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World > Germany > Munich
City Guide Munich
General Information
With 1.3 million inhabitants Munich is the biggest city of Bavaria and the third biggest city of Germany. Located to the north of the Bavarian Alps, on the river Isar, Munich is one of the most important economy, culture and transportation centres of the country which is reflected in a certain prosperity. Many media, high-tech companies as well as the car industry have there headquarters over here. Sophistication is not only represented by the city itself but also by the inhabitants of whom a big part belongs to the wealthy upper class. Big expensive cars, exclusive designer shops and haute cuisine shape the city’s high society image but nevertheless Munich has to face a certain prejudice which includes lederhosen wearing people, beer and the Bavarian veal sausage. This is of cause a part of the city’s folk traditions which contradicts with the aim of being a sophisticated cosmopolitan city. Besides, Munich is rich in all kinds of cultural activities. It is packed with museums, a vibrant art scene and famous for the Oktoberfest which is known all over the world. Munich’s history goes back to the Romans but only under the rule of Henry the Lion Munich was strengthened as a settlement in 1158. The following centuries were controlled by the Wittelsbacher who ruled until the 20th century and led the city into a period of stability which is still today represented by the many palaces and castles.
Munich lies in between the humid Atlantic and the dry continental climate zones which makes the weather quite inconsistent. Important weather determining factors are the Alps and the river Donau. The climate is quite warm and dry but due to its geographical location Munich sometimes has to face severe storms. And thanks to the Alps the city gets a lot of snow in winter. The best time to visit Munich is between early summer and autumn.
The official language spoken in Munich is German. Nevertheless, Bavaria has many dialects which are quite strong. Munich’s inhabitants, however, barely speak any dialect.
Bavaria is strongly shaped by a catholic history. Therefore, about 40% are Catholics, 14% are Protestants and about 46% belong to different religious groups or are undenominational. Munich also has a Jewish community of which most members come from East Europe.
The currency used in Germany is the Euro. Notes come in denominations of €100, €50, €20, €10 and €5 and the coins in use are €2, €1, € 0.50, € 0.20, € 0.10, € 0.05, € 0.02 and € 0.01.
Usually tips are already included in the bill but it is common to leave a Tipp of 10 – 15 %. Tips are common in restaurants, cafes and bars but also for taxi drivers, in hotels or at the hair dresser.
From January 2007 the VAT increases from 16% to 19%. In some shops which are signed with the „Tax Free“ shopping sign, the VAT can be reclaimed by visitors from outside the EU. In order to do that you have to fill a tax-cheque by the time of purchase. At the airport your purchased items need to be taken to the customs clearance where the customs official will provide a tax stamp which can be cashed at any of the airport banks in a variety of currencies.
To call Germany you first have to dial +49 and then for Munich (0)89. On most of the inner city places are public telephones which can be used with telephone cards or coins. Telephone cards are available with a value of € 5 or € 10 Euro in post offices, telephone and train station shops as well as kiosks.
Munich has internet cafes of any kind; from small locations with 2 seats to internet giants with more than 450 terminals. Some of the places are free of charge. The name café doesn not always mean that you also get something to drink, sometimes food and drinks are even prohibited. Some internet cafes are: Cyberice-Cafe Internet & Eiscafé: Feilitzschstr. 15, Café Netzwerk: Luisenstraße 11 (+49 89 54832700), easyInternetcafé: Bahnhofplatz 1, Internet House t@ke-In: Rosenheimer Landstr. 30, Coffee Fellows Leopoldstr. 70. Besides, the public library, the Bayerische Börse Aktiengesellschaft and an Internet Point at the airport provide an internet access, some even free of charge.
Emergency Numbers
Police: 110 Fire Brigade: 112 Ambulance: 112 Aicher Amulance: 089 19 224 H&P Ambulance: 089 19 208
Opening times
Department stores, supermarkets and some bigger shops are generally open on weekdays from 9 am to 8 pm and on Saturdays from 9 am to 4 am. Smaller shops are only open weekdays until 6.30 pm. The post office is weekdays open between 8 am and 6.30 pm and on Saturdays from 9 am to 12.30 am.
