24 hours in Munich

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For a beautiful city like Munich, 24 hours are definitely not enough! If possible, I would spend at least two full days, if not three. Unfortunately, K and I only had a weekend in Munich, of which one of the day’s was spent entirely at the Oktoberfest (you can read about it here)! So we were left with only a day to squeeze in the sightseeing.

When time is short, one of the quickest and best ways to explore a city is via a tour bus – the hop on hop off kinds. I usually prefer exploring a place at my own place and make my own itinerary, but with Munich there was just no time. So I quickly looked up the companies offering a city tour. There are a few options to choose from, and I settled with Grayline. Now the online reviews were not good for any of the companies but I decided to take our chances and went with minimal expectations. And after having taken the tour, I have to agree with the reviews – city tours in Munich are pretty bad! So I would not advise them unless you are really short of time. We didn’t really mind to be honest, as we just wanted to see the main sights without having to figure out how to get to each place on our own.

The tours all start from the Munich Haufbhanhof (central train station), but you can board them from any stop and buy tickets in the bus.

The Nymphenburg Palace

                                                          The Nymphenburg Palace

We started the tour with a visit to the exquisite Nymphenburg palace and its sprawling gardens. Since the city centre was closed to vehicular traffic until 2pm on account of the Oktoberfest parade, the bus went straight to the other end of the city. This baroque palace used to be the summer residence of Bavarian monarchs and electors. The lavishly decorated Great Hall will take your breath away.

The Great Hall

                                                                            The Great Hall

The next stop was primarily for K and two other friends – the BMW museum located just across from the Olympic Park. For people like me, who aren’t really into cars, this would be a waste of time. So I left the others and continued on the bus as it drove past sights like the Victory Gate or Siegestor, which is an arch dedicated to the Bavarian army, and the Walking Man – a 17 meters tall sculpture by Jonathan Borofsky built in 1995.

The imposing BMW building

                                                 The imposing BMW building

Driving past the Ludwig-Maximilian University and the Ludwigskirche, a beautiful Romanesque church, the bus carried on towards Odeonsplatz, a beautiful square named after a concert hall called Odeon. There are several interesting buildings at this square. There is the Feldherrnhalle, commissioned by King Ludwig I to honour the Bavarian army and its victorious generals; the Theatinerkirche, an Italian church built in the seventeenth century to celebrate the birth of Prince Max Emanuel; and the Hofgarten, which is a court garden created between 1613 and 1617.

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By the time I was done exploring Odeonsplatz, I was joined by the others and we took the next bus towards Prinzregenten Street. This street is a Mecca for art lovers as both, the Haus der Kunst ( a museum of contemporary art),  as well as the Bavarian National Museum (museum of art and cultural history) are located here. The bus does not stop here but it’s worth while to walk from Odeonsplatz to see surfers riding waves at the Englischer Garten!

The surfers at Englisher Garten

                                                                   Surfing at the Englischer Garten

The Bavarian Parliament

                                                                       The Bavarian Parliament

The bus then hurtled along the Maximilianstraße and we caught a glimpse of a grand building called Maximilianeum, which is now used by the Bavarian Parliament. Running out of time, we decided to skip the Munich Residenz, which served as the official home of Bavarian monarchs. 

The final stop for us was Marienplatz, Munich’s most famous square, which is dominated by the New Town Hall. To the east of the square lies the Frauenkirche, or the Cathedral of Our Dear Lady, a large Gothic building and an important landmark.

The majestic town hall at Marienplatz

                                                       The majestic town hall at Marienplatz

Some of the other places worth visiting are Königsplatz, with its three classical buildings – the Propyläen (an ornate gateway), the Glyptothek (a collection of ancient Greek and Roman Sculpture), and the Antikensammlungen (an antiquities museum). Not far from here is the Kunstareal, or the museum quarter of Munich which houses the three Pinakotheken galleries and several other art galleries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16 thoughts on “24 hours in Munich

  1. Great write up on Munich! I agree with you–hop on/hop off buses are a great way to see a new city. I’m sorry to hear they aren’t quite as good in Munich.

    • Thanks Becky. Yes, sadly munich buses need a lot of improvement. It was quite funny – on one of the buses, the guide actually remprimanded one of the passengers when he tried to see if his audio guide (for which we were given headofones), worked! Poor guy…was almost like getting scolded by the headmistress at school!

      • Wow! That’s pretty crazy–especially when you want tourists to have a good experience so they go back and tell other people how much fun they had.

      • Guess this guide definitely didn’t care! She went in to scold another one for taking a picture inside the bus because she felt that invaded people’s privacy…germans are sticklers for this though!

  2. How I remembered ‘us’ when I read your title. We’ve tried telling ourselves, that we need more time to discover a place. Unfortunately, we fall prey to the same whirlwind travelling and walking pattern. 🙂 How was Germany? 🙂

    • I know…it’s the same story every time!! Although we did spend enough time in both Berlin and Prague. Germany was amazing …so much history and so much architecture. It will weigh you down, but it’s worth it. I would really recommend the Oktoberfest too…at least once! Just to be able to feel the vibe and see a traditional Bavarian festival. It’s quite unique.

  3. What a timing that you visited Munich also at its Oktoberfest! The BMW museum looks like a phenomenal building – I had no idea what its looks like until I read your post, but agree, I may skip visiting the museum but just take its building picture 😀 – will read your Oktoberfest post soon!!

  4. Pingback: Making the Most in Berlin – a Three Day Itinerary | Mia Musings

  5. That is quite a lot of things to do in Munich. All in one bus ride too so I’m not sure why you said at the beginning it wasn’t that good… I suppose there might be little time to stroll around, trying to pack all the sights on the route if you wanted to finish it all in a day.

    The BMW museum looks impressive. In fact, I thought the structure of the building resembled batteries! I’m sure BMW is more than just cars… Also, that is some waves at the Englischer Garten. Very rough in the middle of a city like that and I hope people don’t fall in 😀 Great shot of Nymphenburg Palace. The swan looks very pretty in the picture, so white 🙂

    • The reason I said that the bus tours are not very good is because they don’t have an audio guide which provides commentaries in different languages. Most companies seem to hire ‘real’ guides who give the commentary in English and German. Unfortunately, for those tourists who find both languages difficult to comprehend,these tours are pretty useless. I also found the commentary to be pretty uninteresting and some guides difficult to understand due to their strong accents.

      • I usually don’t mind the commentaries in another language though I don’t understand it much…it still gives me a local vibe 😀 The free tram that runs around here in Melbourne has commentary all day explaining tourist landmarks – and at times it is out of sync with the route 😀

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