich (Muenchen) is Germany’s third largest city and the Bavarian capital. Situated in southeast Germany it is home to over one million inhabitants and is surrounded by astonishingly beautiful countryside, offering countless options for day excursions. With pleasant warm summers to relax in one of the numerous beer gardens and some charming Christmas markets to visit during the snowy winter months, Munich is a city to visit anytime of the year.

Unlike some of the more industrial or commercial cities in Germany, Munich is known for its relaxed and welcoming, atmosphere as well as as a city that enjoys its parties. Fasching (the Bavarian version of carnival) during January and February and the world famous Oktoberfest during late September are two prime examples of just how festive the mood is in Munich. There is, however much more than these isolated examples in the Bavarian capital.

There are over fifty theatres, two castles, and one hundred historic buildings that have made Munich their home. Furthermore it is considered by many to be Germany’s best city for shopping. Boasting a massive two kilometer pedestrianized shopping district stretching out from Hauptbahnhof to Marienplatz and from there north to Odeonplatz. Alternatively, Munich offers some excellent entertainment, such as the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra’s performances at the Gastieg, or those of the Bavarian State Opera at the Nationaltheater.

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Things to do

The undisputed center of Munich is Marienplatz, named after the statue of the Virgin Mary in the center, it is surrounded by numerous shops, restaurants and cafes. The main pedestrian streets run out from here and most of the sights are within easy reach of this square be it by foot or by using the public transport system. The north side of the square is dominated by the neo-Gothic Neues Rathaus which is the present Town Hall. Nearby is the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall) which houses a charming toy museum. Lastly, the soaring Gothic Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady) Munich’s Cathedral, also stands on Marienplatz. Taking the U-Bahn to Odeonsplatz or walking north up Weinstrasse/Theatiberstrasse leads to the fourteenth century Muenchener Residenz (Royal Palace), where six hundred years of Bavarian history await you.

There are Three Pinakotheks in Munich. The Alte (Old), Neue (New) and Moderne (Modern) Pinakothek are all at U-Bahn stop Koenigsplatz and house some enviable art collections ranging from Raphael and Rembrandt to contemporary designs.

The Olympia Park where the Olympic Games were hosted in 1972 is home to an amusement arcade, theme park and the two hundred and ninety meter high Olympiaturm (television tower) from where the observation tower offers magnificent views. Take U-Bahn three to the northern edge of Schwabing.

Germany’s largest urban park is Munich’s Englisher Garten (English Garden). Located in the heart of this busy city it houses countless attractions such as the Chinese Tower with a great beer garden, the Japanese Teahouse, the Haus der Kunst (State Gallery of Modern Art) and the Bavarain National Museum. It also offers opportunities for hiring boats to allow for a tranquil hour rowing on the lake. Take the U-Bahn to Universitaet, Giselastrasse or Muenchener Freiheit for this seemingly endless oasis.

Local transport

Munich’s public transport network is very comprehensive and efficient, including the underground (U-Bahn), buses, trams (Strassenbahn) and suburban rail (S-Bahn). Tickets may be obtained at any of the underground or rail stations as well as aboard the trams and buses. Ten-journey tickets as well as one or three day passes are available. The Munich Welcome Card offers free transport and reduced entrance fees to many of the key attractions.

Day trips

Munich is an excellent gateway to numerous day excursion destinations. The famous Neuschwanstein Castle located in the Alps to the southwest of Munich was the model for the Disneyland castle and as such a fairytale destination set in a stunning background.

For a half-day excursion visit Dachau, situated just outside Munich. The Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site makes for a slightly daunting and emotionally draining excursion but is a thought-provoking destination. Over thirty-two thousand prisoners died here; a chilling reminder of the past. The S-Bahn from Marienplatz goes to the town of Dachau and takes about twenty minutes. From there take bus 724/726.

A further option is the two-hour journey to Innsbruck in Austria. Located on the road running into Italy this city is the tourist capital of the Austrian Tyrol. The dramatic surrounding mountains will take your breath away. Take a cable car to explore the towering Alps all around you, or during the winter take advantage of this alpine sports paradise rivaling the best in the world.

Recommended places and events to visit in Munich

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