Public Holidays
1. January (New Year’s Day) 6. January (Epiphany) Good Friday Easter Monday 1. May (Labour Day) Ascension Day Whit Monday Feast of Corpus Christi Assumption Day 3. October (German Unification Day) 1. November (All Saints’ Day) 25. Dec Christmas Day 26. Dec Boxing Day
Munich is in general a safe city; nevertheless tourists can easily become victim of pickpockets or other minor crimes. Travel insurance for you and your family is therefore recommendable.
Munich is a city that has a lot to offer when it comes to sightseeing and old historical buildings. The impressive construction activities of former kings and princes have shaped the city's appearance over centuries which are highly visible in the enormous number of sacred and monumental buildings. If you think about Munich you think about the Hofbräuhaus, the Frauenkirche, the New City Hall or the Theaterinerkirche (Church). Beautiful gardens from an oasis in the lively city structure. The most famous is without doubt the “Englischer Garten” which is popular with tourists and locals alike not only because of the numerous beer gardens but Munich´s famous 900-acre park also offers shaded paths for walking and cycling in summer and picturesque frozen lakes in winter. There are also many amusement parks around Munich as well offering a lot of fun for the whole family. And of course nature offers her best with the impressive Alps right in front of the city’s doors. Discovering Munich is quite easy since many sights are located close to each other but a sightseeing tour with the tram is of course much more adventurous. Munich Tourist Information Fremdenverkehrsamt München Sendlinger Str. 1 80331 München Telefon: +49 89 23 33 02 16 Fax: +49 89 23 33 02 51 Tourist Information at the Central Station Bahnhofplatz 2 Mon- Sat 9 am – 8 pm Sun, public holidays 10 am – 6 pm Tourist Information at the Marienplatz New City Hall Mon - Sat 9 am – 8 pm Sun, public holidays 10 am – 4 pm
Munich City Museum
The Munich City Museum grippingly stages the urban and cultural history of Munich, in among other ways with a series of special exhibitions. The extraordinarily rich collections follow the change of the Bavarian metropolis from royal seat to modern metropolis. They comprise illustrations and oil paintings, furniture and handicrafts, but also toys and fashion. Among visitors'' favorites are the world famous Moriske dancers by Erasmus grasser, which originated in the 16th century. The special collections are generously presented. The department for photography shows the development of the medium from 1839 to 1900. Among other things, the film museum also keeps the largest collection of German silent movies, and puts on daily performances. (Opening times: Tues. - Sun. 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.,closed on Mondays)
The Hofbräuhaus in Munich is one of the best known sights of the city. The history of the Hofbräuhaus goes back to the 16th century when the Duke of Bavaria didn’t want to accept anymore that the best beer of the German nation was actually coming from nearby Hannover. In 1591 the house was finished and delivered beer mainly to the king’s court. The Hofbräuhaus owes its reputation to a man named Wiga Gabriel who composed the song "In Mün­chen steht ein Hof­bräu­haus". For the Oktoberfest the location is packed with people from all over the world but the compulsory language is English. But also locals love the Hofbräuhaus where tradition is a main focus and litres of beer are served in huge beer mugs.
Nymphenburger Schloss (Nymphen
This history of this nice castle goes back to 1664 when the elector Ferdinand Maria commissioned it as a present for his wife Adelheid von Savoyen who had just born Max Emanuel, the longed for heir. Max Emanuel had the building expanded many years later. In 1741 France, Spain, Bavaria and Saxony allied with Prussia against Austria in the Treaty of Nymphenburg. Six years later Max III. Jospeph founded the manufactory for porcelain. Today the castle hosts a porcelain museum. The parks around the castle are generously constructed and still today it provides an excellent location for relaxing walks and strolls. From there it is easy to have a look at the hunting lodge Amalienburg.
