When you think of Germany, you probably think of beer, sauerkraut, and men with beards in lederhosen. While all of those are definitely part of the German culture, there’s a lot more to discover. I had the wonderful opportunity to wander around the city of Munich. It’s located in southern Germany and is known for being the third largest city in the country.
The first thing I did in the city was to explore Marienplatz. It’s the central square in downtown Munich and is full of culture. You’ll find museums, the city hall, shops, restaurants, and churches. My absolute favorite building down here was one with a lot of history and beautiful architecture. St. Peter’s Church has been standing tall since the 11th century, with architecture styles to resemble various time periods throughout history.
The best part of the church was the 299 steps up to the viewing deck. It has my preferred view of the city and should not be missed. Even if you’re not in the best shape, there are resting areas throughout the stairwell. Trust me, you’re going to be glad you made the climb. It’s three euros for an adult and open from 10am to 7pm on summer days. The Munich Old Town Walking Tour is a great way to see what Marienplatz has to offer and it includes a visit to St. Peter’s Church.
Now it would not be a proper trip to Germany without a taste of their famous beer. I was dying to give it a try and to see what all the hype was about. I ended up at Hofbrauhaus, Munich’s most famous beer hall. It was originally built in the 1500’s and has endured many wars and rebuilds since. It’s in the heart of Munich and was my place to grab a pint (or four). The Hofbrau Original beer is just delicious, I could have had the entire barrel. They also, of course, have pretzels, sausages (bratwurst), and sauerkraut to soak up some of that beer.
After seeing some of the beautiful architecture and filling up on beer and pretzels, I was ready for a nice walk. I found a gorgeous park just north of the Munich City Center called the English Garden. It’s the largest public park in Munich and stretches for 910 acres – that’s bigger than New York City’s Central Park! It’s so pretty everywhere you look. I walked by tons of joggers, cyclists, soccer players, walking paths, waterways, and so much greenery. This was obviously a place locals frequented to get a breath of fresh air after a long workday.
Another activity that locals participated in after a long work day was one that I never expected to see in landlocked Munich – surfing! There’s no beach in sight, yet surfing is one of the most popular sports in Munich. How you ask? It’s a sport called river surfing. It originated in Munich and is allowed by a dip in the man-made river bed that creates a standing wave. I walked by Eisbach, a small man-made river in the English Garden.
The place was crawling with surfers. There are places to watch and take pictures of the amazing moves these surfers have.
Munich is one of the cities that left me with some amazing memories. Who would have thought you could find alluring churches, delicious beer, and surfing all in the same place? The culture is so rich and vibrant, I couldn’t help but fall in love.
Tips for Your Visit:
- Look up the activities in Marienplatz before you go. With so much to see, you’ll want to prioritize your visit.
- Bring water and comfortable shoes for your visit to St. Peter’s Church. The 299 steps can be tiring if you’re not prepared. During the busy season, the resting benches can fill up quickly. The stairways are also very narrow so it can get cramped.
- Peter’s Church is free to enter, you’ll only need three euros if you decide to make the climb up to the top (it’s so worth it).
- Book the Munich Old Town Walking Tour in advance, it can fill up fast.
- If you’re not a beer fan, but don’t want to miss out on the German experience, order a Radler. It’s a mixture of beer and lemonade and tastes wonderful.
- The food can be expensive at Hofbrauhaus, so just get beer if you’re on a budget. You can find similar foods outside of the area.
- English Garden is made up of a lot of attractions. Check their website to see anything not mentioned you might want to check out. Honorable mentions include the Chinese Tower, Monopteros, and the Tivoli Pavillion.
- Walk just over the Isar River near the south end of the English Garden to view the Angel of Peace. It offers another beautiful view of the city.
Munich Old Town Walking Tour: https://www.viator.com/tours/Munich/Munich-Old-Town-Walking-Tour/d487-2666MUNICH
St Peter’s Church: http://www.muenchen.de/int/en/sights/churches/church-of-st-peter.html
English Garden: http://www.muenchen.de/int/en/sights/parks/english-garden.html
Eisbach River Wave: http://riverbreak.com/spots/eisbach-e1/