Sunday, June 1, 2008

Visitor's Guide to Munich

I have previously written about my favorite things in Munich, which you can get to by clicking the link. Other posts about Munich can be found here.

If you're visiting Munich on a budget, you can see my favorite things to do while spending only 30€ a day here.

...and if you are looking for information about Oktoberfest click here.

If you are an expat or new to Munich also check out Internations, which is a networking resource to get out and meet other expats in your new city.

Obviously the list will continue to grow and I will do my best to update it when I stumble upon great things.

These are some of the restaurants + stores that I enjoy and hopefully some helpful info for tourists. Please let me know if you have questions or are planning a trip by commenting on any post. I'll do what I can to help!


Some of my favorite restaurants - addresses and locations can be found on the respective websites. I've marked my favorites with a star.

Inexpensive
  • Vapiano - open kitchen Italian. German chain that is opening in the US.
  • Gast - open kitchen pizzas, pastas, salads, + rice dishes
  • Ocui - open kitchen pizzas, pastas, salads, + rice dishes [review]
  • Kaimug - Thai
  • ★ Taco Libre - Chipotle-esque tacos, quesadillas, and burritos [review]
  • Dean + David - fresh salads, wraps, and specialty dishes
  • Schnelle Liebe - pastas, salads, + focaccias
  • ★ Stachaus Passagen - lots of inexpensive food options in a beautiful space
  • ★ Le Buffet - top floor of Oberpollinger department store (right near Karlsplatz). Upscale cafeteria with great food, a beautiful roof top dining area, and huge portions. The stir fry is my favorite.
  • Pasta e Basta - Italian. I've never been, but I always hear it's very inexpensive with large portions. Many dishes are less than 6€.
  • If you are looking for a grocery in the city, they are located in the basement of many of the department stores.

Beer gardens + Bavarian food
  • You may want to sample various beers from different companies, or if you are partial to one you can visit their specific biergarten.
  • A word to the wise - if you go to Hofbräuhaus you will be amongst tourists. You can walk through without eating there. The food is better elsewhere.
  • Stammtisch - this is the table designated for the regulars, it typically has a table cloth and sign. Don't sit there.
  • You can bring your own food into the biergartens, although not the outdoor restaurant area that is served. Bringing your own beer is 'verboten'.
  • Michaelibad - a bit off the beaten track, located in the multi cultural Ostpark. Scenic with a nice pond.
  • ★ Paulaner am Nockherberg- sit down restaurant + beer garden. My favorite place for Bavarian food. Mostly locals.
  • ★ Wirtshaus in der Au - knödel dumplings and great Bavarian food in a quiet neighborhood. 
  • Hofbräukeller + Biergarten at Wienerplatz - a nice neighborhood biergarten in Haidhausen with many trees. [it's beautiful, but a bit trendy and can be difficult to find a place to sit]
  • ★ Augustiner Keller - Home to Munich's beloved beer with a great beer hall atmosphere and affordable food.
  • Hirschgarten - large park + biergarten complete with 'hirsch' (deer).
  • ★ Chinesischer Turm - Chinese tower located in the Englischer Garten. Live music and a mix of tourists and locals.
Nicer dinners
  • Tramin - reputed to be the best restaurant in the city with an inventive menu
  • Cocoon - mixed menu with interesting combinations
  • ★ zum Goldenen Kalb - the best steak house in the city
  • Brenner Grill - pastas and Italian foods
  • Hippocampus - mixed menu with a large variety of fish - beautiful courtyard