The Leopoldstraße is perhaps the best known street in Munich. With a length of 3,6 km it ranges from the Siegestor to the junction Milbertshofener Straße / Domagkstraße. The street inaugurated in 1891 and is named after Prince Leopold. Today the heart piece of the road develops into a gastronomic mile with loads of cafes, restaurants and bars. Besides, there is a massive offer in fashion, furnishing and design shops as well as entertainment facilities.
Schloss Schleißheim (Castle Sc
This castle complex lies in the community of Oberschleißheim and build with a big park, the old castle Schleißheim, the new castle Schleißheim and Castle Lustheim one of the most important baroque constructions. It was built as a summer residence form the Bavarian rulers. Since it didn’t fulfil its actual purpose it was turned into a gallery castle and opened for the public already in the 19th century. Today the new castle is open for visitors. Some of the rooms host a baroque gallery of the Bavarian National Painting Collection.
Zoo Hellabrunn
The Zoo Hellabrunn was founded in 1911 and is therefore the oldest Geo-zoo. Geo-zoos are animal friendly environments where animals are kept in an appropriate neighbourhood without fences or grids. There are many retreats for all animals in order to keep them according to their species with other groups of animals that fit into their wildlife habitat. The zoo includes a jungle for lions and panthers, a primeval forest and a gigantic free flight enclosure which can be entered by the visitors. But also a house for elephants belongs to the many highlights of Hellabrunn. Opening times: April – Sept: 8 am – 6 pm Oct – March: 9 am – 5 pm
Altes Rathaus (Old City Hall)
The Old City Hall was built in 1474 and consists mainly of a gothic hall building which uses an old city gate as a tower. During the centuries the building was changed a couple of times and completely destroyed in WWII. Between 1953 and 1958 the hall was reconstructed, in 1972 also the tower was rebuilt to its original state. Today the tower hosts the Toy Museum which exhibits the biggest collection of American and European toys including dolls, doll houses, airplanes ect.
Alter Peter (Old Peter)
The Old Peter is the oldest building in the city centre of Munich. Even before the city was founded there was a small chapel on the Petersbergl whose original construction was Roam style. In 1294 the first reconstructions were finished in gothic style. They were followed by further reconstructions in the 14th century. During WWII the building was destroyed and again rebuilt until 1975. The viewing balcony in 320 stairs height offers an amazing view over the entire city and if the weather allows even to the Alps.
The Feldherrnhalle is located on the Odeonsplatz which was built by Ludwig I. in the middle of the 19th century. The hall is a symbol of Munich’s dark history. It was built according to the Log­gia di Lan­zi in Florence as an adoration of the Bavarian commanders. In 1923 the building used to be the final point of the Hitler Coup. A memorial reminds of the cruel finish of the march to the Feldherrnhalle. Still today the building is a favourite location for demonstrations.
Neues Rathaus (New City Hall)
The New City Hall was built in 1867 but the present building was constructed over 42 years. As the building was not big enough for the whole administration of the city, it had to be enlarged. Since 1909 the New City Hall is as we can see it today. It stretches over 9000 m² and belongs to the most popular sights of Munich because of its famous glockenspiel which can be heard at 11 am, 12 am and 5 pm.
The Viktualienmarkt is a market in the city centre of Munich selling mainly groceries. It is a daily market which consists of constant stalls. Initially it was meant as an extension of the old city market of Munich at the Schrannenplatz (today’s Marienplatz) which was used for crops and agricultural products. In the 1950s, however, it developed into a gastronomic market and still today the Viktualienmarkt presents all kinds of food, art works and more from over 140 companies and on about 22.000 m². It is not only a practical location for locals but also a popular tourist attraction.
