Travel guide - Munich

In addition to being Germany’s largest state, Bavaria also possesses what many consider to be the country’s second most important city: Munich. The capital of a region filled with fairy tale landscapes, Munich is also home to a concentration of Germany’s cultural and architectural wealth. In a waltz of tradition and modernity, this prosperous city surprises its spellbound visitors with its quirky buildings, delicious food and eccentric panache.

Munich and its architecture: a love story

On the neo-Gothic facade of the Neues Rathaus on Marienplatz, under the Gothic towers of the red brick Munich Cathedral and in front of the Italian Baroque Theatinerkirche, Munich is an open-air architectural museum. All kinds of different styles are represented here, and evidence of the different time periods is carved in stone, as can be seen in Bavaria’s largest Renaissance church, the Michaelskirche. Built in 1587, this building’s immaculate facade is made of equal parts sculpture, columns and geometric lines. Its aesthetic is directly inspired by the Italian Renaissance, which greatly influenced Munich in the 16th century.
For a more over-the-top example of religious architecture, check out the small Asamkirche, an old private chapel built by two wealthy brothers. It’s a stunning example of the rococo Baroque style, all stucco and gilding. Thanks to its Baroque profusion of marble and its painted ceiling, the Asamkirche is one of the most emblematic churches in southern Germany.

Art in all its forms, on the Königsplatz

Not far from the magnetic historic centre of the Marienplatz, Munich offers visitors something truly unique: a museum quarter known as Kunstareal. There aren’t many places in the world where you can find such cultural diversity. Start by heading to the magnificent Pinakothek der Moderne, whose permanent collections and temporary exhibits honour contemporary art. In these galleries you can see works by Matisse, Georges Braque and Picasso.
In a whole different style and a whole different time period, the Alte Pinakothek honours European painters and artists from the 13th through the 18th centuries. In this refined classical setting you can find works by Pieter Brueghel, Rubens and Fragonard. Gazing upon El Greco’s elongated figures or Poussin’s Midas devant Bacchus, you can review your classics in this temple of German heritage.

Gourmet Bavaria, served up Munich-style

What would Munich be without its rich cuisine, in all the senses of the word? There are local specialities, of course, but even more memorable than the food is the ambiance. One of the most typical can be found at Hofbräuhaus. In this immense room with a vaulted ceiling, thousands of seats, a friendly hubbub and concerts of traditional folk music, you’re sure not to be disappointed. When visiting this bar, which has been open since 1589, order the local speciality: Sauerbraten, meat with a sweet yet tangy sauce, served with potato salad. There are plenty of good places to eat in Munich. In the artistic Schwabing neighbourhood in the historic city centre, around Munich’s market square called the Viktualienmarket, you can taste Leberkäse, a sort of local meatloaf, or Munich’s famous sausages: Weisswurst Münchner.

Munich: as friendly as it is comfortable

Munich is a city where the locals have the art of living down to a science. This way of life, along with Munich’s typical friendliness, is felt in the city’s biergartens and along the banks of the Isar. A true Munich institution, the biergartens consist of immense tables where locals come together to have a drink, eat brotzeit—the typically Bavarian snack of pretzels and sausage—and enjoy a pleasant outing. For a quieter setting, some of the banks of the Isar, the calm river flowing through Munich, offer elegant little establishments like the Café Im Müller'sches Volksbad. Found at the entrance to an old Art Nouveau swimming pool, the cafe offers a beautiful view of the Isar, as well as a place for a relaxing dip!

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