The very best of... MunichThursday 06 August 2015 by Melanie Klaschka Despite being known for the beer-drinking, wurst-eating Oktoberfest, there's more to Munich than beer and meat! We explore it's many parks, museums and restaurants.
The best things to see and do
This vibrant Bavarian city is regularly voted one of the best places in the world to live, and it has plenty to offer the visitor too. Munich’s biggest attraction is the Rezidenz museum, meticulously reconstructed after the bombing of the city in WWII to showcase the treasures of the city’s former ruling families – there’s plenty to see, so make sure you allow plenty of time to explore. The Englischer Garten is one of Europe’s biggest city parks, offering a wonderful array of leafy walks, sweeping meadows and rolling lawns around the beautiful Kleinhesseloher See lake. At weekends the park is full of cyclists, joggers, street entertainers and families, and in summer it’s considered perfectly acceptable to sunbathe nude, so don’t be surprised if you see more than you bargained for!
The best places to eat and drink
Munich offers a huge array of dining choices, from traditional Bavarian dishes like Schweinshaxe (pigs’ trotters) and hearty sausages, to more elegant fusion cuisine at one of the city’s many trendy restaurants. If you’re on a budget, head to the city centre Bierkellers and Gaststätten restaurants – the food is heavy and hearty, but it’s great for soaking up a half-litre or three of German beer. The city brews many of its own beers (like Lowenbraü), and you’ll also find bars serving up an extensive selection of famous brews from across Germany. If your drinking and dining tastes are a little more sophisticated, the Haidhausen neighbourhood across the river has some outstanding bistros, cocktail bars, upmarket clubs and live music venues.
The best way to get around
Like much of Germany, Munich’s public transport system is efficient, clean and well-organised, with an excellent network of Underground (U-Bahn) and overground (S-Bahn) covering the whole city, along with handy trams and spotlessly clean buses. The city centre is compact and delightful to stroll around on foot, particularly the quiet lanes and alleyways off the main pedestrian areas and the city parks. If you prefer two wheels, there is a good network of dedicated cycle lanes across the city.
Notable annual festivals
Munich’s biggest festival is one of the biggest in the world – six million people descend on the city in September and October for Oktoberfest, a 16-day celebration of beer-swilling, meat-eating and general merriment. Despite the huge numbers of revellers, the festival is usually trouble-free and well-organised, and a traditional Bavarian experience that’s not to be missed! None of Munich’s other festivals can compare in terms of size and scale, but it you’re visiting Munich with family, the Fasching carnival celebrations from in January and February offer wonderful parades and costume events that bring the city’s winter streets to life. In November and December, the city hosts a wonderful traditional Christmas market in the main square, Marienplatz, packed with stalls selling handmade crafts, traditional German gifts and tempting food and drink.