With two days in Munich, you can discover the city’s art, architecture, beer, and food; explore its Nazi past; and marvel at Bavaria’s signature fairy-tale castle, Neuschwanstein. And if Oktoberfest or the Christmas markets are in season, all the better. Here’s how to make the most of 48 hours in the Bavarian capital.
Start the day by orienting yourself in Munich. Don’t miss landmarks such as the Cathedral of Our Blessed Lady (Frauenkirche) and the Munich Residence palace; if weather permits, soak up the sights in the English Garden (Englischer Garten) park. Be sure to stop for a Munich ritual: coffee and cake (kaffee und kuchen).
Discover the role that Munich played in the Nazis’ rise to power, perhaps on a walking tour of the city’s many Third Reich landmarks. Alternatively, head to Dachau, just 13 miles (21 kilometers) from the city center, to pay tribute at the somber site of Germany’s first concentration camp.
It wouldn’t be Bavaria without beer. Spend your first night enjoying Munich’s signature experience: a night in a classic beer hall with oompah bands, dirndls, lederhosen, and epic quantities of pork and potatoes. In summer, be sure to stop by one of the city’s seasonal beer gardens, too.
Wake up early for the long trip out to Neuschwanstein Castle, the fairy-tale edifice that Bavaria’s Mad King Ludwig II built in the 19th century. True castle junkies may want to make a day of it by adding a visit to Hohenschwangau Castle, where Ludwig grew up, or Linderhof Palace, which he built.
Whatever your taste in art, Munich’s Pinakothek has you covered. The Old Pinakothek delivers European old masters from Botticelli and Titian to Rubens and Dürer; the New Pinakothek has 19th-century titans such as Van Gogh and Manet; and the Modern Pinakothek offers Picasso, Dalí, and so much more.
Spend your final night in Munich discovering a more modern side of this prosperous city. Sip vino and nibble light bites in a shipping container; savor fine cocktails courtesy of Munich bartending legend Charles Schumann; or, if you’re still thirsty for beer, swing by one of the city’s contemporary craft beer bars.