There’s a lot more to Munich than beer and bratwurst. The city is dominated by those twin attractions when the famous Oktoberfest rolls around, but the capital of German’s Bavaria region has other fun and quirky attractions too, building a vibrant atmosphere from its rich but sombre history.
Munich dates back to about 1158 and is choc-a-bloc with past and present cultural delights. The city’s artistic side kicked up a notch in 2013 when 1 406 works of art including Picassos and Matisses stolen by the Nazis were found inside an apartment. That put art firmly back on the agenda, adding to Munich’s more familiar attractions of hearty food, beautiful parks, moving museums and enough zing and vibrancy to surprise anyone who thinks Germany isn’t festive.
Germany’s public transport is efficient and affordable, so you can get from the airport to the city centre by train or bus as well as by taxi.
The old city centre is best explored on foot, and you can reach the newer areas by bike, bus, the well-planned U-Bahn underground railway, the S-Bahn suburban trains or on its atmospheric trams. If you’re fit, it’s fun to hire a bike because bike lanes take you almost everywhere and motorists are bike-aware.
Germany is an expensive country, but the colourful market stalls can make eating cheap. The tourist offices are a great starting point, with staff dishing out free maps and tips on what to see and where to stay and eat, in perfect English.
Munich follows Central European Summer Time, with clocks going forward an hour to GMT +2 from March 29, and back to GMT +1 on October 25.
Germany uses the Euro. ATMs are ubiquitous and credit and debit cards are a common way of paying.
The Alps give Munich beautiful scenery but dictate its weather. Expect snow, rain and freezing temperatures from November to March. Spring comes slowly with March and April still freezing at night. May brings brighter days and by late spring the outdoor cafes are buzzing. June, July and August are warm and wet, September, October and November are cool and wet, and by November the nights can be freezing again.
Electrical sockets are the Europlug variety with two round pins. Voltage: 220-240 Volts.
The phone systems are excellent and wi-fi hotspots are common, although many hotels charge for wi-fi. Many coffee shops and bars offering free hotspots and there are internet cafes.
Munich is very walkable, but the buses, trams and trains are easy to navigate too. If you are staying several days consider a 3-day pass, valid for the central zone and up to five users.
A CityTourCard includes public transport and discounts to attractions. Look out for MVV ticket machines or manned counters where you can get maps and ask for advice.
Airport to City Access.
Munich Airport is 40km from the centre. The surburban S-Bahn trains on lines S1 and S8 will get you to town in around 45 minutes. They run every 10 minutes from 4am to 1.30am. There are tickets machines and manned counters in a central area between the airport’s two terminals.
Taxis are also available