The Marienplatz is the central place in Munich’s city centre and the midpoint of the pedestrian area. Since the foundation of Munich in 1158 the place is the central point of the city. It has been and still is today an important impact on the city’s development and community life. Since it is a pedestrian area, no cars are allowed. On the Marienplatz many other sights are located for example the New and the Old City Hall, the former Hauptwache which is the oldest preserved building of the city as well as the Mariensäule, the well Fischbrunnen and the Charming Julia which was a present from the city of Verona.
English Garden
The English Garden is without doubt one of the best know sights Munich has to offer. With 373 hectare it belongs to the biggest green inner city spaces in the world and it provides great diversity of leisure activities. In summer there are many extended cycle and hiking paths and loads of free spaces for sporting activities as well as a number of beer gardens. Especially recommendable are the ones close to the Chinese tower, the Lake House, Hirschau and Aumeister and the Japanese tea house where regular tea ceremonies are taking place. In 1989 the English garden was 200 years old.
Botanical garden
The botanical garden in Munich belongs to the most beautiful and most varied botanic gardens in Europe. A visit is therefore always recommendable. In 1914 the old garden was replaced by a new one which is now located to the Castle Nymphenburg. The garden includes a big greenhouse with over 600 different types of plants. Opening times: Jan, Nov, Dec: 9 am - 4.30 pm Feb, March, Oct. 9 am – 5 pm April, Sept 9 am – 6 pm May, June, July, Aug 9 am – 7 pm The greenhouses close between 11.45 am and 1 pm, except Sat, Sun and on public holidays.
This great location offers an amazing view on the Theatiner church and is used by locals and tourists alike as a sort of hideaway from the turbulences of the city. The park includes many sights in itself like Hofgarten gate, the octagonal pavilion or the alleyway of 125 arches. The garden was established at the beginning of the 17th century according to Italian renaissance gardens. Today the Hofgarten also has a beer garden, a café and enough space for people playing boule. A path in the North East leads directly to the English Garden.
Liutpoldpark lies between Schwabing and the Olympia location on a 37 m high hill which used to be a hill of debris. It was established in 1911 for the 90th birthday of the prince regent Luitpold. The park spans a area of 33 hectare and includes the Bamberger Haus, a small castle with a café and restaurant and the gallery "Cartoon-Caricatur-Contor".
T he Maximiliananlagen are a kind of construction of the right shore of the Isar. It includes the Maximilianeum - the seat of the Bavarian Parliament, and the angel of peace. The construction was made under king Max II. between 1856 and 1866.
The Ostpark was part of a big construction plan for the new quarter Neuperlach in the 1960s. After 13 years of construction a completely new form of landscape was created which is a big open valley of grassland with a lake that is surrounded by an afforested chain of hills. The purpose of the park is to offer many leisure possibilities like ice skating and tobogganing in winter and sun bathing and swimming in summer. There are many playgrounds and sporting facilities as well as a beer garden and a room for different events which is used by many organisations and groups.
The Petuelpark connects the two quarters Milbertshofen and Schwabingen and is a perfect oasis for stressed city people. Three squares in the park offer enough room for playing, relaxing, strolling and enjoying. A water playground for children and many other playing possibilities make sure that kids won’t be bored. Furthermore, the park possesses many art facilities and about 13 pieces of art are placed in different locations for visitors to discover. A café and a generation’s garden complete the concept of a green oasis.
The Westpark was constructed in 1983 for the International Horticultural Exhibition IGA’83. On an area of 720000 m² two beer gardens, two cafes, numerous walking paths as well as some lakes and small ponds are located. During summer time theatre events and concerts are taking place and an open-air cinema creates a great atmosphere for showing movies. The western part of the park the East Asia ensemble attracts with a Chinese garden, a Japanese garden, Thai-Skala and a Nepalese pagoda.
The Olympiapark was constructed for the Olympic Summer Games in 1972. The pavilion roof construction and the 290 m high tower are already the modern landmark of Munich. Events are taking place in the stadium and the Olympia hall but the park also has a rich offer in leisure and recreation opportunities.
