And yes, there’s more than just Oktoberfest.
You may recall that Devin, Marissa, and I spent a week in Germany last fall. Whether you kept up with our travels on Instagram or not, I’m sure it’s no surprise to anybody familiar with The Dana Diaries that I’m only JUST getting around to writing about our itinerary. I guess living the COVID-19 quarantine lifestyle will do it! (Prost, Coronavirus.) I’ve got a lot of time on my hands, and today’s the day! Throw on your Bavarian best (yes, the Munich locals do wear lederhosen and dirndls) and let’s explore Munich!
A snapshot of our Deutschland trip:
- We kicked off the trip in Munich and spent two and a half days exploring the city -technically three full days for Devin and Marissa. We spent one of those days checking out Oktoberfest
- On the third day, we jumped on various trains and headed to the real-life fairytale town, Rothenburg ob der Tauber. This ride took a bit longer than expected thanks to a travel mishap that we’ll chat about later.
- We stayed overnight in Rothenburg and then continued on to Berlin. We spent two and a half days in the city before heading home.
Where we stayed + Getting around
Munich, the Bavarian capital, is Germany’s third largest city, although it didn’t feel that big while we were exploring the Old Town and the outskirts of the city center on foot. It’s actually home to around 1.5 million people! I think the historic feel of the Old Town gave me a small city vibe.
We went the Airbnb route and ended up picking a super convenient spot about 15 minutes outside Munich’s center via subway. The neighborhood was technically Neuhausen-Nymphenburg, and our apartment was right near the Volkartstraße subway stop. We relied on both the subway and Uber to get around, and the subway system was INCREDIBLY easy to follow. They have group day passes, which were really helpful. More details here.
Now let’s move on to the good stuff!
. . .
Munich See + Do
Toes on the nose – Catching the Munich surfers is an absolute MUST. Yes, you read that correctly. Head to Eisbachwelle and watch (some very brave, extremely experienced) surfers take on the Eisbach river. This is a type of surfing you’ve never seen before, and it’s super thrilling to watch. Check out the clips at the bottom of this post.
Church of St Peter’s Tower – Centrally located, you’ll find amazing views of the city from the top of the tower. Quite a narrow ascend and lots of stairs, but worth it for the 360-degree views at the top and an aerial view of Marienplatz.
Marienplatz – Munich’s central town square! Located in the Old Town, it’s truly the living and breathing hub of the city, from where you can easily navigate to spots like Hofbräuhaus, museums, and the Apple Store. Around 11 AM, hundreds of people will descend upon the square to catch the world-famous Rathaus-Glockenspiel. The entire tower comes to life as the statues begin to reenact famous events in the city’s history.
Schloss Nymphenburg – Ah, to be royal. Construction of what was originally a royal summer home began in 1664 and to date, it’s truly a sight to behold. This is a massive complex with a rich history and a beautiful, seemingly endless garden. We didn’t go inside, but we took a nice leisurely stroll through the grounds before we headed into the city center.
Viktualienmarkt– Just around the corner from Marienplatz you’ll find the network of stalls and shops that make up the Viktualienmarkt food market. Originally a farmer’s market, this is a staple must-see in Munich where you can grab a beer, Bavarian delicacies, trinkets, produce, flowers, coffee, and the likes. Devin and I actually grabbed breakfast here the morning we went to Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest – We’ll conquer how-to-do-Oktoberfest in another blog post. If you MUST know now, here are some quick tips: wear a dirndl; bring cash; go during the week if you can; forego planning for any particular tent; eat when you’re there.
. . .
Munich Eat + Drink
The classic Bavarian diet is unique. Odds are you can name quite a few of the staple eats, i.e. schnitzel, but long story short we’re talking heavy meats in gravy-like or creamy sauces. They were pretty tasty, but definitely unlike anything I’m used to eating. While we explored a classic German restaurant, we also had Italian and a basic brunch! More details below. No matter what you’re into, there’s clearly no shortage of food or drink options in Munich.
Zum Dürnbräu – Classic Bavarian dishes with a super quaint outdoor patio. Right near Hofbräuhaus and bustling city center.
Hofbräuhaus– Need I explain? This is going to feel a little overwhelming. It’s loud. The beers are huge. The pretzels are a big cold, but good nonetheless. Bring cash. Sit with strangers and make friends!
Cotidiano Gärtnerplatz– Brunch on POINT. Cotidiano is a chain, but this location is a super cute spot near the city center. Be prepared to wait! And grab a cocktail, too.
Die Goldene Bar– This trendy cocktail bar that’s decked out in gold and is situated in the back of the Haus der Kunst museum. We stopped here for some mid-day rose after we checked out the surfers at Eisebachwelle.
Zum Wolf– Another cocktail bar in what’s dubbed one of Munich’s prettiest neighborhoods! If we’re being specific, Zum Wolf is actually a whiskey bar. It’s got a real dive-bar feel, and as per the bar itself, the “inspiration comes from classic American cocktail bars and southern style juke joints.” I had mezcal…. obviously.
Beer Garden at the Chinese Tower – Ah, another beer garden. My heaven! Located deep in the English Garden (which is one of the LARGEST city parks in EUROPE and is actually bigger than Central Park), this spot came highly recommended. Unfortunately, we did NOT get to stop by, as it was closed due to the weather. The weather also killed any potential park picnic plans we were entertaining, too. Augustiner-Keller was another beer garden on our list, but unfortunately we didn’t make it there either.
Oskar Maria Brassiere– I’m not sure how this spot ended up on our radar, but I would highly recommend it! The restaurant itself, which is named after a famous Munich writer, was beautiful and my pasta was on point. There was a lot of variety on the menu, and it had an extensive wine list, too!