Unique / Specialty
  • ★ Nero - exquisite wood fired pizzas with terrific value. One of my favorites.
  • Bernard + Bernard - crepes. Located at Innerer-Wiener-Str. 32 (Haidhausen) - small restaurant with delicious variety.
  • ★ Ganesha - Indian. My heart swells for this food + it's the best I've found in the city. 
  • ★ Pavesi Picnic - modern Indian inspired dishes in a beautiful atmosphere. 
  • Welser - Kuche - medieval dinner complete with ancient recipes (located under the Feldhernnhalle at Odeonsplatz)
  • ★ The Burger House - the very best burgers in all of Munich, even for an American. 
  • Blind Angel - dinner in the dark
  • Pommes Boutique - french fries with 20 sauces
  • Condesa - Tacos, burritos, and quesadillas 
  • ★ Fei Scho - dim sum with Bavarian influences [review]
  • Cosmo Grill - gourmet burgers
  • ★ LaBaracca - Italian style tapas with a self serve wine bar
  • ★ Milagros - charming + authentic Mexican food
  • ★ Nomiya - Bavarian meets Japanese 
  • ★ Sababa - awesome and inexpensive falafels at Viktualienmarkt 
  • Emiko - small portion Japanese inside the Louis Hotel.
  • Sasou - quick asian dishes (mainly Japanese) with a beautiful interior
  • Sushi + soul - sushi
  • Mao - chinese
  • ★ Cyclo - vietnamese 
  • Schneewittchen - a beautiful little café with coffee + pastries
  • Theresa - great atmosphere with a wide array of grilled foods
  • UniLounge - lounge bar with a beautiful interior. Many young people + students.
  • Lorenzo Corno gelato (Hohenzollernstraße 44) - my favorite taste of Italian gelato in Munich.
  • ★ Ballabeni gelato (Theresienstraße 46) - serves the same gelato as Lorenzo Corno's, but closer to the city center. You'll be dreaming of this for a long time!
  • Schubeck's ice cream - specialty flavors
  • Sarcletti's ice cream - specialty flavors
  • Der verrückte eis macher - really off beat ice cream, weißwurst, sweet mustard, Augustiner...
  • Gesellschaftsraum - an interesting fusion menu with very unusual parings [review]
  • ★ Negroni - the best cocktail bar in the city
  • ★ Maelu - incredible pastries 

Shopping
  • ★ Stancsics - specialty truffles + chocolates (try the salt chocolate!)
  • Stolberg- high end chocolates
  • ★ Schrannenhalle - Indoor market with individual stalls. It's lovely. 
  • Dallmayr - Munich's high end grocery. You can get lunch to go, or specialty items to take home
  • Käfer - another upscale grocery with a large selection
  • Tea House - an enormous assortment of loose tea, candy with tea, tea pots... everything tea related
  • Angermaier - nice 'tracht' (dirndls + lederhosen)
  • Fünf Höfe - architecturally stunning shopping mall in the city center. Great place for inexpensive meals.
  • Muji - Japanese 'no brand' store
  • Alessi - design store inside Fünf Höfe
  • Obacht' - modern Bavarian souvenirs
  • ★ servus heimat - another great shop for modern Bavarian / Munich items
  • Hugendubel English - Book store with English books + magazines
  • Literatur Moths - an interesting book shop with a modern selection - the children's books are particularly nice.
  • Kleidermarkt - vintage, thrift, and new clothing... always something new. 
  • ★ Bears + Friends - exotic gummy candies - if you like spicy things try the chili peppers. I love them. The tea leaves are delicious, too. 
  • ★ COS - collection of style... my favorite clothing store
  • ★ Globetrotter - impressive outdoor / travel store with many interesting elements
  • ★ Kokolores - a great stationery/curiosities shop in a great neighborhood
  • Magazin - design store inside Fünf Höfe with many Scandinavian designers represented
  • Kokon - home wares
  • Kare - home wares + unique furniture
  • Kochgut - anything you'd want for a well designed kitchen
  • Butlers - entertaining + kitchen accessories with unique table settings
  • Das Depot - modern homewares and inexpensive seasonally themed gifts
  • 1260 Grad - handmade dishwear by Petra Fischer
  • Janik + Janik - a tiny, but beautiful stationery and gift shop
  • Carta Pura - unique and specialty papers
  • Semicolon - another paper shop with a decent selection
  • Engel + Bengel - design oriented gifts for little ones and moms to be
*my favorite gifts to take home are : exotic honey, jams, teas, chocolates, curry ketchup, gummy candies, creamy balsamics, and mustards. They have an enormous variety for each of these.

There are also a large assortment of Birkenstock sandals, which are one of the few things that seem to be cheaper here than in other countries. (My favorites are the Madrid style).