Frauenkirche (Our Lady’s Chruc
The Church of Our Lady is a gothic cathedral and city parish church which is one of the unmistakable landmarks of Munich. The two 99 m high towers with cupolas, the impressive insight of the late gothic brick building and the legendary "Teufelstritt" at the entrance definitely make this church worth a visit. The constructions of the church started in 1468 by order of Duke Sigismund. Twenty years later the towers were finished. The famous pre-renaissance "Welschen Hauben"(bonnets), however, date back to 1525. The church was heavily damaged and foraged in 1944. Until 1994 it was rebuilt in steps and with a lot of effort. The insight hosts the oldest graves of the Wittelsbach rulers and gives space to about 4000 people. During services visitors are not allowed.
Theatiner church (St. Kajetan)
The mighty barque buidling of the Theatiner church with its exuberant forms and its friendly colours is characteristic for the Odeonplatz and the close-by Hofgarten. Many graves of the Wittelsbaxch rulers are located here, for example king Max Josef I., Max II. and crown prince Rupprecht von Bayern. Motive for the construction of the church was the solemn promise that Henriette Adelaide von Savoyen, wife of elector Ferdinand Maria gave on the occasion of the birth of the heir to the throne, ma Emanuel in 1662. The Theatiner church was built under the construction of the Swiss master Zuccali. In 1688 it was finished by the Theatiner provost Spinelli. The rococo facades were added later in 1768 by cuvilliés. During services visitors are not allowed.
Asam church
The name goes back to the brothers Asam who donated and constructed the church. Initially it was sanctified as St. Johann Nepomuk but actually it is only known as Asam church. Built between 1733 and 1746 next to the house of Egid Quirin Asam, the two brothers could act out their artistic concepts. The result is an exuberant church full of baroque pleasure of movement and brilliance. Also the façade with its two raw cliffs framing the entrance is very impressive and definitely a remarkable detail. Also this church was destroyed during WWII and after that carefully restored. During service visitors are not allowed.
St. Michael
St. Michael in the city centre of Munich is said to be the most impressive example of renaissance architecture on this side of the Alps because of its tunnel vault of 20 m in range. All kind of nationalities contributed to the construction of the Angel’s church. An immense depiction of the victory of archangel over the devil is shown in the façade of the church. Although it was damaged during the war, the reconstructions were very successful and turned St. Michael into a splendid part of Munich’s pedestrian area. During service visitors are not allowed.
Alter Peter (Old Peter)
The St. Peter’s Church is the oldest parish church in Munich. The tower which is also called “Old Peter” became one of the landmarks of the city. The inside of the church hosts many valuable pieces from many eras for example the baroque baptistery of Krumper and the rococo side altars of Ignaz Günther. The tower offers a great overview over the city and when the weather is clear even to the Alps. Opening times: 7 am – 7 pm, closed on Wednesdays, during service visitors are not allowed. Tower: summer: Mo – Sat 9 am – 7 pm, Sun and public holidays: 10 am -7 pm, winter: Mo – Sat 9 am – 6 pm, Sun and public holidays 10 am – 6 pm
This congregation church was also built according to the plans of G.A. Viscardi and is divided into two parts. The lower part is a grave church of the Blessed Padre Rupert Mayer which has big groups of ways of crosses. The upper part is a baroque congregation hall with a modern painting on the ceiling. During service visitors are not allowed.
This church is very futuristic and actually looks more than a museum than a church. Very modern and definitely an architectural master piece of our time. The Herz-Jesu-Church was built between 1997 and 2000. During service visitors are not allowed.
Dreifaltigkeitskirche (Holy Tr
This church was built between 1711 and 1716 as the first church in Munich. The constructions were accomplished in baroque style according to the plans of G.A. Viscardi. Cosmas Damian Asam designed the first baroque cupola fresco in Munich. The Holy Trinity Church stayed in good order during WWII. During service visitors are not allowed.