Three days in Munich gives you time to discover the city’s beer, food, art, nightlife, architecture, and palaces; marvel at the fairy-tale castle that inspired Disney; and even squeeze in a day trip. And if you’re visiting over Oktoberfest or the Christmas period, that’s even better. Read on to find out more.
Start your first day with a thorough orientation of the Bavarian capital. Soak up sights such as the Cathedral of Our Blessed Lady (Frauenkirche), the Munich Residence palace, and Marienplatz, fortifying yourself with coffee and cake en route. If the weather’s friendly, enjoy lunch in the English Garden park. Next, discover the city’s world-class art scene. See old masters at the Old Pinakothek, 19th-century and impressionist stars at the New Pinakothek, and modern works at the Modern Pinakothek. Wrap up the day with the city’s signature experience, a night in a historic beer hall with dirndls, an oompah band, gallons of beer, and hearty Bavarian fare such as pork knuckle.
Start your second day, perhaps, with Bavaria’s signature breakfast: weisswurst, the white sausage that’s only eaten before noon. Then head out to Mad King Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein Castle for a tour of its magical turrets, chambers, and halls. Then return to Munich and explore its signature regal sights: the extravagant Munich Residence, where Bavaria’s rulers sat in state for centuries, and Nymphenburg Palace with its opulent gardens. Alternatively, continue your countryside adventure with a trip to majestic Hohenschwangau Castle, where Ludwig grew up, or Linderhof Palace, Ludwig’s answer to Versailles. Come evening, discover wealthy Munich’s more sophisticated side over cocktails and light bites in a high-end bar.
Your third day in Munich is a great opportunity to discover the city’s dark past. Start with a walking tour of the city’s many Nazi-era landmarks, learning about key points on Hitler’s rise to power. Then catch the train a little way out of the city to the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, where the first of the Third Reich concentration camps opened in 1933. Alternatively, if World War II history is too dark for you, feast on beauty with a day trip to Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze; the beautiful Austrian city of Salzburg; or along south Germany’s dazzling Romantic Road. For your last evening, delve deeper into Munich’s international present. Feast at one of the city’s excellent Afghan restaurants, then don your glad rags and party till dawn at your pick of its high-class, high-energy clubs.