Tourist information offices
  • Pick up brochures and other information about Munich and surrounding cities. Locations at the Hauptbahnhof (near Busbahnhof) and in Marienplatz.
  • A helpful pdf file can be downloaded here (in English): Young and about in Munich
  • Prepare for your trip while looking at Munich Daily Photo
Subways + Public Transport
  • Public transport here is safe, affordable, efficient, and widely used.
  • Coming from the airport you will need to purchase a ticket. While the transport is based on the honor system, being fined 40€+ per person won't leave you happy. For additional information about traveling to and from the airport click here.
  • Group tickets are good for up to 5 people and are good for the entire day.
  • Maps and bus plans can be obtained free of charge at tourist information or at the Marienplatz underground MVV office.
  • Buying a weekly ticket is sometimes the best option. Depending on how far you want to travel (how many rings). They offer unlimited travel within the number of selected rings. Be aware this will not work to get you to the airport, unless you purchase the more expensive ticket, which defeats the purpose.
  • Tickets can be used on straßenbahns, Ubahns, Sbahns, and buses. The same ticket is valid on all modes of public transport.
  • Validate your ticket in the blue box - the only needs to be done once at the start of your journey. Weekly tickets do not need to be validated, nor do those with the date pre-stamped.
  • Subway doors do not open automatically - you will need to push the button or pull the handle.
  • Use the MVV route planner (also in English) - it can tell you the fastest routes and you will see more of the city if you're not always taking the subway.
  • Straßenbahn 17 is known as the sightseeing line - take a ride and hop off when you see something interesting.
Best City Views
  • Alte Peter - not for the faint of heart. It's a climb, but the views are worth it. My favorite time is at dusk to watch the sunset. I also like having Frauenkirche in the view (I took the above photo there)
  • Frauenkirche - elevator ride to see Munich from above. 3€.
  • Olympiadorf - this is student housing, however there's a great view on the 15th floor roof terrace. On a good day you can see the Alps.
  • Olympia tower - large panorama of the city
  • Olympiaberg - for those less inclined to heights, is a large hill made entirely out of trash from WWII that also provides great views of the city + Olympic park
  • Olympic tent climbing - walk along the tent tops from the 1972 Olympics

Popular things to do in and around Munich
  • Free city tour - This 3 hour walking tour meets daily at 10:45am + 11:45am in Marienplatz in front of Mary's Column (the golden statue). Workers get paid by tips. Very informative and a nice inner city tour.
  • If you come with children have them look for the 'Münchener Kind' or lions (the symbols of Munich)... they are everywhere.
  • Visit one of the parks - Englischer Garten + Ostpark are large and distinctly different. Munich is very much a city that loves it's 'green lung'.
  • Check out the Eisbach surfers - Yes, in the middle of the city.
  • Look at Munich Tourist info's suggested itinerary based on the number of days for your visit.
  • Nymphenburg Palace + Gardens - Baroque summer palace built in the late 1600s.
  • Deutsches Museum - the world's largest technology + science museum.
  • Glyptotech - Greek and Roman antiquities
  • Alte Pinokothek - Middle age through Rococo European paintings
  • Neue Pinokotek - Late 18th to early 20th century art
  • Pinokotek der Modern - modern works in various media
  • Brandhorst - the city's newest museum featuring an impressive contemporary collection
  • Lenbachhaus - 'Blauer Reiter' (blue rider) and 'Munich School' works featuring Klee + Kandinsky
  • Haus der Kunst - temporary art exhibits
  • Kunst Halle fünf höfe - changing exhibits in a beautiful exhibition space
  • Allianz arena tour - English tours of Bayern Munich stadium at 1:30pm daily. Approx. 10€
  • Andechs - brewery run by Monks in suburbia Munich.
  • Neuschwanstein - King Ludwig II's castle that inspired the Disney castles.
  • Dachau - Former concentration camp. Educational and informative, although depressing and prepare for voyeurs. This is a memorial - dress appropriately. Closed Mondays.
  • Salzburg - beautiful Baroque city in Austria. 2 hours by train.
  • Regensburg - medieval city that survived most WWII damage. Approx. 2 hour train ride.
  • Nürnberg - famed for their 'lebkuchen' (christmas cookies) that can be bought year round. Approx. 2 hour train ride.
  • Augsburg - once a major trade city during Roman times. Now a college town. The Romantische Straße scenic drive goes through this city.
  • Chiemsee - uncompleted replica of Versailles with small islands featuring a nunnery and monastery
  • Bier + Oktoberfest Museum - includes the history of beer + purity laws
  • Paulaner Brewery Tour - visit one of Munich's beloved breweries for a behind the scenes look + some sampling.
  • BMW Welt - where you can watch people pick up their cars direct from the factory. The architecture is worth walking through, which is free.
  • Bavaria Film Studios - large film studio where 'The Never Ending Story' was filmed.
  • list of more obscure museums (hunting, potatoes, etc.)
If you have a car:
  • Hallein Salt mines - learn about the history of salt + visit the mines that made Salzburg wealthy.
  • Affenberg Salem - if you want to feed monkeys this is your place.
  • Zugspitze - Germany's tallest mountain. The Frillensee at the foothill of the mountain is just spectacular.
  • Walchensee - a beautiful lake tucked between the mountains - great for hiking, wind surfing and other outdoor activities. (read about our trip)

[last updated: April 2013]

14 comments:

Bluefish said...

