Munich :: The Highlights

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Last October Elisabeth, my sister, popped again to Munich, the capital of Bavaria, for a long weekend; it’s probably the safest city in Germany and definitely one of the prettiest. With plenty to see and do, a long weekend is barely enough. It is a lively city that we both loved for many reasons, when we first visited it many years ago. Along these lines, here are the highlights that you should not miss if you plan to visit Munich any time soon.

The Neues Rathaus in Munich during the daytime.
The Neues Rathaus at Marienplatz, Munich.


This is probably my favorite place in all of Munich, because of my craze for art. The Altes Pinakothek, with one of the most significant collections in the world, features some 800 masterpieces from artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Lorenzo Lotto, and Albrecht Dürer. And should you want to feast your eyes some more, then continue on to the Neues Pinakothek where you’ll see works from Van Gogh and Klimt among many others. And of course, there’s also the Glyptothek (sculpture’s gallery).

Side facade of the art gallery - Altes Pinakothek - in Munich.
Side facade of the Altes Pinakothek in Munich.
View of one of many rooms filled with gorgeous artwork at the Altes Pinakothek in Munich.
Inside the Altes Pinakothek.


The Central Square of the city, since 1158, is known as Marienplatz. It has many of Munich’s landmark buildings (including the Neues Rathaus – new city hall – with the dancing clock puppets). This is the very heart of Munich, part of the so called Altstadt – Old City. As such, it buzzes with life with plenty coffee houses, bistros, breweries like the legendary Hoffbraühaus, and multi-storey shopping malls.

Two people drinking beer.
Beer drinking in Munich.
The Neues Rathaus in Munich during the nighttime.
The Neues Rathaus.
Partial view of a pedestrian zone with some high end stores and many outdoor dining setups at the center of Munich.
Many brands to shop for, including some high end ones…
View of a traditional beer garden restaurant in Munich.
Another traditional beer garden restaurant in Munich, Donisl.
View of a pedestrian shopping zone in Munich with Kaufhof (a mall) in the background.
Kaufhof: one of several shopping malls in Munich.
Baskets on display filled with Prezels.
Prezels on display, perfect for eating on the side while enjoying a “Stein” of beer.

While you are at the Altstadt, make your way to the red brick, late Gothic, church of Frauenkirche, the symbol landmark of the Bavarian capital. From its south tower you could catch views of the city and the surrounding Alps. The other church of equal importance is the Italian high-Baroque style Theatinerkirche with its distinctive yellowish facade.

The red brick side facade of the Frauenkirche in Munich.
Side facade of the Frauenkirche in Munich.
One of the landmark churches of Munich: Theatinerkirche with its distinctive yellow facade.
Theatinerkirche with its distinctive yellow facade.
The facade of Hofbraeuhaus - probably the most notable brewery in Munich.
Probably the most notable brewery in Munich: Hofbraeuhaus.
Bavarian traditional aesthetics for the entrance to the Ratskeller restaurant in Munich.
Traditional aesthetics are still going strong in Munich. Entrance to the Ratskeller restaurant.

Now, the fact that Munich has three opera houses and many more theaters surely suggests that this city is traditionally a cultural hotspot. So you may want to look into the ongoing performances. But, if opera and/or theater is not your thing, then you will be glad to know that you can easily take a one day trip to any of several nearby destinations including the beautiful lakes of Tegernsee, Königssee or Starnberger See. Alternatively, consider a visit to Nymphenburg Schloss, or Salzburg in Austria.


The Nymphenburg Schloss was an elegant 18th century Baroque summer palace surrounded by exquisite gardens. The stunning murals on the ceilings and walls will have you in awe. Personally, I really liked the portrait gallery room.

Nymphenburg Schloss: An 18th century Baroque summer palace.
Nympehnburg Schloss.
An opulent ceiling and wall murals decorating one of the many halls at the Nymphenburg Schloss.
Inside one of the many palace halls of the Nymphenburg Schloss.


A quick hop to Salzburg, the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is always a good idea. It is only an hour away by train from Munich’s Bahnhoff and such a beautiful city too that will enchant at a glance.

View of Salzburg from atop.
Taking in the views from atop of the enchanting city of Salzburg, Austria.
The enchanting city of Salzburg, Austria.
Partial view of a castle tower with its outdoor dining setup in Salzburg, Austria.
While in Salzburg.
Outdoor dining setups at a scenic place in Salzburg.
Outdoor dining while at Salzburg.


All the while, in Munich there are several museums worth visiting. One of them, the Deutsches Museum, is a huge (emphasis on huge) museum with scientific and technology exhibits that will capture your imagination. It includes a Planetarium and Observatory, so be prepared to spend the whole day there. On the other hand, if you are more into cars, then the BMW museum may be a great alternative.

Some of a plethora of scientific exhibits found at the Deutsches Museum in Munich.
Inside the Deutsches Museum.


Take an inspiration nature walk at the Englischer Garten (English Garden) and find yourself escaping from the city at the blink of an eye. This is one of the most beautiful urban parks I have ever visited (the other one was Holland Park in London).

An urban park where horseback riding is one of a few outdoor activities while at the English Garden in Munich.
Horseback riding at the English Garden in Munich.


Lastly, no visit to Munich is complete, unless you buy fresh fruit or eat something from the Viktualienmarkt, adjacent to Marienplatz. This daily farmer’s market (except Sundays) is an attraction to all foodies and beer lovers. There’s no chance you won’t find something to your liking.

Stands and outdoor dining seating at the Viktualienmarkt in Munich.
Part of the Viktualienmarkt in Munich.
Outdoor dining at the Viktualienmarkt in Munich.
At the Viktualienmarkt.

P.S. All images by Elisabeth Karatzas

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