At the end of May I attended a conference in Munich for work. I decided to head out a couple of days early to spend a bit of time exploring Munich in my own before the conference got underway. I didn’t have a lot of time, but Munich is a really walkable city and so I felt it still managed to see a fair amount. I designed a bit of a self-guided walking tour for myself that would capture the main sights as well as a bit of chilling out.
Marienplatz, Neues Rathaus, Frauenkirche
The starting point for my explorations was the bustling Marienplatz, home to the grand Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall). It’s actually not that new at all dating back to the mid 1800s, but it’s newer than the one it replaced hence the name. Marienplatz itself is crowded and busy so it wasn’t long before I moved on.
Walking around the corner down Weinstraße I made my way to the Frauenkirche with its terracotta-red roof and two onion domes. Despite the pared-back design, the architecture is gothic, but with hidden buttresses and few ornaments. It has a beautiful simplicity and yet looms over Frauenplatz rather like a gentle giant.
Carrying on North along Weinstraße which becomes Theatinerstraße I found the towering, mustard-yellow Theatinerkirche, a Catholic church built in the 17th century and now run by the Dominican Friars. Yellow is by far my favourite colour so this was particularly exciting for me! The Odeonsplatz in front of the grand church was less busy than Marienplatz, but still buzzing with people, buskers, and a smattering of market stalls.
I continued my walk through a small archway off Odeonplatz and into the Hofgarten, home to the München Residenz. The interior is usually open to visitors and is stunning from the photographs I have seen, but I think it might have been closed when I was there and I didn’t have a huge amount of time. Instead I had a bit of a walk around the beautiful Hofgarten in the sunshine admiring the pristine flowerbeds. At the end of the park is the Bayern State Government Office.
The corner of the Hofgarten pretty much joins up with the South end of the Englischen Garten so I continued my wanderings in that direction. This huge expanse of green grass with the Eisbach river running through the middle was where I chose to sit and read a bit more of my book. I walked past a Japanese tea house and up to the pagoda and beer garden where people were sitting with steins of beer and pretzels the size of bin lids. After some relaxing and a stroll around, I left the park on the south side via the Eisbachwelle, an artificial continuous wave where locals come to surf and a small crowd gathers to watch. These surfers make it look easy but I imagine its actually really tricky.
I finished my walk back in the town centre at the Viktualienmarkt, a daily farmers market with everything from fruit and vegetables to condiments to flowers and gifts. In the centre is its famous maypole marking the location of the market after it became too big for its previous home, Marienplatz. I came across a huge pile of lavender which gave off a heady scent in the warm weather. It was a great market to grab foodie gifts and try some delicious gourmet treats.
Where I stayed
As I was only in Munich for a short time, and I was travelling solo, I booked a night at the Bold Hotel München Zentrum. It was about a 25 minute walk from Marienplatz and a matter of minutes on the subway. The modern design gave it a chic atmosphere that I really enjoyed and the facilities were simple but exactly what I needed. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes a modern, minimalist vibe, is travelling alone and just needs somewhere for a couple of nights.
Munich is a beautiful city and I was so lucky to have such amazing weather for my trip. Being able to wander around the town, relax in the park, and mooch through the market made it a perfect couple of days getting away by myself to reenergise. I was also really impressed with the food – I had expected heavy Bavarian stodge but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and variety on offer.
Have you been to Munich? What were your highlights?