Hi, your information is so helpful. I'll be taking notes because I'm going to Munich in August. Thanks.

Emily said...

So glad I could help! Please let me know if you have any other questions. Have a great trip.

Troy said...

Hey Emily,
This really is a great "insiders" list for Munich. Thanks so much for sharing, and thanks for the nice reference to Munich Daily Photo. It was a great surprise. You really do an incredible job with this blog. It's in many ways a personal blog that your friends could read, but it reads like a guide book that visitors to Munich would buy as they arrive.

I always welcome any suggestions on things to explore in Munich, so if you think of anything that you've really enjoyed - let me know. troyza@microsoft.com All the best.

Bluefish said...

I hope I'll able to see Munich witing 5 days. I'll be visiting Dachau and Neuschwanstein castle as well.

Emily said...

Thanks for all of your kind words Troy! I'll definitely let you know about other things - and of course I'll add them to the list.

Bluefish-
Dachau is emotionally draining so you are going to want a low key day when you get back.

Neuschwanstein is a full day trip, but being in the mountains and seeing some of the spectacular views is definitely worth it.

I think you'll have a fair amount of time to get around the city and check things out, plus it's very easy to navigate, which helps a lot.

JoernandAllison said...

I'm thinking of spending a day in Munich at the end of the month, so I decided to check out your awesome visitor's guide! You did such an awesome job!

Just have to add to the "If you have a car" part-
The salt mines in Bad Reichenhall are also very cool. You can visit the Alte Saline too, which is now a museum. Go to Bad Reichenhall, keep the money in the German economy and my husband's company, so that maybe one day, he'll get a raise :)

Lee said...

What an absolutely fantastic resource - you've made my business trip to Munich far more enjoyable as I am able to plan my leisure time from an inside perspective ..... you should be paid to do this stuff, fantastic!

Emily said...

Lee...
I'm so happy to help! It's people like you that I did this for. I hope you have a great trip!

sambassoon said...

My wife and I have had great fun at some of the restaurants that you recommended since we moved to Munich from the states in Oct. 2008. I would like to return the favor. Two that have stood out are:

1. Punto Di Vino in Sendlinger Tor (http://www.puntodivino.de/) a wine, cafe bistro;

and

2. Rüen Thai in Westend (http://www.rueen-thai.de/), which is an excellent Thai restaurant that does not hold back on the heat or the prices, but the food is savory and well balanced.

If you are interested I am posting a a critique about German beer culture on my blog soon.

Thanks.

Sam

Emily said...

sambasson...
I'm so glad that I could help! I can't wait to try your new favorites and check out your critique for the beer culture. Thanks so much for sharing those!

Eve in Munich said...

Hi Emily, I just discovered your blog and have been browsing a little bit. You are doing a great job with this blog and even though I have been living in Munich since 1963, even though I dearly love Munich and even though I think I get around quite a bit myself you are supplying me with lots of new impulses. Thanks a lot and I´ll be following you around! Eve

Emily said...

Eve...
So glad I could help! Maybe you'll find a few new places to visit, even in your hometown! For being a relatively small city there tends to be so much going on here.

Denise said...

Hi Emily! this is so helpful - thank you! I will be in Munich for 2 days before heading off to Paris at the end of February. I can't wait to visit some of these places in the short time we have! Do you have a recommended hotel to stay in for one night?
Thanks!

Emily said...

Hi Denise!
I'm so glad to help.

Since you're here for such a short time I would recommend staying somewhat central and near an S-bahn line for ease in getting to and from the airport / train station.

My first suggestion is Motel One. It's not so much a motel as much as a budget design hotel. There are quite a few around the city, but the ones at Ostbahnhof, Deutsches Museum, and Sendlinger Tor are most central.
[http://www.motel-one.com/uk/hotels/munich.html]

Angelo is another one that people really like.
[www.angelo-munich.com]

If you want something more expensive / boutique style and very central Louis and the Cortiina are the best choices.
[www.louis-hotel.com]
[www.cortiina.com]

The Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit will be going on while you're here, too if it is still so cold. [http://www.hypo-kunsthalle.de/newweb/eokeeffe.html]

You may also want to check out Spotted by Locals for more tips in Munich and Paris from locals.
[spottedbylocals.com]

I hope that helps a little bit. Enjoy your stay! I'll be hoping that it warms up a little bit for you. Travel safely!